German Commando Raid from the Channel Islands

#1
I have been reading "Commando Country" by Stuart Allen, a review of the secret and not so secret commando training that took place in the highlands in WW2.

In it he says the Germans launched a commando raid from the channel Islands against a UK radar station on the south coast (or just of the south coast) of the Isle of white.

I have never heard this before..... can anyone shed light on it?

Trotsky
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
not heard of that, but am no expert. I went to jersey for my honeymoon and saw in one of the museums there that they did launch a raid on a port in france after liberation, late 1944 i believe. Suppose its possible, although wouldnt have rated their chances of getting home...

Was there a radar station on the isle?
 
#4
The Isle of Wight was very heavily fortified- The PLUTO ran from Shanklin Chine for starters, and there were a few radar posts there, Tennyson Down etc. MittMayo is the expert on the Island, he's more or less a Caulkhead; if anyone would know, MM will.

I read the book last year, cracking read. Sfub Sr has it at the moment.
 
#6
.338lapua_magnum said:
I think that you mean the raid on Aldernay. I used to know one of the old fellows who participated on that one and he said it was a bit of a fcuk up. If I remember correctly they lost all their explosives coming ashore and had to destroy the generators using large monkey wrenches. Further, the recovery plan was to boat or swim out to a sub but due to tides act they missed the sub. The fellow I knew was picked up by a Spanish trawler and taken to Spain. Spent some time in Spain before getting to Gib and then back to the UK.

I dont know how much of that was truth or b/s but, knowing his history I would think that in the main thats what happened.
Erm, you've got the wrong end of the stick....
 
#7
In it he says the Germans launched a commando raid from the channel Islands against a UK radar station on the south coast (or just of the south coast) of the Isle of white.
Would be interested in this one, who would the raiders be :?:
 
#8
tiger stacker said:
In it he says the Germans launched a commando raid from the channel Islands against a UK radar station on the south coast (or just of the south coast) of the Isle of white.
Would be interested in this one, who would the raiders be :?:
According to Robert Laycock's papers, he believed it to be The Brandenburgers.
 

Andy_S

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
I am from Guernsey and have never heard of this. Certainly, a couple of early, experimental UK commando raids were launched against the islands, but never heard of it happening in the opposite direction, bar the raid from Jersey, mentioned above. IIRC, that was carried out by the resident infantry division on the islands, who had a pretty quiet war.

Jack Higgins also set one of his books on Alderney and had a unit of German mini-subs based there, which never happened but seemed credible to me when I read it.

However, there WERE four mini-concentration/labor camps on Alderney (which had been evacuated by civ pop): Norderney, Borkum and Sylt.
 
#10
There were at least six raids carried out by the British against the Channel Islands but I can find no record of the Germans doing any raids against the South coast, and no record of any Brandanburgers stationed on the islands
 
#12
Sounds like its part of the ongoing myth of German landings. Hard to believe that 64 years of WW2 research and publishing hasn't mentioned this before...
 
#13
4(T) said:
Sounds like its part of the ongoing myth of German landings. Hard to believe that 64 years of WW2 research and publishing hasn't mentioned this before...
He was quoting an article written for RUSI in 1947 and conjectures a raid on an IOW Radar station. ... Or are there any islets beyond the IOW?

I wonder if in fact he means the raid on the french mainland in 1944/5?

Trotsky
 
#14
I grew up on the IoW and there were no raids carried out against it to the best of my knowledge. Had the Germans attacked a radar station on the Island it would be well documented by now thanks to the German archives.

The only raid i know of carried out by the Germans from the channel islands, as mentioned by others is the Granville raid, 8\9 March '45.
Very succesful it was too.

linky
 
#15
Researching German special forces and units of WW2 is actually extremely hard, improved access to old files notwithstanding.

The Germans were perfectly capable of undertaking and mounting such a raid, even at the end of the war. The Brandenburg Küstenjäger units, operating mainly in the Adriatic and Eastern Mediterranean were as good as the Royal Navy's SBS. However, the Germans did not really have the resources for raids on liberated coastal ports after D-Day. Their fortress redoubts, like Lorient and Dunkirk, were very effective in tying up Allied manpower, as was the continued German occupation of the Channel Islands. German forces carried out commando-style raids against besieging Allied forces but more ambitious operations were limited to attempts to attack Allied shipping in the Channel and North Sea late in 1944 and into 1945.

Most of these operations involved the Kriegsmarine's K-Verbände, set up by Dönitz in April 1944. The K-Verbände were not really equipped to transport raiding parties so Bruneval-style enterprises would not have been high on the list.

PK
 
#17
.338lapua_magnum said:
raid on Alderney
Ok, a little off topic, but I think you must be referring to the raid on Casquets lighthouse, I've not seen any records of a raid on Alderney, and having walked and explored the coast of this fantastic but incredibly fortified place on more than a few occasions, I think they'd need bollocks the size of footballs to have even attempted it.

Mountbatten had suggested op. Blazing, a plan to try and capture and hold it, but it was abandoned as foolhardy in the extreme.

If you ever get the chance to visit there - the level of fortification and careful planning of defence in depth and resistance nests could leave you in no doubt that any attempt to get on the island would have been sheer, bloody slaughter.
 
#18
PaddyK – " The Brandenburg Küstenjäger units, operating mainly in the Adriatic and Eastern Mediterranean were as good as the Royal Navy's SBS.”

Would like to know what they did in the Med to earn them this accolade?

BTW, the SBS weren’t RN till after the war. They were Army Commandos who technically fell under the SAS banner in the later stages. Between Layforce and the Stirling's ‘shotgun wedding’, they did some ops for Cunningham, which was the closest to ‘Navy’ they got.

I thought before being used against the Soviets, they were mainly in Yugoslavia against Tito in the middle years? Certainly they were there in July ’44, holding the high ground in a prepared position above Spilje. No.2 put in a raid at the end of the month and, despite their post Salerno problems, took the objective. Many Veterans however, do site that as their toughest engagement of the war, which they still won of course :thumleft:

No.9
 
#19
Andy_S said:
I am from Guernsey and have never heard of this. Certainly, a couple of early, experimental UK commando raids were launched against the islands, but never heard of it happening in the opposite direction, bar the raid from Jersey, mentioned above. IIRC, that was carried out by the resident infantry division on the islands, who had a pretty quiet war.

Jack Higgins also set one of his books on Alderney and had a unit of German mini-subs based there, which never happened but seemed credible to me when I read it.

However, there WERE four mini-concentration/labor camps on Alderney (which had been evacuated by civ pop): Norderney, Borkum and Sylt.
Richard Heaume of the German Occupation Society in Guernsey would probably be the definitive source to check this with.

There are a couple of islanders who escaped to the UK mainland in what could only be described as the most basic of seagoing vessels. The "German Commando raids on the South Coast of Engalnd" are for the main part more to do with German PsyOps, then reality. Quite a lot of debate in the islands as to whether these raids ever took place, but in 1942, the Germans did send a small force from Guernsey to Les Casquets lighthouse a mentioned by labrat above.

a la perchoine!
 
#20
Dr R.V.Jones suggested that our own Telecommunications Research Establishment (T.R.E.) was very vulnerable. It was situated at Swanage

Shortly after the Bruneval raid it was suggested that the Germans might launch a retaliation. Apprehension increased when it was learned that a German parachute company had moved to Cherbourg. Dr Jones and a colleague had been warning of the likelihood of a raid for some time but had been ignored.

His opportunity came when he had to visit a short time afterwards. He and his colleague, Hugh Smith, went everywhere armed and carrying their tin hats. They made it quite clear that they didn't want to hang about the area.

Shortly after this, TRE upped sticks and moved to Malvern
 

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