Operation Narcissus, 10 July 1943

Operation Narcissus, 10 July 1943

Operation Narcissus, 10 July 1943

Operation Narcissus (10 July 1943) was an SAS raid carried out to support the Eighth Army landings on Sicily.

The target of the raid was a lighthouse on the south-east coast of Sicily which was believed to be the observation post for an artillery battery. The guns were in a position that might have threatened the British landings, so a party from the SAS was sent to investigate.

40 men from A Squadron, 2 SAS, were carried to Sicily on the Landing Ship HMS Royal Scotsman. They landed on the beach without any problems, and found that the area was actually unoccupied. They then returned to the Royal Scotsman, which went on to drop troops from the 51st Division on beach ‘Bark South’, at the southern tip of the Pachino peninsula, on either side of Portopalo Bay. The lighthouse must have been somewhere in that vicinity, although my sources don’t state exactly where.


Contents

Allies Edit

The plan for Operation Husky called for the amphibious assault of Sicily by two Allied armies, one landing on the south-eastern and one on the central southern coast. The amphibious assaults were to be supported by naval gunfire, as well as tactical bombing, interdiction and close air support by the combined air forces. As such, the operation required a complex command structure, incorporating land, naval and air forces. The overall commander was American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, as Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of all the Allied forces in North Africa. British General Sir Harold Alexander acted as his second-in-command and as the 15th Army Group commander. The American Major General Walter Bedell Smith was appointed as Eisenhower's Chief of Staff. [17] The overall Naval Force Commander was the British Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham.

The Allied land forces were from the American, British and Canadian armies, and were structured as two task forces. The Eastern Task Force (also known as Task Force 545) was led by General Sir Bernard Montgomery and consisted of the British Eighth Army (which included the 1st Canadian Infantry Division). The Western Task Force (Task Force 343) was commanded by Lieutenant General George S. Patton and consisted of the American Seventh Army. The two task force commanders reported to Alexander as commander of the 15th Army Group. [18]

The U.S. Seventh Army consisted initially of three infantry divisions, organized under II Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General Omar Bradley. The 1st and 3rd Infantry Divisions, commanded by Major Generals Terry Allen and Lucian Truscott respectively, sailed from ports in Tunisia, while the 45th Infantry Division, under Major General Troy H. Middleton, sailed from the United States via Oran in Algeria. The 2nd Armored Division, under Major General Hugh Joseph Gaffey, also sailing from Oran, was to be a floating reserve and be fed into combat as required. On 15 July, Patton reorganized his command into two corps by creating a new Provisional Corps headquarters, commanded by his deputy army commander, Major General Geoffrey Keyes. [19]

The British Eighth Army had four infantry divisions and an independent infantry brigade organized under XIII Corps, commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir Miles Dempsey, and XXX Corps, commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir Oliver Leese. The two divisions of XIII Corps, the 5th and 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Divisions, commanded by Major-Generals Horatio Berney-Ficklin and Sidney Kirkman, sailed from Suez in Egypt. The formations of XXX Corps sailed from more diverse ports: the 1st Canadian Infantry Division, under Major-General Guy Simonds, sailed from the United Kingdom, the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division, under Major-General Douglas Wimberley, from Tunisia and Malta, and the 231st Independent Infantry Brigade Group from Suez.

The 1st Canadian Infantry Division was included in Operation Husky at the insistence of the Canadian Prime Minister, William Mackenzie King, and the Canadian Military Headquarters in the United Kingdom. This request was granted by the British, displacing the veteran British 3rd Infantry Division. The change was not finalized until 27 April 1943, when Lieutenant-General Andrew McNaughton, then commanding the Canadian First Army in the United Kingdom, deemed Operation Husky to be a viable military undertaking and agreed to the detachment of both the 1st Canadian Infantry Division and the 1st Canadian Tank Brigade. The "Red Patch Division" was added to Leese's XXX Corps to become part of the British Eighth Army. [20]

In addition to the amphibious landings, airborne troops were to be flown in to support both the Western and Eastern Task Forces. To the east, the British 1st Airborne Division, commanded by Major-General George F. Hopkinson, was to seize vital bridges and high ground in support of the British Eighth Army. The initial plan dictated that the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division, commanded by Major General Matthew Ridgway, was to be held as a tactical reserve in Tunisia. [21]

Allied naval forces were also grouped into two task forces to transport and support the invading armies. The Eastern Naval Task Force was formed from the British Mediterranean Fleet and was commanded by Admiral Bertram Ramsay. The Western Naval Task Force was formed around the U.S. Eighth Fleet, commanded by Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt. The two naval task force commanders reported to Admiral Cunningham as overall Naval Forces Commander. [18] Two sloops of the Royal Indian Navy – HMIS Sutlej and HMIS Jumna – also participated. [1]

At the time of Operation Husky, the Allied air forces in North Africa and the Mediterranean were organized into the Mediterranean Air Command (MAC) under Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder. The major sub-command of MAC was the Northwest African Air Forces (NAAF) under the command of Lieutenant General Carl Spaatz with headquarters in Tunisia. NAAF consisted primarily of groups from the United States 12th Air Force, 9th Air Force, and the British Royal Air Force (RAF) that provided the primary air support for the operation. Other groups from the 9th Air Force under Lieutenant General Lewis H. Brereton operating from Tunisia and Egypt, and Air H.Q. Malta under Air Vice-Marshal Sir Keith Park operating from the island of Malta, also provided important air support.

The U.S. Army Air Force 9th Air Force's medium bombers and P-40 fighter that were detached to NAAF's Northwest African Tactical Air Force under the command of Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham moved to southern airfields on Sicily as soon they were secured. At the time, the 9th Air Force was a sub-command of RAF Middle East Command under Air Chief Marshal Sir Sholto Douglas. Middle East Command, like NAAF and Air H.Q. Malta were sub-commands of MAC under Tedder who reported to Eisenhower for NAAF operations [18] and to the British Chiefs of Staff for Air H.Q. Malta and Middle East Command operations. [22] [23]

Axis Edit

The island was defended by the two corps of the Italian 6th Army under General Alfredo Guzzoni, although specially designated Fortress Areas around the main ports (Piazze Militari Marittime), were commanded by admirals subordinate to Naval Headquarters and independent of the 6th Army. [24] In early July, the total Axis force in Sicily was about 200,000 Italian troops, 32,000 German troops and 30,000 Luftwaffe ground staff. The main German formations were the Panzer Division Hermann Göring and the 15th Panzergrenadier Division. The Panzer division had 99 tanks in two battalions but was short of infantry (with only three battalions), while the 15th Panzergrenadier Division had three grenadier regiments and a tank battalion with 60 tanks. [25] About half of the Italian troops were formed into four front-line infantry divisions and headquarters troops the remainder were support troops or inferior coastal divisions and brigades. Guzzoni's defence plan was for the coastal formations to form a screen to receive the invasion and allow time for the field divisions further back to intervene. [26]

By late July, the German units had been reinforced, principally by elements of the 1st Parachute Division, 29th Panzergrenadier Division and the XIV Panzer Corps headquarters (General der Panzertruppe Hans-Valentin Hube), bringing the number of German troops to around 70,000. [27] Until the arrival of the corps headquarters, the two German divisions were nominally under Italian tactical control. The panzer division, with a reinforced infantry regiment from the panzergrenadier division to compensate for its lack of infantry, was under XVI Corps and the rest of the panzergrenadier division under the Italian XII Corps. [28] The German commanders in Sicily were contemptuous of their allies and German units took their orders from the German liaison officer attached to the 6th Army HQ, Generalleutnant Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin who was subordinate to Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring, the German C-in-C Army Command South (OB Süd). Von Senger had arrived in Sicily in late June as part of a German plan to gain greater operational control of its units. [29] Guzzoni agreed from 16 July to delegate to Hube control of all sectors where there were German units involved, and from 2 August, he commanded the Sicilian front. [30]

Planning Edit

At the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, with the end of the North African Campaign in sight, the political leaders and the military Chiefs of Staff of the United States and Britain met to discuss future strategy. The British Chiefs of Staff were in favour of an invasion of Sicily or Sardinia, arguing that it would force Germany to disperse its forces and might knock Italy out of the war and move Turkey to join the Allies. [31] At first, the Americans opposed the plan as opportunistic and irrelevant, but were persuaded to agree to a Sicilian invasion on the grounds of the great savings to Allied shipping that would result from the opening of the Mediterranean by the removal of Axis air and naval forces from the island. [31] The Combined Chiefs of Staff appointed General Eisenhower as C-in-C of the Allied Expeditionary Force, General Alexander as Deputy C-in-C with responsibility for detailed planning and execution of the operation, Admiral Cunningham as Naval Commander, and Air Chief Marshal Tedder as Air Commander. [32]

The outline plan given to Eisenhower by the Chiefs of Staff involved dispersed landings by brigade and division-sized formations in the south-east, south and north-west areas of the island. The logic behind the plan was that it would result in the rapid capture of key Axis airfields that posed a threat to the beachheads and the invasion fleet lying off them. It would also see the rapid capture of all the main ports on the island, except for Messina, including Catania, Palermo, Syracuse, Licata and Augusta. This would facilitate a rapid Allied build-up, as well as denying their use to the Axis. [33] High-level planning for the operation lacked direction because the three mainland commanders, Alexander, Montgomery and Patton, were fully occupied in operations in Tunisia. Effort was wasted in presenting plans that Montgomery, in particular, disliked because of the dispersion of forces involved. He was finally able to articulate his objections and put forward alternative proposals on 24 April. [34] Tedder and Cunningham opposed Montgomery's plan because it would leave 13 landing grounds in Axis hands, posing a considerable threat to the Allied invasion fleet. [35]

Eisenhower called a meeting for 2 May with Montgomery, Cunningham and Tedder, in which Montgomery made new proposals to concentrate the Allied effort on the southeast corner of Sicily, discarding the intended landings close to Palermo and using the south-eastern ports. [35] After Alexander joined the meeting on 3 May, Montgomery's proposals were finally accepted on the basis that it was better to take an administrative risk (having to support troops by landing supplies across beaches) than an operational one (dispersion of effort). [36] [37] Not for the last time, Montgomery had argued a sound course of action, yet done so in a conceited manner, which suggested to others, particularly his American allies, that he was preoccupied with his own interests. [38] In the event, maintaining the armies by landing supplies across the beaches proved easier than expected, partly because of the successful introduction of large numbers of the new amphibious DUKW vehicle. [39] Alexander was later to write "It is not too much to say that the DUKW revolutionised the problem of beach maintenance." [36]

On 17 May, Alexander issued his Operation Instruction No. 1 setting out his broad plan and defining the tasks of the two armies. [36] Broadly speaking, he intended to establish his armies along a line from Catania to Licata preparatory to a final operation to reduce the island. He later wrote that at that stage it was not practicable to plan further ahead but that his intentions were clear in his own mind what the next step would be: he would drive north ultimately to Santo Stefano on the northern coast to split the island in two and cut his enemy's east-west communications. [40] The Seventh Army was assigned to land in the Gulf of Gela, in south-central Sicily, with the 3rd Infantry Division and 2nd Armored Division to the west at Licata Mollarella beach, 1st Division in the center at Gela, and 45th Division to the east at Scoglitti. The 82nd Airborne Division was assigned to drop behind the defences at Gela and Scoglitti. The Seventh Army's beach-front stretched over 50 kilometers (31 mi). The British Eighth Army was assigned to land in south-eastern Sicily. XXX Corps would land on either side of Cape Passero, while XIII Corps would land in the Gulf of Noto, around Avola, off to the north. The Eighth Army's beach front also stretched 40 kilometers (25 mi), and there was a gap of some 40 kilometers (25 mi) between the two armies.

Preparatory operations Edit

Once the Axis forces had been defeated in Tunisia, the Allied strategic bomber force commenced attacks on the principal airfields of Sardinia, Sicily and southern Italy, industrial targets in southern Italy and the ports of Naples, Messina, Palermo and Cagliari (in Sardinia). The attacks were spread to maintain uncertainty as to the next Allied move, and to pin down Axis aircraft and keep them away from Sicily. Bombing of northern Italy (by aircraft based in the UK) and Greece (by aircraft based in the Middle East) was increased. [41] From 3 July, bombing concentrated on Sicilian airfields and Axis communications with Italy, although beach defences were left alone, to preserve surprise as to where the landings would occur. [42] By 10 July, only two airfields in Sicily remained fully operational and over half the Axis aircraft had been forced to leave the island. [43] Between mid-May and the invasion, Allied airmen flew 42,227 sorties and destroyed 323 German and 105 Italian aircraft, for the loss of 250 aircraft, mostly to anti-aircraft fire over Sicily. [44]

Operations began in May against the small island of Pantelleria, some 70 miles (110 km) south-west of Sicily and 150 miles (240 km) north-west of Malta, to prevent the airfield there being used in support of Axis troops attempting to withdraw from North Africa. On 13 and 31 May the cruiser HMS Orion bombarded the island and from 6 June, Allied attacks increased. [45] On 11 June, after a naval bombardment and seaborne landing by the British 1st Infantry Division (Operation Corkscrew) the island garrison surrendered. The Pelagie Islands of Lampedusa and Linosa, some 90 miles (140 km) west of Malta, followed in short order on 12 June. [43]

Headquarters Edit

The Allies used a network of tunnels and chambers located below the Lascaris Battery in Valletta, Malta (the "Lascaris War Rooms"), for the advance headquarters of the invasion of Sicily. [46] In July 1943, General Eisenhower, Admiral Cunningham, General Montgomery, and Air Marshal Tedder occupied the war rooms. Earlier, the war rooms had served as the British headquarters for the defence of Malta. [47]

Deception Edit

To distract the Axis, and if possible divert some of their forces to other areas, the Allies engaged in several deception operations. The most famous and successful of these was Operation Mincemeat, conceived by Naval intelligence officer Ewen Montagu and RAF Squadron Leader Charles Cholmondeley. [48] The British allowed a corpse, disguised as a British Royal Marines officer, to drift ashore in Spain carrying a briefcase containing fake secret documents. The documents purported to reveal that the Allies were planning "Operation Brimstone" and that an "Operation Husky" was an invasion of Greece. German intelligence accepted the authenticity of the documents and the Germans diverted much of their defensive effort from Sicily to Greece until the occupation of Pantelleria on 11 June, which concentrated German and Italian attention on the western Mediterranean. [48] Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel was sent to Greece to assume command. The Germans transferred a group of "R boats" (German minesweepers and minelayers) from Sicily and laid three additional minefields off the Greek coast. They also moved three panzer divisions to Greece, one from France and two from the Eastern Front which reduced German combat strength in the Kursk salient. [49]

Allied landings Edit

Airborne landings Edit

Two American and two British attacks by airborne troops were carried out just after midnight on the night of 9–10 July, as part of the invasion. The American paratroopers consisted largely of Colonel James M. Gavin's 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (expanded into the 505th Parachute Regimental Combat Team with the addition of the 3rd Battalion of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, along with the 456th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, Company 'B' of the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion and other supporting units) of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division, making their first combat drop. The British landings were preceded by pathfinders of the 21st Independent Parachute Company, who were to mark landing zones for the troops who were intending to seize the Ponte Grande, the bridge over the River Anape just south of Syracuse, and hold it until the British 5th Infantry Division arrived from the beaches at Cassibile, some 7 miles (11 km) to the south. [50] Glider infantry from the British 1st Airborne Division's 1st Airlanding Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Philip Hicks, were to seize landing zones inland. [51] Strong winds of up to 45 miles per hour (72 km/h) [52] blew the troop-carrying aircraft off course and the American force was scattered widely over south-east Sicily between Gela and Syracuse. By 14 July, about two-thirds of the 505th had managed to concentrate, and half the U.S. paratroopers failed to reach their rallying points. [53]

The British air-landing troops fared little better, with only 12 of the 147 gliders landing on target and 69 crashing into the sea, with over 200 men drowning. [54] Among those who landed in the sea were Major General George F. Hopkinson, commander of the British 1st Airborne Division, who, after several hours spent clutching a piece of wreckage, was eventually rescued by the landing ship HMS Keren. The scattered airborne troops attacked patrols and created confusion wherever possible. A platoon of the 2nd Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment, under Lieutenant Louis Withers, part of the British 1st Airlanding Brigade, landed on target, captured Ponte Grande and repulsed counterattacks. Additional paratroops rallied to the sound of shooting and by 08:30 89 men were holding the bridge. [55] By 11:30, a battalion of the Italian 75th Infantry Regiment (Colonel Francesco Ronco) from the 54 Infantry Division Napoli arrived with some artillery. [56] The British force held out until about 15:30 hours, when, low on ammunition and by now reduced to 18 men, they were forced to surrender, 45 minutes before the leading elements of the British 5th Division arrived from the south. [56] [57] Despite these mishaps, the widespread landing of airborne troops, both American and British, had a positive effect as small isolated units, acting on their initiative, attacked vital points and created confusion. [58]

Seaborne landings Edit

The strong wind also made matters difficult for the amphibious landings but also ensured surprise as many of the defenders had assumed that no one would attempt a landing in such poor conditions. [58] Landings were made in the early hours of 10 July on 26 main beaches spread along 105 miles (169 km) of the southern and eastern coasts of the island between the town of Licata [59] where the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division, under the command of Major General Lucian Truscott, landed at Torre di Gaffe, red beach, and Mollarella and Poliscia, green beaches in the west, and Cassibile in the east, [60] with British and Canadian forces in the east and Americans toward the west. This constituted the largest amphibious operation of World War II in terms of size of the landing zone and the number of divisions put ashore on the first day. [61] The Italian defensive plan did not contemplate a pitched battle on the beaches and so the landings themselves were somewhat anti-climactic. [62]

More trouble was experienced from the difficult weather conditions (especially on the southern beaches) and unexpected hidden offshore sandbars than from the coastal divisions. Some troops landed in the wrong place, in the wrong order and as much as six hours behind schedule, [63] but the weakness of the defensive response allowed the Allied force to make up lost time. [58] Nevertheless, several Italian coastal units fought well the 429th Coastal Battalion (under Major Marco Rubellino [64] ), tasked with defending Gela, lost 45 percent of its men, while the attacking U.S. Army Ranger Battalion lost several men to mines and machine-gun and cannon fire. [65] Gruppo Tattico Carmito (under Lieutenant-Colonel Francesco Tropea), tasked with defending Malati Bridge, defeated a Royal Marines Commando Battalion on 13 July with the help of the local middle-age reservists. Lieutenant-Colonel Tropea's 4th Self-Propelled Artillery Battalion attacked the Commandos with the help of the 372nd Coastal Defence Battalion, Italian 53rd Motorcycle Company, and three Panzer IV medium tanks. [66] [67] The 246th Coastal Battalion defeated British attempts to capture Augusta on the night of 11–12 July. [68]

In Major General Terry Allen's U.S. 1st Infantry Division sector at Gela, there was an Italian division-sized counterattack where the dispersed 505th Parachute Regimental Combat Team was supposed to have been. Tiger tanks of the Hermann Göring Panzer Division, which had been due to advance with the 4 Infantry Division Livorno, were late. [69]

On highways 115 and 117 during 10 July, Italian tanks of the "Niscemi" Armoured Combat Group and "Livorno" infantry nearly reached the Allied position at Gela, but gunfire from the destroyer USS Shubrick and the light cruiser USS Boise destroyed several tanks and dispersed the attacking infantry battalion. [70] The 3rd Battalion, 34th Regiment, "Livorno" Infantry Division, composed mainly of conscripts, made a daylight attack on the Gela beachhead two days later, with infantry and armor of the Hermann Göring Panzer Division, but was repulsed. [71]

By the morning of 10 July, the Joint Task Force Operations Support System Force captured the port of Licata, at the cost of nearly 100 killed and wounded in the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division, and the division beat back a counter-attack from the 538th Coastal Defence Battalion. By 11:30, Licata was firmly in American hands and the U.S. 3rd Division had lost fewer than one hundred men. Salvage parties had already partially cleared the harbor, and shortly after noon Truscott and his staff came ashore and set up headquarters at Palazzo La Lumia. About that time, the 538th Coastal Defense Battalion, which had been deployed as a tactical reserve, launched a counter-attack. By the evening of 10 July, the seven Allied assault divisions—three American, three British and one Canadian—were well established ashore, the port of Syracuse had been captured, and fears of an Axis air onslaught had proved unfounded. [72]

The preparatory bombing of the previous weeks had greatly weakened the Axis air capability and the heavy Allied presence of aircraft operating from Malta, Gozo, and Pantelleria kept most of the Axis attempts at air attack at bay. Some attacks on the first day of the invasion got through, and German aircraft sank the landing ship LST-313 and minesweeper USS Sentinel. Italian Stukas sank the destroyer USS Maddox [73] [74] and the Indian hospital ship Talamba, and in the following days Axis aircraft damaged or sank several more warships, transport vessels and landing craft starting with the Allied troopship USS Barnett hit and damaged by an Italian bomber formation on the morning of 11 July. [75] [76] Italian Stukas (named Picchiatello in Italian service) and Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 torpedo-bombers coordinated their attacks with German Stuka and Ju 88 bomber units. As part of the seaborne landings south at Agnone, some 400 men of Lieutenant Colonel John Durnford-Slater's No. 3 Commando captured Malati Bridge on 13 July, only to lose possession of it when the 4th Self-Propelled Artillery Battalion and the Italian 53rd Motorcycle Company counter-attacked. [77] [78] The Commandos lost 28 killed, 66 wounded and 59 captured or missing. [79]

Exploitation Edit

General Alexander's plan was to first establish his forces on a line between Licata in the west and Catania in the east before embarking on operations to reduce the rest of the island. Key to this was capturing ports to facilitate the buildup of his forces and the capture of airfields. The task of General Montgomery's British Eighth Army was, therefore, to capture the Pachino airfield on Cape Passero and the port of Syracuse before moving northwards to take the ports of Augusta and Catania. Their objectives also included the landing fields around Gerbini, on the Catania plain. The objectives of Lieutenant General Patton's U.S. Seventh Army included capturing the port of Licata and the airfields of Ponte Olivo, Biscari and Comiso. It was then to prevent the enemy reserves from moving eastward against the Eighth Army's left flank. [80]

According to Axis plans, Kampfgruppe Schmalz (Colonel Wilhelm Schmalz), in conjunction with the 54th Infantry Division Napoli (Major-General Giulio Cesare Gotti-Porcinari), was to counter-attack an Allied landing on the Augusta–Syracuse coast. On 10 July, Colonel Schmalz had been unable to contact the Italian division and had proceeded alone towards Syracuse. Unknown to Schmalz, a battalion of 18 Renault R35 tanks (commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Massimo D'Andretta) and supporting infantry from the Napoli Division, [81] broke through the forward positions held by the 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment, part of the 13th Brigade of Major-General Horatio Berney-Ficklin's British 5th Division, and were stopped only by anti-tank and artillery fire in the Priolo and Floridia suburbs of Syracuse. [82] [83]

On the night of 11–12 July, the Royal Navy attempted to capture Augusta but the 246th Coastal Battalion repelled the British landing force that was supported by three destroyers. On 12 July, several Italian units took up rearguard positions and covered the withdrawal of Kampfgruppe Schmalz and the Hermann Göring Division. The American advance toward Canicattì was temporarily held up by Semovente da 90/53 tank destroyers, 526th Bersaglieri Battalion and 177th Bersaglieri Regiment from Gruppo Tattico Venturi (under General Enrico Francisci, killed in action and posthumously awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valour), [84] as Kampfgruppe Schmalz retreated toward Catania. The 246th Coastal Battalion retreated to strong points at Cozzo Telegrafo and Acquedolci. The 76th Infantry Regiment of the Napoli Division covered the left flank of Kampfgruppe Schmalz which withdrew toward Lentini and then retired to Palermo. The Hermann Göring Division eventually pulled back from the Piano Lupo area toward Caltagirone and the Livorno Division withdrew its right flank toward Piazza Armerina, to cover the Hermann Göring Division. [85]

Early on 13 July, elements of the British 5th Division on Eighth Army's right flank, which had been delayed by Kampfgruppe Schmalz, entered Augusta. [86] On their left, Major-General Sidney Kirkman's British 50th Division had pushed up Route 114 toward Lentini, 15 miles (24 km) north-west of Augusta and met increasing resistance from the "Napoli" Division. [87] The commander of the Italian division and his staff were captured by Brigadier John Currie's British 4th Armoured Brigade on 13 July and it was not until 18:45 on 14 July that the town was cleared of obstructions and snipers and the advance resumed. [88] [89] A battalion of the Napoli Division managed to break through the British lines and took up new positions at Augusta but the British advance forced it to retire again on 14 July. [90]

Further left, in the XXX Corps sector, Major-General Douglas Wimberley's 51st (Highland) Division had moved directly north to take Palazzolo and Vizzini 30 miles (48 km) west of Syracuse, while the Canadians secured Pachino airfield and headed north-west to make contact with the American right wing at Ragusa after having driven off the Italian 122 Infantry Regiment north of Pachino. The Canadians captured more than 500 Italians. [91] In the Canadian area, the 2nd Special Service Brigade, under Brigadier Robert Laycock, was counter-attacked by the 206th Coastal Division (under General Achille D'Havet) [92] who launched a strong counter-attack that threatened to penetrate the area between the Canadians and the Royal Marine Commandos before being repulsed. [93]

In the American sector, by the morning of 10 July, the port of Licata had been captured. On 11 July, Patton ordered his reserve parachute troops from the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (minus the 3rd Battalion already deployed in Sicily, attached to the 505th) under Colonel Reuben Tucker, part of Major General Matthew Ridgway's 82nd Airborne Division, to drop and reinforce the center. In addition, going along with the 504th would be the 376th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, Company 'C' of the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion and other supporting units. Warning orders had been issued to the fleet and troops on 6, 7, 10 and 11 July concerning the planned route and timing of the drop, so that the aircraft would not be fired on by friendly forces. [94] They were intended to drop east of Ponte Olivo, about 5 miles (8.0 km) inland from Gela, to block routes to the 1st Infantry Division's bridgehead at Gela. [50]

The 144 Douglas C-47 transports arrived at the same time as an Axis air raid the first echelon of troop carrying planes dropped their loads without interference, when an Allied naval vessel fired on the formation. Immediately, all the other naval vessels and shore troops joined in, shooting down friendly aircraft and forcing paratroopers to jump far from their drop zones. The 52nd Troop Carrier Wing lost 23 of 144 С-47s to friendly fire there were 318 casualties with 83 dead. [95] Thirty-seven aircraft were damaged, while eight returned to base without dropping their parachutists. The paratroopers suffered 229 casualties to "friendly fire", including 81 dead. [94] [96] Among the casualties was Brigadier General Charles L. Keerans, Jr., the 82nd Airborne's assistant division commander (ADC), who was along with the 504th as an unofficial observer. The 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, part of the 82nd Airborne Division and commanded by Colonel Harry L. Lewis, was then waiting in North Africa and scheduled to land in Sicily by glider that night, together with the rest of the division staff. After what happened to the 504th, Ridgway canceled the operation.

Despite this, the American beach landings went well and a substantial amount of supplies and transport was landed. Despite the failure of the airborne operation, the 1st Infantry Division took Ponte Olivo on 12 July and continued north, while Major General Troy H. Middleton's 45th Infantry Division on the right had taken the airfield at Comiso and entered Ragusa to link-up with the Canadians. On the left, Major General Truscott's 3rd Infantry Division, having landed at Licata, pushed troops 25 miles (40 km) up the coast almost to Argento and 20 miles (32 km) inland to Canicatti. [97]

Once the beachheads were secure, Alexander planned to split the island in half by thrusting north through the Caltanissetta and Enna region, to deny the defenders the central east-west lateral road. A further push north to Nicosia would cut the next lateral route and a final advance to Santo Stefano on the north coast would cut the coastal route. In new orders issued on 13 July, he gave this task to Montgomery's Eighth Army, perhaps based on a somewhat over-optimistic situation report by Montgomery late on 12 July, while the Seventh Army were to continue their holding role on the left flank of the Eighth Army, despite what appeared to be an opportunity for them to make a bold offensive move. [100] [101] On 12 July, Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring had visited Sicily and formed the opinion that German troops were fighting virtually on their own. As a consequence, he concluded that the German formations needed to be reinforced, and that western Sicily should be abandoned in order to shorten the front line. The priority was first to slow and then halt the Allied advance, while a Hauptkampflinie was formed running from San Stefano on the northern coast, through Nicosia and Agira to Cantenanuova and from there to the eastern coast south of Catania. [102]

While XIII Corps, under Lieutenant General Miles Dempsey, continued to push along the Catania road, XXX Corps, under Lieutenant General Oliver Leese, were directed north along two routes the first was an inland route through Vizzini, and the second following Route 124, which cut across the U.S. 45th Infantry Division, which had to return to the coast at Gela for redeployment behind the U.S. 1st Infantry Division. Progress was slow as Kampfgruppe Schmalz skilfully delayed the British 5th Infantry Division, allowing time for two regiments from the German 1st Parachute Division flying to Catania to deploy. [103] On 12 July, the British 1st Parachute Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Gerald Lathbury, had been dropped in Operation Fustian, an attempt to capture the Primosole Bridge over the river Simeto, on the southern edge of the Catania plain. The British paratroopers suffered heavy casualties, but managed to hold the bridge against fierce German attacks. The initial counterattacks were Italian in the form of reinforcements from the 10th Arditi Paratroop Regiment (Major Vito Marciano), [67] gunners from the 29th Artillery Group fighting in the infantry role [104] and an armoured car squadron that nearly overran the headquarters of 9th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry at nightfall in the first day of the battle for Primosole Bridge. [105] The British 5th Division was delayed by strong opposition, but made contact early on 15 July nevertheless, it was not until 17 July that a shallow bridgehead north of the river was consolidated. [100]

On 16 July, the surviving Italian aircraft withdrew to the mainland. About 160 Italian planes had been lost in the first week of the invasion, 57 lost to Allied fighters and anti-aircraft fire on 10–12 July alone. [106] That day, an Italian bomber torpedoed the aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable, and the Italian submarine Dandolo torpedoed the cruiser HMS Cleopatra. [107] Both ships were put out of action for over a year.

On the night of 17 July, the Italian light cruiser Scipione Africano, equipped with EC.3 Gufo radar, detected and engaged four British Elco motor torpedo boats lurking 5 miles (8 km) away, while passing the Strait of Messina at high speed. [108] MTB 316 was sunk and MTB 313 damaged between Reggio di Calabria and Pellaro–twelve British sailors were killed. [109] [110] [111]

On the night of 17–18 July, Montgomery renewed his attack toward Catania, with two brigades of Major General Kirkman's 50th Division. They met strong opposition and by 19 July Montgomery decided to call off the attack and instead increase the pressure on his left. The 5th Division attacked on the 50th Division's left but with no greater success, and on 20 July, the 51st Division, further west, crossed the river Dittaino at Sferro and made for the Gerbini airfields. They too were driven back by counter-attacks on 21 July. [112] On the left flank, the 1st Canadian Division continued to advance but it was becoming clear that, as German units settled into their new positions in north eastern Sicily, the army would not have sufficient strength to carry the whole front and the Canadians were ordered to continue north to Leonforte and then turn eastward to Adrano on the south-western slopes of Mount Etna, instead of an encirclement of Mount Etna using Route 120 to Randazzo. Montgomery called forward his reserve division from North Africa, Major-General Vyvyan Evelegh's British 78th Infantry Division. [112]

Patton had reorganised his forces into two corps. The Provisional Corps, commanded by Major General Geoffrey Keyes, consisting of the 2nd Armored, 3rd Infantry, and 82nd Airborne Divisions, was on the left. Lieutenant General Omar Bradley's U.S. II Corps was on the right. By 17 July, Provisional Corps had captured Porto Empedocle and Agrigento. On 18 July, II Corps took Caltanissetta, just short of Route 121, the main east–west lateral through the center of Sicily. The American advance toward Agrigento was temporarily held up by the 207th Coastal Defence Division (under Colonel Augusto De Laurentis) that was at Sant'Oliva Station, six miles inland from Licata. [113] The 10th Bersaglieri Regiment (under Colonel Fabrizio Storti) forced Colonel William O. Darby's 1st and 3rd Ranger Battalions of the 3rd Infantry Division to fight their way into Agrigento. [114] By late afternoon on 16 July, the city was in American hands. [115]

The 15th Panzer Grenadier Division managed to join the other German formations in the east of the island. Patton was ordered on 18 July to push troops north through Petralia on Route 120, the next east–west lateral, and then to cut the northern coast road. After that, he would mop up the west of the island. Bradley's II Corps were given the task of making the northward move, while the Provisional Corps was tasked with the mopping up operation. Alexander issued further orders to Patton to develop an eastward threat along the coast road once he had cut it. He was also directed to capture Palermo as quickly as possible as the main supply base for further eastward commitment north of Mount Etna. [112] On 21 July, the Seventh Army's Provisional Corps overran the Italian battlegroup Raggruppamento Schreiber (under General Ottorino Schreiber), covering the withdrawal of the 15th Panzer Panzergrenadier Division, [116] but Patton lost 300 men killed and wounded in the process. [117] [118] On 22 July, the Provisional Corps entered Palermo, and the next day the 45th Division cut the north coast road. [119]

Battles for Etna positions Edit

During the last week in July, General Montgomery gathered his forces to renew the attack on 1 August. His immediate objective was Adrano, the capture of which would split the German forces on either side of Mount Etna. During the week, the Canadians and Brigadier Roy Urquhart's 231st Brigade Group continued their eastward push from Leonforte, and on 29 July had taken Agira, some 15 miles (24 km) west of Adrano. On the night of 29 July, the British 78th Division with the 3rd Canadian Brigade under command, took Catenanuova and made a bridgehead across the river Dittaino. On the night of 1 August, they resumed their attack to the northwest toward Centuripe, an isolated pinnacle of rock, which was the main southern outpost of the Adrano defences. After heavy fighting against the Hermann Göring Division and the 3rd Parachute Regiment all day on 2 August, the town was finally cleared of defenders on the morning of 3 August. The capture of Centuripe proved critical, in that the growing threat to Adrano made the position covering Catania untenable. [119]

Patton had decided that his communications could support two divisions pushing east, the 45th Division on the coast road and the 1st Division on Route 120. In order to maintain the pressure, he relieved the 45th Division with the fresher 3rd Division and called up Major General Manton Eddy's 9th Infantry Division from reserve in North Africa to relieve the 1st Division. [119] Axis forces were now settled on a second defensive line, the Etna Line, running from San Fratello on the north coast through Troina and Aderno. On 31 July, the 1st Division with elements of the arriving 9th Division attached, reached Troina and the Battle of Troina commenced. This important position was held by the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division. The remnants of the 28 Infantry Division Aosta in the form of four battalions had also been pulled back to Troina to assist in the defensive preparations and forthcoming battle. [120]

For six days, the Germans and Italians conducted a costly defence during the battle, they launched 24 counter-attacks and many small local ones. By 7 August, Colonel George Smith's U.S. 18th Infantry Regiment, of the 9th Division, had captured Mount Pellegrino, which overlooked the Troina defences, allowing accurate direction of Allied artillery. The defenders' left flank was also becoming exposed as the adjacent Hermann Göring Division was pushed back by British XXX Corps and they were ordered to withdraw that night in phases to the defensive positions of the Tortorici Line. [121] Elements of the 29th Panzergrenadier Division and 26th Assietta Infantry Division, were also proving difficult to dislodge on the coast at Santa Agata and San Fratello. Patton sent a small amphibious force behind the defences, which led to the fall of Santa Agata on 8 August after holding out for six days. [119] [122]

On 3 August, XIII Corps exploited the disorganisation caused by the threat to Adrano and resumed their advance on Catania, and by 5 August the town was in their hands. Adrano fell to the 78th Division on the night of 6 August, while on the right, the 51st (Highland) Division took Biancavilla, 2 miles (3.2 km) south-east of Adrano. [119] After the fall of Adrano, the 1st Canadian Division was withdrawn into Army Reserve. [123] On 8 August, the 78th Division moved north from Adrano took Bronte and the 9th Division, advancing from Troina, took Cesaro, valuable positions on the New Hube Line. Both divisions converged on Randazzo, on the north-west slopes of Etna. Randazzo fell on 13 August and 78th Division was taken into reserve. [119] As the Allied advance continued, the front line shortened and Montgomery decided to withdraw XIII Corps HQ and the British 5th Infantry Division, now commanded by Major General Gerard Bucknall (replacing Major General Berney-Ficklin who returned to England), on 10 August, to allow them to prepare for the landings on mainland Italy. [124] On the northern coast, the U.S. 3rd Division continued to meet strong resistance and difficulties created by extensive demolition of the road. Two more end-run amphibious attacks, and the rebuilding efforts of the engineers, kept the advance moving. [125] Although Generalfeldmarschall Kesselring had already decided to evacuate, the Axis forces continued their delaying tactics, assisted by the favorable defensive terrain of the Messina Peninsula on the night of 16 August, the leading elements of the 3rd Division entered Messina. [126]

By 27 July, the Axis commanders had realised that the outcome of the campaign would be an evacuation from Messina. [127] Kesselring reported to Hitler on 29 July that an evacuation could be accomplished in three days and initial written plans were formulated dated 1 August. [128] However, when Hube suggested on 4 August that a start should be made by transferring superfluous men and equipment, Guzzoni refused to sanction the idea without the approval of the Comando Supremo. The Germans nevertheless went ahead, transferring over 12,000 men, 4,500 vehicles and 5,000 tons of equipment from 1–10 August. [129] On 6 August, Hube suggested to Guzzoni, via von Senger, that HQ 6th Army should move to Calabria. Guzzoni rejected the idea but asked if Hube had decided to evacuate Sicily. Von Senger replied that Hube had not. [130]

The next day, Guzzoni learned of the German plan for evacuation and reported to Rome of his conviction of their intentions. On 7 August, Guzzoni reported that, without German support, any last ditch stand would only be short. On 9 August, Rome ordered that Guzzoni's authority should be extended to Calabria and that he should transfer some forces there to reinforce the area. On 10 August, Guzzoni informed Hube that he was responsible for the defence of northeast Sicily and that Italian coastal units and the Messina garrison were under his command. Guzzoni then crossed to the mainland with 6th Army HQ and 16th Corps HQ, leaving Admiral Pietro Barone and Admiral Pietro Parenti to organise the evacuation of the remains of the Livorno and Assietta divisions (and any other troops and equipment that could be saved). [131]

The German plan was thorough, with clear lines of command imposing strict discipline on the operation. Oberst Ernst-Günther Baade was the German Commandant Messina Straits, with Fortress Commander powers, including control over infantry, artillery, anti-aircraft, engineer and construction, transport and administration units as well as German naval transport headquarters. [132] On the mainland, Generalmajor Richard Heidrich, who had remained in Calabria with the 1st Parachute Division headquarters and the 1st Parachute Regiment, when the rest of the division had been sent as reinforcements to Sicily, was appointed XIV Panzer Corps Mainland Commander to receive evacuating formations, while Hube continued to control the operations on the island. [133]

Full-scale withdrawal began on 11 August and continued to 17 August. During this period, Hube ordered successive withdrawals each night of between 5 and 15 miles (8.0 and 24.1 km), keeping the following Allied units at arm's length with the use of mines, demolitions and other obstacles. [134] As the peninsula narrowed, shortening his front, he was able to withdraw units for evacuation. [135] The Allies attempted to counter this by launching brigade-sized amphibious assaults, one each by the Seventh and Eighth Armies, on 15 August. However, the speed of the Axis withdrawal was such that these operations "hit air". [136]

The German and Italian evacuation schemes proved highly successful. The Allies were not able to prevent the orderly withdrawal nor effectively interfere with transports across the Strait of Messina. The narrow straits were protected by 120 heavy and 112 light anti-aircraft guns. [137] The resulting overlapping gunfire from both sides of the strait was described by Allied pilots as worse than the Ruhr, making daylight air attacks highly hazardous and generally unsuccessful. [126] Night attacks were less hazardous and there were times when air attack was able to delay and even suspend traffic across the straits but when daylight returned, the Axis were able to clear the backlog from the previous night. [138] Nor was naval interdiction any more practicable. The straits varied from 2–6 miles (3.2–9.7 km) wide and were covered by artillery up to 24 centimeters (9.4 in) in caliber. This, combined with the hazards of a 6 knots (11 km/h 6.9 mph) current and fear that Italian warships were preparing to attack the Straits of Messina in a suicide run, made risking warships unjustifiable. [137] [139]

On 18 August, the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht recorded that 60,000 troops had been recovered and the Italian figure was about 75,000. [140] In 2004, Tomlin wrote that the Italians evacuated 62,182 men, 41 guns and 227 vehicles with the loss of only one motor raft and the train ferry Carridi, which was scuttled when Allied troops entered Messina. [141] The Germans evacuated some 52,000 troops (including 4,444 wounded), 14,105 vehicles, 47 tanks, 94 guns, 1,100 tons of ammunition, and about 20,700 tons of gear and stores. [142]

The U.S. Seventh Army lost 8,781 men (2,237 killed or missing, 5,946 wounded, and 598 captured), while the British Eighth Army suffered 11,843 casualties (2,062 killed or missing, 7,137 wounded and 2,644 captured). The U.S. Navy lost 546 killed or missing and 484 wounded and the Royal Navy lost 314 killed or missing, 411 wounded and four captured. The USAAF reported 28 killed, 88 missing and 41 wounded. [143] Canadian forces had suffered 2,310 casualties, including 562 killed, 1,664 wounded, and 84 captured. [143] [144]

In 2007, Samuel W. Mitcham and Friederich von Stauffenberg wrote that German units lost about 20,000 men who were either killed, wounded or captured and in Germany and the Second World War (2007) Messerschmidt et al. reported that the German forces lost 4,325 men killed, 4,583 missing, 5,532 captured and 13,500 wounded, a total of 27,940 casualties. [145] [143] [146] According to the Historical Branch of the Italian Army, Italian military losses were 4,678 killed, 36,072 missing, 32,500 wounded and 116,681 captured. [145] [147] [148] [149] A large part of the missing were presumed to have been killed and buried on the battlefield or in unknown locations, [145] whereas another part presumably included locally recruited soldiers who deserted and returned to their homes. In 2007, Mitcham and Von Stauffenberg estimated Italian total casualties as 147,000. [150] An earlier Canadian study of the Allied invasion estimated the total number of Italian and Germans taken prisoner in Sicily to be around 100,000. [144]

Immediately after landing in Sicily, some massacres of civilians by US troops were reported. These include the Vittoria one, where 12 Italians died (including Giuseppe Mangano, podestà of Acate, and his seventeen-year-old son Valerio, who was killed by a bayonet shot in his face), [151] in Piano Stella, Agrigento, where a group of peasants was murdered, [152] and the Canicattì massacre, in which at least eight civilians, including an eleven-year-old girl, were killed. [153] [154] [155] The latter one remained virtually unknown until Joseph S. Salemi of New York University, whose father witnessed it, publicized it. [156]

After the capture of Biscari airfield on 14 July, American soldiers from the 180th Regimental Combat Team of the 45th Division murdered 74 Italian and two German prisoners of war in two massacres at Biscari airfield on 14 July 1943. [157] [158] Sergeant Horace T. West and Captain John T. Compton were charged with a war crime West was convicted and sentenced to life in prison and stripped of his rank but was released back to active service in November 1944 as a private, and honorably discharged at the end of his service. Compton was charged with killing 40 prisoners in his charge but was acquitted and transferred to another regiment, where he died in November 1943 in the fighting in Italy. [159]

Various sources, including the Special Investigation Branch as well as evidences from Belgian reporters, said that rape and sexual harassment by British troops occurred frequently following the invasion of Sicily in 1943. [160] According to Mitcham and von Stauffenberg, the Canadian The Loyal Edmonton Regiment also murdered German prisoners of war during the Invasion of Sicily. [161]

Many crimes have remained in the memory of local communities and were confirmed by various accounts of Italian-American soldiers, but no judicial investigations has ever been conducted. [162]


Contents

The Special Air Service began life in July 1941, during the Second World War, from an unorthodox idea and plan by Lieutenant David Stirling (of the Scots Guards) who was serving with No. 8 (Guards) Commando. His idea was for small teams of parachute-trained soldiers to operate behind enemy lines to gain intelligence, destroy enemy aircraft, and attack their supply and reinforcement routes. Following a meeting with Major-General Neil Ritchie, the Deputy Chief of Staff, he was granted an appointment with the new Commander-in-Chief Middle East, General Claude Auchinleck. Auchinleck liked the plan and it was endorsed by the Army High Command. At that time, there was already a deception organisation in the Middle East area, which wished to create a phantom airborne brigade to act as a threat to enemy planning. This deception unit was named K Detachment Special Air Service Brigade, and thus Stirling's unit was designated L Detachment Special Air Service Brigade.

The force initially consisted of five officers and 60 other ranks. [2] Following extensive training at Kabrit camp, by the River Nile, L Detachment undertook its first operation, Operation Squatter. This parachute drop behind Axis lines was launched in support of Operation Crusader. During the night of 16/17 November 1941, L Detachment attacked airfields at Gazala and Timimi. Due to Axis resistance and adverse weather conditions, the mission was a disaster with 22 men killed or captured (one-third of the men). [3] Given a second opportunity L Detachment recruited men from Layforce Commando, which was in the process of disbanding. Their second mission was more successful transported by the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG), they attacked three airfields in Libya, destroying 60 aircraft without loss. [3]

In October 1941, David Stirling had asked the men to come up with ideas for insignia designs for the new unit. Bob Tait, who had accompanied Stirling on the first raid, produced the winning entry: the flaming sword of Excalibur, the legendary weapon of King Arthur. This motif would later be misinterpreted as a winged dagger. In regard to mottoes, "Strike and Destroy" was rejected as being too blunt. "Descend to Ascend" seemed inappropriate since parachuting was no longer the primary method of transport. Finally, Stirling settled on "Who Dares Wins," which seemed to strike the right balance of valour and confidence. SAS pattern parachute wings, designed by Lieutenant Jock Lewes and depicted the wings of a scarab beetle with a parachute. The wings were to be worn the right shoulder upon completion of parachute training. After three missions, they were worn on the left breast above medal ribbons. The wings, Stirling noted, "Were treated as medals in their own right." [4]

1942 Edit

Their first mission in 1942 was an attack on Bouerat. Transported by the LRDG, they caused severe damage to the harbour, petrol tanks and storage facilities. [5] This was followed up in March by a raid on Benghazi harbour with limited success although the raiding party did damage 15 aircraft at Al-Berka. [5] The June 1942 Crete airfield raids at Heraklion, Kasteli, Tympaki and Maleme significant damage was caused but of the attacking force at Heraklion only Major George Jellicoe returned. [6] In July 1942, Stirling commanded a joint SAS/LRDG patrol that carried out raids at Fuka and Mersa Matruh airfields destroying 30 aircraft. [7]

September 1942 was a busy month for the SAS. They were renamed 1st SAS Regiment and consisted of four British squadrons, one Free French Squadron, one Greek Squadron, and the Special Boat Section (SBS). [8]

Operations they took part in included Operation Agreement and the diversionary raid Operation Bigamy. Bigamy, which was led by Stirling and supported by the LRDG, was an attempt at a large-scale raid on Benghazi to destroy the harbour and storage facilities and to attack the airfields at Benina and Barce. [9] However, they were discovered after a clash at a roadblock. With the element of surprise lost, Stirling decided not to go ahead with the attack and ordered a withdrawal. [9] Agreement was a joint operation by the SAS and the LRDG who had to seize an inlet at Mersa Sciausc for the main force to land by sea. The SAS successfully evaded enemy defences assisted by German-speaking members of the Special Interrogation Group and captured Mersa Sciausc. The main landing failed, being met by heavy machine gun fire forcing the landing force and the SAS/LRDG force to surrender. [10] Operation Anglo, a raid on two airfields on the island of Rhodes, from which only two men returned. Destroying three aircraft, a fuel dump and numerous buildings, the surviving SBS men had to hide in the countryside for four days before they could reach the waiting submarine. [11] [Note 1]

1943 Edit

David Stirling, who was by that time sometimes referred to as the "Phantom Major" by the Germans, [ citation needed ] was captured in January 1943 in the Gabès area by a special anti-SAS unit set up by the Germans. [13] He spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war, escaping numerous times before being moved to the supposedly 'escape proof' Colditz Castle. [13] He was replaced as commander 1st SAS by Paddy Mayne. [14] In April 1943, the 1st SAS was reorganised into the Special Raiding Squadron under the command of Mayne and the Special Boat Squadron under the command of George Jellico. [15] The Special Boat Squadron operated in the Aegean and the Balkans for the remainder of the war and was disbanded in 1945.

The Special Raiding Squadron spearheaded the invasion of Sicily Operation Husky and played more of a commando role raiding the Italian coastline, from which they suffered heavy losses at Termoli. [13] After Sicily they went on to serve in Italy with the newly formed 2nd SAS, a unit which had been formed in Algeria in May 1943 by Stirling's older brother Lieutenant Colonel Bill Stirling. [13]

The 2nd SAS had already taken part in operations in support of the Allied landings in Sicily. Operation Narcissus was a raid by 40 members of 2nd SAS on a lighthouse on the southeast coast of Sicily. The team landed on 10 July with the mission of capturing the lighthouse and the surrounding high ground. Operation Chestnut involved two teams of ten men each, parachuted into northern Sicily on the night of 12 July, to disrupt communications, transport and the enemy in general.

On mainland Italy they were involved in Operation Begonia which was the airborne counterpart to the amphibious Operation Jonquil. From 2 to 6 October 1943, 61 men were parachuted between Ancona and Pescara. The object was to locate escaped prisoners of war in the interior and muster them on beach locations for extraction. Begonia involved the interior parachute drop by 2nd SAS. Jonquil entailed four seaborne beach parties from 2nd SAS with the Free French SAS Squadron as protection. Operation Candytuft was a raid by 2nd SAS on 27 October. Inserted by boat on Italy's east coast between Ancona and Pescara, they were to destroy railroad bridges and disrupt rear areas.

Near the end of the year the Special Raiding Squadron reverted to their former title 1st SAS and together with 2nd SAS were withdrawn from Italy and placed under command of the 1st Airborne Division. [16]

1944 Edit

In March 1944, the 1st and 2nd SAS Regiments returned to the United Kingdom and joined a newly formed the SAS Brigade of the Army Air Corps. The other units in the Brigade were the French 3rd and 4th SAS, the Belgian 5th SAS and F Squadron which was responsible for signals and communications, the brigade commander was Brigadier Roderick McLeod. [16] The brigade was ordered to swap their beige SAS berets for the maroon parachute beret and given shoulder titles for 1, 2, 3 and 4 SAS in the Airborne colours. The French and Belgian regiments also wore the Airborne Pegasus arm badge. [17] The brigade now entered a period of training for their participation in the Normandy Invasion. They were prevented from conducting operations until after the start of the invasion by 21st Army Group. Their task was then to stop German reinforcements reaching the front line, [18] by being parachuted behind the lines to assist the French Resistance. [19]

In support of the invasion 144 men of 1st SAS took part in Operation Houndsworth between June and September, in the area of Lyon, Chalon-sur-Saône, Dijon, Le Creusot and Paris. [18] At the same time, 56 men of 1st SAS also took part in Operation Bulbasket in the Poitiers area. They did have some success before being betrayed. Surrounded by a large German force, they were forced to disperse later, it was discovered that 36 men were missing and that 32 of them had been captured and executed by the Germans. [18]

In mid-June, 178 men of the French SAS and 3,000 members of the French resistance took part in Operation Dingson. However, they were forced to disperse after their camp was attacked by the Germans. [18] The French SAS were also involved in Operation Cooney, Operation Samwest and Operation Lost during the same period. [20]

In August, 91 men from the 1st SAS were involved in Operation Loyton. The team had the misfortune to land in the Vosges Mountains at a time when the Germans were preparing to defend the Belfort Gap. As a result, the Germans harried the team. The team also suffered from poor weather that prevented aerial resupply. Eventually, they broke into smaller groups to return to their own lines. During the escape, 31 men were captured and executed by the Germans.

Also in August, men from 2nd SAS operated from forest bases in the Rennes area in conjunction with the resistance. Air resupply was plentiful and the resistance cooperated, which resulted in carnage. The 2nd SAS operated from the Loire through to the forests of Darney to Belfort in just under six weeks. [21]

Near the end of the year, men from 2nd SAS were parachuted into Italy to work with the Italian resistance in Operation Tombola, where they remained until Italy was liberated. [22] At one point, four groups were active deep behind enemy lines laying waste to airfields, attacking convoys and derailing trains. Towards the end of the campaign, Italian guerrillas and escaped Russian prisoners were enlisted into an 'Allied SAS Battalion' which struck at the German main lines of communications. [23]

1945 Edit

In March the former Chindit commander, Brigadier Mike Calvert took over command of the brigade. [22] The 3rd and 4th SAS were involved in Operation Amherst in April. The operation began with the drop of 700 men on the night of 7 April. The teams spread out to capture and protect key facilities from the Germans. They encountered Bergen-Belsen on 15 April 1945. [24]

Still in Italy in Operation Tombola, Major Roy Farran and 2nd SAS carried out a raid on a German Corps headquarters in the Po Valley, which succeeded in killing the corps chief of staff. [21]

The Second World War in Europe ended on 8 May and by that time the SAS brigade had suffered 330 casualties, but it had killed or wounded 7,733 and captured 23,000 of their enemies. [22] Later the same month 1st and 2nd SAS were sent to Norway to disarm the 300,000-strong German garrison and 5th SAS were in Denmark and Germany on counter-intelligence operations. [22] The brigade was dismantled soon afterwards. In September, the Belgian 5th SAS were handed over to the reformed Belgian Army. On 1 October the 3rd and 4th French SAS were handed over to the French Army and on 8 October the British 1st and 2nd SAS regiments were disbanded. [19]

At the end of the war, the British Government could see no need for a SAS-type regiment, but in 1946 it was decided that there was a need for a long-term deep penetration commando or SAS unit. A new SAS regiment was raised as part of the Territorial Army. [25] The regiment chosen to take on the SAS mantle was the Artists Rifles. [25] The new 21 SAS Regiment came into existence on 1 January 1947 and took over the Artists Rifles headquarters at Dukes Road, Euston. [26]

In 1950 the SAS raised a squadron to fight in the Korean War. After three months of training, they were informed that the squadron would not, after all, be needed in Korea, and instead were sent to serve in the Malayan Emergency. On arrival in Malaya the squadron came under the command of the wartime SAS Brigade commander, Mike Calvert. They became B Squadron, Malayan Scouts (SAS), [27] the other units were A Squadron, which had been formed from 100 local volunteers mostly ex Second World War SAS and Chindits and C Squadron formed from volunteers from Rhodesia, the so-called 'Happy Hundred'. By 1956 the Regiment had been enlarged to five squadrons with the addition of D Squadron and the Parachute Regiment Squadron. [28] [29] After three years service the Rhodesians returned home and were replaced by a New Zealand squadron. [30]

A Squadron were based at Ipoh while B and C Squadrons were at Johore. During training, they pioneered techniques of resupply by helicopter and also set up the "Hearts and Minds" campaign to win over the locals with medical teams going from village to village treating the sick. With the aid of Iban trackers from Borneo they became experts at surviving in the jungle. [31] In 1951 the Malayan Scouts (SAS) had successfully recruited enough men to form a regimental headquarters, a headquarters squadron and four operational squadrons with over 900 men. [32] The regiment was tasked to seek, find, fix and then destroy the terrorists and prevent their infiltration into protected areas. Their tactics would be long-range patrols, ambush and tracking of the terrorists to their bases. [32] The SAS troops trained and acquired skills in treejumping, which involved parachuting into the thick jungle canopy and letting the parachute catch on the branches brought to a halt, the parachutist then cut himself free and lowered himself to the ground by rope. [31] Using inflatable boats for river patrolling, jungle fighting techniques, psychological warfare and booby trapping terrorist supplies. [32] Calvert was invalided back to the United Kingdom in 1951 and replaced by Lieutenant-Colonel John Sloane. [31]

In February 1951, 54 men from B Squadron carried out the first parachute drop in the campaign in Operation Helsby, which was a major offensive in the River Perak–Belum valley, just south of the Thai border. [33]

The need for a regular army SAS regiment had been recognised, and so the Malayan Scouts (SAS) were renamed 22 SAS Regiment and formally added to the Army List in 1952. [34] However B Squadron was disbanded, leaving just A and D Squadrons in service. [35] [36]

In 1958 the SAS got a new commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Anthony Deane-Drummond. [37] The Malayan Emergency was winding down, so the SAS dispatched two squadrons from Malaya to assist in Oman. In January 1959, A Squadron defeated a large Guerrilla force on the Sabrina plateau. This was a victory that was kept from the public due to political and military sensitivities. [38]

After Oman, 22 SAS Regiment were recalled to the United Kingdom, the first time the regiment had served there since its formation. The SAS were initially barracked in Malvern Worcestershire before moving to Hereford in 1960. [37] Just prior to this, the third SAS regiment was formed and like 21 SAS was part of the Territorial Army. 23 SAS Regiment was formed by the renaming of the Joint Reserve Reconnaissance Unit, which itself had succeeded M.I.9 via a series of units (POW Rescue, Recovery and Interrogation Unit, Intelligence School 9 and the Joint Reserve POW Intelligence Organisation). Behind this change was the understanding that passive networks of escape lines had little place in the Cold War world and henceforth personnel behind the lines would be rescued by specially trained units. [39]

The regiment was sent to Borneo for the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation, where they adopted the tactics of patrolling up to 20 kilometres (12 mi) over the Indonesian border and used local tribesman for intelligence gathering. [38] The troops at times lived in the indigenous tribes' villages for five months thereby gaining their trust. This involved showing respect for the Headman, giving gifts and providing medical treatment for the sick. [40]

In December 1963, the SAS went onto the offensive, now under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel John Woodhouse, adopting a "shoot and scoot" policy to keep SAS casualties to a minimum. [41] They were augmented by the adding to their strength of the Guards Independent Parachute Company and later the Gurkha Independent Parachute Company. [42] In 1964 Operation Claret was initiated, with soldiers selected from the infantry regiments in-theatre, placed under SAS command and known as "Killer Groups". These groups would cross the border and penetrate up to 18 kilometres (11 mi) disrupting the Indonesian Army build-up, forcing the Indonesians to move away from the border. [41] Reconnaissance patrols were used to enter enemy territory to identify supply routes, enemy locations and enemy boat traffic. Captain Robin Letts was awarded the Military Cross for his role in leading a reconnaissance patrol which successfully ambushed the enemy near Babang Baba in April 1965. [43] The Borneo campaign cost the British 59 killed 123 wounded compared to the Indonesian 600 dead. [41] In 1964 B Squadron was re-formed from a combination of former members still with the Regiment and new recruits. [44]

The SAS returned to Oman in 1970. The Marxist-controlled South Yemen government were supporting an insurgency in the Dhofar region that became known as the Dhofar Rebellion. [41] Operating under the umbrella of a British Army Training Team (BATT), the SAS recruited, trained and commanded the local Firquts. Firquts were local tribesmen and recently surrendered enemy soldiers. This new campaign ended shortly after the Battle of Mirbat in 1972, when a small SAS force and Firquts defeated 250 Adoo guerrillas. [ citation needed ]

In 1969 D Squadron, 22 SAS deployed to Northern Ireland for just over a month. The SAS returned in 1972 when small numbers of men were involved in intelligence gathering. The first squadron fully committed to the province was in 1976 and by 1977 two squadrons were operating in Northern Ireland. [45] These squadrons used well-armed covert patrols in unmarked civilian cars. Within a year four terrorists had been killed or captured and another six forced to move south into the Republic. [45] Members of the SAS are also believed to have served in the 14 Intelligence Company based in Northern Ireland. [46]

The first operation attributed to the SAS was the arrest of Sean McKenna on 12 March 1975. McKenna claims he was sleeping in a house just south of the Irish border when he was woken in the night by two armed men and forced across the border, while the SAS claimed he was found wandering in a field drunk. [47] Their second operation was on 15 April 1976 with the arrest and killing of Peter Cleary. Cleary, an IRA staff officer, was detained by five soldiers in a field while waiting for a helicopter to land. While four men guided the aircraft in, Cleary started to struggle with his guard, attempted to seize his rifle and was shot. [48]

The SAS returned to Northern Ireland in force in 1976, operating throughout the province. In January 1977 Seamus Harvey, armed with a shotgun, was killed during a SAS ambush. [49] On 21 June, six men from G Squadron ambushed four IRA men planting a bomb at a government building three IRA members were shot and killed but their driver managed to escape. [50] On 10 July 1978, John Boyle, a sixteen-year-old Catholic, was exploring an old graveyard near his family's farm in County Antrim when he discovered an arms cache. He told his father, who passed on the information to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). The next morning Boyle decided to see if the guns had been removed and was shot dead by two SAS soldiers who had been waiting undercover. [51] In 1976 Newsweek also reported that eight SAS men had been arrested in the Republic of Ireland supposedly as a result of a navigational error. It was later revealed that they had been in pursuit of a Provisional Irish Republican Army unit. [45]

The SAS's early successes led to increasing paranoia within Republican circles, as the PIRA hunted for informers they felt certain were in their midst. [52] On 2 May 1980 Captain Herbert Westmacott became the highest-ranking member of the SAS to be killed in Northern Ireland. [53] He was in command of an eight-man plain clothes SAS patrol that had been alerted by the Royal Ulster Constabulary that an IRA gun team had taken over a house in Belfast. [54] A car carrying three SAS men went to the rear of the house, and another car carrying five SAS men went to the front of the house. [55] As the SAS arrived at the front of the house the IRA unit opened fire with an M60 machine gun, hitting Captain Westmacott in the head and shoulder, killing him instantly. [55] The remaining SAS men at the front returned fire, but were forced to withdraw. [54] [55] One member of the IRA team was apprehended by the SAS at the rear of the house, preparing the unit's escape in a transit van, while the other three IRA members remained inside the house. [56] More members of the security forces were deployed to the scene, and after a brief siege, the remaining members of the IRA unit surrendered. [54] After his death, Westmacott was posthumously awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in Northern Ireland during the period 1 February 1980 to 30 April 1980. [57] Some sources say that the terrorists waved a white flag before the siege in an attempt to trick the SAS patrol into thinking they were surrendering. [58]

The SAS Regiment increased their operational focus on Northern Ireland, with a small element known as the Ulster Troop that were permanently stationed in Northern Ireland to provide specialist support to the British Army and RUC. The troop consisted of around 20 operators and associated support personnel, serving on a rotational basis. For larger pre-planned operations, Ulster Troop was reinforced by SAS personnel, often in small 2- or 3-man teams from the Special Projects Team. From 1980, the Troop served twelve-month tours instead of six-month tours, as it was felt that longer deployments allowed the operators to develop and maintain a better understanding of the key factions and senior PIRA terrorists. Surveillance became an important aspect of the Troop, with 14 Intelligence & Security Company (commonly known as "The Det") often carrying out surveillance missions that led to SAS ambushes. [52]

On 4 December 1983, a SAS patrol found two IRA gunmen who were both armed, one with an Armalite rifle and the other a shotgun. These two men did not respond when challenged so the patrol opened fire, killing the two men. A third man who escaped in a car was believed to have been wounded. [59]

The SAS conducted a large number of operations officially called "OP/React": acting on information provided by a range of sources, including informers and technical intelligence. The Det, MI5 and the RUC's E4a surveillance unit would target and track ASU terrorists until a terrorist operation was thought to be imminent at that point, the SAS were handed control and would plan an arrest operation, and if the terrorists were armed and did not comply they would be engaged. In December 1984, a SAS team killed two ASU terrorists who were attempting to assassinate a reserve soldier outside a hospital he worked at. In February 1985, three SAS operators killed three ASU terrorists in Strabane. The terrorists were tasked with attacking a RUC Land Rover with anti-tank grenades, but having failed to find a suitable target they were visiting a weapons cache to store their weapons. There was considerable media speculation during 'the Troubles' and allegations of so-called "shoot-to-kill" policy by the SAS the allegations mainly focus on whether a terrorist could have been captured alive rather than killed. The PIRA never took prisoners except for the worst intentions and after the 1980 death of Captain Westmacott and the death of a SAS member in December 1984, the Regiment appeared to adopt an unofficial policy of what Mark Urban quoted SAS sources as calling "Big boys' games- big boys' rules": if you're an armed terrorist you can expect no quarter to be given. [60]

On 8 May 1987, the SAS conducted Operation Judy which resulted in the IRA/ASU [61] suffering its worst single loss of men, when eight men were killed by the SAS while attempting to attack the Loughgall police station. The SAS had been informed of the attack and 24 men waited in ambush positions around and inside the police station. They opened fire when the armed IRA unit approached the station with a 200 pounds (91 kg) bomb, its fuse lit, in the bucket of a hijacked JCB digger. A civilian passing the incident was also killed by SAS fire. [62]

In the late 1980s the IRA started to move operations to the European mainland. Operation Flavius in March 1988 was a SAS operation in Gibraltar in which three PIRA volunteers, Seán Savage, Daniel McCann and Mairéad Farrell, were killed. All three had conspired to detonate a car bomb where a military band assembled for the weekly changing of the guard at the Governor's residence. [63] In Germany, in 1989 the German security forces discovered a SAS unit operating there without the permission of the German government. [64]

In 1991 three IRA men were killed by the SAS. The IRA men were on their way to kill an Ulster Defence Regiment soldier who lived in Coagh, when they were ambushed. [65] These three and another seven brought the total number of IRA men killed by the SAS in the 1990s to 11. [66]

In the early 1970s, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Edward Heath asked the Ministry of Defence to prepare for any possible terrorist attack similar to the 1972 Munich massacre at the Munich Olympic Games and ordered that the SAS Counter Revolutionary Warfare (CRW) wing be established. [67] In a little over a month the first 20-man SAS Counter Terrorist (CT) unit was ready to respond to any potential incident within the UK or abroad. Originally, it was known as the Pagoda Team (named after Operation Pagoda, the codename for the development of the SAS CT capability) and was initially composed of members from all squadrons, particularly members who had experience in the Regiment's Bodyguarding Cell, but was soon placed under the control of the CRW. [68] Once the wing had been established each squadron would in turn rotate through counter-terrorist training. The training included live firing exercises, hostage rescue and siege breaking. It was reported that during CRW training each soldier would expend 100,000 pistol rounds and would return to the CRW role on average every 16 months. [67] The CRW initially consisted of a single SAS officer tasked with monitoring terrorism developments, but which was soon expanded and trimmed in size to a single troop strength British technical experts developed a number of innovations for the team, including the first "flashbang" or "stun" grenade and the earliest examples of Frangible ammunition. [68]

Home operations Edit

Their first home deployment came on 7 January 1975, when an Iranian armed with a replica pistol hijacked a British Airways BAC One-Eleven that landed at Stansted Airport. The hijacker was captured alive with no shots fired, the only casualty being a SAS soldier who was bitten by a police dog as he left the airliner. [68] The SAS was also deployed during the Balcombe Street Siege, where the Metropolitan Police had trapped a PIRA unit. Hearing on the BBC that the SAS were being deployed the PIRA men surrendered. [67]

Iranian Embassy siege Edit

The Iranian Embassy Siege started at 11:30 on 30 April 1980 when a six-man team calling itself the 'Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan' (DRMLA) captured the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Prince's Gate, South Kensington in central London. When the group first stormed the building, 26 hostages were taken, but five were released over the following few days. On the sixth day of the siege, the kidnappers killed a hostage. This marked an escalation of the situation and prompted Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's decision to proceed with the rescue operation. The order to deploy the SAS was given, and B Squadron, the duty CRW squadron, were alerted. When the first hostage was shot, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, David McNee, passed a note signed by Thatcher to the Ministry of Defence, stating this was now a "military operation". [69] It was known as Operation Nimrod. [70]

The rescue mission started at 19:23, 5 May when the SAS assault troops at the front gained access to the embassy's first floor balcony via the roof. Another team assembled on the ground floor terrace entered via the rear of the embassy. After forcing entry, five of the six terrorists were killed. Unfortunately, one of the hostages was also killed by the terrorists during the assault which lasted 11 minutes. The events were broadcast live on national television and soon rebroadcast around the world, gaining fame and a reputation for the SAS. [69] Prior to the assault, few outside of the military special operations community even knew of the regiment's existence. [71]

Peterhead prison Edit

On 28 September 1987 a riot in D Wing of Peterhead Prison resulted in prisoners taking over the building and taking a prison officer, 56-year-old Jackie Stuart, hostage. The rioters were serving life in prison for violent crimes. It was thought that they had nothing to lose and would not hesitate to make good on their threats to kill their hostage, who they had now taken up to the rafters of the Scottish prison. When negotiations broke down, the then Home Secretary Douglas Hurd dispatched the SAS to bring the riot to an end on 3 October. The CRW troops arrived by helicopter, landed on the roof and then abseiled into the prison proper. Armed only with pistols, batons and stun grenades they brought the riot to a swift closure. [ citation needed ]

Hijacking of Ariana Afghan Airlines flight 805 Edit

On 6 February 2000, a Boeing 727 operated by Ariana Afghan Airlines was hijacked by a number of Afghan nationals who wished to escape the country and to obtain the release of a Mujahedeen warlord imprisoned by the Taliban. The flight landed at Stansted Airport and the on-call SAS CT team arrived, linked up with armed police and began developing Immediate Action (IA) and Direct Action (DA) plans. Neither were required as the hijackers eventually surrendered. [72]

War on Terror in the UK Edit

In 2005 London was the target of two attacks on 7 July and 21 July. It was reported in Times that the SAS CRW played a role in the capture of three men suspected of taking part in the failed 21 July bomb attacks. The SAS CRW also provided expertise in explosive entry techniques to back up raids by police firearms officers. It was also reported that plain clothes SAS teams were monitoring airports and main railway stations to identify any security weaknesses and that they were using civilian helicopters and two small executive jets to move around the country. [73]

Following the bombings, a small forward element of the CRW was permanently deployed to the capital to provide immediate assistance to the Metropolitan Police Service in the event of a terrorist incident. This unit is supported by its own attached Ammunition technical officer trained in high-risk search and making safe car bombs and improvised explosive devices, along with a technical intelligence cell capable of sophisticated interception of all forms of communication. In particular, after 21 July bombings, several SAS elements trained in explosive methods of entry were dispatched to support the Metropolitan Police firearms unit, and were used to explosively breach two flats where would-be suicide bombers had taken refuge, the police fired CS gas into both premises and negotiated the surrender of all suspects. [74]

The police retain primacy and are the lead in the event of a terrorist attack on British soil, but the military will provide support if requested. If a situation is deemed to be outside the capabilities of police firearms units (such as a requirement for specialist breaching capabilities), the SAS will be called in under the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities legislation. Additionally, some categories of operation-such as the recapture of hijacked airlines or cruise ships, or the recovery of nuclear or radioactive IEDs remain a military responsibility. [75]

The Telegraph reported on 4 June 2017 that following the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017, small numbers of SAS soldiers supported police and accompanied officers on raids around the city. Following the London Bridge attack, a SAS unit nicknamed 'Blue Thunder' arrived after the attack had been ended by armed police. A Eurocopter AS365 N3 Dauphin helicopter landed on London Bridge carrying what a Whitehall source confirmed were carrying SAS troops. [76]

Overseas operations Edit

Nations around the world particularly wanted a counter-terrorism capability like the SAS. The Ministry of Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Office often loan out training teams from the Regiment, particularly to the Gulf States to train bodyguard teams now focused on CT. The Regiment has also had a long-standing association with the US Army's Delta Force, with the two units often having swapped techniques and tactics, as well as conducting joint training exercises in North America and Europe. Other nations' CT units developed close ties with the Regiment, including the Australian SAS, New Zealand SAS, GSG 9 and GIGN. [77]

The first documented action by the CRW Wing was assisting the West German counter-terrorism group GSG 9 at Mogadishu. [78] Eventually the CRW grew into full squadron strength and included its own support elements-Explosive Ordnance Disposal, search and combat dogs, medics and attached intelligence and targeting cell. [68]

Along with overseas training missions, the Regiment also sends small teams to act as observers and to provide advice or technical input if required at the scenes of terrorist and similar incidents worldwide. [79]

The Gambia Edit

In August 1981 a 2-man SAS team was covertly deployed to The Gambia to help put down a coup. [80] [81]

Colombian conflict Edit

During the late 1980s members of the Regiment were dispatched to Colombia to train Colombian special operations forces in counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics operations. As of 2017, the training teams missions remain classified rumours that SAS operators, with their US counterparts, accompanied Colombian forces on jungle operations, but this hasn't been confirmed. [68]

Waco siege Edit

In 1993, SAS and Delta Force operators were deployed as observers in the Waco siege in Texas. [79]

Air France Flight 8969 Edit

In December 1994, the SAS were deployed as observers when Air France Flight 8969 was hijacked by GIA terrorists, the crisis was eventually resolved by GIGN. [79]

Japanese embassy hostage crisis Edit

In early 1997, six members of the SAS were sent to Peru during the Japanese embassy hostage crisis due to diplomatic personnel being among the hostages and also to observe and advise Peruvian commandos in Operation Chavín de Huántar- the release of hostages by force. [82] [83]

The Falklands War started after Argentina's occupation of the Falkland Islands on 2 April 1982. Brigadier Peter de la Billière the Director Special Forces and Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Rose, the Commander of 22 SAS Regiment, petitioned for the regiment to be included in the task force. Without waiting for official approval D Squadron, which was on standby for worldwide operations, departed on 5 April for Ascension Island. [84] They were followed by G Squadron on 20 April. As both squadrons sailed south the plans were for D Squadron to support operations to retake South Georgia while G Squadron would be responsible for the Falkland Islands. [84] By virtue of a 1981 transfer from A Squadron to G Squadron, John Thompson was the only one of the 55 SAS soldiers involved in the Iranian siege to also see action in the Falklands. [85]

South Georgia Edit

Operation Paraquet was the code name for the first land to be liberated in the conflict. South Georgia is an island to the southeast of the Falkland Islands and one of the Falkland Islands Dependencies. In atrocious weather the SAS, SBS and Royal Marines forced the Argentinian garrison to surrender. On 22 April Westland Wessex helicopters landed a SAS unit on the Fortuna Glacier. This resulted in the loss of two of the helicopters, one on takeoff and one crashed into the glacier in almost zero visibility. [86] The SAS unit were defeated by the weather and terrain and had to be evacuated after only managing to cover 500 metres (1,600 ft) in five hours. [87]

The following night, a SBS section succeeded in landing by helicopter while Boat Troop and D Squadron SAS set out in five Gemini inflatable boats for the island. Two boats suffered engine failure with one crew being picked up by helicopter and the other crew got to shore. The next day, 24 April, a force of 75 SAS, SBS and Royal Marines, advancing with naval gunfire support, reached Grytviken and forced the occupying Argentinians to surrender. The following day the garrison at Leith also surrendered. [86]

Main landings Edit

Prior to the landing eight reconnaissance patrols from G Squadron had been landed on East Falkland between 30 April and 2 May. [88] The main landings were at San Carlos on 21 May. To cover the landings, D Squadron mounted a major diversionary raid at Goose Green and Darwin with fire support from HMS Ardent. While D Squadron was returning from their raid they used a shoulder-launched Stinger missile to shoot down a FMA IA 58 Pucará that had overflown their location. [89] While the main landings were taking place, a four-man patrol from G Squadron had been carrying out a reconnaissance near Stanley. They located an Argentinian helicopter dispersal area between Mount Kent and Mount Estancia. Advising to attack at first light, the resulting attack by RAF Harrier GR3's from No. 1 Squadron RAF destroyed one CH-47 Chinook and the two Aérospatiale Puma helicopters. [90]

Pebble Island Edit

Over the night 14/15 May, D Squadron SAS carried out the raid on Pebble Island airstrip on West Falkland. The force of 20 men from Mountain Troop, D Squadron, led by Captain John Hamilton, destroyed six FMA IA 58 Pucarás, four T-34 Mentors and a Short SC.7 Skyvan transport. The attack was supported by fire from HMS Glamorgan. Under cover of mortar and small arms fire the SAS moved onto the airstrip and fixed explosive charges to the aircraft. Casualties were light, with one Argentinian killed and two of the Squadron wounded by shrapnel when a mine exploded. [91]

Sea King Crash Edit

On 19 May, the SAS suffered its worst loss since the Second World War. A Westland Sea King helicopter crashed while cross-decking troops from HMS Hermes to HMS Intrepid, killing 22 men. Approaching HMS Hermes, it appeared to have an engine failure and crashed into the sea. Only nine men managed to scramble out of a side door before the helicopter sank. Rescuers found bird feathers floating on the surface where the helicopter had hit the water. It is thought that the Sea King was the victim of a bird strike. Of the 22 killed, 18 were from the SAS. [92]

Operation Mikado Edit

Operation Mikado was the code name for the planned landing of B Squadron SAS at the Argentinian airbase at Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego. The initial plan was to crash land two C-130 Hercules carrying B Squadron onto the runway at Port Stanley to bring the conflict to a rapid conclusion. [93] B Squadron arrived at Ascension Island on 20 May, the day after the fatal Sea King crash. They were just boarding the C-130s when word came that the operation had been cancelled. [94]

After Mikado had been cancelled B Squadron were called upon to parachute into the South Atlantic to reinforce D Squadron. They were transported south by the two C-130s equipped with long-range fuel tanks. Only one of the aircraft reached the jump point the other had to turn back with fuel problems. The parachutists were then transported to the Falkland Islands by HMS Andromeda. [95]

West Falkland Edit

Mountain Troop, D Squadron SAS deployed onto West Falkland to observe the two Argentine garrisons. One of the patrols was commanded by Captain John Hamilton who had commanded the raid on Pebble Island. On 10 June, Hamilton and patrol were in an observation point near Port Howard when they were attacked by Argentine forces. Two of the patrol managed to get away but Hamilton and his signaller, Sergeant Fosenka, were pinned down. Hamilton was hit in the back by enemy fire and told Fosenka "you carry on, I'll cover your back". Moments later Hamilton was killed. Sergeant Fosenka was later captured when he ran out of ammunition. The senior Argentine officer praised the heroism of Hamilton who was posthumously awarded the Military Cross. [96]

Wireless Ridge Edit

The last major action for the SAS was a raid on East Falkland on the night of 14 June. This involved a diversionary raid by D and G Squadrons against Argentinian positions north of Stanley, while 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment assaulted Wireless Ridge. Their objective was to set up a mortar and machine gun fire base to provide fire support, while the D Squadron Boat Troop and six SBS men crossed Port William in Rigid Raiders to destroy the fuel tanks at Cortley Hill. After firing Milan and GPMG onto the target areas the ground assault team came under anti-aircraft machine gun fire the water assault group were also hit by a hail of small arms fire, with all their boats hit and three men wounded, forcing them to withdraw. At the same time, the fire base came under an Argentinian artillery and infantry attack. The Argentinian unit had not been seen from the long-range surveillance of the area as they were dug in on the reverse slope. The SAS then had to call upon their own artillery to silence the Argentinian guns to enable G Squadron to withdraw. The raid was to harass the Argentinian ground forces and was a success, but Argentinian artillery continued to land on the SAS assault position and the route the squadron took on its exfiltration for an hour after they had withdrawn and not on the attacking parachute battalion. [97]

Between 1985 and 1989, members of the SAS were dispatched to Southeast Asia to train a number of Cambodian insurgent groups to fight against the People's Army of Vietnam who were occupying Cambodia after ousting the Khmer Rouge regime. The SAS did not directly train any members of the Khmer Rouge, but questions were raised amidst the "murky" factional politics as to the relationship between some of the insurgent groups and the Khmer Rouge. [98]

The Gulf War started after the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq on 2 August 1990. The British military response to the invasion was Operation Granby. General Norman Schwarzkopf was adamant that the use of special operations forces in Operation Desert Storm would be limited. This was due to his experiences in the Vietnam War, where he had seen special operations forces missions go badly wrong, requiring conventional forces to rescue them. Lieutenant-General Peter de la Billière, Schwarzkopf's deputy and former member of the SAS, requested the deployment of the Regiment, despite not having a formal role. [99] The SAS deployed about 300 members with A, B and D Squadrons as well as fifteen members from R Squadron the territorial 22 SAS squadron. [100] This was the largest SAS mobilisation since the Second World War. [100] There was conflict in the Regiment over whether to deploy A or G Squadron to the Gulf. In August 1990, A squadron had just returned from a deployment to Colombia, whereas G Squadron were the logical choice to deploy because they were on SP rotation and had just returned from desert training exercises. However, since A Squadron were not involved in the Falklands War, they were deployed. [101] [79]

De la Billière and the commander of UKSF for Operation Granby planned to convince Schwarzkopf of the need for special operations forces with the rescue of a large number of Western and Kuwaiti civilian workers being held by Iraqi forces as human shields, but in December 1990, Saddam Hussein released the majority of the hostages, however the situation brought the SAS to Schwarzkopf's attention. Having already allowed US Army Special Forces and Marine Force Recon to conduct long-range reconnaissance missions, he was eventually convinced to allow the SAS to also deploy a handful of reconnaissance teams to monitor the Main Supply Routes (MSRs). [102]

Initial plans were for the SAS to carry out their traditional raiding role behind the Iraqi lines, and operate ahead of the allied invasion, disrupting lines of communications. [101] The SAS operated from Al Jawf, on 17 January, 128 members of A and D squadron moved to the frontline [103] there they inserted three road-watch teams into western Iraq to establish observation of the MSR traffic on 18 January 1991, the first eight SCUD-B ballistic missiles with conventional explosive warheads fell on Tel Aviv and Haifa, Israel, it was this attempt to bring Israel into the war to undermine the coalition by shattering the coalition of Arab nations arrayed against Iraq, that was directly responsible for a dramatic increase in operations for the Regiment. On that day they were tasked with hunting Scuds. An operational area, known as "SCUD Box," covered a huge swathe of western Iraq south of main Highway 10 MSR, was allocated to the SAS and nicknamed "SCUD Alley", Delta Force deployed north of Highway 10 in "SCUD Boulevard," two flights of USAF F-15Es on "SCUD Watch" would be their main air support component. Both SAS and Delta operations were initially hampered by delays in bringing strike aircraft onto the often time sensitive targets-a problem only partially alleviated by the placing of special forces liaisons with the US Air Force in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. [104] On 20 January, they were working behind Iraqi lines hunting for Scud missile launchers in the area south of the Amman — Baghdad highway. [105] The patrols working on foot and in landrovers would at times carry out their own attacks, with MILAN missiles on Scud launchers and also set up ambushes for Iraqi convoys, [106]

The half of B squadron in al-Jauf, Saudi Arabia, were given the task of establishing covert observation posts along the MSR in three-eight-man patrols inserted by helicopter. [107] On 22 January three eight-man patrols from B Squadron were inserted behind the lines by a Chinook helicopter. Their mission was to locate Scud launchers and monitor the main supply route. One of the patrols, Bravo Two Zero, had decided to patrol on foot. The patrol was found by an Iraqi unit and, unable to call for help because they had been issued the wrong radio frequencies, had to try to evade capture by themselves. The team under command of Andy McNab suffered three dead and four captured only one man, Chris Ryan, managed to escape to Syria. Ryan made SAS history with the "longest escape and evasion by an SAS trooper or any other soldier", covering 100 miles (160 km) more than SAS trooper John 'Jack' William Sillito, had in the Sahara Desert in 1942. The other patrols, Bravo One Zero and Bravo Three Zero, had opted to use landrovers and take in more equipment returned intact to Saudi Arabia. [108]

Meanwhile, A and D squadron mobile patrols were tracking down SCUDs and destroying them if possible, or vector-in strike aircraft. Both squadrons were equipped with six to eight Desert Patrol Vehicles (DPVs) in four mobile patrols/fighting columns. The mobile patrols used the "mothership" concept to resupply their mounted patrols, along with the DPVs, a number of cut-down Unimog and ACMAT VLRA trucks were infiltrated into the area of operations and served as mobile resupply points, themselves being stocked with fuel, ammunition and water by RAF Chinook drops, this meant that the SAS mobility patrols could effectively stay in the area of operations indefinitely. During one mission an operator reportedly destroyed a SCUD launcher with a vehicle-mounted Milan anti-tank guided missile. An Iraqi Army command-and-control site known as "Victor Two" was attacked by the SAS: SAS operators crept in to the facility and set a batch of demolition charges which were counting down to detonation when they were compromised, the SAS destroyed Iraqi bunkers with Milans and LAW rockets, operators engaging in hand-to-hand combat with Iraqi soldiers. The operators broke cover and braved enemy fire to reach their vehicles and escape before the demolition exploded. Another mounted patrol from D squadron was bedding down for the night in a desert wadi, later they discovered they were camped next to an Iraqi communications facility, they were quickly compromised by an Iraqi soldier walking to their position. A firefight erupted between the SAS and at least two regular Iraqi Army infantry platoons. The patrol managed to break contact after disabling two Iraqi technicals (pick-up trucks) that attempted to pursue them, during the chaos of the firefight a supply Unimog had been immobilised by enemy fire and left behind with no sign of the seven missing crew members. The seven SAS operators (one of whom was severely wounded) had captured a damaged Iraqi technical and drove toward the Saudi Arabian border, eventually the vehicle ground to a halt and the men were forced to travel on foot, after 5 days they reached the border. [109]

The desert units were resupplied by a temporary formation known as E squadron, this were made up of Bedford 4-ton trucks and heavily armed SAS Land Rovers. They drove from Saudi Arabia on 10 February, rendezvousing with SAS units some 86 miles inside Iraq on 12 February, returning to Saudi Arabia on 17 February. [110]

Days before the cessation of hostilities, an SAS operator was shot in the chest and killed in an ambush. The Regiment had operated in Iraq for some 43 days, despite the poor state of mapping, reconnaissance imagery, intelligence and weather additional problems such as the lack of essential kit such as night-vision goggles, TACBE radios and GPS units, they appear to have been instrumental in stopping the SCUDs. There were no further launches after only two days of SAS operations in their assigned "box," despite this, significant questions remain over how many SCUDs were actually destroyed either from the air or on the ground, the Iraqis had deployed large numbers of East German-manufactured decoy vehicles and apparently several oil tankers were erroneously targeted from the air. Despite a US Air Force study arguing that no actual SCUDs were destroyed, the SAS maintain that what they destroyed, often at relative close range, were not decoys and oil tankers. Undoubtedly, the Regiment succeeded in forcing SCUDs to move out of the "SCUD Box" and into north-west Iraq and the increased distances, for an inaccurate and unreliable missile system effectively eliminated the SCUD threat. General Schwarzkopf sent a personal message thanking the Regiment and Delta Force saying "You guys kept Israel out of the war." [111] By the end of the war, four SAS men had been killed and five captured. [112]

The SAS perfected desert mobility techniques during Operation Granby it would influence US Army Special Forces during initial operations in Afghanistan and Iraq a decade later. [113]

Bosnian War Edit

In 1994–95, Lieutenant-General Michael Rose, who had been the CO of 22 SAS and Director Special Forces (DSF) during the 1980s, commanded the United Nations Protection Force mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Needing a realistic appreciation of the situation in a number of UN-mandated "safe areas" that were surrounded by Bosnian-Serb forces, he requested and received elements from both A and D squadrons. The operators deployed with standard British Army uniforms, UN blue berets and SA80 assault rifles to "hide in plain sight" under the official cover as UK Liaison Officers. They established the "ground truth" in the besieged enclaves. As these men were trained as forward air controllers, they were also equipped with laser target designators to guide NATO aircraft should the decision be made to engage Bosnian-Serb forces. [113]

During the Siege of Goražde, an SAS operator in UN dress, was shot and killed as a patrol attempted to survey Bosnian-Serb positions. On 16 April 1994, as part of Operation Deny Flight, a Royal Navy Sea Harrier FRS.1 of 801 NAS flying from HMS Ark Royal was shot down by a Serbian SA-7 SAM but its pilot was rescued by a four-man SAS team operating within Goražde. The same team called in a number of airstrikes on armoured columns entering the city, until they were forced to escape through the lines of encircling Serbian paramilitaries to avoid capture and possible execution. [114]

A two-man SAS reconnaissance team was covertly inserted into the UN "safe area" of Srebrenica where a Dutch UN battalion was supposedly protecting the population and thousands of Bosniak refugees from threatening Bosnian Serb forces. The SAS team attempted to call in airstrikes as Serbian forces attacked but were frustrated by UN bureaucracy and ineptitude, they were finally ordered to withdraw and the city fell to the Bosnian-Serb army led by General Ratko Mladić in July 1995, resulting in the genocidal execution of some 8,000 cilivans. The SAS patrol commander wrote a series of newspaper articles about the tragedy, but was successfully taken to court by the MoD in 2002 to stop the publication. [115]

In the aftermath of the Dayton Agreement in December 1995, the SAS remained active in the region, alongside JSOC units in the hunt for war criminals on behalf of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. One such operation in July 1997 resulted in the capture of one fugitive and the death of another when he opened fired on a plain clothed SAS team. [115] [116] Another wanted war criminal was captured by the Regiment in November 1998 from a remote safehouse in Serbia, he was driven to the Drina river separating Serbia from Bosnia before being transported across in an SAS Zodiac inflatable boat and helicoptered out the country. [115] [117] On 2 December 1998, General Radislav Krstić was travelling in a convoy near the village of Vrsari in the Republika Srpska in northern Bosnia when members of 22 SAS, backed-up by a Navy SEAL unit, blocked off the convoy, disabled Krstić's vehicle with spikes and arrested him. [118]

Reservists were deployed into the Balkans in the mid-1990s as a composite unit known as "V" Squadron where they took part in peace support operations, which allowed regular members of the SAS to be used for other tasks. [119] [ additional citation(s) needed ]

Kosovo War Edit

The SAS deployed D squadron to Kosovo in 1999 to guide airstrikes by NATO aircraft and reconnoitre potential avenues of approach should a NATO ground force be committed. Members of G squadron were later dispatched into Kosovo from Macedonia to conduct advanced-force operations and assist in securing a number of bridgeheads in preparation for the larger NATO incursion. [115]

Following the Kosovo war, KFOR, the NATO-led international peacekeeping force which was responsible for establishing a secure environment in Kosovo. [120]

On 16 February 2001, a large explosive device blew up a coach travelling through Podujevo from Serbia carrying 57 Kosovo Serbs, killing 11 with a further 45 wounded and missing. The coach had been part of a convoy of 5 coaches, escorted by the Swedish military armoured vehicles under British command, the attack took place in a British Brigade Area within hours within hours Serbs within Kosovo formed crowds and began attacking Albanians. On 19 March 2001, 3,000 British and Norwegian troops arrested 22 Albanians suspected in the involvement of the bus attack, G squadron 22 SAS spearheaded the operation, the SAS were specifically requested because it was believed the suspects were armed, the SAS carried out the operation early in the morning, when most of the suspects were asleep. [121]

2001 insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia Edit

In the spring of 2001, fighting between the NLA and Macedonia was intensifying since at least March 2001, SAS teams observed the Kosovo-Macedonian border. Between July and August the violence escalated, the EU set up a peace deal to grant the 600,000 Albanian minority in Macedonia greater political and constitutional rights a multinational NATO mission would also deploy to collect the weapons from the 2,500 NLA rebels. In mid August Several four-man SAS patrols accompanied 35 members of Pathfinder Platoon, 16 Air Assault Brigade, into rebel held areas in northern Macedonia, on 21 August, the paratroopers guided in two British army Lynx helicopters into the village of Šipkovica, who were carrying 3 British NATO leaders that met with rebel leaders to the negotiation of the disarmament. Following the negotiations, Ali Ahmeti, the leader of the NLA remarked that "perhaps discrimination against Albanians has come to an end" the next day the NATO multinational force deployed to Macedonia under Operation Essential Harvest, between 27 August and 27 September they collected 3,000 weapons-successfully disarmed the rebels. [121]

The SAS and the SBS were deployed Sierra Leone in support of Operation Palliser against the Revolutionary United Front. They had been on stand-by to effect the relief of a British Army Major and his team of UN observers from a besieged camp in the jungle additionally, they conducted covert reconnaissance, discovering strengths and dispositions of the rebel forces. [122]

Operation Barras Edit

In 2000, a combined force of D squadron 22 SAS, SBS and men from 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment carried out a hostage rescue operation, code named Operation Barras. The objective was to rescue five members of 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment and a Sierra Leone liaison officer who were being held by a militia group known as the West Side Boys (there was a total of 11 hostages taken but six were released in preceding negotiations). [78] [122] The rescue team transported in three Chinook and one Lynx helicopter mounted a simultaneous two-pronged attack after reaching the militia positions. After a heavy fire fight, the hostages were released and flown back to the capital Freetown. [123] One member of the SAS rescue team was killed during the operation. [124]

Following the September 11 attacks by al-Qaeda in 2001, the U.S. and its allies began the "War on Terror" an international campaign to defeat Islamist terrorism.

War in Afghanistan (2001–present) Edit

Operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda and other terrorists groups in Afghanistan began in October 2001. In mid-October 2001, A and G squadron of 22 SAS (at the time D squadron was SP duty, while B squadron was overseas on a long-term training exercise), reinforced by members of the 21 and 23 SAS, deployed to northwestern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan under the command of CENTCOM. They conducted largely uneventful reconnaissance tasks under the codename Operation Determine, none of these tasks resulted in enemy contact they travelled in Land Rover Desert Patrol Vehicles (known as Pinkies) and modified ATVs. After a fortnight and with missions drying up, both squadrons returned to their barracks in the UK. After political intersession with Prime minister Tony Blair, the SAS were given a direct-action task – the destruction of an al-Qaeda-linked opium plant in southern Afghanistan, their mission was codenamed Operation Trent. Both A and G squadron successfully completed the mission in 4 hours with only 4 soldiers wounded, it marked the regiments first wartime HALO parachute jump and the operation was the largest British SAS operation in history. Following Operation Trent, the SAS were deployed on uneventful reconnaissance tasks in the Dasht-e Margo desert, returning to Hereford in mid-December 2001 however, small numbers of Territorial SAS from both regiments remained in the country to provide close protection for members of MI6. One newspaper fuelled myth was that a British SAS squadron was at the Battle of Tora Bora, in fact, the only UKSF involved in the Battle was the SBS. [125] [126] In mid-December, the SAS escorted a reconnaissance and liaison team on a four-day visit to Kabul. The team was led by Brigadier Barney White-Spunner (commander of 16th Air Assault Brigade), who would assess the logistical challenges, and advise the composition of a UN-mandated force to 'assist in the maintenance of security for Kabul and its surrounding area', also in command of the team was Brigadier Peter Wall (from PJHQ) who would negotiate with the Northern Alliance. [127]

On 7 January 2002, an SAS close-protection team escorted Prime minister Tony Blair and his wife whilst they met with Afghan President Karzai at Bagram Airfield. [128] In 2002 the SAS was involved in operations in the Kwaja Amran mountain range in Ghazni Province and the Hada Hills near Spin Boldak, inserting by helicopter at night, storming villages and grabbing suspects for interrogation. [110] During the period of Operation Jacana, a large proportion of the SAS contingent in Afghanistan fell victim to illness that affected hundreds of other British troops at Bagram Airfield, many had to be quarantined. [129] For his conduct whilst leading the SAS in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002, Lieutenant Colonel Ed Butler was awarded the DSO. [130] Over the next three years, the SAS, operating with an Afghan counternarcotics force (which they trained and mentored) conducted frequent raids into Helmand province, closely coordinated with the ISAF-led PRT (Provisional Reconstruction Effort), which aimed to assist in creating the conditions for the building of a non-narco-based economy, while improving the political link between the province and the new government in Kabul. These efforts were later reinforced in 2004 by the New Zealand SAS, which patrolled northern Helmand in support of the US PRT efforts. During this period, the SAS teams and the US PRT gained a close familiarity with the province and its people, via a combination of 'hearts and minds'-focused patrolling and precise counternarcotics raiding, which focused on the traders/businessmen rather than poor farmers. They supported their missions with a field hospital, complete with specialist staff (as well as the occasional intelligence specialist), who offered medical assistance to Afghans-a programmed known as MEDCAP. This approach was said to have won over many Helmandis. [131]

In May 2003, G squadron deployed to Iraq to replace B and D squadron at the same time they deployed around a dozen of its soldiers to Afghanistan, every 22nd SAS squadron had this deployment establishment until 2005. [132] Also that year, it was revealed that reserve soldiers from 21 and 23 SAS Regiments were deployed, where they helped to establish a communications network across Afghanistan and also acted as liaison teams between the various political groups, NATO and the Afghan government. [133] SAS reservists supported the British PRT in Mazar-e-Sharif that was established in July 2003 and staffed by 100 members of the Royal Anglian Regiment. [134]

After it was decided to deploy British troops to Helmand Province, PJHQ tasked A Squadron 22 SAS to conduct a reconnaissance of the province between April and May 2005. The review was led by Mark Carleton-Smith, who found the province largely at peace due to the brutal rule of Sher Mohammad Akhundzada, and a booming opium-fuelled economy that benefited the pro-government warlords. In June he reported back to the MoD warning them not to remove Akhundzada and against the deployment of a large British force which would likely cause conflict where none existed. [135] [136] In spring 2005, as part of a deployment re-balance, the Director of Special Forces decided to only deploy the 22nd SAS regiment to Iraq until at least the end of operations there, whilst British special forces deployments to Afghanistan would be the responsibility of the SBS before this, a troop from an SAS squadron deployed to Iraq would be detached and deployed to Afghanistan. [137]

In June 2008 a Land Rover transporting Corporal Sarah Bryant and 23 SAS territorial soldiers Corporal Sean Reeve and Lance Corporals Richard Larkin and Paul Stout hit a mine in Helmand province, killing all four. [138] In October Major Sebastian Morley, their commander in Afghanistan D Squadron 23 SAS, resigned over what he described as "gross negligence" on the part of the Ministry of Defence that contributed to the deaths of four British troops under his command. Morley stated that the MoD's failure to properly equip his troops with adequate equipment forced them to use lightly armoured Snatch Land Rovers to travel around Afghanistan. [139] SAS reservists were withdrawn from frontline duty in 2010. [133] In December 2016, ABC news reported that the DEA's FAST (Foreign-Deployed Advisory Support Teams) teams initially operated in Afghanistan alongside the SAS to destroy small opium processing labs in remote areas of southern Afghanistan. [140]

Following the end of Operation Crichton in Iraq in 2009, two SAS squadrons were deployed to Afghanistan, where the Regiment would focus its operations. [141] The main objective of the SAS and other British special forces units with Afghan forces embedded was targeting Taliban leaders and drug barons using "Carrot and stick" tactics. [142] In 2010, the SAS also took part in Operation Moshtarak, four-man SAS teams and U.S. Army Special Forces team ODA 1231 would perform "find, fix, strike" raids. These resulted in the deaths of 50 Taliban leaders in the area according to NATO, but did not seem to have any real adverse effect on the Taliban's operations. [ citation needed ] According to the London Sunday Times, as of March 2010 the United Kingdom Special Forces have suffered 12 killed and 70 seriously injured in Afghanistan and seven killed and 30 seriously injured in Iraq. [143] [Note 2]

In 2011, a senior British officer in Afghanistan confirmed that the SAS were "taking out 130–140 mid-level Taliban commanders every month." [144] On 12 July 2011, soldiers from the SAS captured two British-Afghans in a hotel in Herat they were trying to join either the Taliban or al-Qaeda and are believed to be the first Britons to be captured alive in Afghanistan since 2001. [145] [146] British newspapers that drew on WikiLeaks data revealed the existence of a joint SBS/SAS task force based in Kandahar that was dedicated to conducting operations against targets on the JPEL British Apache helicopters were frequently assigned to support this task force. [147]

On 28 May 2012, two teams: one from the SAS and another from DEVGRU carried out Operation Jubilee: the rescue of a British aid worked and 3 other hostages after they were captured by bandits and held in two separate caves in the Koh-e-Laram forest, Badakhshan Province, the assault force killed 11 gunmen and rescued all 4 hostages. [148]

In December 2014, the NATO officially ended combat operations in Afghanistan, however NATO personnel are remaining in the country to support Afghan forces in the new phase of the War in Afghanistan. The Telegraph reported that around 100 British Special Forces members including members of the SAS would remain in Afghanistan, along with US Special Forces in a counter-terrorist task force continuing to hunt down senior Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders. They are also assigned their to protect British officials and troops remaining in the country. [149] In December 2015, it was reported that 30 members of the SAS alongside 60 US special forces operators joined the Afghan Army in the Battle to retake parts of Sangin from Taliban insurgents. [150]

Kashmir conflict Edit

In 2002, a team comprising Special Air Service and Delta Force personnel was sent into Indian-administered Kashmir to hunt for Osama bin Laden after reports that he was being sheltered by the Kashmiri militant group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. US officials believed that Al-Qaeda was helping organize a campaign of terror in Kashmir to provoke conflict between India and Pakistan. [151]

Iraq War Edit

The SAS took part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq under the codename: Operation Row, which was part of CJSOTF-West (Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – West) [152] B and D Squadrons carried out operations in Western Iraq [153] and Southern Iraq towards the end of the invasion, they escorted MI6 officers into Baghdad from Baghdad International Airport so they could carry out their missions, both Squadrons were replaced by G Squadron in early May. The US military designated the SAS element in Iraq during the invasion as Task Force 14 [154] in the months following the invasion, the SAS moved from Baghdad International Airport to MSS Fernandez in Baghdad, setting up and linking its "property" next to Delta Force, in summer 2003, following a request for a new mission, the SAS began Operation Paradoxical: The broadly drawn operation was for the SAS to hunt down threats to the coalition, SAS were 'joined at the hip' with Delta Force and JSOC, it also gave them greater latitude to work with US "classified" forces – prosecuting the best available intelligence. However, in winter 2003, they were placed under the command of the Chief of Joint Operations in Northwood, due to scepticism of Whitehall members about the UK mission in Iraq – making it more difficult for the SAS to work with JSOC. [155]

By 2004, The various 22nd SAS regiment squadrons would be part of Task Fore Black to fight against the Iraqi Insurgency, General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of NATO forces in Iraq, has commented on A Squadron 22 SAS Regiment when part of Task Force Black/Knight (subcomponents of Task Force 145), carried out 175 combat missions during a six-month tour of duty. [156] In January 2004, Major James Stenner and Sergeant Norman Patterson were killed when their vehicle hit a concrete roadblock whilst driving through the Green Zone at night the SAS's targets during this period (before it was integrated into JSOC in late 2005 to early 2006) were former Ba'athist party regime elements. By early 2005, the SAS supplemented their land rover and Snatch vehicles with M1114 Humvee's for better protection in southern Iraq, the SAS maintained a detachment in called Operation Hathor: consisting of a handful of soldiers based with British forces in Basra. Their primary role was to protect SIS (MI6) officers and to conduct surveillance and reconnaissance for the British Battle Group. In June 2005, after Delta Force took a number of casualties during Operation Snake Eyes, McChrystal asked the UK's DSF whether UK Special Forces would be able to assist, but he declined, citing ongoing British concerns about JSOCs detention facilities and other operational issues such as rules of engagement. This caused conflict between the DSF and the then-new commander of 22 SAS, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Williams, who believed the SAS were wasting their time targeting Ba'athist regime elements and advocated for a closer relationship with JSOC, tensions between them escalated throughout the summer of 2005. Williams met with McChrystal, whom he had a good relationship with, to discuss how he could get the SAS to work more closely with Delta Force and JSOC McChrystal met with the DSF and explained to him what JSOC was trying to do in Iraq, but the DSF questioned the tactics and in summary, strained relations further. The DSF tried to have Williams transferred, he took the case to General Sir Mike Jackson, Chief of the General Staff, citing a long list of grievances, but his request did not command widespread support at the end of 2005, the DSF was replaced. Many of issues preventing the SAS and TF (Task Force) Black's integration with JSOC had been resolved by the end of 2005 and TF Black began working more closely with JSOC. By late 2005, British commanders decided that the SAS would do six-month tours of duty, instead of the previous 4-month tours, it was officially confirmed in March 2006. Due to the Basra prison incident, in which the name of the UKSF forces in Iraq 'Task force Black' was leaked to the press, the force was renamed 'Task force Knight' also in 2005, the regiment began using specially trained dogs, specifically during raids on houses in Baghdad. [157] [158]

In mid-January 2006, Operation Paradoxical was replaced by Operation Traction: the SAS update/integration into JSOC, they deployed TGHG (Task Group Headquarters Group): this included senior officers and other senior members of 22 SAS – to JSOCs base at Balad. This was the first deployment of TGHG to Iraq since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the upgrade now meant that the SAS were "joined at the hip" with JSOC and it gave the SAS a pivatol role against Sunni militant groups, particularly AQI [159] In March 2006, members of B squadron SAS were involved in the release of peace activists Norman Kember, James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden. The three men had been held hostage in Iraq for 118 days during the Christian Peacemaker hostage crisis. [160] in April 2006 B squadron, launched Operation Larchwood 4 which was an intelligence coup which led to the death of AQI's leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In November 2006, Sergeant Jon Hollingsworth was killed in Basra whilst assaulting a house containing a senior al-Qaeda member he was decorated for his service in this unit. [161] On 20 March 2007 G squadron raided a house in Basra and captured Qais Khazali a senior Shia militant and an Iranian proxy, his brother and Ali Mussa Daqduq, without casualties. The raid turned out to be most significant raid conducted by British forces in Iraq, gaining valuable intelligence on Iranian involvement in the Shia insurgency. During the Spring and summer of 2007, the SAS suffered several men seriously wounded as it extended its operations into Sadr City. [162] From 2007 to early 2008, A squadron achieved "extraordinary" success impact in destroying al-Qaeda's VIBED network in Iraq, ultimately saving lives. [163] In early 2008, B squadron carried out the regiments first HAHO parachute assault in Iraq. [164] In May 2008, the SAS replaced their Humvee's for new Bushmaster armoured vehicles. [165] On 30 May 2009, Operation Crichton the UKSF deployment to Iraq ended, [166] over the course of the war, 6 SAS soldiers were killed and a further 30 injured. [167]

Somalia and Yemen Edit

In 2009, members of the SAS and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment were deployed to Djibouti as part of Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa to carry out operations against Islamist terrorists in Yemen and Somalia amid concerns that the countries were becoming alternative bases for the extremists. In Yemen they operate as part of a counter-terrorism training unit and assisting in missions to kill or capture AQAP leaders, in particular they were hunting down for the terrorists behind the Cargo planes bomb plot. The SAS was carrying out surveillance missions of British citizens believed to be travelling to Yemen and Somalia for terrorist training and they are also working with US counterparts observing and "targeting" local terror suspects. [168] [169] Also in Yemen, the SAS was also liaising with local commandos and provided protection to embassy personnel. [170]

Members of the British SAS and US Army Special Forces trained members of the Yemeni Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU). Following the collapse of the Hadi regime in 2015, all coalition special operations personnel were officially withdrawn. [171]

International military intervention against ISIL Edit

In August 2014, the SAS were reported to be part of Operation Shader – the British participation in the ongoing military intervention against ISIL. They were reported to be on the ground gathering intelligence and helping with the evacuation of Yazidi refugees from the Sinjar mountains. [172] Also they have reportedly been helping Kurdish forces in northern Iraq [173] [174] as well as carrying out operations in Syria. In particular on 15 May, the SAS confirmed the presence in al-Amr of a senior leader, Abu Sayyaf, who was then killed in an assault by US Special Forces. [175] In October 2016, the Guardian reported that the SAS along with the Australian SASR are active in northern Iraq with US forces, where they have been calling in airstrikes in support of both Kurdish and Iraqi advances against ISIL. [176] In November 2016, the Independent reported that the SAS and other British special forces, as part of a multinational special forces operation, were given a list of 200 British jihadist to kill or capture before they attempt to return to the UK. The 200 jihadist are senior members of ISIL that pose a direct threat to the UK, the list of British men and women has been compiled from intelligence supplied by MI5, MI6 and GCHQ Sources said SAS soldiers have been told that the mission could be the most important in the regiment's 75-year history. [177] SAS snipers targeted ISIL insurgents, employing sniper rifles such as the IWI DAN .338 [178] and Barrett M82A1 .50 BMG.

Libya (2014–present) Edit

Since the beginning of 2016, the SAS was deployed to Libya during Libyan Civil War (2014–present), along with other UK Special forces, they have been escorting teams of MI6 agents to meet with Libyan officials and organise the supplying weapons and training to the Libyan army and to militias fighting against ISIL. [179] [180]

In March 2011, a joint SAS-MI6 team (E Squadron [181] were captured and detained by Libyan rebels, during the 2011 Libyan civil war. The team were stripped of their weapons. They were moved between at least two locations near Benghazi. They were later released. [182] The BBC reported that a troop of 20 soldiers of D Squadron 22 SAS deployed to Eastern Libya, where they operated in small groups in places like Misrata and Brega they assisted in training, coordinating and commanding opposition groups on and off the front line, and they were very active directing NATO airstrikes. [183] [184]


Amphibious Lessons Learned - Operation Husky 10 July 1943

The beach organisation was better than 'Torch' but there were still problems caused, mainly by human error. One example was the misuse of the miraculous DUKW, a 2.5 ton American amphibious lorry. Those carrying troops should have deposited them on or near to the landing beaches but chose to deliver their human cargo close to the front line. The congestion in the narrow Sicilian streets and roads was chaotic, at a time when the movement of supplies and weapons was a priority. One DUKW was loaded with 10 tons of ammunition, when the limit was a quarter of this. To the considerable consternation of the driver, his DUKW disappeared below the waves as he left the ramp!

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Improved waterproofing of vehicles and recovery measures for stranded or broken down craft, reduced losses to as little as 1.5% on the British beaches. On the more exposed western beaches, losses were around 12%. The small harbour of Licata had a greater ship handling capacity than thought and this relieved pressure on supplies and communications, as well as reducing dependence on Syracuse and Augusta.

Human errors of judgement in the management and control of men and materials, through the landing beaches, caused delays and loss of effectiveness. This unenviable and arduous job was that of Beachmaster. There was critical comment from senior staff about the selection criteria, recruitment and authority of the post holder. However, by the time of the Normandy landings, they had gained in respect and authority. One beachmaster is reputed to have ordered a general to "Get off my bloody beach!"

"Beachmasters and assistant beachmasters should be men of personality, experience and adequate seniority, capable of exercising complete control in the dark." (McGrigor).

"Naval Beachmasters should be preferably bad tempered and certainly dictatorial by nature." (Henriques).

"The Brick (Beach) Commander must be King of the Brick (Beach) area" (Maund).

"Some of the American Beachmasters are too junior and too polite to Generals." (General Wedemeyer of Eisenhower's staff).

There were abuses in the deployment of men and materials. One divisional commander re-deployed men engaged on shifting supplies. Within 12 hours, they were on the front line. He later complained about delays in supplies reaching the front lines! Too many senior officers, who should have known better, regarded the Beach Groups as a "God-sent pool of everything." Later reports from different sources criticised this phase of the operation.

The Americans had a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the landing of men and materials. This required all the men and materials for the first battalion to go ashore, to be carried on one ship. However, there was no ship capable of carrying all the landing craft needed, so other landing craft were drafted in from nearby ships.

This arrangement required a high degree of training and complete immunity from enemy interference. Potentially, as landing craft moved around in the dark, going from one vessel to another, some might get lost and others delayed. Henriques put his concerns to Patton, who seriously considered adopting the British technique but decided that it was too near the operational date to make last-minute changes. In the event, thorough rehearsals by the Americans and the lack of opposition from the enemy,enabled the system to work.

Under the British system, the troops, their equipment and the landing craft they needed to reach the beaches, were distributed amongst a number of ships so that each was self contained and able to independently disembark their cargoes in their own landing craft. Under these arrangements, there was no need to use landing craft from other ships, thus avoiding the inherent difficulties mentioned earlier. Truscott's landings, using the British method, were particularly successful. Principles for amphibious landings honed and developed over years of Combined Operations experience, were put into practice. Henriques attributed his success to

speed coupled with a due allowance of time for the beach group to develop the beaches uninterrupted,

surprise in that a substantial proportion of infantry were ordered to by pass resistance and effect, with utmost speed, a deep penetration into the high ground that commanded the prospective bridgehead and its approaches,

the mobilisation and concentration of every possible means of fire support for the initial landings,

the provision of specially equipped and specially trained assault troops to fight in the units in which they disembarked,

the sacrifice of normal military organisation to this end,

the retention of a very powerful floating reserve,

adequate and carefully planned rehearsal with a due allowance of time for correction of faults,

planning in minute detail which engendered sufficient confidence to confront unforeseen problems with flexibility.

Henriques was also very impressed with US Navy crews. "Their coolness and discipline were quite outstanding and could never be forgotten by any of the soldiers taking part in the operation."

Other lessons were learned from the Americans. Whereas the British basic beach group unit was an infantry battalion, the Americans had an Engineer Shore Unit with a high proportion of technically qualified men. Such skills were invaluable in quickly resolving unforeseen problems in the area of the beachhead. In addition, the Americans had an efficient and effective method of loading store ships, with groups of stores secured together for loading into DUKWs for easier dispatch to the shore.


Update for May 2018 at HistoryofWar.org: Italian campaign, Spanish battle of Peninsular War, Defence Logistics, Sertorian War, Lockheed Aircraft, German Artillery, Wickes class destroyers, USAAF fighter groups

Update for May 2018 at HistoryofWar.org: Italian campaign, Spanish battle of Peninsular War, Defence Logistics, Sertorian War, Lockheed Aircraft, German Artillery, Wickes class destroyers, USAAF fighter groups

This month we complete our look at the Allied invasion of Sicily, and move onto the main Italian campaign, added our overview of the entire campaign and articles on the initial Eighth Army landings.

For the Napoleonic Wars we look at a series of mainly Spanish battles during the first few months of 1813, when the guerrilla bands of the north-east seriously threatened the French position.

We complete our series on defence logistics in Military History, adding the final three parts of the series, taking us through the World Wars and Cold War periods and on to the current situation.

We also complete our long series on the French Wars of Religion, reaching the end of the Ninth War and the Edict of Nantes.

Our series on the Sertorian War looks at the key period of 76-75 BC where Sertorius faced Metellus Pius and Pompey and was unable to win the sort of crushing victory he needed to survive.

In military technology we look at a series of minor Lockheed transport aircraft, some large calibre German artillery and more Wickes class destroyers.

In the air we add another six USAAF Fighter Groups of the Second World War, which between them cover almost the entire US involvement in the Second World War, from the Aleutians to North Africa, and New Guinea to attacks on Formosa.

Operation Narcissus (10 July 1943) was an SAS raid carried out to support the Eighth Army landings on Sicily.

Operation Chestnut (12-19 July 1943) was an unsuccessful attempt by the SAS to disrupt Axis communications in northern Sicily, to support the Allied invasion of Sicily.

Operation Husky No.2 (11-12 July 1943) was an almost disastrous attempt to fly reinforcements to the US paratroops dropped on Sicily in Operation Husky No.1.

Operation Fustian (13-14 July 1943) was an airborne assault on the Primosole Bridge, a key point on the coastal road to Catania, that didn’t go entirely to plan, and triggered a three day long battle to secure a bridgehead across the river.

The Italian Campaign ( 3 September 1943-2 May 1945 ) was one of the hardest fought and most controversial offensives carried out by the Western Allies during the Second World War, and saw the Germans fight a skilful delaying action that lasted from September 1943 until the end of the war in the spring of 1945.

Operation Baytown (3 September 1943) was the first stage in the Allied invasion of Italy, and saw Montgomery’s Eighth Army cross from Sicily to nearby Calabria.

Operation Hooker (8 September 1943) was an outflanking attack carried out by the Eighth Army in order to speed up their advance up Calabria.

The combat of Tiebas (9 February 1813) saw the Spanish guerrilla leader Mina defeat a French force that was attempting to lift the siege of Tafalla (to 12 February 1813), and was quickly followed by the fall of the town.

The combat of Poza de la Sal (10-11 February 1813) saw the Spanish guerrillas of Longa ambush the headquarters of Palombini’s division, which held out until reinforcements arrived and forced the Spanish to retreat.

The capture of Fuenterrabia (11 March 1813) was a daring exploit carried out by a force of Spanish guerrillas and saw them capture and destroy the castle at Fuenterrabia, within sight of France.

The combat of Lerin (30 March 1813) was a major victory for the Spanish troops of Mina, and gave Mina control of large parts of Navarre for almost a month.

The siege of Castro-Urdiales (22 March-12 May 1813) saw the French recapture a port that had fallen to a joint Anglo-Spanish force in the summer of 1812, but only after suffering a series of setbacks largely caused by underestimating the difficulty of the task.

The combat of San Pelayo (24 March 1813) saw the Spanish under Mendizabal attempt to defeat the French forces preparing to besiege Castro-Urdiales, but ended as a costly draw.

Defence Logistics in Military History (2 of 4) – An Analysis: placing the development of logistics into its proper historical context

Defence Logistics in Military History (3 of 4) – An Analysis: placing the development of logistics into its proper historical context: Part 3 focuses on the Second World War and Cold War.

Defence Logistics in Military History (4 of 4) – An Analysis: placing the development of logistics into its proper historical context: Part 4 focuses on the later Cold War and post Cold War periods.

The siege of Lacobriga (78 BC) saw Sertorius outwit Metellus and foil his attempt to capture the chief city of one of Sertorius’s Spanish allies.

The siege of Lauro or Lauron (76 BC) saw Sertorius outwit Pompey and force him to watch helpless while the city fell to him and was destroyed (Sertorian War).

The battle of Italica Hispalis (76 BC) was the first of two recorded victories won by Metellus Pius over Sertorius’s able lieutenant Hirtuleius, and came while Sertorius himself was campaigning in eastern Spain.

The battle of Segovia (75 BC) was one of the most significant battles of the Sertorian War, and saw Metellus Pius defeat and kill Sertorius’s most able lieutenant Hirtuleius.

The battle of Valentia (75 BC) saw Pompey defeat two of Sertorius’s subordinates and capture the city of Valentia, giving him a successful start to the campaign of 75 BC that he wasn’t able to turn into a successful conclusion to the war.

The battle of the Sucro (75 BC) was an inconclusive clash between Pompey and Sertorius, but Sertorius was forced to retreat on the following day after Roman reinforcements arrived.

The Lockheed C-111 Super Electra was the designation given to four Lockheed Model 14-WF62s that were impressed by the USAAF after they reached Australia after escaping from the Dutch East Indies.

The Lockheed XR4O was the designation given to a single example of the Lockheed Super Electra that was used by the US Navy.

The Lockheed C-85 was the designation given to a single Model 9 Orion that was impressed into the USAAF in 1942-44.

The Lockheed C-101 ‘Vega’ was the designation given to a single example of the Lockheed Vega that was impressed by the USAAF in 1942

The 17cm Kanone 18 was one of two parallel Krupp designs to use the same double recoil system, and soon replaced the 21cm mortar variant as the main production version.

The 21cm Mörser 18 was one of two parallel Krupp designs using a double recoil system, and was phased out in 1942 in favour of the longer ranged 17cm Kanone 18.

The 15cm Kanone (Eisenbahn) was the smallest calibre railway gun produced by the German Army during the period of rearmament in the 1930s, but only a handful were produced because it wasn’t a powerful enough weapon to be worth the effort.

The 17cm Kanone (Eisenbahn) was a slightly larger version of the 15cm K (E), but wasn’t powerful enough to be worth the effort required to produce it, and only a handful were ever built.

Wickes class destroyers

USS Renshaw (DD-176) was a Wickes class destroyer that had a very brief active career at the start of the 1920s.

USS O'Bannon (DD-177) was a Wickes class destroyer that had a very short service career at the start of the 1920s.

USS Hogan (DD-178/ DMS-6) was a Wickes class destroyer that took part in Operation Torch, and the invasions of the Marshalls, Mariannas, Luzon and Iwo Jima.

USS Howard (DD-179/ DMS-7) was a Wickes class destroyer that served as a minesweeper during Operation Torch, on convoy escort duties in 1943 and in the campaigns in the Pacific in 1944-45.

The 48th Fighter Group served as a replacement training unit, before joining the Ninth Air Force in Britain in the spring of 1944 and taking part in the campaign to liberate Europe.

The 49th Fighter Group took part in the defence of Australia, the long campaign on New Guinea, the return to the Philippines and raids against Formosa and the China coast.

The 50th Fighter Group served with various training commands in the US, before moving to Britain to take part in the liberation of Europe in 1944-45.

The 52nd Fighter Group was one of the first units to join the Eighth Air Force in Britain, before moving to North Africa for Operation Torch. It then spent the rest of the war operating in the Mediterranean theatre.

The 53rd Fighter Group served in the Panama Canal Zone and as a training unit, before being disbanded in 1944.

The 54th Fighter Group was mainly used as a training unit in the US, but also took briefly took part in the campaign in the Aleutian Islands in 1942.

Ninth War of Religion

The siege of La Fère (November 1595-16 May 1596) saw Henry IV capture the last Spanish outpost south of the Somme, but while he was engaged in the siege the Spanish were able to capture Calais.

The fall of Amiens (11 March 1597) saw the city fall to the Spanish after they used a trick to get through the city gates.

The siege of Amiens (April-25 September 1597) was the last major campaign of the Ninth War of Religion, and saw Henry IV recapture the city after it had fallen to a Spanish ruse earlier in the year.

The edict of Nantes (13 April 1598) was the final religious settlement that came Henry IV’s victory in the Ninth War of Religion, and gave the Huguenots a series of political, social and religious rights and produced a period of comparative religious peace that lasted for almost a century.

Starts with his inter-war account of his First World War experiences, then moves on to the Second World War, with some material on the 1940 campaign and the defence of France, but with the largest section covering his famous campaigns in the desert of North Africa. Includes private letters, official reports and published works, giving us a range of Rommel’s public and private views

A very ‘up close’ study of the combat experiences of the 504th PIR, covering the advance to the Winter Line, the fighting at the Barbara and Bernhardt Lines and the regiments’ participation at Anzio. Very good on the day-to-day experiences of the combat troops, perhaps not so good on putting them in the wider context

A overview of the British Commandos, focusing on what made them different to the regular army, the sort of skills they were required to have, the training that made sure they gained them, and the wide range of equipment that they carried into combat. Also includes a good ‘On Campaign’ section that gives an overview of the sort of experiences the Commandos underwent in combat, but focuses mainly on their training and skills

Looks at the role of the Rhodesia SAS in the long struggle to maintain white minority rule. A good example of how a military organisation can be almost entirely successful within its own terms, while at the same time losing the war, as large areas of Rhodesia became ‘no go’ zones for the white population. An interesting study of what the Rhodesian SAS did, perhaps less successful on what they hoped to achieve

A splendid study of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard, the most famous part of his military machine, taking us into their daily life as Napoleon’s favoured elite, and following its evolution from a small bodyguard for the Consuls into a massive army within an army, serving as the elite and the reserve of Napoleons army, and playing an increasingly important combat role as the wars turned against Napoleon. Follows the wars from the Guard’s point of view, so we get a fairly uncritical view of Napoleon, reflecting how they saw him.

A fascinating look at the Luftwaffe’s fight against the Allied bombers, based around a series of interviews carried out with key figures in the Luftwaffe just after the end of the war. As a result it gives us an idea of what they thought about the battle in its immediate aftermath, and before their stories began to change in the post-war years. A very valuable primary source for anyone interesting in the Second World War bombing campaigns

Looks at the state of the French army at the start of 1917, the hopes raised by Nivelle when he took command, the failure of his offensive and the crisis of morale caused by that failure. Includes interesting material on how Nivelle and his team were able to ignore the evidence that there were problems with their plan, and on how Petain managed to undo the damage to the French army in remarkably little time

Looks at the short and almost disastrous Russian invasion of the Ottoman Empire, which ended with Peter the Great and his army trapped on the Pruth and forced to surrender on Ottoman terms. Covers the various armies involved on both sides, the commanders, the aims of the two main commanders and the course of the short, and for Peter, almost disastrous war. Despite some victories away from the main front, the war could have ended with Peter’s power greatly diminished and he was lucky to be offered rather generous terms

The autobiography of one of the leading figures in the battle against Germany’s increasingly advanced mines and torpedoes, a key part of the battle of the Atlantic, allowing the British to overcome a series of German ‘secret weapons’ that might otherwise have cut the vital sea lanes to Britain. This comes across as one of the most dangerous research jobs of the Second World War, and many of the author’s colleagues were killed while trying to disarm and dismantle these weapons

Looks at the Boer invasion of Natal, the siege of Ladysmith and the efforts to raise the siege, with an emphasis on the role of troops raised in Natal and on the fate of the civilian population of the area. Perhaps a bit too hostile to the Boers and critical of British officers, but excellent on its core subject - the contribution of the people of Natal to their own defence in the face of hostile invasion

Very good on the nitty gritty of the fighting carried out by Bohmler’s paratroops, who were responsible for much of the determined defence of Cassino monastery and town, so we get a good feel for the day-to-day experience of the paratroops. Not so strong on the overall picture or the political background, which is sometimes dominated by a desire to rehabilitate the reputation of the German army in a Cold War context

A biography of one of the most remarkable men to serve with the SAS and SBS during the Second World War, an exiled Dane who went on to win the MC and two bars and the Victoria Cross, looking at his military career and his character, and producing a picture of a more complex than expected man, who inflicted a great deal of damage on the Germans, especially in the Aegean


By NHHC

On the morning of 10 July 1943, American and British troops stormed ashore on the beaches of Sicily in the initial stages of Operation Husky, the first major amphibious operation to employ landing ships and craft. Army troops were landed in LCVPs (landing craft, vehicle, personnel), while their heavy equipment, including jeeps and tanks, were transported in the much larger LSTs (landing ship, tank).

Most of the Sicilian beaches were fronted by “false beaches”—sand bars positioned dozens of yards offshore that were covered by a few feet of water. These sand bars were high enough to prevent the LSTs from passing over them on their way into the beach. Between these false beaches and the shore were “runnels”—lagoons deep enough to drown vehicles attempting to wade ashore from the sand bars.

Rear Admiral Richard L. Conolly—who commanded the landing of the American troops at Licata and was also responsible for organizing the landing ships and craft being assembled for Husky and training their crews—puzzled over how this problem could be solved. While on a quick trip back to the U.S. East Coast, he visited the Navy facility at Quonset, Rhode Island, where he had the opportunity to see pontoons being tested. After talking about the issue with the officer in charge and mulling things over, Admiral Conolly determined that if pontoons somehow could be joined together and attached to the LSTs, they could be employed as makeshift causeways over which heavy equipment could be driven safely to the beach from the ships that had grounded on the sand bars.

Testing revealed that the pontoons could be hinged to the sides of the landing ships, and that once the LSTs had grounded offshore, they could be lowered, hooked together, and attached to the ships’ bows. This innovation worked so successfully during Operation Husky that it was quickly adopted for use in all subsequent amphibious operations where the LSTs were unable to beach themselves completely. кредит онлайн


Battle of Kursk

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Battle of Kursk, (July 5–August 23, 1943), unsuccessful German assault on the Soviet salient around the city of Kursk, in western Russia, during World War II. The salient was a bulge in the Soviet lines that stretched 150 miles (240 km) from north to south and protruded 100 miles (160 km) westward into the German lines. In an attempt to recover the offensive on the Eastern Front, the Germans planned a surprise attack on the salient from both north and south, hoping to surround and destroy the Soviet forces within the bulge. The German assault forces consisted of almost 50 divisions containing 900,000 troops, including 17 motorized or armoured divisions having 2,700 tanks and mobile assault guns. But the Soviets had surmised the German attack beforehand and had withdrawn their main forces from the obviously threatened positions within the salient. The Germans launched their attack on July 5, but they soon encountered deep antitank defenses and minefields, which the Soviets had emplaced in anticipation of the attack. The Germans advanced only 10 miles (16 km) into the salient in the north and 30 miles (48 km) in the south, losing many of their tanks in the process. At the height of the battle on July 12, the Soviets began to counterattack, having built up by then a marked preponderance of both troops and tanks. Their subsequent successes encouraged them to develop a broad offensive that recovered the nearby city of Orel (now Oryol) on August 5 and that of Kharkov (now Kharkiv, Ukraine) on August 23. The Battle of Kursk was the largest tank battle in history, involving some 6,000 tanks, 2,000,000 troops, and 4,000 aircraft. It marked the decisive end of the German offensive capability on the Eastern Front and cleared the way for the great Soviet offensives of 1944–45.


Operation Narcissus, 10 July 1943 - History

The 379th Bomb Group was activated November 26, 1942, at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. It consisted of four squadrons of B-17s, the 524th, 525th, 526th and 527th. Overseas movement began in April, and in May the 379th arrived at Kimbolton, England, AAF Station 117. Its first combat mission was the bombing of German U-boat pens at St Nazaire, France, on May 29, 1943. Colonel Maurice A. Preston was the original commanding officer until October 10, 1944, when he became the commander of the 41st Combat Wing headquartered at Molesworth. Colonel Lewis E. Lyle then assumed command of the 379th Bomb Group until May 5, 1945, when he became commander of the 41st Combat Wing. Lt. Col. Lloyd C. Mason was then named commander of the 379th Bomb Group, and was followed by Lt. Col. Horace E. Frink.

Like many B-17 bases in England, the airfield at Kimbolton was originally a fighter base for the British. When it became evident Germany was not going to invade England, the RAF decided it didn't need many inland fighter bases and was happy to lease most of them to the United States as airfields for heavy bombers. The runways and perimeter ramps were too thin to accommodate the weight of our Flying Fortresses and Liberators, so the United States paid the British to repair and replace the runways to meet necessary specifications.

Click on the photo to enlarge picture and see planes taking off

The attached photo of the airfield as it was submitted by one of our associate members, Mark Ellis of Los Angeles. Some of the only remaining structures from years ago can be seen in the cluster of buildings in the low-center-right of the picture, not far from the road where the memorial to the 379th is located.

Click on the photo to enlarge the colored picture.

The 379th Bomb Group was one of 12 heavy Bombardment Groups in the First Bombardment Division of the United States 8th Air Force. All B-17s of every Group within the 1st Bombardment Division had a large triangle painted at the top of the vertical stabilizer. Each Group's assigned code letter was painted in the triangle. The 379th's planes were assigned the letter K, and were known as the Triangle K Group.

The 379th Bomb Group flew its first 300 missions in less time than any other heavy Bombardment Group. During all of its 330 bombing missions, it dropped 26,640 tons of bombs on enemy targets, shot down 315 enemy aircraft and lost 141 of its B-17s to enemy action.

Eighty of those 141 Fortresses were shot down between May 29, 1943, and March 31, 1944. The other 61 Fortresses were lost between April 1, 1944, and April 25, 1945. One record lists 345 Fortresses assigned to the 379th Bomb Group during World War II. It is very startling that more than 43% of those 345 Fortresses were lost to enemy fighters and anti-aircraft guns.

Information in the 8th Air Force News indicates the 379th Bomb Group lost one B-17 to enemy action for every 70 sorties flown, for a loss rate of one bomber for every 22 missions. This compares to 1 bomber lost per 30 sorties by the Group with most bad fortune, and 1 bomber lost per 230 sorties for the Group with the least bad fortune. The average loss rate for the 40 Bomb Groups was 1 bomber per 88 sorties.

The 379th led the 8th Air Force in bombing accuracy, flew more sorties than any other heavy Bomb Group and had a lower loss and abortive ratio than any unit in the 8th Air Force for an extended period of time. Some of its other accomplishments include: development of the 12-plane squadron formation and 36-plane integral Group, and use of a straight-line approach on the entire bomb run.

In May 1944 it was announced that the 379th had made an unprecedented "8th Air Force Operational Grand Slam" during the preceding month. This meant that during April the 379th was first in every phase of bombing in which Bomb Groups of the 8th Air Force were graded. The 379th Bomb Group was the only unit ever awarded the 8th Air Force Grand Slam, a very unique honor that included recognition of the following achievements:

1 - Best Bombing results (greatest percent of bombs on target)
2 - Greatest tonnage of bombs dropped on target
3 - Largest number of aircraft attacking
4 - Lowest losses of aircraft
5 - Lowest abortive rate of aircraft dispatched.

The 379th received two Presidential Unit Citations for its accomplishments in combat. The Group flew its last combat mission on April 25, 1945. The 379th Bomb Group remained active for two years, seven months and 29 days. During this period approximately 6,000 personnel were assigned to the Kimbolton airfield. The Group was deactivated on July 25, 1945, at Casablanca, Morocco, Africa.

(Data about the 379th Bomb Group is from "Screwball Express" and is printed here with the permission of Ken Cassens, author of the book, with all rights reserved)

SQUADRONS OF THE 379th BG (H):
524th Bombardment Squadron
525th Bombardment Squadron
526th Bombardment Squadron
527th Bombardment Squadron

Assigned 8th AAF: April 1943 - Wing/Command Assignment:
8th AF, 1st Bomb Division, 103 PCBW: May 1943
8th AF, 1st Bomb Division, 41st Combat Wing: 13 Sept.1943
1st Bomb Division, 41st Combat Wing: 8 Jan 1944
1st Air Division, 41st Combat Wing: 1 Jan 1945

Combat Aircraft:
B-17F
B-17G

Group COs: Col. Maurice A. Preston 26 November 1942 to October 1944
Col. Lewis E. Lyle 11 October 1944 to 5 May 1945

First Mission: 29 May 1943, St. Nazaire, France
Last Mission: 25 April 1945, Pilsen, Czechoslovakia
Total Sorties: 10,492
Total Bomb Tonnage: 26,460
Tons Aircraft MIA: 149

Stations:
Kimbolton 20May43 To 12Jul45 (Air Ech Bovingdon 24Apr43 to 21May1943

Claims to Fame:
Flew more sorties than any other Bomb Group in the 8th AF
Dropped a greater bomb tonnage than any other Group
Lower abortive rate than any other Group in action from 1943
Pioneered the 12-plane formation that became standard during 1944
"Ol Gappy" a B-17G, flew 157 missions, more than any other bomber in the 8th AF

Major Awards:
Distinguished Unit Citations - 28 May 1943 to 31 July 1944
Operations this period 11 Jan 1944 to all 1st Bomb Division
8th Air Force Operational Grand Slam - May 1944

Early History:
Activated 26 November 1942 at Gowen Field, Idaho. The Group assembled at Wendover Field, Utah on 2 December 1942. They trained there until 2 March 1943 then moved to Sioux City AAF, Iowa on 3 February 1943 until their departure 9 April 1943. The ground unit moved for final processing at Camp Douglas, Wisconsin and then to Camp Shanks, New York. They sailed on the Aquitania on 10 May 1943 and arrived at Clyde on 18 May 1943. The Aircraft left Sioux City, Iowa on 9 April 1943 and flew to Bangor, Maine via Kearney, Nebraska and Selfridge, Michigan. They commenced overseas movement on 15 April 1943 by the North Atlantic ferry route.

Subsequent History:
Scheduled to transport US troops from Europe to Casablanca. The unit moved to Casablanca in early June with the last aircraft flown back to the States and the Group inactivated at Casablanca on 25 July 1945. The unit was activated once again as a Strategic Air Command wing and assigned the first B-52H aircraft in 1962. Activated 379th Air Expeditionary Wing and converted to provisional status on 4 December 2001. The 379th AEW is also referred to as the Grand Slam Wing.


Re: Solomon Islands, 10 July, 1943 Pacific Operations

Post by PassandReviewofWW2 » 07 Aug 2019, 18:13

Re: Solomon Islands, 10 July, 1943 Pacific Operations

Post by PassandReviewofWW2 » 07 Aug 2019, 18:19

Re: Solomon Islands, 10 July, 1943 Pacific Operations

Post by PassandReviewofWW2 » 09 Aug 2019, 19:36

Re: Solomon Islands, 10 July, 1943 Pacific Operations

Post by PassandReviewofWW2 » 09 Aug 2019, 19:39

Re: Solomon Islands, 10 July, 1943 Pacific Operations

Post by PassandReviewofWW2 » 09 Aug 2019, 19:43

Re: Solomon Islands, 10 July, 1943 Pacific Operations

Post by PassandReviewofWW2 » 09 Aug 2019, 19:46

Cross Fire From South Pillbox to Point 526 Level Two Hill Hex Blocked by Jungle Terrain

Re: Solomon Islands, 10 July, 1943 Pacific Operations

Post by PassandReviewofWW2 » 15 Aug 2019, 19:23

Re: Solomon Islands, 10 July, 1943 Pacific Operations

Post by PassandReviewofWW2 » 15 Aug 2019, 19:42

Bamboo /Brush Rules Clarification:
1. The U S Player announces that 9-1 Leader with 3 Squads will Double Time /move to Level One Hill /Open Ground Hex and Enter Bamboo Hex Next to
Japanese Bunker.
2. When the U S Player moves into Level One Hill Open Ground Hex , Next to the Bamboo, the Japanese Player informs the U S Player, that to Enter
the Bamboo Hex, the U S Infantry Units CANNOT enter the Bamboo Hex, that represents Difficult Terrain.
3. The U S Infantry Units would have had to be NEXT to the Bamboo , during the Start of the U S Player Move Phase, even if CX,
After Entering the Bamboo during Move Phase, those Infantry Units may Move No Further during that Move Phase.
4. In Example Shown, U S Player Units would be considered to have Double Timed, /CX Status, but must stop in Level One Hill Open Ground Hex
before Bamboo Hex.
At the end of the U S Player Move Phase/Japanese Player Defensive Fire Phase
The US Player Advance Phase occurs and is NOT Part of Move Phase
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Advance Phase/ that occurs at the End of Player Turn/
a. Any Infantry Unit that Double Timed or became CX, during the Move Phase MAY NOT , Advance Phase Move One Hex into Bamboo,
b. Advance Phase differs from Move Phase, during Move Phase, a CX Infantry Unit, that begins Move Phase Next to Bamboo Hex COULD
Enter Bamboo Hex, to illustrate the difference in Move Phase and Advance Phase Move Factors


Historical Events on July 10

Lady Godiva

1040 Lady Godiva rides naked on horseback through Coventry, according to legend, to force her husband, the Earl of Mercia, to lower taxes

    The most severe of several early fires of London burns most of the city to the ground English "Good Parliament" ends, longest-sitting parliament at that time Wars of Roses: Richard of York defeats King Henry VI at Northampton

Treaty of Interest

1520 King Charles V France and King Henry VIII of England sign Treaty of Calais

Event of Interest

1553 Lady Jane Grey, daughter of the Duke of Suffolk, proclaimed Queen of England, succeeds Edward VI, who proclaimed his half-sisters illegitimate. Reigns for nine days.

    Battle on Eems: Dutch Water garrison beats Spanish Coronation of John III, King of Sweden Spanish army leader Richebourg conquers Liefkenshoek, Belgium Spanish theater plays "Moros y Los Cristianos" in Rio Grande Catholic German monarchy forms Catholic League

Event of Interest

1627 English fleet under George Villiers reach La Rochelle [NS=June 20]

Victory in Battle

1645 Battle at Langport, Somerset: Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army beats Royalists

    England declares war on The Netherlands - beginning of the 1st Anglo-Dutch war Battle of Beachy Head - French fleet defeat Anglo-Dutch fleet under Cornelis Evertsen

Event of Interest

1739 King George II authorises the Admiralty Board to seek maritime reprisals against Spain (War of Jenkin's Ear)

Event of Interest

1746 Bonnie Prince Charlie flees in disguise to Isle of Skye

Event of Interest

1762 Louis-François Roubiliac's monument to George Frideric Handel is unveiled at Westminster Abbey in London

Event of Interest

1775 Horatio Gates issues order excluding blacks from Continental Army

Declaration of War

1778 American Revolution: Louis XVI of France declares war on the Kingdom of Great Britain

Event of Interest

1780 The Comte de Rochambeau and his French force of 7,000 land at Newport, Rhode Island, to join the American Revolutionary War

Scientific Discovery

1796 Carl Friedrich Gauss discovers that every positive integer is representable as a sum of at most three triangular numbers

    The British Indian Government establishes the Fort William College to promote Urdu, Hindi and other vernaculars of sub continent The Vellore Mutiny is the first instance of a mutiny by Indian sepoys against the British East India Company President Jackson vetoed legislation to re-charter 2nd Bank of US Urbain Le Leverrier and John Couch Adams, co-discoverers of Neptune, meet for 1st time at home of John Herschel

Event of Interest

1850 Millard Fillmore sworn in as President of US (replacing Taylor)

Event of Interest

    Battle of Charleston, South Carolina (Morris Island) [->SEP 06] Battle of Jackson, Mississippi - captured by federals [->JUL 16]

Event of Interest

1873 French poet Paul Verlaine wounds Arthur Rimbaud with pistol

    The then villa of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, formally receives its city charter from the Royal Crown of Spain 1st Test Cricket to be played at Old Trafford 1st day washed out George Goldie gets charter for Royal Niger Company Wyoming becomes 44th state of US (1st with female suffrage) 1st concrete-paved street built (Bellefountaine, Ohio) Jean-Baptiste Marchands expedition reaches Fashoda at White Hippo

Event of Interest

1905 Dutch Queen Wilhelmina opens Technical Hague court

    H Kamerlingh Onnes makes helium liquid (-269°C) 105°F (41°C) at North Bridgton, Maine (state record) Hannes Kolehmainen runs world record 5000m (14:36.6) Romania declares war on Bulgaria World's official highest recorded temperature at Greenland Ranch, Death Valley, California at 134 °F (56.7 °C) British/South African troops march into German SW-Africa Emma Goldman imprisoned for obstructing draft Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic forms Dutch 1st Chamber approves woman suffrage

Treaty of Interest

1919 US President Woodrow Wilson personally delivers Treaty of Versailles to Senate

Event of Interest

1920 Tris Speaker is stopped at 11 consecutive hits by Tom Zachary

    Wimbledon Men's Tennis: Australian Gerald Patterson wins his second Wimbledon title beats Randolph Lycett 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 2-pound hailstones kill 23 and many cattle in Rostov, Russia All non-fascist parties dissolved in Italy Denmark takes Greenland as Norway ends claim Railroad worker strike ends in Amsterdam

Event of Interest

1925 Jury selection takes place in US John T. Scopes evolution trial

    USSR's official news agency TASS forms Meher Baba begins his silence of 44 years. His followers still observe Silence Day on this date in commemoration.

US Golf Open

1926 US Open Men's Golf, Scioto CC: Amateur Bobby Jones, winner of the British Open 2 weeks earlier, claims the second of his 4 US Opens, 1 stroke ahead of runner-up Joe Turnesa

    Lake Denmark, New Jersey arsenal explodes, kills 21, $75m damage Senator Milt Gaston hurls record tying 14-hit shutout In game between Pirates and Phillies 9 HRs hit 1 in each inning US issues newer, smaller-sized paper currency Jack Burnett gets 9 hits, Eddie Rommel relieves in 2nd 18-17 victory in 18 as his A's beats Indians in longest relief job 1st police radio system operated, Eastchester Township, NY

Event of Interest

1934 1st sitting US President to visit South America, FDR in Colombia

Baseball Record

1934 NL pitcher Carl Hubbell strikes out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin for MLB All Star game record for consecutive strikeouts AL still win, 9-7

Baseball Record

1936 Phillies Chuck Klein becomes 4th to hit 4 HRs in a game

Event of Interest

1937 Dutch Django Reinhardt's "Quintette, premieres in du Hot Club"

Event of Interest

1938 Howard Hughes flies around the world in 91 hours

    Battle of Britain begins as Nazi forces attack shipping convoys in the English Channel Continuation War: Finland invades East Karelia as hostilities with the Soviet Union resume following the German invasion in June Jedwabne Pogrom: massacre of Jewish people living in and near the village of Jedwabne, Poland

Event of Interest

1942 Himmler orders sterilization of all Jewish woman in Ravensbruck Camp

    Netherlands government in exile (London) recognizes Soviet Union 6th day of battle at Kursk US, British and Canadian forces invade Sicily in WW II (Operation Husky) German submarine U-821 sunk by RAF

Event of Interest

1944 "Father of Medicare" Tommy Douglas becomes the 7th Premier of Saskatchewan

    Admiral Marc Mitscher named chief of US Navy staff Belgian government of Acker resigns 200 die when train derails and falls into a river in Canton, China Cleveland Indian Don Black no-hits Philadelphia A's, 3-0

Event of Interest

1947 Muhammad Ali Jinnah is recommended as the first Governor General of Pakistan by then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Clement Attlee

    "Allegro" closes at Majestic Theater NYC after 318 performances "Ballet Ballads" closes at Music Box Theater NYC after 62 performances "Look Ma, I'm Dancin'" closes at Adelphi Theater NYC after 188 performances Lydda Airfield captured by Israeli army 1st practical rectangular TV tube announced in Toledo, Ohio WJAR TV channel 10 in Providence, RI (NBC) begins broadcasting "Your Hit Parade" premieres on NBC (later CBS) TV (broadcast on radio from 1935) 18th All Star Baseball Game: NL wins 8-3 at Briggs Stadium, Detroit Armistice talks to end Korean conflict began at Kaesong

British Golf Open

1953 British Open Men's Golf, Carnoustie: In his only Open Championship appearance, Ben Hogan prevails by 4 strokes over Dai Rees, Antonio Cerdá, Peter Thomson, Frank Stranahan

    23rd All Star Baseball Game: NL wins 7-3 at Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C. 650,000 US steel workers go on strike US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Bikini Island Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu, Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, South Africa, a soldier of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the armed wing of the ANC 1st parking meters installed in England (625 installed) Ex-king Norodom Sihanoek appointed premier of Cambodia Belgium sends troops to Congo UEFA European Championship Final, Parc des Princes, Paris, France: Viktor Ponedelnik scores in extra time as Soviet Union beats Yugoslavia, 2-1 32nd All Star Baseball Game: NL wins 3-1 at D.C. Stadium, Washington

Event of Interest

1962 Martin Luther King Jr. arrested during demonstration in Georgia

    Telstar, 1st geosynchronous communications satellite, launched US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Christmas Island The Beatles release "A Hard Day's Night", their 3rd studio album Jesus Alou is 1st Giant in 40 years to get 6 hits in a game Moïse Tshombé, leader of the Confederation of Tribal Associations of Katanga, becomes Prime Minister of the Congo British Open Men's Golf, St Andrews: Tony Lema wins his only major title, 5 strokes clear of runner-up and fellow American Jack Nicklaus Beatles' "VI" album goes #1 & stays #1 for 6 weeks Rolling Stones score their 1st US #1 single "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" Bobbie Gentry records "Ode to Billie Joe" - single goes on to win 4 Grammys Uruguay becomes a member of the Berne Convention copyright treaty US Major League baseball announces it will split into 2 divisions for 1969 Chilean Association of Librarians created 100th British Open Men's Golf, Royal Birkdale: Lee Trevino wins the first of his consecutive Open Championships, a stroke ahead of Lu Liang-Huan of Taiwan Failed assassination attempt on King Hassan II of Morocco, 101 killed

Event of Interest

1971 National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC) founded in US by women including Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, Myrlie Evers-Williams and Gloria Steinem

    Democratic convention opens in Miami Beach Florida (McGovern) Herd of stampeding elephants kills 24, Chandka Forest India Bahamas declares Independence from UK & adopts constitution John Paul Getty III, grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, is kidnapped in Rome by Italian gangsters wanting a ransom

Event of Interest

1975 Test Cricket debut of Graham Gooch, v Australia, out for a pair

    British Open Men's Golf, Royal Birkdale GC: American Johnny Miller wins his only Open championship, 6 strokes clear of Seve Ballesteros and Jack Nicklaus Miller's second and last major title Chemical factory in Seveso, near Milan explodes covering the surrounding area in dioxin One American and three British mercenaries are executed in Angola following the Luanda Trial "Happy End" closes at Martin Beck Theater NYC after 75 performances Bloodless military coup in Mauritania, President Moktar flees

Event of Interest

1978 World News Tonight premieres on ABC with Max Robinson the first black anchor on a network newscast in the US

Event of Interest

1979 Chuck Berry sentenced to 4 months for $200,000 in tax evasion

    Willie Jones hospitalized for heat stroke with record 46.5°C temperature Sam Shepard's play "True West" premieres at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco [1] Alexandra Palace in London burnt down for a second time Walt Disney's "Fox & The Hound" released CERN achieves 1st proton-antiproton beam collision (570 GeV) US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

Film Premier

1981 "Escape from New York" directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell and Donald Pleasence, premieres in the US


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