New display at Veterans Shrine features ‘Ghost Army Inflatable Tank’

Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 10:45 AM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - There’s a new exhibit at the Veterans National Memorial Shrine and Museum this summer with an 18-foot-long inflatable tank as the centerpiece.

Officials say the Ghost Army was a special WWII unit known for its deception tactics. They say that sometimes involved using inflatable tanks to trick the Germans into thinking the allies had already secured a position with troops and equipment that weren’t really there.

Staff at the Shrine tell us Fort Wayne native and iconic fashion designer Bill Blass used his artistic talents to help do just that.

“The Ghost Army consisted of three things,” Museum Curator Robert Thomas said. “You have the camouflage that Bill was part of, you have the sound, as well as the radio deception, which is to make the Germans think we had an actual unit talking amongst themselves. Worked very well. In fact, it worked so well a lot of times, it would even fool our own guys as to who was to the left and right of them. Because there was at least one attack they went on with these guys in the flanks, but they didn’t realize they weren’t actual units.”

This display is part of a city-wide 100th birthday celebration for Blass. Officials note that the inflatable is just a replica because all of the actual decoys were destroyed after the war.

But, they say there are plenty of real pieces of equipment used by the ghost army on display as well as bios on the notable figures who used them. The exhibit can be seen now through September 27.

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