Operation Blazing May 1942

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norbert yeah

Apr 5, 2006
A spur off from my rekindled research into the various airmen lost around the Channel Islands has been the discovery of the plans for Operation Blazing. This was a plan hatched by the British high command to land a force of 3,000 troops on the most northerly Channel Island of Alderney in May 1942.

The initial plan was to re-take and hold the Island indefinitely, as the plan was considered further this was reduced to 24 hours.

From the plans it appears that the AOC RAF Bomber and Fighter Command had deep reservations about the whole project, and this maybe why it was shelved.

In the initial proposal of 16th April 1942, the object given was :-

To take the island of Alderney by assault and hold it.

The advantages of holding the island were :-

(A) A small craft base for cutting the enemy coastal convoy route
(B) An advance RDF station to extend the Fighter Command Coverage
(C) An emergency landing ground
(D) A diversion which may cause withdrawal of enemy air forces from other fronts, including the withdrawal of bombers from Norway
(E) A diversion which may cause the withdrawal of military forces from other fronts
(F) An opportunity for bringing enemy air forces to battle under reasonably favourable circumstances
(G) A spring board for further combined operations.

The force required for this operation were


6 Hunt Class Destroyers
5 Infantry Assault Ships (4 LSC 36 ALC)
8 MGB's
4 Shore based ALC
18 TLC
30 'R' Craft
4 Schuyts

Four Infantry Battalions
One Parachute Battalion
One Commando and two troops
One Squadron and one or two troops of army tanks
Thirteen Bren Carriers
One Light Battery
One Field Company RE
One MG Company
Signal, RAMC, and RASC detachments
Ten Pioneer Sections
Three Light AA Batteries
Four Bulldozers
Some transport to follow


330 bomber sorties, including 4 squadrons for low level bombing

40 Parachute Dropping Aircraft
8 Smoke Aircraft
Fighter Wing for the protection to returning aircraft
Fighter Wings for cover over shipping in the harbour
Fighter Wings to cover the withdrawal of the shipping on D1
Four Intruder sorties against enemy aerodromes on the night of the assault
One anti-flak Squadron
One close support Fighter Squadron
Fighter Sweep t anticipate the first enemy reaction
Offensive sweeps to met the air situation with develops
One close support Fighter Squadron at call
RAF Servicing Commando

After a further deliberation on the 5th May 1942 the AOC reduced the operation to a large scale raid, to take and hold the island for 24 hours, or may be longer if the situation and enemy reactions allowed. The anticipated Parachute drop was abandoned.

The force required for this operation were


6 Hunt Class Destroyers
5 Infantry Assault Ships (5 LSC 33 ALC and 2 MLC)
8 MGB's
17 TLC
30 'R' Craft
I Hospital Carrier

6 Troops S,S. Brigade (550 All Ranks)
14 Churchill Army tanks
Thirteen Bren Carriers
4 3.7 Howitzers
One Field Company RE
I troop (4 Guns) Bofors AA
I field ambulance
RC of Signals
Total Military Force 3,000 all ranks

200 to 250 Medium and Heavy Bomber Aircraft
24 Blenheim Bombers – 500lb HE and 250 lb Smoke
14 Smoke Laying (Army Co-Operation) Blenheims
18 Long Range Coastal Fighters
8 Spitfire Wings (24 Squadrons)
12 Intruder Fighter Aircraft
24 Night Fighters.

The 1st Guards Brigade was put on notice to move to the Isle of Wight for training, but in the end the whole operation was abandoned in favour of Dieppe.

I wonder what the outcome and the enemy reaction would have been if the British had retaken Alderney, compared to the other Channel Islands it was/is strategically places to command much of the Channel, and cut off the coastal supplier routes to Western France, as well as most of the Cherbourg peninsular

If I get chance and if anyone is interested I'll transcribe the Outline Plan and seperate phase of the operation tomorrow night.

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