A few months ago, I had the pleasure of reading Steve Anderson's marvelous novel "The Losing Role," a fictional narrative about the World War II Battle of the Bulge. The story was told through the eyes of a German actor who was forced to participate in Operation Greif, a false flag operation intended to sow confusion and chaos behind the American lines.
"Sitting Ducks" relates the story of Operation Greif with a nonfiction approach. The author noted that over the years since the war, the German plan to sabotage the American forces has become legendary, despite the fact that the operation was largely a failure and had no real impact on the outcome of the battle.
In fact, the operation was doomed to failure from the outset. The leader of the operation, SS Lt. Colonel Otto Skorzeny, although a hero to the German people and to Hitler himself, had never commanded a full-fledged combat unit. Also, he was only given a few weeks to recruit English-speaking soldiers and train them enough that they could pass for American GIs, a virtually impossible task. Skorzeny had been promised thousands of men, captured Sherman tanks, plus all of the military uniforms and hardware that GIs would be expected to have, but he only received a few hundred men, some jeeps, and a smattering of other equipment. Most of his men were soon killed or captured and shot as spies. Many of them could barely speak English - an obvious giveaway - and others were betrayed by not having GI dog tags, not knowing the day's password, or their mannerisms.
The author's writing was very tight, with no wasted words. His story of Operation Greif was more than just a recitation of facts; he included names of actual participants and recounted their experiences, noting, however, that many had been killed or shot as spies, and dead men told no tales.
It was obvious that the author did extensive research, and he included a helpful bibliography of sources used.
"Sitting Ducks" was a fascinating story about one of the most interesting footnotes of World War II. I recommend it to anyone who reads history, especially military history.