British Commandos

Shown here are British Commandos during the Lofoten raid.

British Commandos
Administrator, Mar 25, 2006
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      Following the Lofoten raid the Commandos were eager for a further raid on other German installations in Norway. Such an opportunity for these latter day Vikings presented itself towards the end of 1941 when a Admiral Mountbatten conceived the Vaagso opeation.

      By now Lt.Col.Durnford-Slater's No.3 Commando had a new Second-in-Command -Major Jack Churchill MC.

      'Mad Jack' Churchill had already become a legend in the Army. At Dunkirk he had been seen puffing into the city on a bicycle across which was slung a longbow. Such a weapon, Mad Jack bellowed to all and sundry, was ideal for killing Germans. Failing this, he claimed, the next most effective weapon was the tried and trusted sword. In particular the terrifying broad-hilted claymore which he swung around his head as he leapt into battle.

      Some good-natured critics said that neither the longbow nor the sword were Mad Jack's best weapon. That honour, they pointed out, was reserved for his bagpipes, which he frequently played with such dubious skill that the enemy fled in horror. Or such was the story. Jack Churchill's value as a morale booster at this particular time could not be over-emphasized. Affectionately ribbed Jack Churchill's lion-hearted courage soon gained the intense respect of his fellow Commandos.

      His citation for the DSO, later in the war, read like a comic strip, but was nevertheless true. Mad Jack collared over thirty Germans in a single night, stalking them one by one and leaping out of the shadows with a cry of Hände Hoch! (Hands up!) accompanied by menacing cartwheels from the claymore.

      Durnford-Slater, no cardboard character himself, certainly knew how to pick talent.
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