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Osprey Campaign 92 : St Nazaire 1942 : The Great Commando Raid

The raid on the port of St. Nazaire in March 1942 by a sea-borne task force from British Combined Operations, remains one of the most impressive actions of the Second World War. The port lies at the mouth of the River Loire and in 1942 it contained both a U-Boat base and the massive 'Normandie' dock. Originally built for the pre-war construction of the giant Atlantic liner of the same name, the 'Normandie' dock was the only facility on the Atlantic coast large enough to accommodate the German pocket battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz. It was to St. Nazaire that the Bismarck was heading when the Royal Navy sank her in May 1941. To deny the use of the dock to the Tirpitz, sister ship of the Bismarck, was a vital step in the Battle of the Atlantic. Despite casualties the raid was a success; the main dock gate was destroyed and the dry-dock remained out of action for the rest of the war. Many of the shore facilities were also destroyed but a high price was paid. Of a force of just 611 soldiers and sailors, 169 were killed. Most of those who survived were wounded and spent the rest of the war in captivity. A few managed to escape and make their way home. Five VCs were won during the raid. The Tirpitz never ventured into the Atlantic. Text by Ken Ford with illustrations by Howard Gerrard.

    Contents
  • Background to the Raid
  • Chronology
  • Commanders
  • Attackers and Defenders
  • Planning the Raid
  • The Sea Journey
  • The Run up the Loire
  • Campbeltown's Attack
  • The Dockyard Battle
  • Aftermath
  • St Nazaire Today
  • Bibliography
  • Index

 

Osprey Campaign


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