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Operations No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando

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October 9th, 2022
Last Updated
October 9th, 2022
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Northwest Europe

August 19th, 1942

Operation Jubilee. Canadian 2nd Infantry Division, 14th Army Tank Regiment (The Calgary Regiment (Tank)) and British No. 3 Commando, No. 4 Commando (50 US Army Rangers), No.1 (French) Troop, No. 10 Commando, No. 30 Commando, No. 40 Commando. Their mission is to capture and occupy for a brief period the port town of Dieppe, to test the feasibility of a landing and to gather intelligence. Before leaving, the invasion force, must destroy the German coastal defences, port structures and important buildings.

Members from No.1 (French) Troop, No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando are attached to No. 3 Commando and No. 4 Commando.

November 22nd – 29th, 1942

Operation. Five men of No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando. Their mission is to conduct a reconnaissance and capture prisoners in the Bergen area, Norway.

There were three attempts at this operation. The first one is abandoned after being spotted by German aircraft. The second succeeds in landing and gather some intelligence from Norwegian fishermen. After which they retreat. The third was abandoned due to harsh weather.

January 23rd, 1943 – January 24th, 1943

Operation Cartoon. Fifty-three men of No. 12 Commando, ten men from the No. 5 (Norwegian) Troop, No. 10 (Iinter-Allied) Commando under Captain Harald Risnes, No. 18 Group RAF, seven Royal Norwegian Navy Motor Torpedo Boats of 30th MTB Flotilla. Their mission is the destruction of the Stordø Kisgruber Pyrite mine on the island of Stord near Leirvik in Vestland, Norway.

On arrival, half the commandos land at Sagvåg quay to engage the German defensive positions there. The other half lands on the opposite side of the bay. Carrying 25 kg of explosives it takes the Commandos 25 minutes to cover the distance to the Pyrite mine, 3.2 km away. The explosive charges put the mine out of action for a year. As they depart, the Motor Torpedo Boats attack a German steamer, leaving the ship sinking. The commandos capture three German prisoners, valuable papers, and equipment. One is commando killed, while two commandos and eight sailors are injured.

February 24th, 1943 – March 1st, 1943

Operation Crackers. Sixteen men from No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando, No. 12 Commando and No. 30 Commando. Their mission is to attack an observation post, take prisoners and reconnoitre another observation post at Sognefjord in Norway.

After landing it becomes clear that rough seas prevent the men from completing their mission. Instead, an observation post is manned for a week undetected, gathering information. No casualties are suffered.

March 19th, 1943

Operation Roundabout. A total of ten men from which four soldiers of the Norwegian troop of No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando, four men from the 29th Ranger Battalion and two men of No. 12 Commando under command of Captain Gilchrist. Their mission is to destroy a bridge over a Fjord at Stad, Norway.

The raiding team lands unopposed and makes it to the target. Here one of the Norwegians of No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando drops a magazine for his weapon, alerting the German guards. The team retreats to the extraction zone.

July 3rd, 1943 – September 4th,1943

Operation Starkey. Raiding parties of around ten men, drawn from No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando, No. 12 Commando and the Special Boat Squadron known as Operation Forfar. Their mission is to simulate the preparations of an invasion in the Pas de Calais area in France by the end of September. The raiding party’s objective within operation Starkey is reconnaissance for a simulated invasion and draw the attention of the Germans. To that end the raiders leave behind letters for the enemy to pick up. The overall intention of Operation Starkey is drawing the Luftwaffe into an air battle with the simulated invasion threat.

July 3rd, 1943 – September 4th, 1943

Operation Forfar. Between thirteen and fourteen raiding operations are planned but only six raiding operations are confirmed to have taken place. Some sources speak of eight operations that would have taken place. The confirmed operations are, Operation Forfar Easy, Operation Forfar Dog, Operation Forfar How, Operation Forfar Beer and Operation Forfar Item. Some of these operations are aborted several times due to various circumstances.

The Forfar raids are something of a failure. The objective of alerting the enemy to the presence of reconnaissance raids on the coastline is hardly met. The raiding neither manages to contact the Germans nor bring back prisoners. However, the last two Forfar operations, while not being totally successful, at least it shows the planners and those involved what could be achieved with luck and guts.

October 26th, 1943 – October 27th, 1943

Operation Madonna Able. No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando, Motor Torpedo Boat 617, Dory. Their mission is to reconnoitre the site of V-2 rocket launches on the Dutch coast near Wassenaar, The Netherlands.

Lieutenant D.G. Bradford with his Motor Torpedo Boat 617 of the 55th Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla has to navigate cautiously in thick fog along the Dutch coast. When he reaches the disembarkation point, the commandos are transferred to a Dory. However, for unknown reasons, the commandos fail to reach the coast of Wassenaar. They are unable to contact Bradford and his Motor Torpedo Boat after which they decide to try to return to England. While paddling, the commandos were finally picked up by an English rescue ship. 

November 24th, 1943 – January 1944

Operation Hardtack. Men from No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando, No. 12 Commando, the Special Boat Service, and the 2nd U.S. Ranger Battalion. Their mission is to gather intelligence and assess proposed landing areas of German-occupied Northern France in preparation for Operation Neptune during Operation Overlord.

The raids are ended by order of Major General R. E. Laycock, the Chief of Combined Operations. The reason was that intelligence had shown that the raids made the Germans bring in extra reinforcements. Especially into the areas in which Operation Overlord would take place.

February 24th, 1944 – February 25th, 1944

Operation Premium. Eight men from No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando, Motor Torpedo Boat 682. Their mission is to reconnoitre the site of V-2 rocket launches on the Dutch coast near Wassenaar, The Netherlands.

Around 21:30 they conclude that the available navigation equipment fails, and Lieutenant Bradford of Motor Torpedo Boat 682 makes the decision to abandon the mission and return to Great Yarmouth harbour. 

February 27th, 1944 – February 28th, 1944

Operation Premium II. Six men from No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando, Motor Torpedo Boat 682. Their mission is to reconnoitre the site of V-2 rocket launches on the Dutch coast near Wassenaar, The Netherlands.

The commandos are brought in by Lieutenant D.G. Bradford of the British Motor Torpedo Boat 682 just off the Dutch coast at the Wassenaarse Slag. There they transfer to a Dory that takes them further to the coast, the last part the men cover in a rubber dinghy. Arriving on the beach, radio contact is made with the wooden sloop that waits for them in the dark pending the return of the men. Just as Captain Charles Trepel reports the arrival of the men on the beach to the crew of the sloop, a series of flares are fired from the German positions on the beach. The commandos may have run through a tripwire that set off the flares. In order not to be discovered, the Dory anchors further offshore. 

The Motor Torpedo Boat returns to the rendezvous point from 04.00, and one hour later the Dory appears carrying two crew members. At 05.10 Bradford decides he could wait no longer for the other commandos, and turned back toward the English coast, reaching Great Yarmouth without further incident.

In the early morning of 29 February 1944, the rubber dinghy and four of the six corpses of the French commandos wash up on the beach at Wassenaar. The men found are Jean Hagnéré, Jacquelin Rivere, René Guy and Roger Cabanela. The body of Captain Charles Trepel is found in early March on the beach south of the Wassenaarseslag. The sixth commando, Fernand Devillers, washes up on Scheveningen beach in early May 1944. Since the Germans are unable to find out who or what the men are who had washed ashore, they are all buried at the Westduin cemetery in The Hague. 

During investigations after VE-Day, their graves are found. Five graves are described as unknown Allied airmen, and one as unknown English soldier. The graves are disinterred, and the men identified. There have been numerous suggestions as to how they met their death from drowning to execution.

May 15th, 1944 – May 18th, 1944

Operation Tarbrush. No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando. Operation Tarbrush is the overall designation of a numerous small-scale beach reconnaissance operations undertaken along the coast of Normandy and neighbouring regions in Northern France. The mission is to gain last-minute intelligence of any beaches, and their German defences, on which an Allied landing might be attempted.

June 6th, 1944

Operation Overlord. 177 men of No. 1 (French) Troop and No. 7 (French) Troop, No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando or the 1er Bataillon de Fusiliers Marins Commandos, commanded by Capitaine de Corvette (Lieutenant Commander) Philippe Kieffer.

The troops disembark from their Landing Craft Infantry at 07:31 hours on Sword beach, on the east of the Allied landing near Colleville-Montgomery. They are the first to be unloaded in this sector. Their primary objective is to achieve a breach five hundred metres to the west of Riva Bella in support of the 3rd Infantry Division.

Although suffering significant losses, the commandos seize the 50 mm anti-tank gun hidden in a small bunker. This position disabled LCI 523 (No. 1 Troop). They then take the former Casino de Riva-Bella before advancing between Colleville and Saint-Aubin-d’Arquenay to meet the British paratroopers of the 6th Airborne Division at Pegasus Bridge (Bénouville), arriving around 16:30 hours. There, the French commandos occupy the perimeter of the lime pit towards 20:00 hours.

By the evening of June 6th, 1944, they have lost almost 25% of their personnel with twenty-seven killed in combat, and many wounded including their commander Kieffer, who is wounded twice during the day.

August 25th, 1944 – August 26th, 1944

Operation Rumford. Five men Belgian No. 4 Troop of No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando under command of Lieutenant W. Dauppe, Hunt class destroyer H.M.S. Albrighton. Their mission is to capture the Isle of Yeu, France.

The assault force is taken to the Isle of Yeu by the H.M.S. Albrighton under command of Lieutenant J.J.S. Hooker. Lance-Corporal Legand lands the party ashore. After interrogating a local, the assault force finds out that the Germans have abandoned the isle taking their battery of 75 mm guns with them.

On the return journey HMS Albrighton intercepts and captures two trawlers carrying 22 Germans who claim to have murdered their officers and are fleeing to Spain. The Germans were taken prisoner and trawlers sunk by the H.M.S. Albrighton.

November 1st, 1944 – November 8th, 1944

Operation Infatuate. No. 2 (Dutch) Troop, No. 1 (French) Troop and No. 8 (French) Troop of No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando attached to No. 4 Commando. No. 4 (Belgian) and No. 5 (Norwegian) troops of No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando attached to No. 41 (RM) Commando, No. 47 (RM) Commando and No. 48 (RM) Commando.

The three Royal Marine Commandos of 4th Special Service Brigade, along with the No. 4 (Belgian) and No. 5 (Norwegian) troops of No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando, land at Westkapelle on the western side of the island. No. 4 Commando, with No. 1 (French) Troop, No. 2 (Dutch) Troop and No. 8 (French) Troop under command, cross from Breskens and land at Flushing. The landings at Flushing are successful and by 16:00 all resistance is overcome. The landings at Westkapelle meet stiff resistance from the German coastal defences. However, by the end of the day the Commandos are in the positions they want to be. By November 8th, 1944, the Germans are tied down are encircled and at 08:15 that same day forty thousand German soldiers offer their surrender. The Commandos have lost 103 killed, 325 wounded and 68 missing during the operation.