The flood of reports from Juan Pujol Garcia, and from his steadily growing network of fictional sub-agents, transformed him in German eyes into their most successful spy in Britain. The moment for cashing in on that trust came during the buildup to D-Day and the subsequent Normandy Campaign. The ultimate aim was to convince the Germans that the Normandy landings were but the first in a series of planned invasions, with an even bigger one planned against the Pas de Calais.
To cement Pujol’s credibility with the Germans, British intelligence had him send a message alerting the Germans to the invasion a few hours before its commencement. They figured that by the time it worked its way from German intelligence to commanders in the field, the invasion would have already taken place. Thus, the warning would do the Germans no good, but still serve to enhance Pujol’s reputation.
Having spent years building up Pujol’s credibility with the German Abwehr, the time finally came to cash in on the Nazis’ misplaced faith in the Spanish adventurer. Going in for the kill, Pujol informed the Germans that the Normandy landings were just a diversion, intended to juke the Germans by getting them to send reinforcements from, and thus weaken, the real Allied target: the Pas de Calais. That “real target” was to be invaded a few weeks after Normandy.
That, coupled with other measures, such as the fictitious First US Army Group, under the command of George Patton, was massed across the English Channel opposite the Pas de Calais, convinced the Germans. During the crucial weeks of June, 1944, they kept powerful formations in that region, rather than rush them to Normandy to help destroy the vulnerable Allied beachhead. By the time the Pas de Calais formations were finally released, the Allies had amassed sufficient forces in Normandy to not only defeat German counterattacks, but to then go on the offensive, and breaking out of the beachhead, sweep across and liberate France within a few months.
As to Juan Pujol Garcia, he gained the distinction of attaining an Iron Cross from Germany, plus a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) from Britain. After the war, fearing reprisals from the Nazis, he faked his death in Angola in 1949, then moved to Venezuela. There, he ran a gift shop and book store.
Pujol led an anonymous life until 1984, when he agreed to be interviewed for a book about agent GARBO. As a result of the ensuing publicity, he was received at Buckingham Palace, was lionized in Britain, and on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, traveled to Normandy to pay his respects to the dead. He died in Caracas four years later.
Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading