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Operation Frankton.

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1939 - 1942' started by Centurion-Cato, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. Centurion-Cato

    Centurion-Cato Member

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    This, in my opinion, was one of the most gutsy raids made in World War 2. 12 men were supposed to go up the Bordeaux estuary in 6 small canoes transported by submarines) and plant limpet mines on cargo ships there before escaping to Spain.

    Only 5 set off, as one was not seaworthy and on the first night, and three were lost on the first night. So only two made it to the ships and destroyed or damaged 5 of them. Then they tried to make their way back, with only two making it, while the others were captured and later shot.

    To read the full story, look here...

    Operation Frankton
     
  2. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    In a way the British are famous for these Commando raids - and they always make a good story.

    On the other hand the losses sustained by the participants of those raids are mostly horrific - which put's the question to me, if the results obtained actually justify the losses of these very good men.

    A raid such as Operation Frankton conducted by 5 Mosquitos would probably have resulted in the same destruction but with less losses on behalf of the British.

    So I am not sure about these commando raids really having paid of.

    Regards
    Kruska
     
    Centurion-Cato likes this.
  3. Centurion-Cato

    Centurion-Cato Member

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    Interesting thought, and for operation Frankton I would have to agree. A few bombing raids would have done as much damage, but I suppose it is what the achieved in the forces. These raids really got the forces all working together as a combined force and not just Navy, RAF etc. They actually worked as a team for these raids.

    But in terms of what they achieved on the job, it is amazing what they did, but yes it was a high casualty rate and they did not achieve a hell of a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it really used to rattle the High Command to hear of these raids that had destroyed many ships by using canoes.
     
  4. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Hello CC,

    you surely are right about this. It also is a contributing factor for the Wehrmacht the keep their garrisons tied up in the West, whereas they would have been needed in the East.

    It's just that, on my part - I wouldn't liked to have been a member in these mostly "suicidal" missions. I think it can only be an atribute to the meaning of the British - "Sporting spirit".:D

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  5. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

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  6. Centurion-Cato

    Centurion-Cato Member

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    Well, a lot of the troops on these missions wanted to be there. This is because they liked to pick adventurers, and people who were bored with the every day life of a soldier. Apparently, when they told the crew of the boat they had that was unseaworthy on the Frankton operation, they broke down and cried.

    ~Indeed. Due to these raids they were forced to contribute more and more resources to the West. They were just little things, but (for example) after this raid they had two boats constantly patrolling the estuary and stepped up security. This may not seem like a lot, but it would have tied up a hundred men at least to constantly patrol the estuary. All these little things combined were straining for the high Command, where they wanted all units that could be spared on the Russian front.
     
  7. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Kruska, I think the British love a moral booster...We are suckers for it...in the nicest way.
    When these actions were reported as with dam raids, and Bismark, on bigger scales, the benefits to morale were out of proportion to their usefulness I suppose. We were not in a good position for most of the war, and to see the little boy hitting back and having a stiff upper lip while he was doing it....the British way..whether others accept it or not...is percularly British. Kidnapping Generals on Crete...You name it we didit and the public needed it...Lesser known one was the Bruneval raid....No not the raid....The action nearby by a sgt and private who had gone awol and sailed across channel to have their own little war...Not a lot of people know that....But typical British stupidity that did nothing but give the old British sense of humour a lift when needed.
     
  8. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-v-YKpvnGQ
     
  9. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    yes, read a book on it....a lot of these raids seem like the odds were against the raiders...getting back the most....courageous/adventurous/crazy/all 3???
     
  10. squidly the octopus

    squidly the octopus New Member

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    If you can disable a few ships and lose only a dozen men and a few canoes doing it, that's a great trade, and you are risking far, far less than you would be risking in an air raid on the same target.

    But it's still a suicide mission.
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Such raids often had impacts on the moral and actions of the opponents as well as the friendlies that greatly out weighted the physical damage or losses. Another example of a US raid that might be considered along the same lines is the Doolittle Raid. Heavy losses for rather limited damage (although it may actually have payed off in that alone) but it had a clear and signficant impact on Japanese strategy for the rest of the war or at least the next critical year or so. The fact that Hitler gave his "commando order" is rather telling in that regard as well.
     
  12. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    There were not many german "raids". When these operations were this helpful, why was that? Lack of opportunity?
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It may depend on what you want to include in this catagory. The assault on Eban Emael might qualify and the rescue of el Duce, you could also consider some or all the opearations in Norway and/or Crete. Some of the KM ops such as the sinking of Royal Oak might also fit in this. But for moral effects the German attempts were failures as were similar allied ops, I'm thinking the BoB and the V-1 and V-2 efforts here. Some of it may have been lack of orientation and opertunity. The Italians frogmen did pull of a couple in the med but the Germans were for the most part focused on Britain and the USSR and I don't see the opertunity for small groups of commandos to do much against them.
     
  14. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    Commandos are somewhere between regular troops with usual weapons and sabotage by irregular groups aka partisans.
    My opinion: Mussolini yes, Scapa Flow or Eben Emael no.
    But Dieppe was a raid too, from regular soldiers with usual weapons, so I really don't know.

    Occupied countrys were much easier and more attractive targets for "raids".
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I was also debating saying something like that and the more I think about it the more important I think it becomes.
     
  16. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    ....only because -

    1/ "Exile" governments and "Free" forces could provide intelligence, cooperation with local resistors etc.;

    2/ the Greater Reich was ringed by "Occupied" countries - I.E. it was an accident of geography that the only countries in Europe and Scandanavia that covert ops could reach and possibly return from were Occupied nations with coastlines;

    3/ coastal targets...I.E. ports, river roads, shore installations....were "maximised" targets - you could do a lot of damage and cause a lot of disruption for relatively little effort.
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I wouldn't say only but 1 and 3 look particuarly important. There was also the fact that early on the defences wouldn't be as robust as you might see in the home country. The citizenry might also not be as likely to report sightings to the authorities either.
     
  18. the_diego

    the_diego Member

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    well, at least it is known that the potential of such a weapon is much bigger than what was achieved at bordeaux.
     

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