Friday, February 10, 2012

True WWII Mission Impossible: How Two British Marines In A Canoe Outwited The Mighty Nazi German Navy

Christopher Hudson at the British newspaper The Daily Mail looks back at the British commandos in canoes who went up against the Nazi German Navy in World War II.

It happened in December 1942, in the bleakest days of the war, when Hitler was carrying all before him and the French coastline seemed impregnable to the Allies.

The hardest nut to crack was Bordeaux where the port actually lay 62 miles inland, along the winding Garonne estuary. Bordeaux was a haven for German ships - fast freighters, raiders and submarines - and it was a thorn in the side of the Royal Navy.
The King’s cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations and as unorthodox and headstrong as Churchill himself, was tasked to revitalise commando raids along the coast, so as to keep the enemy on its toes and boost morale in Britain.

In late 1942, he approved a daring plan to use engineered, collapsible, plywood canoes, codenamed Cockles, to attach limpet mines to enemy freighters in the deep harbour. It was a desperate throw, and Mountbatten did not expect the Marines to return: as with Peter Cook’s gung-ho officer in Beyond The Fringe, it was the gesture that counted.

You can read the rest of the story via the below link:

The above poster is of the film made about the British commandos called Cockleshell Heroes.

Note: The British commandos trained in the glacial water at Holy Loch, Scotland. I was stationed at the U.S. nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch in the mid-1970s and I can verify that the water was very, very cold. The British commandos were truly tough guys.   

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