an accomplice of a hawker, gambler, or swindler who acts as an enthusiastic customer to entice or encourage others. The ultimate shill. A dead corpse.
In April 1943, the waterlogged corpse of a British Royal Marine was found floating off the coast of Spain. The dead Brit had a suspicious-looking attaché case chained to his wrist, and this soon caught the attention of the Germans, who colluded with pro-Nazi elements in the Spanish military to surreptitiously gain access to its contents. Inside they found a shocking letter to a British officer in Tunisia outlining a secret Allied scheme to stage an invasion of Sardinia and Greece in the coming weeks.
The dead man’s documents would have been a major intelligence coup for the Nazis, if not for one small issue: they were all fakes. As part of a plan dubbed “Operation Mincemeat,” British spymasters had dressed the body of a deceased tramp in the guise of a fictitious Allied courier named William Martin. After the corpse’s briefcase was stuffed with phony military plans, a Royal Navy submarine secretly deposited the body off Spain in the hope that it might hoodwink the Nazis. The result was the perfect con: not only did the Germans intercept what they believed to be crucial information about where the Allies would attack the Mediterranean, they were convinced they had done so without tipping off the British. Duped by Operation Mincemeat’s bogus intelligence, Hitler diverted tank divisions and other personnel to Greece, only to be caught off guard in July 1943, when the Allies instead invaded Sicily and Italy with some 160,000 troops