WEAPONS OF MISDIRECTION
" The ‘sunshield’ prototype was a masterpiece of misdirection and may well be the most useful prop ever manufactured in wartime by a magician."
The next challenge from Barkas was to devise a convincing way of camouflaging tanks. General Wavell, under pressure from Churchill, planned to bring his tanks secretly into position against the Afrika Korps.
According to Fisher, Maskelyne found a way to transform a tank into an innocent truck by adding a lightweight cover or ‘sunshield’.
This was an effective method of mimicry, but was Maskelyne the inventor?
In 2004, I found a photograph of Wavell's original note in the National Archives:
“Is it a wild idea that a tank could be camouflaged to look like a lorry from air by light canvas screen over the top It would be useful during approach march, etc. Please have it considered.”
The numbers 23/4 provide the exact date: 23rd April, 1941.
To find out the full story behind the development of sunshields click on Wavell's note.