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A BIGOT TOP SECRET "Bogus Map" of the British D-Day Landing at Sword Beach, Accompanied by a Separate Typescript Key.

A famous and rare "Bogus Map" for the British D-Day landing at Sword Beach, with a very rare typescript explanatory key.

The map illustrates the three beach subsections on which landings actually took place at Sword -  'Peter' (from Luc-sur-Mer to Lion-sur-Mer), 'Queen' (from Lion-sur-Mer to La Brèche d'Hermanville), and finally 'Roger' (from La Brèche d'Hermanville to Ouistreham). A fourth beach, "Oboe", was designated in planning but not used during the actual invasion; Oboe is not labeled here, though that stretch of beach, to the west of Peter, is shown.

The focus of this map is on post-landing logistics. There are many numbers printed in red throughout the towns near the landing area. These numbers are explained on the separate key, which includes such notes as "Civilian Reguee Camp", "Porpoise [Ammunition Sled] Dump", "Burial Areas", many bivouacs. The key also includes a separate code system from that on the map, this one using famous authors to name assembly areas (e.g., "CONRAD", "DEFOE", "HOMER", etc.)

In all likelihood there were at least three consecutive sheets in this series, including one directly to the south, however, we cannot find any example of these other sheets.

Sword Beach

Taking Sword Beach was the responsibility of the British Army, with the assistance of the Royal Navy and Polish and Norwegian navies. Among the five beaches of the operation, Sword was the nearest to Caen, located approximately 9 miles from the goal of the 3rd Infantry Division. The initial landings were achieved with low casualties, but the advance from the beach was slowed by traffic congestion and resistance in heavily defended areas behind the beachhead. Further progress towards Caen was halted by the only armored counter-attack of the day, mounted by the 21st Panzer Division.

Bogus Maps

This map belongs to a series of so-called "Bogus Maps" on which real toponyms were replaced with the names of cities and landmarks in other parts of the world. On the present map, we see the following names: Ganges, Vienna, Hamburg, Dresden, Tunis, Lisbon, Cairo, Madrid. The overall map is titled "Cairo. 

In a 2005 article in The American Surveyor the Bogus Maps are explained thusly:

In addition to series mapping, Military Survey was involved in many other tasks such as calculating beach gradients by measuring the height of incoming waves, identifying from air photographs the potential sites for forward airstrips and printing Top Secret documents needed by the planners. Perhaps one of the more unusual products was the Bogus map series which comprised Benson sheets of the operational area but with the real place names replaced by others (e.g., "Ouistreham" was renamed "Oslo"). This series allowed the assault troops to become familiar with the terrain but still not know the real operational location. - Alan Gordon, "Mapping and Charting for the Greatest Collaborative Project Ever", The American Surveyor, 2005.

Though the coded toponyms would have made it marginally more difficult for soldiers to know exactly where they were headed, it seems far more likely that the codenames were just that -- terms that would allow soldiers to communicate locations without tipping off the enemy.

The D-Day Story Collection puts it simply: "bogus map | A type of map produced by the Allies before D-Day. The names of French towns and cities were changed for other places in the world to make it harder for anyone to work out which area the map covered."

The BIGOT classification

Both the map and the key are rated "BIGOT TOP SECRET". Introduced during the Second World War, BIGOT was the highest-level military security classification, above Top Secret. Some sources suggest that it was an acronym for “British Invasion of German Occupied Territory;” others, that it was a “backronym” for “To Gib,” the code stamped on the papers of officers headed to Gibraltar in advance of the 1942 North Africa invasion.

Whatever the origins of the term, extraordinary efforts were made to protect BIGOT-level material. When for example a practice landing (“Operation Tiger”) on the Devon coast was ambushed by U-Boats, Eisenhower himself ordered the recovery of the bodies of the ten known victims with BIGOT clearance. This was necessary to prove that they had not been captured alive, as their capture would have compromised the invasion plans and necessitated its cancellation.


Sgt. Leslie Ronald Bloomfield, who participated in D-Day landings on June 6th, 1944;
Thence by descent in the family;
From whom we acquired this and other maps


The D-Day Story Collection, Portsmouth, has an example of the map, but lacks the key sheet. Cambridge University has something called "1:5,000 Bogus map sheet (C)" and "[Bogus map showing towns of Regina, Jordan and Columbia]", these are the only Bogus Maps listed in OCLC.

Condition Description
Some minor staining. Wear along old folds, including a few small holes at intersections.