bombs on Paris? In the summer of 1914 rather an attraction than a cause for panic. Brought the residents to search the sky for German Monohulls of the type “dove”. In Throngs you are on Paris places, gazing upwards. Especially popular: the hill of Montmartre with its great views. Business rent skilled traders even chairs and telescopes to look funny.

“The Paris not felt the slightest fear, as the planes of the Emperor seams”, wrote the French historian Maurice Thiéry 1921, “curiosity, the feeling that all seized.” The German magazine “sport aviation” reported in 1915: “It was his tea-time then, that you missed, in any case, the interesting sight of the German bird of prey.”

On the 30. August, 1914, four weeks after the outbreak of the First world war, threw the Germans for the first time, bombs on Paris and no one was upset too. Only two kilograms of weighed the bullets, the German Pilot Ferdinand von Hiddessen and the flight leaves and a black-and-white-and-red Flag down.


Major damage to the aircraft of 1914 not turned on; also, the intended demoralization of the enemy. However, with the technical progress, the threat from the air grew rapidly. Soon, the waves, the bombs, hundreds of pounds, threw the German zeppelins, and “Gotha G”-Bomber over Paris their deadly cargo. Particularly devastating air attack on the night of 31. January, 1918, with 63 dead.

For the protection of France, the General staff 100 years ago, considered an unusual measure: the construction of an illuminated copy of Paris. The wrong capital should lead the mostly at night, attacking the German in the nuts. This is evidenced by a document discovered by the historian Cécile Coutin in the archives of the Ministry of defense.

painter led Camouflage Department

“You had to make it invisible, in order not to be by the enemy and shot down discovered,” says Coutin in a daily conversation. Such a stratagem had already helped the ancient Greeks to victory, as they took, according to the myth of the wooden Trojan horse hidden and so are your enemies.

The French attacked the archaic trickster-technology: As the first war party, they were on 4. August 1915 a Tarn Department and called it “Camouflage” (“concealment”). The management of the Parisian portrait painter Lucien-Victor Guirand de Scévola took over. Across the country, hundreds of Creative worked for the army, Theater decorators, and cubist artists. “C’est nous qui avons fait ca!” (“We made it”), called Pablo Picasso, 1915 in Paris, when he saw a gun in camouflage colors.

While the British Navy on their ships in the First world war, wild geometric “Dazzle”patterns, brushed, and blew the French artificial fog in the air, staggered complete building, painted cows and horses. In order to deceive German reconnaissance plane, hidden bridges under camouflage nets, established an observation post in the wrong ruins and groomed trees.

Fake Plant: This tree is made of steel and canvas was used as a military observation post (1918 Souchez)

– Planned masterpiece of French Tarnkunst: a Fake Paris, just 20 miles outside the real city – describes where Its a very similar loop as to Paris. With the plans for the construction of the wrong metropolis, the government commissioned the engineer Fernand Jacopozzi, its grandiose lighting arts because as a “magician of light” is celebrated.

“The real Paris should disappear in the Black of the night, in front of the gates of the city, a brightly-lit, second Paris,” says Xavier Boissel in a daily conversation. The French author has the history of the project in 2012 in his book “Paris est un leurre” (Paris is documented in an Illusion).

False train stations, plazas, factories

First, it was limited in August, 1917, at the edge of the field because of some of the acetylene lamps to avenues to pretend that their lights were not deleted. But the beginning of 1918, considered the General staff of dummies in a big way.

show plans, sophisticated light artists, Jacopozzi in the wrong factories, railway stations, trains and tracks. Mimic he wanted. in addition, prominent landmarks such as the Champs-Elysées, the Trocadéro and the Champ de Mars Park The native Florentine has even been inducted into the French Legion of honor.

Finished, the area was, however, only to the wrong Ostbahnhof train station Gare de l’est. The Area in Paris North-East consisted of illuminated wooden buildings, covered with painted and light-permeable screens, in order to mimic dirty glass roofs of factories. Multiple photos illustrate the Experiment – during the day the dummies remind me of the empty Meadow is more like a greenhouse than a train station.

Wooden mock-up of the Paris East station, about 20 kilometres to the North wrote to the East in Villepinte

“The first installations were only after the last air attack of the Germans on Paris in September 1918, and completed and could not provide for their Use”, Lieutenant-Colonel Arsene M. Vauthier, 1930, in retrospect, in the “Revue militaire française”.

The false Paris, it is a air castle “a fantastic Illusion,” as a writer Boissel. Groundbreaking, it was nevertheless, In the Second world war, the Nations fell again on Tarnkunst. Of all the places created Potemkin villages to deceive the enemy.

Burning towns

simulates the British built some of the dummy cities to lead German bomber pilots duped. Code Name: “Starfish”. On behalf of the British Ministry of aviation, Colonel John Turner was first apparent airfields, aircraft, and factories build.

According to the night air, the Ministry of the attacks on Coventry in November 1940 and intensified his efforts to simulate close to real cities, whole Metropolitan areas. “Starfish Sites” were created for cities such as London, Glasgow, Manchester and Bristol. The intended Signal to the German pilot: already dropped fire bombs, here are your flies properly. Ignited the Anti-Bomber fireworks from nearby bunkers.

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Fool, this Also belonged in the USA and Camouflage of the standard repertoire of the generals, in many cases, the film industry helped. For fear of Japanese bombers hid the Americans, their aircraft plants on the West coast under huge camouflage nets. And after D-Day, a top-secret U.S. Ghost army went to war with inflatable tanks and Trucks.

The national socialists were, in turn, the Hamburg Alster lake in 1941 under a huge wooden structure disappear and decorated the frozen outer Alster lake with an artificial fir-tree forest. The aim of the “Operation stealth” it was allied bombers fail forward – to what the British looked rapidly through it.

The numerous slip systems missed the Nazis exotic names such as “Venezuela” (mock-up of the Karlsruhe road in the Hardt forest), “Costa Rica” (mock-up of flyer’s nest Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental) and”Brazil” (mock-up of the Stuttgart train station at Lauffen on the Neckar).

From the beginning of 1943, however, allied bomber pilots had to be guided by a vision of flight: The ground radar H2S came up, the ticket facilities were useless. Gone are the days where an artist castles in the air, such as the wrong Paris from 1918 devised.