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September 1943

Page Created
September 28th, 2022
Last Updated
January 31st, 2024
Special Forces Operations in September 1943

September 1st, 1943 – September 2nd, 1943
Operation Forfar (Item III)
Commandos, No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando
Eight men from No. 12 Commando, No. 3 (X) troop, No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando under command of Captain 0. B. Rooney also known as Rooney Force. Their Mission was capturing German prisoners and examinate a German searchlight emplacement in the Saint Valery en Caux area in Normandy, France.

This is the only Forfar operation where the raiding party inserts by parachute. The team manages to reach the searchlight emplacement, cause some damage and retreats by ship.

September 1st, 1943 – September 2nd, 1943
Operation Forfar Pound.
Party from No. 12 Commando. Not much is known about this mission. It took place on the French Channel Island of Ushant.

Two German sentries are killed of which one is “set on fire”, but that no prisoner was taken. According to the Force Commander’s report.

September 1st, 1943 – September 4th, 1943
Operation Forfar Beer IV
Commandos, No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando
Ten men of No. 12 Commando and No. 1 French troop, No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando known as Fynn Force commanded by Major Fynn. Their mission is a beach reconnaissance and capture a German Prisoner for interrogation at Eletot in the Seine-Maritime region of northern France.

Despite several attempts to make contact with the Germans, the raiding team is unable to capture a German prisoner. They succeed in reconnoitre the beach and receive some valuable information from French fishermen. The team returns home safely.

September 8th, 1943
Operational Group A
5th Army Detachment

September 8th, 1943 – September 9th, 1943
Operation Ferdy
No. 40 (RM) Commando and two troops of No. 3 Commando. Their mission is to interfere with enemy withdrawal, prevent demolition of roads and bridges and thus aid the advance of the British 8th Army.

The Assault Force performs an amphibious landing at dawn at Vibo Valentia, known at the time as Porto San Venere, on the southern tip of Italy. After a first day of heavy fighting, the following day X troop of No. 40 (RM) Commando enters the neighbouring town of Pizzo.

September 9th, 1943
Operation Avalanche
Commandos, Royal Naval Beach Commandos, U.S. Army Rangers
No. 2 Commando, No. 41 (RM) Commando, Royal Naval Beach Commandos, 2nd U.S. Army Ranger Battalion, 3rd U.S. Army Ranger Battalion 4th U.S. Army Ranger Battalion. The Allied invasion of Italy.

September 12th, 1943 – September 13th, 1943
Unternehmen Eiche
Fallschirmjäger, SS Sonderverband z.b.V. Friedenthal
Staff comapny and two companies of the Fallschirmjäger-Lehr-Regiment and 16 men from the SS Sonderverband z.b.V. Friedenthal, two war correspondents and an Italian General. The mission is under command of Major Mors. Their mission is to Liberate the captured former Prime Minister of Italy, Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini who is being held at a hotel at Gran Sasso mountain, Italy.

In July 1943, Benito Mussolini, the former leader of Italy, is arrested by Partisans after being removed from power by King Vittorio Emanuele III. The new Italian government under Pietro Badoglio seeks to terminate the alliance with Nazi Germany and make peace with the Allies. Hitler orders a rescue mission to save Mussolini, led by General Kurt Student. Otto Skorzeny’s troops are placed under his command in assistance of the Fallschirmjäger General.

After Mussolini is moved to various locations, Skorzeny and his team, along with other German troops, search for him in Rome. They eventually discover that Mussolini is being held captive at the Hotel Gran Sasso on a mountain. General Student confirms the location and assigns Major Otto-Harald Mors to plan the rescue operation.

On September 12th, 1943, Operation Eiche (Oak) is launched. Gliders carrying German Fallschirmjäger and Skorzeny’s men land near the hotel under command of Oberleutnant Freiherr Von Berlepsch. The ground assault column, led by Major Mors, takes a longer route to avoid potential resistance. Mussolini is successfully rescued and brought to safety.

There are discrepancies in the accounts given by Skorzeny and his adjutant Radl, who exaggerate their own roles and downplay the contributions of others. The rescue operation becomes a significant event in World War II and highlights Skorzeny’s reputation as a daring and resourceful commando.

September 13th, 1943 – October 6th, 1943
Operation Bathtub II
Operational Group A
General Donovan, present in Algiers, assigns Lieutenant Colonel Serge Obolensky to lead this mission. The primary objectives are to make contact with General Basso of the Italian Army in Sardinia, encourage him to confront evacuating German forces, and seek approval for deploying Operational Group units in the area.

Upon their arrival by parachute, Obolensky and his team, including First Lieutenant Michael Formichelli and radio operators Lieutenant James Russell and Sergeant William Sherwood, set out to execute their plan. They successfully make contact with the Italian Air Force at Decimomannu Airport and are escorted to General Basso’s headquarters. Despite presenting their case, General Basso is reluctant to involve American special units in the operation.

Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. later arrives to support the mission, bringing additional Operational Group officers to aid in diplomatic efforts and information gathering. Under Roosevelt’s guidance and with Obolensky as his Executive Officer, they conduct extensive surveys of Sardinian military and civilian infrastructure. Their findings lead to the deployment of various Allied support missions on the island.

By October 6th, 1943, leadership of the Allied Forces in Sardinia transitions to Brigadier Boulnois. Following this, General Roosevelt and Colonel Obolensky, along with their team, return to Algiers, concluding this phase of the mission.

September 21st, 1943 – February 1944
Operation Goshawk
Norwegian Independent Company 1, Special Operations Executive
Two-man party (J. Gunleiksrud and O. Dobloug) of the Norwegian Independent Company 1 (Kompani Linge) as part of a Special Operations Executive operation. Their mission is to provide further instruction for the Assumed Milorg resistance groups in the Gudbrandsdalen and Østerdalen area. They also must obtain fresh information on these groups in German-occupied Norway, and to make arrangements for the assassinations during Operation Ratweek I in November 1943.

The team is parachuted into Norway and carries out extensive training with local groups over the following weeks. Although they prepare for Operation Ratweek II, no assassinations are undertaken. In February 1944, the two men cross the border into neutral Sweden.

September 21st, 1943 – Spring 1944
Operation Redwing
Norwegian Independent Company 1, Special Operations Executive
Two-man party (L. Pettersen and G. Wiig-Andersen) of the Norwegian Independent Company 1 (Kompani Linge) as part of an operation by the Special Operations Executive. Their mission is to form a small group in the Voss-Bergen area of German-occupied Norway to work either as saboteurs or for the assistance of other teams from Great Britain without endangering other groups in the area, and to undertake assassinations in November as part of Operation Ratweek.

The Team is parachuted into Norway on September 21st, 1943. They make contact with local leaders and establish a radio link with Great Britain. The two men also meet the Norwegian military (Milorg) resistance movement’s district leader for Bergen and establish a relationship. No assassinations are undertaken for the fear of reprisals. Early 1944, Pettersen moves to the Operation Pheasant area. Andersen keeps transmitting after receiving new crystals for his radio.