Deployment - Alongside the Americans

With Phantom efficiency proven and with US forces under the leadership of 12 US Army Group, similar arrangements were made for Phantom to provide communications with US Corps. How Phantom, “one of the brains trust units of the British Army”, as it has been called, became a Lend-Lease service from Britain to the U.S.A. in military operations in north-west Europe was revealed in June 1945. In the early stages of the assault on the Normandy beaches General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, visited the British 2nd Army H.Q., then located near Portsmouth, and was considerably impressed by the complete picture of operations which was available. He asked how it was done. The answer was, “Phantom patrol”.

It was explained to him how the organization flashed back by wireless to England the positions of brigades and battalions in the beach-head battles. Gen. Eisenhower immediately asked if he could have a Phantom unit for work with the U.S. formations. “There was a Phantom squadron in Scotland”, said Capt. K. W. Salter, commander of a Phantom patrol in the 2nd Army, and that squadron, within 24 hours, was brought south and sent across the Channel, complete with officers, other ranks, vehicles and equipment to join formations of the U.S. Army.

Throughout the campaign those patrols worked with the American divisions and corps and did a great deal to give a full picture of the battles to higher commands.” The Americans had planned to build up their own U.S. Phantom organization, modelled on the British, but the campaign was won before they had an opportunity to put their own Phantoms in the field. The map-room of General Crerar (1st Canadian Army) secured a substantial proportion of its information from the Regiment, General Patton (U.S. 3rd Army) acknowledged a very great deal of assistance, and our own 2nd Army was also greatly benefitted.

Patrols with US Army units often wore US uniform in whole or part. Sometimes they wore US formation badges but kept their own rank badges. An exception was the patrol with the US 17th Airborne Division who wore complete US uniforms including US rank badges. Although British uniforms were not much like those of the enemy it paid not to take risks when operating near the front with troops of a different nationality.

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