Charlie Kershaw and Task Force Troy during Desert Storm.

Below are excerpts from many different articles or sites. I couldn't find any one article or site with all the information.


Feb. 18, 91
USMC Task Force Troy begins operations along a 25-mile zone south of Al Wafrah to deceive the Iraqis into thinking that the ground war will be launched along the east coast of Kuwait. A wooden camel symbolized the task force.

Tactical deception is "military deception planned and executed by and in support of operational commanders against the pertinent threat, to result in the opposing operations actions favorable to the originator's plan and operations."13 A strong imagination coupled with camouflage, dummy positions, and tactical deception devices is essential if tactical deception is to be achieved. Additionally, if true success is to be achieved, tactical stratagem considerations must be incorporated as part of the overall campaign plan. Task Force Troy accentuated this harmonious relationship. For two weeks before allied forces stormed into Kuwait and Iraq, a phantom Marine division stalked the border with loudspeakers blaring tank noises. It filled sand berms [sic] with dummy tanks and artillery guns. Helicopters landed daily, never delivering or picking up a passenger.

What was Task Force Troy?

A lot of people talked about how the plan changed over the course of time. I said nobody ought to be apologizing for that, because the enemy situation changes, and so you have to update your estimate of the situation. We tried to deceive the Iraqis and create a lot of ambiguity as to where and when we were coming. Task Force Troy was the deception task force put together under General Tom Draude's [the 1st Division's assistant commander] tutelage, and he actually worked for the MEF--he was the brains behind this. At one point, we were going to put them up in what we call the Elbow, where the Kuwait-Saudi Arabian border changes from a north--south to a more westerly direction. That's the closest point to Kuwait City, by the way, a very sensitive area to the Iraqis, and we knew that. As the plan changed, we would move Troy around for what we called the ambiguity phase. There was a whole series of ambiguity operations, including probably a dozen combined-arms raids into Kuwait. Tom understands deception- -that is, whatever you do has to be believable.

He mentioned that he had some very innovative reserve officers working for him. In fact, we took this ad hoc group that Tom assigned to Lieutenant Colonel Charles Kershaw, and they came up with a lot of deas on how to trick the enemy--and everybody agrees that tricking the enemy is a good thing to do. Seabees built mock-up tanks. They built mock-up M198 153mm. artillery pieces out of lumber and put them under camouflage nets. Then the Task Force would put together an actual force of tanks and artillery, supported by EA~Bs and some security elements, and conduct a combined-arms raid into Kuwait. I don't believe the Iraqis knew what we had there, but we knew that some of the observation posts could see our decoys.

Another change was the creation of Task Force Troy by the Assistant Division Commander, Brigadier General Thomas V. Draude. Brigadier General Draude intended Task Force Troy to carry out I MEF deception operations. The initial purpose of the task force, however, was to deceive the enemy as to the location of the main assault. Next it was to camouflage the shift of the 2d Marine Division from a position on the 1st Marine Division's right flank to its left flank by giving the Iraqis the impression that the 2d Marine Division was still in place. It was then to create enough noise and activity to draw the enemy's attention away from the western border of Kuwait. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Charles W. Kershaw, Task Force Troy accomplished this mission through a combination of mock radio traffic, small-unit maneuvers of tanks and artillery, psychological operations (Psyops), and artillery raids. Lieutenant Colonel Kershaw built the task force around a headquarters establishment made up of personnel primarily drawn from the 1st Marine Division.3s

Initially, he placed 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, in direct support of Task Force Taro. That battalion was minus Battery E on a brief attachment to Task Force Troy. Lieutenant Colonel Kershaw used its guns to conduct an artillery raid.

Task Force Troy PSYOP (Psychological Operations)

One of the most distinctive uses of loudspeakers and taped broadcasts during the Gulf War occurred during a little know deception operation that was carried by a military organization clandestinely known as Task Force Troy.

Now for those of you who are history buffs you will recognize Troy from the city of the same name that was the recipient of the Greek Trojan Horse. For this operation, a 460 man "ghost" unit was created made up of only 5 tanks, several wheeled vehicles and elements from the US Marines, British Army and the 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne).

Task Force Troy was given cover responsibility for an area of the Kuwaiti front which would normally have been covered by a full division. In order to deceive the enemy to believe that Task Force Troy was a much larger unit, the unit relied on the use of deceptive decoys, such as armored vehicles, artillery pieces and helicopters, as well as a series of loudspeakers and dummy emplacements to complete the illusion.

The unit carried out its deception by playing several varieties of PSYOP broadcast tapes, ranging from the sounds of tanks, trucks to helicopters landing and taking off. Playing these deceptive tapes confused forward Iraqi listening posts as to the actual size and location of the force they faced. Those members of the Iraqi listening posts foolish enough to investigate were promptly engaged by awaiting Apache gunships or by A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft that were on standby to support the deception. It wasn't long before the Iraqis lost interest in investigating the sounds and just took for granted that they were faced with a military force of at least division strength.

This successful deception allowed a needed division to be relocated elsewhere in preparation of the Desert Storm Ground War assault.

A loudspeaker team from 9th POB, attached to the 1st Marine Division's 300-man Task Force "TROY," contributed significantly to that unit's deception mission. Deployed to mask the movement of 2d Marine Division to its new assembly area prior to the ground assault, the contribution of PSYOPS loudspeakers to the Task Force's success was evidenced in captured Iraqi intelligence documents. Three separate Iraqi brigades in the Wafrah area listed Task Force TROY as a division-sized unit, mechanized, preparing to attack.

One critical deception operation that allowed the Coalition to reposition forces for the Hail Mary maneuver was clandestinely known as Task Force Troy. This 460-member operation created a “ghost” division with five tanks, several wheeled vehicles, and elements of the U.S. Marines, British Army, and 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne). Task Force Troy covered an area usually occupied by a division. Its purpose was to make the enemy believe it was a much larger force. It used deceptive decoys, such as armored vehicles, artillery pieces, and helicopters as well as a series of loudspeakers to complete the illusion by broadcasting the sounds of tanks, trucks and helicopters. Playing these deceptive tapes confused the Iraqi listening posts. Some Iraqi scouts ventured out to investigate and were met by Apache gunships or by A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft on standby to support the deception effort. It wasn’t long before the Iraqis stopped investigating the sounds and accepted that they were faced with a military force of at least division strength. This successful deception locked more Iraqi troops into a disadvantaged position and enabled the other Coalition divisions to reposition themselves in support of the hook maneuver (The Gulf War Loudspeaker Victories:2-3).

On the other hand, Task Force Troy experienced the busiest period in its existence. On 21 February, it conducted a combined arms artillery fire mission against an enemy observation tower. Poor weather made it impossible to assess battle damage to the target. During a second fire mission, a target consisting of four vehicles and personnel erecting an antenna, were spotted by Marine forward observers, fired on, and dispersed.91 Subsequently, a forward air control team from 3d ANGLICO directed a flight of AH-lW Sea Cobras to the area where they found and destroyed about a half dozen enemy vehicles. Task Force Troy's final action that day was the detention of seven enemy prisoners who "alleged" to be Kuwaiti nationals. Lieutenant Colonel Kershaw had them transported to the prisoner compound for fiirther interrogation.

On 18 February, General Myatt ordered a reconnaissance effort which resulted in the insertion of three reconnaissance teams from Company A, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, into the first obstacle belt.83 Each team immediately conducted an assessment of the minefield and enemy defenses in its zone. The right and left flank teams also searched for a path through the minefield in preparation for the passages of Task Forces Taro and Grizzly respectively. The teams encountered few problems, but the team searching for Task Force Grizzly's lane could not find a path through the minefield. The movement of the reconnaissance teams into Kuwait coincided with the beginning of the effort to cut lanes through the berm. In an effort to distract the enemy from this activity, Lieutenant Colonel Charles W. Kershaw, commanding Task Force Troy conducted a combined-arms artillery raid the morning of 19 February. The raid did not provoke an immediate Iraqi response. Two days later, though, an enemy patrol of BMP-2 vehicles, armed with Sagger anti-tank missiles and 30mm cannon, drove toward OP 4 to investigate the dust clouds caused by the Marine engineer and Naval Construction Battalion bulldozers leveling the berm. A TOW missile fired by a gunner from the 3d Marines slammed into the lead vehicle, killing its crew, and the remainder of the patrol turned around and fled. As 3d Marines began moving to its positions on the division's right flank, Colonel Fulks established Task Force Grizzly's blocking position about four kilometers inside Kuwait. It was the first allied foothold in the occupied country.



It's all in the timing Charlie

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