After victory in North Africa, the Allies still had to deal with Axis Forces around the Northern shores of the Mediterranean and there was a new life for the LRDG Special Forces. The author looks at the much under-told story of British actions in the Eastern Mediterranean. Focus moved to Sicily, Italy and France but there were still important actions needed in the Aegean. – Very Highly Recommended
NAME: The Long Range Desert Group In The Aegean FILE: R3272 AUTHOR: Brendan O'Carroll PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, Mediterranean Theatre, North Africa, desert victory, special forces, commando force, guerrilla warfare, small boats, fast patrol boats, fishing boats, raiding, Special Boat Service, Raiding Forces Middle East, No 30 Commando ISBN: 1-52677-737-1 PAGES: 310 IMAGE: B3272.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/yyeagpe8 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: After victory in North Africa, the Allies still had to deal with Axis Forces around the Northern shores of the Mediterranean and there was a new life for the LRDG Special Forces. The author looks at the much under-told story of British actions in the Eastern Mediterranean. Focus moved to Sicily, Italy and France but there were still important actions needed in the Aegean. – Very Highly Recommended
Churchill encouraged the formation of Special Forces, after the Dunkirk Evacuation, as a way of continuing direct contact with Axis Forces, gaining intelligence and encouraging the occupied nations to look forward to liberation. The first raids were small but became larger and more sophisticated as the war progressed. To ensure that Britain knew how the Germans were progressing with radar development, commandos were used to capture examples of German radar technology and bring them back to the UK. This led to parachuting a force into France behind a German radar site, attacking the site, removing critical components and destroying what remained to conceal the real purpose of the raid. The force then marched to the coast and was taken off by Coastal Forces patrol boats. or by submarines, together with the captured technology.
SOE was formed as another intelligence service inserting agents into France to work with the French Resistance fighters and sometimes working with special forces, but the height of the raids was when a large force, with heavy weapons, was landed at Dieppe in rehearsal for the full invasion of France and then special forces and airborne forces were used in large numbers as part of the preparation for the main forces landing in Normandy, seizing and holding bridges and other key strategic points until the beach landing forces could fight their way through to relieve them.
In North Africa different types of special forces were established to match the needs and conditions of that war theatre. In fact North Africa seemed to produce a host of private armies that were set up for specific objectives, with the SAS specializing in attacking airfields and destroying Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground. However, the Long Range Desert Group was established as the major special force and its primary activity was driving deep into enemy territory, raiding and gathering intelligence. Their modified vehicles were heavily armed and able to operate in conditions that defeated most other vehicles, including tanks and other tracked vehicles. As a result, they were able to go deep into the desert where the enemy did not operate, coming North to strike the enemy and retiring back into the deep desert on what were often extended incursions. When the Germans and Italians were defeated in North Africa, there was no longer a role for the LRDG as a desert raiding force, but its personnel had built a considerable knowledge of covert special force operations deep behind enemy lines and these skills transferred readily to the very different conditions of the Aegean.
The Allied covert operations in the Aegean were not widely reported and historians have largely neglected them since the war ended but documents have become available for study. The need for secrecy at the time was obvious but in the 75 years since the end of hostilities most documents have been declassified and available through official archives.
The author has researched his subject and provides a capable account of how the LRDG converted to boat operations to raid enemy positions and prevent the Germans from moving much needed troops to other battle fronts where they might well have been able to make a critical difference.
There is useful illustration through the body of the book, but of particular note is a relatively large photo plate section with a wealth of rare and unpublished images in support of this very readable history of LRDG operations in the Aegean.