British Commandos Spent a Month Driving Across France, Killing Nazis
The Western Allies` invasion of German-occupied France in 1944 began with the largest seaborne assault ever. Germany`s armies reeled backward, opening gaps in their lines which the Allies were eager to exploit. And it was an opportunity for the UK to send in the famed Special Air Service behind the German lines to inflict as much damage as possible. The SAS had already grown into a battle-hardened unit during campaigns in North Africa and Italy. But for the Roy Farran of C Squadron, 2nd SAS Regiment, the invasion had denied him an opportunityâ€Š—â€Šas the British Army left him and his commandos behind in Scotland while other SAS men rampaged in Northern France.
The SAS: Who Dares Wins
What is a hero? The word has been so overused as to be almost meaningless. A person `admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities` is one dictionary definition. For Ben Macintyre, the author of `Double Cross,` `Agent Zigzag` and other best-selling books on World War II espionage, the founding members of Britain`s Special Air Service (SAS) meet conditions like these handsomely. It is the story of their exploits in World War II that he tells in `Rogue Heroes.`
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British Commandos Forged the SAS by Gunning Down Axis Pilots … Point Blank
Britain`s Special Air Service stumbled into a disaster on its first mission in November 1941 during Operation Crusader, which repelled the Axis from besieged Tobruk. Twenty-two of 55 SAS commandos died or were captured after they parachuted into a gale. After that catastrophe, the British Army could have shut down the SAS. Instead, the generals kept the elite unit, given the threat posed by the German Afrika Korps and Erwin Rommel, a.k.a. the `Desert Fox.` So one month later, the commandos set out again with an ambitious plan to raid Axis airfields deep behind the lines in Libya. The operation, pioneered by SAS founder David Stirlingâ€Š—â€Šresulted in hundreds of Axis planes being blown up on their runways during 15 months of high-risk raids. Yet the first of these new, successful raids would shock Stirling for its brutality, according to Ben Macintyre`s new book Rogue Heroes. While the war in North Africa had a reputation for its relatively chivalrous conduct between enemies, the mission ended in close-range butchery.
Nazi flag, captured by the SAS in 1942, to be auctioned off
A Nazi flag, captured by the SAS in 1942, is to be auctioned to raise money for a commemorative window at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire. The flag, signed by members of the SAS, was donated to the Allied Special Forces Association in 2001 by the family of Trooper Henry Mullen 1 SAS. Trooper Mullen and 30 colleagues were executed by the Germans in July 1944 after being caught behind enemy lines. It will be auctioned by Mullock`s in Ludlow, Shropshire, on 16 October.
Jimmy Storie, last veteran of Special Air Service Regiment originals, dies at 92
The last veteran of the original SAS unit who parachuted deep behind enemy lines has passed away at the age of 92. Jimmy Storie was one of just 65 men recruited by David Stirling for his crack Special Air Service regiment during the deadly desert campaign in North Africa. A spokesman for the SAS Regimental Association said: `It is a very sad day for the whole SAS regiment. He was the last surviving member of L Detachment, which was formed by Sir David Stirling in 1941. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Storie several times at functions and he was a very warm, friendly and unassuming man. He never boasted of his exploits, he was very modest."
The daring 5-man SAS raid into Rommel`s territory that convinced top brass that special forces could help win the war
In the pitch-black Libyan desert 70 years ago, a former hotelier and 4 comrades crept through a German camp and blew up 37 enemy aircraft, cementing the status of the SAS. Sergeant Jeff Du Vivier wrote of how "plane after plane went up in flames" in a letter to his mother printed for the first time in historian Gavin Mortimer`s new book. The brave soldiers watched the airfield light up "like daylight" during their raid, according to Sgt Du Vivier`s vivid account published in The SAS in World War II: An Illustrated History. The heroism of the five early SAS recruits helped convince the world that David Stirling`s elite fighting force was an "effective concept".
SAS soldier recalls his epic 110 mile desert trek after Rommel`s Afrika Korps captured the rest of his group
Major Willis Michael Sadler`s epic journey is part of the series of heroic exploits that have been revealed in the SAS War Diary. One of a handful of surviving original SAS men, Maj Sadler, was navigator for the regiment`s raiding columns. In 1943, he was driven to the brink of death when a column led by Stirling set out to link up with the American forces in Tunisia. Driving for hundreds of miles a day and night, the exhausted column got through the Gabès Gap on the Tunisian coast and hid in a narrow wadi. But the men had been seen by Afrika Korps troops, who waited for nightfall then sealed off the wadi entrance with an armoured car and moved in. Somehow, Sadler and another SAS soldier, managed to get away only to face an extreme desert trek to safety.
SAS mission to kidnap Field Marshal Erwin Rommel is disclosed in the first war diary authorised by the regiment
The SAS War Diary, which discloses its exploits, has been hailed as an extraordinary treasure trove for historians as it discloses the secrets of the SAS`s WWII raids. The public can now read the reports written by David Stirling, the regiment`s founder, and other SAS men that include a mission to kill or capture Erwin Rommel at a French chateau in 1944. The SAS Regimental Association has authorised the sale of the books to raise funds for the dozens of wounded special forces men. Each 600–page volume is being sold for £975, with the print run limited to 1,000 books.
8 military medals of sergeant Jack Byrne - an original SAS member - sell for Â£72,000 in the auction
Jack Byrne`s 8 military medals, including a Distinguished Conduct Medal and an Africa Star, were the star lot in the auction at Mayfair coin and medal specialists Dix Noonan Webb. "The pre-sale estimate was £40,000-£50,000. The collection will remain in a private collection in the UK," said auctioneer David Erskine-Hill. Byrne was one of the original members of the SAS, participating in the first SAS raid in 1941. Byrne had an adventurous military career, including being shot, bayoneted and hit by shrapnel. He was evacuated from Dunkirk after the Fall of France, served in the Western Desert, escaped from a POW camp and landed on the D-Day.
Jack Sue was a member of the elite Z force in World War II
Jack Sue was an RAAF officer who was transferred to Z Special Unit, an allied intelligence and commando unit which operated behind enemy lines in South-East Asia during World War II. The special forces reconnaissance unit was the forerunner of the current SAS (Special Air Service) Regiment, based in Perth`s western suburbs, Australia. Sue spent months behind enemy lines in Borneo and claimed in his book that Z force commandos in that country killed 1700 Japanese, while training 6000 guerillas. After the war he went on to instruct SAS soldiers in jungle warfare and set up the Z Special Unit International Incorporated - a group for members of the unit.
SAS radio operator David Danger parachuted into Nazi-occupied France in 1944
Lieutenant-Colonel David Danger served with the SAS as a radio operator, jumped into Nazi-occupied France in 1944 and won a Military Medal. In June 1944 corporal Danger was dropped near Dijon as a member of the main reconnaissance party for Operation Houndsworth. The mission`s aim was to break up Nazi communication lines and stop German units from moving up to Normandy to reinforce their offensive against the Allied bridgehead. Danger`s team set up base camps and ammunition dumps in the forest. On August 20 he found out that German troops were about to surround the main SAS base. At great personal risk, he made his way through the Nazi patrols to warn his comrades.
Blair Mayne, one of the most decorated SAS soldiers, was never granted Victoria Cross
Lieutenant-Colonel Blair Mayne was recommended for the Britain`s highest award for heroism in 1945 after he launched repeated, single-handed attacks on Nazi troops to allow his unit to be evacuated under heavy fire. "Paddy" Mayne, one of the founder-members of the SAS, personally destroyed 130 German and Italian aircraft during behind-the-lines raids in North Africa, as well as leading countless Special Forces operations. But his reputation for resisting authority and drunken quarreling preceded him and he was given only a bar to his 3 Distinguished Service Orders (DSOs). Now a campaign has been launched to award him a posthumous Victoria Cross.
SAS veterans gathered in France to honour comrades murdered by the Nazis
33 elite troops were betrayed to the Germans on a WWII sabotage mission behind Nazi lines. They were caught in woods near Verrieres in France as they diverted Nazi forces away from the Normandy landings. 30 SAS men and a captured American pilot were taken to a wood, executed by firing squad, then buried in a mass grave. All captured commandos were executed, on the orders of Adolf Hitler. Three badly wounded SAS men were killed by lethal injection in their hospital beds. The disastrous mission was named Operation Bulbasket but the only living survivor was too ill to travel to France.
SAS founder broke into army HQ to show generals they needed elite unit
The story of how the SAS was created can at last be told: thanks to film of a secret dinner for its founder members. At the meal, in 1984, David Stirling told fellow "Originals" how he stormed into a commanding officer`s HQ to sell him the idea for a raiding force. The 6ft 5in Commando had scaled a fence, despite being on crutches, and run the gauntlet of security guards before giving his plans to General Neil Ritchie. The result was the regiment, motto Who Dares Wins, which has become a byword for courage. The dinner is part of a 3-part documentary on the SAS. It`s the only interview ever recorded with Stirling.
The Special Forces: A History - David Stirling, founder of SAS
The Special Forces are often seen as glamorous soldiers in the headlines but in reality they really are not. Special Forces are troops that are trained in unconventional warfare, carrying out operations that normal soldiers are not thought ready for. David Stirling, an officer served with a commando unit behind enemy lines in the early years of World War II, and saw the potential of a small, highly trained group of people. He set up the Special Air Service (SAS) in 1941. Alongside the SAS, another group was made, the Special Boat Service (SBS) which was a branch of the Royal Marines.
Charlotte Gray`s daughter launches operation to save SAS club (Article no longer available from the original source)
The daughter of wartime secret agent Charlotte Gray is fighting a battle to save a gentlemen`s club for spies. Yvette Pitt is one of a dozen former intelligence agents and elite soldiers attempting to force out the people who run the secretive Special Forces Club. Knightsbridge club - open only to members of military units like the SAS and officers from MI5 and MI6 - is facing bitter unrest over spiralling debts, falling membership and fears for its survival.
SAS founder David Stirling`s life story to be made into a film
Most people who knew SAS founder Sir David Stirling, would agree that he was slightly mad. But as Field Marshal Montgomery said: "In war there is a place for mad people." Now the life of the man who coined the phrase "Who dares wins" is to be made into a film. Stirling was 26 when he came up with the idea of "special forces" as he served with the Commandos in World War II. Bored with the lack of action he persuaded senior officers to let him assemble a small force to inflict destruction on the German lines in North Africa. Despite setbacks, his rag-tag unit went on to destroy more than 400 aircraft and hundreds of military vehicles.
City`s tribute to SAS heroes -- winged-sword badge commandos
Dropped off in the dead of night by a Royal Navy destroyer in 1943, the team of SAS commandos paddled ashore. "We laid our charges and set them with a 10 minute fuse. As we were leaving, one of the squaddies fired 2-3 shots into the guardroom at one end of the bridge and all the soldiers came running out. I couldn`t believe it. Soon afterwards our officer said, `the charges haven`t gone off, you`ll have to go back`. We told him `you`ve got to be joking` and seconds later the bridge blew up." Now Cyril Wheeler was in Portsmouth to hand over a roll of honour dedicated to members of the Territorial Army SAS regiment who have since died.
Secret hero`s medals for sale - SAS founder member (Article no longer available from the original source)
His wartime work was top-secret and nobody back home was aware of the extraordinary exploits of Reg Seekings with the Special Air Service in the North African desert and at the D-Day landings in Normandy. Now memories of a founder member of the SAS are revived with the sale of his group of 11 Second World War medals, including his Distinguished Conduct Medal and Military Medal. His DCM citation said he had "taken an important part in 10 raids. He has himself destroyed over 15 aircraft... During the Normandy Landings he was among the first to parachute in. He was hit by a bullet in the back of his neck."
SAS dog with 20 parachute jumps may be a hoax
He is one of the most famous canine heroes of war, with 20 parachute jumps to his name and a citation for gallantry behind enemy lines. But the story of Rob the SAS dog — now in Imperial War Museum exhibition — has been exposed as a hoax. Rob, a collie known as war dog No 471/322, was said to have saved the lives of commandos. But his legendary reputation has been debunked by an officer who observed the dog’s war service first hand at the SAS base, claiming Rob never left the ground. "Quentin said that nobody survived 20 parachute drops, let alone a dog. You were lucky to survive three."
SAS man who wreaked havoc behind enemy lines
On August 19 1944, 60 men and 20 Jeeps from the 2nd SAS landed by Dakota transport at the American held Rennes airfield. It was the beginning of Operation Wallace, one of the most successful post D-day SAS operations, and it was led by Major Roy Farran. He penetrated 200 miles through enemy lines in four days, joining the base set up by the earlier Operation Hardy. His operation, ending on September 17, resulted in 500 enemy casualties, the destruction of 95 vehicles, a train and 100,000 gallons of petrol. SAS casualties were light.