One topic I was eager to explore was Bill’s war years. He had enlisted in 1942, his fashion career barely begun. The Army had decided that Bill, along with hundreds of other artists, illustrators, designers and architects — men with high I.Q.’s — were to use their creative skills to help fool the Germans.
The idea was that they would create convoys of fake tanks and trucks from portable materials like inflatable rubber, and use these decoy units, which were enhanced by fake radio signals and sound effects, to trick the Germans into thinking the Allies were in the neighborhood. Such deceptions allowed actual units time to maneuver. Between June 1944 and the spring of 1945, the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops performed 20 such operations, saving an untold number of American lives.
Their remarkable story is the subject of “The Ghost Army,” an hourlong documentary by Rick Beyer to be shown Tuesday on PBS. Mr. Beyer, who has produced films for the History Channel and National Geographic, spent eight years interviewing members of the 23rd and rooting around the National Archives.
"The ‘Ghost Army’ of Artists and Designers," New York Times
More on the “Ghost Army”: http://www.pbs.org/program/ghost-army/