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August 1941

Special Forces Operations in August 1941

August 19th, 1941 – September 2nd, 1941
Raid on Railway Bridge
Thirteen Commandos of No. 12 Commando, under command of Lieutenant Dudley Schofield, Submarine Triumph (Commander. W.J.W. Woods, Royal Navy) of the 10th Submarine Flotilla, nine canoes in total (one single canoe and four towing canoes, four others with demolitions and stores). Their mission is to destroy the railway bridge near Torrente Furiano that leads from Messina to Palermo, Sicily.

Augus 22nd, 1941 
H.M.S. Triumph arrives off the coast of Torrente Furiano and carries out periscope reconnaissance during the forenoon and shortly before sunset.

August 23rd, 1941 
Shortly after midnight H.M.S. Triumph closes the coast to land a reconnaissance party but fails to do so due to considerable groundswell and surf.

August 24th, 1941 
At 0130 hours H.M.S. Triumph lands a reconnaissance party of No. 12 Commando (Lt. Schofield, two Sergeants and a Petty Officer) in two canoes. They return one hour later. No opposition is encountered.

August 27th, 1941 
During the day, the H.M.S. Triumph arrives back off the coast of Torrente Furiano. Shortly before dusk a periscope reconnaissance is carried out.
Shortly before midnight all canoes, gear and personnel are on ready to be launched. At that moment, a boat is sighted that is thought to be a patrol vessel. The submarine tries to ram the vessel but misses by centimetres. The Triumph fires upon the vessel with the Lewis guns and discovers that the boat was a fishing vessel. To avoid further compromise the fishermen are captured (several of them were wounded) and their boat is sunk. 
Commander. Woods decides to postpone the operation for 48 hours and retires from the area.

August 29th, 1941 
During the day H.M.S. Triumph arrives back off the coast of Torrente Furiano. Shortly before dusk a periscope reconnaissance is carried out. She withdraws to seaward upon completion.

August 30th, 1941
00:49-01:13. HMS Triumph launches the nine canoes off to Torrente Furiano.
03:20. The Commandos blow the bridge.
03:40 Submarine H.M.S. Triumph moves into 1,5 kilometres from the shore and drifts in with the tide to five hundred metres.
05:07. One of the canoes and its tow is identified to the seaward of Triumph. They are picked up by the Submarine.
05:27. A second canoe and tow is spotted and recovered. None of the other canoes are sighted or recovered and the H.M.S. Triumph retreats before dawn.
Eight commandos including Lieutenant Schofield are later captured by the Italians.

September 2nd, 1941 
The H.M.S. Triumph arrives back at Malta.

August 30th, 1941 – August 31st, 1941
Operation Acid Drop
Fifteen men of No. 3 Commando. Their Mission is to reconnoitre and capture prisoners in the Neufchâtel-Hardelot – Merlimont area in France.

The men come ashore without a problem and spent thirty minutes ashore to recon the area. They do not encounter any Germans and leave without any prisoners and casualties.