The use of dummy positions, installations, etc. presents nothing new in
principle. When properly used, however, they can offer considerable protection
against bombing attacks if not disclosed by close study of air photos and careful
An effective example of the principle here involved has, at least in one
instance, been used by the Japanese. A Japanese supply ship, in the harbor of an
island captured by them, was beached (or anchored very close to the beach). She
was repeatedly attacked by United States planes and remained in the same
position for an extended period of time, apparently so badly damaged as to be
unable to put out to sea. In a subsequent attack on this harbor, our planes
observed two ships, one in the old position near the beach, and what appeared to be a
newly arrived ship farther out in the harbor. The planes bombed and hit the
ship out in the harbor. The wrong ship was attacked.
When the planes returned to their base, air photos taken during the
mission were studied. They showed that the old damaged ship was the one out in
the harbor; its former position near the beach had been occupied by the newly
arrived ship. Except for the bridges, both ships were practically identical in
general appearance and size. Barges were located alongside the damaged
vessel in its new position, but careful scrutiny showed its hatches to be
covered. The new ship had no barges alongside, yet it was noted that its open hatches
disclosed a partially unloaded cargo.
It is obvious that the intention was to protect the newly arrived ship by
making it appear to be the old damaged vessel. The ruse was at least partially
successful in that the enemy gained valuable time in which to unload the new ship.