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March 1944

Special Forces Operations in March 1944

March 3rd, 1944
Battle for Anzio
No. 9 Commando.

March 11th, 1944 – March 23rd, 1944
Long-range patrols behind enemy lines.
Commandos, Royal Marine Commandos, Royal Navy Beach Commandos
No. 5 Commando, No. 44 (RM) Commando, Royal Navy Beach Commandos, Hotel. Their mission is patrolling behind enemy lines near Alethangaw, Burma.

No. 5 Commando lands behind the Japanese lines near Alethangaw. For a couple of weeks, they carry out patrols in the Japanese rear. They capture Buthidaung and the Japanese stronghold of Razabil after which No. 5 Commando returns to the coast at Maungdaw to be followed later by No. 44 (RM) Commando. Two troops of this commando suffer heavy casualties on March 23rd, 1944, when they are ambushed in a narrow defile on their way back after being called out to help extricate an artillery battery from an exposed defile.

March 17th, 1944 – March 20th, 1944
Operation Detained
Commandos, Operational Group, Office of Strategic Services
No. 2 Commando, Yugoslavian/American Operational Group, Office of Strategic Services (OSS), Greek/American Operational Group, Office of Strategic Services (OSS), three Landing Ship Infantry, three Landing Craft Assault. Their mission is to capture or destroy enemy garrison concentrated in town of Grohote, Island of Šolta.

The assault force lands unopposed and after moving into their objective area they offer the German garrison to surrender. The Germans refuse and the assault force hits them with everything they have. After some heavy bombing by British aircraft the German garrison surrenders. By 12:30 all actions have seized and the Assault Force reembarks. Another convoy sails to the Island to evacuate every civilian that wants to leave the island. By March 20th, 1944, the operation is ended.

The Assault Force suffers two men killed and fifteen wounded, mostly to the effects of bombs from their own aircraft, and the Germans suffered six men killed, and 105 captured, most of the latter in wounded condition. The air attack cost the villagers of Grohota two persons killed and four injured.

March 19th, 1944
Unternhemen Margarethe
SS-Fallschirmjäger-Bataillon 500
It is not completely clear what the exploits of SS-Fallschirmjäger-Batallion 500 are during Unternehmen Margarethe. They are probably part of the XXII Gebirgs-Armeekorps (Hubert Lanz) that invades the country from Serbia and Slavonia.

In the early hours, while the Hungarian delegation is returning, the German troops began their invasion. The involved units are the XXII Gebirgs-Armeekorps (Hubert Lanz) from Serbia and Slavonia, the LXIX Armeekorps (Ernst Dehner) from Croatia, the LVIII Reserve-Panzerkorps (Walter Krüger) from the Vienna area, and the LXXVIII Armeekorps z. b. V. from the Krakow area. Hermann Foertsch, Chief of Staff of von Weichs, coordinated the action from Vienna.

The action is a complete surprise, proceeding swiftly with sporadic and limited resistance. Localised clashes with the advancing German forces occur, such as at the Danube bridge of Újvidek by the 16. Grenzjäger-Bataillon, resulting in the death of 26 German and one Hungarian soldier. Additional resistance was reported from Sopron, Győr, Székesfehérvár, and Ferihegy Airport. Approximately 50 German and 10 Hungarian soldiers were killed in the battles. Some German memoirs note being greeted with flowers. The operational orders included the disarming of the Hungarian army. Certain German units executed this order as they couldn’t be informed of the new situation in time. The Chief of the Hungarian Armed Forces, Ferenc Szombathelyi, who had been at Klessheim, instructed from the train to greet the Germans as allies. Horthy’s special train deliberately stopped several times on the return trip, so he was welcomed by a German honour formation upon his arrival in Budapest.

March 22nd, 1944 – March 26th, 1944
Operation Ginny II
Operational Groups, Office of Strategic Services
Fifteen men from the Italian/United States Operational Group, Office of Strategic Services (OSS), U.S. Navy torpedo boats PT 214 and PT 210, Dinghy. Their mission is the purpose of the mission is to destroy a railroad tunnel on the Genoa-Pisa line, in Framura, Italy.

The men land unopposed but due to circumstances the recovery ships are unable to recover them as they are unable to reach their target. The men are discovered and arrested. A few days later they are executed under the Kommando Befehl of Adolf Hitler.

March 23rd, 1944 – April 11th, 1944
long-range patrols
Commandos, Royal Marine Commandos
No. 5 Commando, No. 44 (RM) Commando. Their mission is to perform long-range patrols in the Maungdaw area, Burma.

The Commandos are pulled back to the Maungdaw area. For almost three weeks the Commandos carry out a number of long-range patrols on key terrain in the Maungdaw area.

March 19th, 1944
Operation X
No. 9 Commando. Their mission is to clear three Wadis about a kilometre from the perimeter of the beachhead which the Germans are using as a forming up point for counter attacks.

Lieutenant Colonel Tod reforms No. 9 Commando into three squadrons for the operation. Due to their heavy casualties during the recent operations around Monte Ornito, the strength of No. 9 Commando is reduced to fourteen officers and just 255 Other Ranks. He then looks at the operational area. The wadis are U shaped with a small hill in the centre and some further high ground below the base of the U. Therefor Tod divides the operation into three phases codenamed Haydon, Charles, and Laycock. The first phase, Haydon, starts under cover of the darkness against the left side of the U.  The second phase, Charles, is to attack at first light and clear the enemy off the base of the U. The third phase, Laycock, is to clear the enemy off the right side of the U.

When the operation starts the battle that evolves is brutal. Consisting of a lot of fighting at close quarter and attacks and counter attacks from both sides. No.9 Commando succeeds in taking the objective but is denied the immediate reinforcements and supplies they need. Eventually they are ordered by Brigade Headquarters to withdraw to the positions they had started from. No. 9 Commando suffers seventy-three casualties, killed wounded or missing, during the action.