Wednesday, April 6, 2011

British Commando Raids...








...are an important aspect of WWII, esp. in the European Theatre early in the war along the French coastline of the English Channel. These units at first were unorganized, under-supplied, and were very loosely disciplined. They consisted of volunteers who wanted to become morebspecialized and to become involved more quickly than they could in the regular British armed forces. Quite often,these commando units consisted of foreign volunteers, many of whom were Americans.

In 1940 around the time of the Dunkirk evacuation and the Battle of Britain, there was great fear that Germany would launch an invasion against the British Isles, which at the time were not prepared for such an invasion. Over 300,000 British and French troops had been evacuated from France and were in England, but countless weapons, ammo, and other supplies had been left behind at Dunkirk.

The initial commando raids targeted select objectives and met with limited success. As the Commandos became better trained and better equipped, the objectives changed. Commandos adopted the policy of "Strike first! Strike hard, and show the enemy no mercy!" Select, specific objectives were often replaced with the idea of dropping a small unit on the coastline, allowing them to penetrate the German defenses, and to hit hard, causing as much damage as possible in the shortest amount of time. The commandos then would make their way to the shore for exfiltration, often using the chaos they created to cover their retreat.

Commando raids involved as few as two and ans many as 1200 commandos at a time. One of the more notable raids was the Canadian assault on the port of Dieppe in 1942. This was a large-scale operation that met with failure almost from the beginning and resulted in total disaster. The commandos were quickly detected and almost totally overwhelmed during this raid, Thoughit was an almost total failure, the Dieppe raid provided lessons and intelligence that would later be used during the Normandy invasion in 1944.

As the commandos evolved, so did their tactics. As the tactics improved, the raids became more effective. These raids at time sso frustrated the German war effort that the Germans swiftly adopted a policy of executing all captured commandos.

Though not as glorious or publicized as other aspects of the war, the commandos nonetheless are heroes, and their stories should be told. Commando raids were conducted all along the Channel coast, and they caused massive chaos and disruption in the German coastal defenses. Commandos ar eoften overlooked, but their overall contribution to the Allied war effort should be appreciated. It is an interesting story of a small group of people overcoming the odds and making a major contribution to a tragic situation, in a world totally out of control.
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