List of Commando raids on the Atlantic Wall

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British Commandos after returning from Operation Abercrombie, a raid on the French coast near Boulogne in April 1942 No. 4 Commando 22 April 1942.jpg
British Commandos after returning from Operation Abercrombie, a raid on the French coast near Boulogne in April 1942

Commando raids were made by the Western Allies during much of the Second World War against the Atlantic Wall. The raids were conducted by the armed forces of Britain, the Commonwealth and a small number of men from the occupied territories serving with No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando during the Second World War. All the operations took place between the Arctic Circle in Norway and the French border with Spain, along what was known as the Atlantic Wall.

Commando soldier or operative of an elite light infantry or special operations force; commando unit

A commando is a soldier or operative of an elite light infantry or special operations force often specializing in amphibious landings, parachuting or abseiling.

Allies of World War II Grouping of the victorious countries of World War II

The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.

Atlantic Wall extensive system of coastal fortifications built by Nazi Germany

The Atlantic Wall was an extensive system of coastal defence and fortifications built by Nazi Germany between 1942 and 1944, along the coast of continental Europe and Scandinavia as a defence against an anticipated Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe from the United Kingdom, during World War II. The manning and operation of the Atlantic Wall was administratively overseen by the German Army, with some support from Luftwaffe ground forces. The Kriegsmarine maintained a separate coastal defence network, organised into a number of sea defence zones.

Contents

The raiding forces were mostly provided by the British Commandos, but the two largest raids, Operation Gauntlet and Operation Jubilee, drew heavily on Canadian troops. The size of the raiding force depended on the objective. The smallest raid was two men from No. 6 Commando in Operation J V. The largest raid involved over 10,500 men in Operation Jubilee. Most of the raids were scheduled to only last overnight, but some, like Operation Gauntlet, were conducted over a number of days.

Operation Gauntlet conflict

Operation Gauntlet was an Allied Combined Operation from 25 August until 3 September 1941 during the Second World War. Canadian, British and Free Norwegian Forces landed on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard Archipelago, 650 mi (1,050 km) south of the North Pole.

Dieppe Raid World War II battle on north coast of France

Operation Jubilee, more commonly referred to as the Dieppe Raid, was an Allied assault on the German-occupied port of Dieppe, France on 19 August 1942, during the Second World War. The main assault lasted less than six hours until strong German defences and mounting Allied losses forced its commanders to call a retreat.

No. 6 Commando

No. 6 Commando was a battalion-sized British Army commando unit of the Second World War. Although it was raised to conduct small-scale raids and harass garrisons along the coast of German-occupied France, it was mainly employed as a highly trained infantry assault unit.

Commando raids during the Second World War became so effective that by October 1942 Adolf Hitler issued the Commando Order, which required the execution of all commandos captured.

Adolf Hitler Leader of Germany from 1934 to 1945

Adolf Hitler was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party. He rose to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and later Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland in September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.

The Commando Order was issued by the OKW, the High Command of the German armed forces, on 18 October 1942 stating that all Allied commandos encountered in Europe and Africa should be killed immediately without trial, even if in proper uniforms or if they attempted to surrender. Any commando or small group of commandos or a similar unit, agents, and saboteurs not in proper uniforms, who fell into the hands of the German forces by some means other than direct combat, were to be handed over immediately to the Sicherheitsdienst. The order, which was issued in secret, made it clear that failure to carry out these orders by any commander or officer would be considered to be an act of negligence punishable under German military law. This was in fact the second "Commando Order", the first being issued by Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt on 21 July 1942, stipulating that parachutists should be handed over to the Gestapo. Shortly after World War II, at the Nuremberg Trials, the Commando Order was found to be a direct breach of the laws of war, and German officers who carried out illegal executions under the Commando Order were found guilty of war crimes.

The 57 raids were all between 1940 and 1944 and were mostly against targets in France, which saw 36 raids. There were 12 raids in Norway, seven in the Channel Islands and one each in Belgium and the Netherlands. The raids met with a mixture of fortunes. Operation Chariot—the raid against dock installations at Saint-Nazaire—has since been called the greatest raid of all. Others, like Operation Aquatint and Operation Musketoon, resulted in the capture or death of all the commandos involved.

Channel Islands Archipelago in the English Channel

The Channel Islands are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown dependencies: the Bailiwick of Jersey, which is the largest of the islands; and the Bailiwick of Guernsey, consisting of Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and some smaller islands. They are considered the remnants of the Duchy of Normandy and, although they are not part of the United Kingdom, the UK is responsible for the defence and international relations of the islands. The Crown dependencies are not members of the Commonwealth of Nations or of the European Union. They have a total population of about 164,541, and the bailiwicks' capitals, Saint Helier and Saint Peter Port, have populations of 33,500 and 18,207, respectively. The total area of the islands is 198 km2.

Belgium Federal constitutional monarchy in Western Europe

Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,688 square kilometres (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.

The raids ended in mid-1944 on the orders of Major-General Robert Laycock, the chief of Combined Operations Headquarters. He suggested that they were no longer as effective and only resulted in the Germans strengthening their beach defences, which could be detrimental to Allied plans. [1]

Robert Laycock British Army general

Major-General Sir Robert Edward Laycock was a senior British Army officer, most significant for his service with the British Commandos during the Second World War.

Combined Operations Headquarters department of the British War Office set up during World War II

Combined Operations Headquarters was a department of the British War Office set up during Second World War to harass the Germans on the European continent by means of raids carried out by use of combined naval and army forces.

Commandos formation

The Commandos were formed after the British Expeditionary Force was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940. Prime Minister Winston Churchill called for a force to be assembled and equipped to inflict casualties on the Germans and bolster British morale. Churchill told the joint Chiefs of Staff to propose measures for an offensive against German-occupied Europe, and stated, "they must be prepared with specially trained troops of the hunter class who can develop a reign of terror down the enemy coast." [2]

British Expeditionary Force (World War II) British Army in Western Europe from 1939 to 1940

The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was the name of the British Army in Western Europe during the Second World War from 2 September 1939 when the BEF GHQ was formed until 31 May 1940, when GHQ closed down. Military forces in Britain were under Home Forces command. During the 1930s, the British government planned to deter war by rearming from the very low level of readiness of the early 30s and abolished the Ten Year Rule. The bulk of the extra money went to the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force but plans were made to re-equip a small number of Army and Territorial Army divisions for service overseas.

Dunkirk evacuation evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, between 27 May and 4 June 1940

The Dunkirk evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo, also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War II from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, in the north of France, between 26 May and 4 June 1940. The operation commenced after large numbers of Belgian, British, and French troops were cut off and surrounded by German troops during the six-week long Battle of France. In a speech to the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called this "a colossal military disaster", saying "the whole root and core and brain of the British Army" had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured. In his "we shall fight on the beaches" speech on 4 June, he hailed their rescue as a "miracle of deliverance".

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Head of UK Government

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister directs both the executive and the legislature, and together with their Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Monarch, to Parliament, to their political party and ultimately to the electorate. The office of Prime Minister is one of the Great Offices of State. The current holder of the office, Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, was appointed by the Queen on 13 July 2016.

One staff officer, Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Clarke, had already submitted such a proposal to General Sir John Dill, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff. Dill, aware of Churchill's intentions, approved Clarke's proposal. [2] Three weeks later the first commando raid took place. The raiders failed to gather any intelligence or damage any German equipment; their only success was in killing two German sentries. [3]

In 1940 the call went out for volunteers from among the serving Army soldiers within certain formations still in Britain, and men of the disbanding Divisional Independent Companies originally raised from Territorial Army Divisions who had seen service in Norway. [nb 1] In November 1940 the new army units were organised into a Special Service Brigade under Brigadier J. C. Haydon, with four Special Service Battalions. [5] By the autumn of 1940 more than 2,000 men had volunteered for commando training. [6]

There were 19 British Army Commandos formed in the United Kingdom and the Middle East. [7] The No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando was formed from volunteers from the occupied territories and enemy aliens. [8] In February 1942 the Royal Marines were asked to organise commando units of their own; 6,000 men volunteered, forming nine commandos. [7] [9] In 1943 the Royal Naval Commandos and the Royal Air Force Commandos were formed from volunteers from the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. [10] [11]

Also in 1943, the commandos started to move away from smaller raiding operations. They were being formed into brigades of assault infantry to spearhead the future Allied landing operations. Of the remaining 20 Commandos, 17 were used in the formation of the four Special Service brigades. The three remaining units, No. 12, No. 14 and No. 62 Commandos, were left to carry out smaller-scale raids. [12] A shortage of volunteers and the need to provide replacements for casualties forced the disbandment of these three commando units by the end of 1943. [13] [14] No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando was left for the task of small scale raiding. No. 10 was the largest commando and was formed from volunteers belonging to the occupied territories. It could now provide both parachute and canoe trained sub units. [15]

The Commandos came under the operational control of the Combined Operations Headquarters. The man initially selected as the commander was Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes, a veteran of the Gallipoli Campaign and the Zeebrugge Raid in World War I. [16] Keyes resigned in October 1941 and was replaced by Admiral Louis Mountbatten. [6] The final Commander of Combined Operations was Major General Robert Laycock, who took over from Mountbatten in October 1943. [17]

List

No.DateCodenameUnitNumbers
taking
part
LocationObjectiveResult
124/25 June 1940 Operation Collar No. 11 Independent Company 200 men Boulogne
Le Touquet
France
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
The mission was only a propaganda victory; two Germans were killed for no loss and all the commandos returned safely. [19]
214/15 July 1940 Operation Ambassador No. 3 Commando
No. 11 Independent Company
140 men Guernsey
Channel Islands
Capture prisoners [18] attack airfieldOnly 40 landed, the raid was a failure due to a series of mishaps, poor fortune and the haste with which it was planned and implemented. It resulted in no immediate military gains. [20]
34 March 1941 Operation Claymore No. 3 Commando
No. 4 Commando
800 men Lofoten Islands
Norway
Destroy industry [18] About 800,000 gallons of fish oil, kerosene and paraffin were set on fire; the factories were destroyed and they captured 228 prisoners of war. [21]
427/28 July 1941 Operation Chess No. 12 Commando 16 men Ambleteuse
France
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
The Commandos remained ashore for one hour; no prisoners were taken and there were no casualties. [22]
524 August–
2 September 1941
Operation Gauntlet 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade 1,500 men Spitsbergen
Norway
Destroy industry [18] Coal mining facilities were destroyed. [23]
630/31 August 1941 Operation Acid Drop No. 3 Commando 25 men Neufchâtel-Hardelot
Merlimont
France
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
The Commandos spent 30 minutes ashore but did not encounter any Germans. [24]
727/28 September 1941 Operation Chopper No. 1 Commando 25 men St Aubin
France
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
Two commandos were killed and had to be left behind. [25]
827/28 September 1941 Operation Deep Cut No. 1 Commando 25 men St Vaast
France
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
Commandos encountered and opened fire on a German Bicycle patrol; the Germans returned fire and wounded two men. [26]
912/13 November 1941 Operation Astrakan No. 6 Commando 4 men Houlgate
France
Beach reconnaissance [18] The Commandos did not encounter any Germans, but did gather information on the suitability of the beach for use by Landing craft. [27]
1022/23 November 1941 Operation Sunstar No. 9 Commando 100 menHoulgate
France
Gun battery [18] A partial success, the operation encountered difficulties and did not succeed in destroying the battery or taking any prisoners; they did obtain documents and other information. [28] [29]
1126–28 December 1941 Operation Anklet No. 12 Commando 300 men Florø
Norway
Capture prisoners and destroy radio stations [18] Two radio stations were destroyed and a number of ships sunk or captured and prisoners taken. Anklet is often mistaken as a diversionary raid for Archery, but it was the other way around. [30]
1227 December 1941 Operation Archery No. 2 Commando
No. 3 Commando
No. 4 Commando
No. 6 Commando
800 men Vågsøy
Norway
German shipping
harbour installations
and personnel [18]
Four fish oil factories and stores were destroyed and German prisoners taken with a loss of 17 killed and 53 wounded. [30]
1317/18 January 1942 Operation Curlew V Corps school of raiding
[nb 2]
100 men St Laurent
France
Reconnaissance of beach defences [18] The mission failed and the landing party had to be rescued by the navy. [31]
1427/28 February 1942 Operation Biting 2nd Parachute Battalion [32] 120 men [33] Bruneval
France
Capture Radar equipment [18] This was a successful raid that led to the expansion of the British airborne forces and the creation of the Parachute Regiment. [34]
1527/28 March 1942 Operation Chariot No. 2 Commando detachments from
No's. 1, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 12 Commandos
600 Saint-Nazaire
France
Harbour installations [18] Chariot has since been called the greatest raid of all time. [35] [36]
[nb 3]
165 April 1942 Operation Myrmidon No. 1 Commando
No. 6 Commando
100 men Ardour Estuary
France
Harbour installations [18] The transport ships encountered a sandbar that they were unable to pass. That together with bad weather caused the raid to be called off. [39] [40]
1711/12 April 1942 Operation JV No. 6 Commando 2 men Boulogne-sur-Mer
France
Shipping [18] The two men planted a limpet mine on a tanker and escaped unseen. [41]
1821/22 April 1942 Operation Abercrombie No. 4 Commando
Detachment from the Carleton and York Regiment
150 men Neufchâtel-Hardelot
France
Capture prisoners
destroy searchlight battery [18]
One commando was wounded but their objectives were not achieved. [42]
193/4 June 1942 Operation Bristle No. 6 Commando unknown St Cecile
France
German Radar site [18] The raid was a success but the transports were intercepted on the way home and casualties taken. [43]
2014/15 August 1942 Operation Barricade No. 62 Commando
[nb 4]
11 men Pointe de Saire
France
Radar and anti-aircraft site [18] Three Germans were killed and six wounded without loss to the commandos, but their objective was not achieved. [44]
2119 August 1942 Operation Jubilee 2nd Canadian Infantry Division
No. 3 Commando
No. 4 Commando
10,500 men Dieppe
France
Reconnaissance
in force [18] [nb 5]
The raid was a failure. The casualties included 3,367 Canadians and 275 British commandos. The Royal Navy lost one destroyer and 33 landing craft, suffering 550 dead and wounded. The RAF lost 106 aircraft to the Luftwaffe's 48. The German army had 591 casualties. [45]
222/3 September 1942 Operation Dryad No. 62 Commando 12 men Le Casquets
Channel islands
Reconnaissance
and capture prisoners [18]
Seven prisoners were captured. Several codebooks were found and taken back for analysis. [44]
237/8 September 1942 Operation Branford No. 62 Commando 12 men Burhou
Channel islands
Reconnaissance [46] The raid was to locate a suitable gun position to support an attack upon Alderney, and was uneventful. [47]
2412/13 September 1942 Operation Aquatint No. 62 Commando 12 men St Honerine
France
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
All who landed were either killed or captured. [48]
2520/21 September 1942 Operation Musketoon No. 12 Commando 12 men Glomfjord
Norway
Industrial site [18] The raid was a success, but most of the commandos were captured trying to cross into Sweden. They became the first victims of the Commando Order. [49] [50]
263/4 October 1942 Operation Basalt No. 12 Commando
No. 62 Commando
12 men Sark
Channel islands
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
Four Germans were killed and one taken prisoner. [51] The prisoners had been bound and it resulted in Germany ordering 1,376 Allied POW's be manacled
2711/12 November 1942 Operation Fahrenheit No. 12 Commando
No. 62 Commando
10 men Plouézec
France
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
This was a raid on a signals station; after killing at least two Germans the commandos withdrew. [52]
2815/16 November 1942 Operation Batman No. 12 Commando
No. 62 Commando
10 men Cherbourg
France
Objective not known [53] The raid had to be cancelled, as they were unable to land in the high seas on the rocky shoreline. [54]
2919/20 November 1942 Operation Freshman Royal Engineers 32 men Telemark
Norway
Industrial site [18] All Royal Engineers involved were killed either when their gliders crashed on the way to their landing zone or survived the crash but were executed by the Germans. [55] [56]
3022–29 November 1942unknown No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 5 men Bergen
Norway
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
There were three attempts at this operation. The first one turned back after being spotted by German aircraft, the second did gather some intelligence from Norwegian fishermen before turning back and the third was abandoned due to bad weather. [57]
3111/12 December 1942 Operation Frankton Royal Marines
boom patrol detachment
12 men Bordeaux
France
Shipping [18] Commandos successfully breached the harbour, but only two of the 12 involved survived. In 1955 the events of Frankton were made into the film The Cockleshell Heroes . [58]
3223/24 January 1943 Operation Cartoon No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando
No. 12 Commando
63 men Stord
Norway
Industrial site [18] The mission successfully destroyed a Pyrite mine. [57]
3324 February–
1 March 1943
Operation Crackers No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando
No. 12 Commando
No. 30 Commando
16 men Sognefjord
Norway
Capture prisoners [18] Bad weather stopped the raid but they set up an observation post which gathered much information. [57]
3427/28 January 1943 Operation Huckaback No. 62 Commando 10 men Herm
Channel islands
Capture prisoners [18] and check Herm was suitable for artillerySuccessful, the raiders did not find any signs of the German occupation, left propaganda leaflets
3514/15 February 1943 Operation Brandy No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando
No. 12 Commando
7 men Florø
Norway
Shipping [18] The raid attacked two German ships and laid mines in the harbour. A Motor Torpedo Boat ran aground and had to be abandoned. [57]
3619 March 1943 Operation Roundabout No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando
No. 12 Commando
10 men Stad
Norway
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
The raid was aborted after running into a German patrol. [57]
373/4 April 1943 Operation Pussyfoot No. 62 Commando 10 men Herm
Channel islands
Capture prisoners [18] Failed to land due to thick fog
3829 April 1943 Operation Checkmate No. 14 (Arctic) Commando 7 men Haugesund
Norway
Shipping [18] The raiders successfully planted mines, but all the commandos involved were captured and executed. [59]
393/4 July 1943 Operation Forfar Easy No. 12 Commando 10 men Onival
France
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
They managed to scale the cliffs but were unable to breach the barbed wire on top. [60]
405/6 July 1943 Operation Forfar Dog No. 12 Commando 10 men Biville
France
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
The Motor Torpedo Boat came under fire as the commandos were put ashore. [60]
413–5 August 1943 Operation Forfar Beer No. 12 Commando 10 men Életot
France
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
The Commando's transport ships were discovered en route by German patrol ship. [61]
423/4 August 1943 Operation Forfar Love Special Boat Section 4 men Dunkirk
France
Reconnaissance of pier [18] The two canoes were forced to withdraw when picked up by searchlight. [62]
431–4 September 1943 Operation Forfar No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando
No. 12 Commando
8 men St Valery
France
Reconnaissance of
searchlight battery
and capture prisoners [18]
The raid was a partial success. The team was successfully parachuted in but their ship was swamped when leaving, with the loss of all equipment. [15]
443/4 September 1943 Operation Pound No. 12 Commando unknown Ushant
France
Reconnaissance and capture prisoners [63] Two Germans were believed to have been killed but they were unable to identify their unit. [63]
4524/25 December 1943 Operation Hardtack 11 No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 7 men Gravelines
France
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
The Motor Torpedo Boat transporting them diverted to attack a convoy and their dory sank with the death of one man. The other six reached the shore and joined the French Resistance. [57]
4625/26 December 1943 Operation Hardtack 13 No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando
Special Boat Squadron
10 men Bénouville
France
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [57]
The raid was a successful reconnaissance but they did not capture any prisoners. [57]
4725/26 December 1943 Operation Hardtack 28 No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 10 men Jersey
Channel islands
Capture prisoners [18] After climbing the cliffs the commandos spoke to some locals, but running out of time, returning a mine was set off wounding two men. All men evacuated. [57]
4826/27 December 1943 Operation Hardtack 4 No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 10 men Biville
France
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
The Commandos were forced to withdraw by German patrol activity. [57]
4926/27 December 1943 Operation Hardtack 5 No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 10 men Onival
France
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
One commando was injured by an anti-personnel mine on landing; the rest spend four and a half hours ashore but did not see any Germans, just unoccupied strong points. [64]
5026/27 December 1943 Operation Hardtack 7 No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando
No. 12 Commando
5 men Sark
Channel Islands
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
On the first attempt the commandos had to return to England when they were unable to scale the cliffs from where they landed, the second attempt on 27/28 December was abandoned when the commandos entered a minefield with two men killed and most others wounded. [57] [65]
5126/27 December 1943 Operation Hardtack 21 No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 10 men Quinéville
France
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [18]
The raid gathered information on the defensive obstacles on what would become Utah Beach. [57]
5227/28 December 1943 Operation Hardtack 23 No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 10 men Ostend
Belgium
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [57]
The raid was called off after their Motor Torpedo Boat transport ran aground. [57]
5324/25 December 1943 Operation Hardtack 36 No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 10 men Wassenaar
Netherlands
Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners [57]
All the commandos involved were killed after landing. [57]
5415/16 May 1944 Operation Tarbrush 5 No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 2 men Dunkirk
France
Beach reconnaissance [66] The raid was a successful examination of beach obstacles. [67] [68]
5515/16 May 1944 Operation Tarbrush 8 No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 2 men Quend
France
Beach reconnaissance [66] The raid was a successful examination of beach obstacles; a teller mine was brought back for examination. [57]
5616/17 May 1944 Operation Tarbrush 3 No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 2 men Bray-Dunes
France
Beach reconnaissance [66] The Commandos were unable to land in rough seas. [57]
5717/18 May 1944 Operation Tarbrush 10 No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 2 men Onival
France
Beach reconnaissance [66] A navigation error meant the commandos were landed in the wrong place and captured. [57]
5824/25 August 1944 Operation Rumford No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 10 men Île d'Yeu
France
Capture German held island [69] This was a successful landing, but the Germans had already evacuated the island. [57]

Notes

Footnotes
  1. The 10 independent companies were raised from volunteers in second–line Territorial Army divisions in April 1940. They were intended for guerrilla style operations in Norway following the German invasion. Each of the 10 companies initially consisted of 21 officers and 268 other ranks. [4]
  2. Also known for security reasons as Department V Corps School, Warsash [31]
  3. Out of 622 men who entered the St Nazaire harbour, 169 were killed, 215 became prisoners of war, and only 228 returned to England. To recognise their bravery a total of 89 decorations were awarded, including five Victoria Crosses. [37] After the war St Nazaire was one of 38 battle honours awarded to the commandos. [38]
  4. No. 62 Commando was also known as the Small Scale Raiding Force. [13]
  5. Operation Jubilee was the largest raid conducted, with 10,500 men taking part. [18]
Citations
  1. Messenger 1985 , p. 251
  2. 1 2 Haskew 2007 , p. 47
  3. Haskew 2007 , pp. 47–48
  4. Moreman 2006, p. 13
  5. Joslen 1990 , p. 454
  6. 1 2 Haskew 2007 , p. 48
  7. 1 2 Chappell 1996 , pp. 45–48
  8. Bijl 2006 , p. 6
  9. Haskew 2007 , pp. 48–49
  10. "Memories of D-Day: Juno Beach". D Day museum. Archived from the original on 2 September 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
  11. "Royal Air Force Servicing commandos 1942 to 1946". The RAF Servicing commando and Tactical Supply Wing Association. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  12. Moreman 2006 , pp. 84–85
  13. 1 2 Chappell 1996, p. 48
  14. Chappell 1996 , p. 14
  15. 1 2 Bijl 2006 , p. 24
  16. Chappell 1996 , p. 6
  17. Chappell 1996 , p. 30
  18. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 Messenger 2004 , p. 15
  19. Haining 2004 , pp. 118–119
  20. Durnford-Slater 2002 , p. 32
  21. "No. 38331". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 June 1948. p. 3689.
  22. Ladd 1983 , p. 41
  23. "Biography: Philip Vian". Royal Navy Museum. 2004. Archived from the original on 15 July 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  24. Messenger 1985 , p. 58
  25. O'Sullivan 2004 , pp. 96–97
  26. "Operation Deepcut". Commando Veterans Association. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
  27. Ladd 1978 , p. 31
  28. "No. 9 Commando". Commando Veterans Association. Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  29. Miocene 2006 , p. 182
  30. 1 2 "No. 38342". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 July 1948. p. 3881.
  31. 1 2 Messenger 1985 , p. 120
  32. Dowding, Taylor: Night Raid, The True Story of the First Victorious British Para Raid of WWII, Page 167
  33. Dowding, Taylor: Night Raid, The True Story of the First Victorious British Para Raid of WWII, Page 200
  34. Harclerode 2005 , p. 218
  35. Saunders 2005 , p. 82
  36. Moreman 2006 , p. 66
  37. Ford 2001, p. 89
  38. Moreman 2006, p. 94
  39. Chappell 1996 , p. 23
  40. Saunders 1959 , p. 102
  41. Young 1969 , p. 122
  42. Dunning 2003 , pp. 58–63
  43. Campbell 1993 , p. 128
  44. 1 2 Binney 2006 , p. 152
  45. Thompson, Julian. "The Dieppe Raid". BBC. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  46. Forty 2005 , p. 192
  47. Macksey 1990 , p. 138
  48. "Obituary;Freddie Bourne". London: The Daily Telegraph. 5 March 2002. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
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  53. "12 Commando". Commando Veterans Association. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
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Related Research Articles

Commandos (United Kingdom) British commando formation

The Commandos also known as British Commandos were formed during the Second World War in June 1940, following a request from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill, for a force that could carry out raids against German-occupied Europe. Initially drawn from within the British Army from soldiers who volunteered for the Special Service Brigade, the Commandos' ranks would eventually be filled by members of all branches of the British Armed Forces and a number of foreign volunteers from German-occupied countries. By the end of the war 25,000 men had passed through the Commando course at Achnacarry. This total includes not only the British volunteers, but volunteers from Greece, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and the United States Army Rangers, which were modelled on the Commandos.

No. 62 Commando

No. 62 Commando or the Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF) was a British Commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. The unit was formed around a small group of commandos under the command of the Special Operations Executive (SOE). They carried out a number of raids before being disbanded in 1943.

Operation Anklet

Operation Anklet was the codename given to a British Commando raid during the Second World War. The raid on the Lofoten Islands was carried out in December 1941, by 300 men from No. 12 Commando and the Norwegian Independent Company 1. The landing party was supported by 22 ships from three navies.

No. 8 (Guards) Commando was a unit of the British Commandos and part of the British Army during the Second World War. The Commando was formed in June 1940 primarily from members of the Brigade of Guards. It was one of the units selected to be sent to the Middle East as part of Layforce. On arrival they became known as 'B' Battalion in an attempt at deception, not wanting the Axis forces to know there was a commando formation in the theatre of war. The commando participated in the Battle of Crete and around Tobruk before being disbanded in late 1941. After this, many of its personnel went on to serve in other commando units formed in the area, including the Special Air Service.

No. 7 Commando was a unit of the British Commandos and part of the British Army during the Second World War. The commando was formed in August 1940 in the United Kingdom. No. 7 Commando was transferred to the Middle East as part of Layforce. Committed to the Battle of Crete, it suffered heavy casualties, after which it was disbanded.

No. 11 (Scottish) Commando was a battalion-sized commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. Formed in Scotland, members of No. 11 (Scottish) Commando adopted the Tam o'shanter as their official headdress.

No. 12 Commando

No. 12 Commando was a battalion-sized commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. Formed in 1940 in Northern Ireland, they carried out a number of small-scale raids in Norway and France between 1941 and 1943 before being disbanded and its personnel dispersed to other commando units.

No. 5 Commando was a battalion-sized commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War.

No. 9 Commando

No. 9 Commando was a battalion-sized British Commando unit raised by the British Army during the Second World War. It took part in raids across the English Channel and in the Mediterranean, ending the war in Italy as part of the 2nd Special Service Brigade. Like all Army commando units it was disbanded in 1946.

No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando

No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando was a commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War, recruited largely from non-British personnel from German-occupied Europe. This unit was used to help co-oridinate attacks with other allied forces.

The No. 1 Commando was a unit of the British Commandos and part of the British Army during the Second World War. It was raised in 1940 from the ranks of the existing independent companies. Operationally they carried out a series of small scale cross channel raids and spearheaded the Operation Torch landings in North Africa. They were then sent to the India as part of the 3rd Commando Brigade and took part in operations in the Burma Campaign. During the Second World War only eight commandos were recipients of the Victoria Cross, two of the eight were from No. 1 Commando. After the war they were sent to reoccupy Hong Kong before being amalgamated with No. 5 Commando to form No. 1/5 Commando. The amalgamated No. 1/5 Commando was disbanded in 1947.

No. 2 Commando was a battalion-sized British Commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. The first No.2 Commando was formed on the 22nd June 1940 for a parachuting role at Cambrai Barracks, Perham Down, near Tidworth, Hants. The Unit at the time consisted of four troops - 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D'. Eventually 11 troops were raised. On 21 November, it was re-designated as the 11th Special Air Service (SAS) Battalion and eventually re-designated 1st Parachute Battalion. After their re-designation as the 11th SAS Battalion, a second No. 2 Commando was formed. This No. 2 Commando was the leading commando unit in the St Nazaire Raid and suffered heavy casualties. Those who made it back from St Nazaire rejoined the few who had not gone on the raid, and the commando was reinforced by the first intake of volunteers from the new Commando Basic Training Centre at Achnacarry. No. 2 Commando then went on to serve in the Mediterranean, Sicily, Yugoslavia, and Albania, before being disbanded in 1946.

No. 44 Commando was a battalion size formation in the British Commandos, formed during the Second World War. The Commando was assigned to the 3rd Special Service Brigade and served in the Burma Campaign.

No. 50 Commando was a battalion-sized British Commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. The commando was formed in 1940, from volunteers in Egypt and Palestine. Shortly after formation it was amalgamated with No. 52 Commando and became 'D' Battalion, Layforce.

No. 52 Commando was a battalion-sized British Commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. The commando was formed in 1940, from volunteers in Egypt and Palestine. Shortly after formation it was amalgamated with No. 50 Commando and became 'D' Battalion, Layforce.

No. 51 Commando was a battalion-sized British Commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. The commando was formed in 1940, from Jewish and Arab volunteers from Palestine. The Commando fought against the Italians in Abyssinia and Eritrea before it was absorbed into the Middle East Commando.

The Special Service Brigade was a formation of the British Army during the Second World War. It was formed in 1940, after the call for volunteers for Special Service who eventually became the British Commandos.

British Commando operations during the Second World War

The Commandos formed during the Second World War, following an order from the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in June 1940 for a force that could carry out raids against German occupied Europe. Churchill stated in a minute to General Ismay on 6 June 1940: "Enterprises must be prepared, with specially-trained troops of the hunter class, who can develop a reign of terror down these coasts, first of all on the "butcher and bolt" policy..." Commandos were all volunteers for special service and originally came from the British Army but volunteers would eventually come from all branches of the United Kingdom's armed forces and foreign volunteers from countries occupied by the Germans. These volunteers formed over 30 individual units and four assault brigades.

No. 14 (Arctic) Commando sometimes also called the Special Commando Boating Group, was a 60-man British Commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. The commando was formed in 1942 for service in the Arctic and was disbanded in 1943.

No. 46 Commando was a battalion size formation of the Royal Marines, part of the British Commandos, formed in August 1943 during the Second World War. The Commando was assigned to the 4th Special Service Brigade and served in North-west Europe and took part in the D-Day landings, as well as operations around Ostend and Antwerp, before being disbanded after the war in January 1946.

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