[A]round the end of 1942 [during World War II], when Major Oliver Thynne discovered that the Germans had learned to distinguish the dummy British aircraft from the real ones because the flimsy dummies were supported by struts under their wings. At that time Major Thynne was a novice planner with Brigadier Dudely Clarke’s “A” Force. When Major Thynne reported this interesting intelligence to his boss, Clarke, the “master of deception” fired back:
“Well, what have you done about it?”
“Done about it Dudley? What could I do about it?”
“Tell them to put struts under the wings of all the real one’s, of course!”
– from Cheating and Deception
While there are only six kinds of cheating there is only one way to cheat. To cheat, one chooses from one or more of the six categories one or more CHARACTERISTICS [MASKING, REPACKAGING, DAZZLING, MIMICKING, INVENTING, DECOYING] and fashions this into a RUSE that creates an ILLUSION of either COVER or EFFECT.
The role of the ruse is key:
The RUSE is the process of choosing first the appropriate category, such as dazzling or mimicking, and then the necessary number of characteristics to create either a COVER or and EFFECT…There is an endless number of possible RUSES, just as one can consider an almost endless number of characteristics (going down, if need be, to the level of subatomic particles) but each must be fashioned by the planner from one or more varieties of the six categories of cheating…RUSES, whether used to COVER or EFFECT, themselves tend to fall into five categories:
In all five categories the RUSE fashioned by the planner creates a COVER or an EFFECT for the potential victim who, it is hoped, will accept the ILLUSION.
The illusion is where the ruse is tested by reality:
Once the appropriate category or categories has been selected by the planner, the necessary characteristics fashioned into a RUSE for one of the five basic purposes, either a COVER or an EFFECT—both illusory—exists. This is the crucial moment for the planner, for his opponents must accept the ILLUSION if he is to be cheated or deceived…the crux of the matter is whether the EFFECT or COVER will create an effective ILLUSION.