Open Wed-Mon, 10 AM - 5 PM (Last Entry at 4 PM)

Ghost Army: The Combat Con Artists of World War II

Special Exhibitions Gallery
June 16, 2022 - January 2, 2023

Ghost Army: The Combat Con Artists of World War II tells the heroic tale of the top-secret U.S. Army’s 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, known as the “Ghost Army,” and their covert operations across Europe that helped win the war, armed with nothing heavier than .50 caliber machine guns. This carefully selected group of artists, engineers, professional soldiers, and draftees—the first mobile, multimedia, tactical deception unit in U.S. Army history—saved thousands of lives and played an important part in Allied victory in World War II.

Consisting of 82 officers and 1,023 men, this top-secret unit was capable of simulating two whole divisions (approximately 30,000 men) and used inflatable tanks and vehicles, fake radio traffic, sound effects, and even phony generals to fool German forces during WWII’s final year. The exhibition details the 22 large-scale deceptions launched by the “Ghost Army” from Normandy to the Rhine River between D-Day and the end of the war, shedding light on a story that was kept secret for over 50 years after the war.

Ghost Army: The Combat Con Artists of World War II was produced by The National World War II Museum.


This project was partially funded by a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism.


Lester & Edward Anixter Family Foundation

Larry and Carol Levy

Laurie and Phillip Gerber & Family



David Hiller
Judith and William Rader & Family


Additional Funders

Amy and Gary Bazelon
Golder Family Foundation
Michael and Debbie Strauss
Barbara and Victor Weisskopf


Media Partners


Community Partners: Charlie Company, 2- 330th Engineers, 95th Division of U.S Army Reserve Drill Sergeant Unit, Arlington Heights; Honor Flight Chicago; Illinois Department of Jewish War Veterans of the USA

Photo credits: National Archives; The National WWII Museum


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