‘Ghost Army’ tank to be featured in 93rd Arnold Mills Parade

‘Ghost Army’ tank to be featured in 93rd Arnold Mills Parade

CUMBERLAND – The 93rd Annual Arnold Mills Parade on the Fourth of July will salute to the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion with an original ghost tank from the “Ghost Army” of World War II.

The tank has Rhode Island roots, as the original tanks were made in Woonsocket at the former U.S. Rubber Co. and designed by Rhode Islander Fred Patten, who also developed the inflatable one-man life rafts used in the Pacific by pilots during the war.

The tanks were used during the war by members of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, whose specialty was “tactical deception.” In short, the job of the “Ghost Army” – soldiers who doubled as actors – was to use props like the ghost tanks to trick Hitler’s troops by staging fake battlefield scenes.

The ghost tanks, inflatable and made of rubber, were coupled with manufactured sound effects to fool the Germans and help to save thousands of lives during the war. The Ghost Army’s efforts were kept a secret for more than fifty years and have not yet been officially recognized.

That story will be shared in an upcoming movie directed by and starring Ben Affleck.

It is not known if there are any other ghost tanks remaining in existence. The tank in this year’s parade will be featured on a float from the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.

To learn more about the “Ghost Army,” visit ghostarmylegacyproject.org .