Commando Raids
‘Up to now there have been hardly any Commando raids. I want you to start a program of raids...so as to keep the enemy coastline on alert from the North Cape to the Bay of Biscay’.
Winston Churchill to Lord Louis Mountbatten (Chief Advisor of Combined Operations), Oct 1941
‘If the British go about things properly, they will attack northern Norway at several points. By means of an all-out attack by their fleet and ground troops they will try displace us...and thus exert pressure on Sweden and Finland. This might be of decisive importance for the outcome of the war. The German fleet must therefore use all its forces for the defence of Norway’.
Adolf Hitler, 29 Dec 1941

Culminating in Rjukan to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Operation Gunnerside, Norway 75 revisits various commando raids that took place in, or before, 1943.  Missions conducted up to this point in both Norway and France, and under the auspices of Combined Operations, represented the concept of a ‘defiant Britain’, facing the German Army across the English Channel and North Sea.

Not only were they an emblem of defiance, they had wide ranging impact, at times out of all proportion to their scale and tactical outcome.  In more detail: they delivered shocks to the German regime, were a sop to besieged allies and played a vital part in the evolution of the joint, amphibious expertise that would be so important to the eventual re-invasion of Europe.

With thanks to Patron Charitable Initiatives, a key partner of Norway 75, check out another amazing commemoration 75 years on. In December 2017, 34 participants from the Royal Marines and Royal Navy, including injured war veterans from the Hasler Naval Service Recovery Centre, recreated an 85-mile paddle and a 100-mile yomp (slow run) to commemorate Operation Frankton (“Cockleshell Heroes”).
Operation Source, 1943

Operation Source was a series of attacks to neutralise the heavy German warships – Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Lützow – based in northern Norway, using X-class midget submarines...

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Operation Martin, 1943

Jan Baalsrud was the only survivor of a Norwegian commando team ambushed by the Nazis during World War II. Wounded and with the Germans in pursuit, Baalsrud escaped and miraculously...

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Operation Claymore, 1941

Operation Claymore was the code name for a British commando raid on the Lofoten Islands in Norway during the Second World War. The Lofoten Islands were an important centre for the production of fish oil and...

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Operation Musketoon, 1942

Operation Musketoon was the codeword for an Anglo-Norwegian raid in the Second World War. The operation was mounted against the German-held Glomfjord power...

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Operation Archery, 1941

Operation Archery, also known as the Måløy Raid, was a British Combined Operations raid during World War II against German positions on the island of Vågsøy...

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Operation Gunnerside, 1943

In February 1943, a team of SOE-trained Norwegian commandos succeeded in destroying the production facility with a second attempt, Operation Gunnerside...

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