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Operation Hardtack
Part of North West Europe Campaign
(Part of World War II)
DateDecember 1943
LocationChannel islands and Northern France
Belligerents
 United Kingdom
 France
 Nazi Germany

Operation Hardtack was the name of a series of British Commando raids during the Second World War. The operation was conducted by No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando, No. 12 Commando and the Special Boat Service, and took place on the Channel islands and the northern coast of France in December 1943. Most of the raids consisted of ten men of various ranks, carried by Motor Torpedo Boats and dories, except for one operation, which was an airborne landing. The raids were ended by order of Major General Robert Laycock because they caused the enemy to bring reinforcements, which could have been detrimental to the Allies' strategy.[1][2]

Raids[edit | edit source]

Codename Date Force Target Objective Outcome
Hardtack 4[3] 26/27 December 1943 No. 12 Commando
No. 8 French Troop, No. 10 Commando
Biville actually Criel-sur-Mer Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners
The Commandos were forced to withdraw by German patrol activity having actually landed near Creil-Sur-Mer. Two soldiers climbed the cliffs and encountered a patrol of approx 15 Germans. The leader, Cpl (later Sgt) Douglas Nash was awarded to the Military Medal for covering the withdrawal. DJ Nash citiation.
Hardtack 5 26/27 December 1943 No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando Onival Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners
One Commando was injured by an anti-personnel mine on landing; the rest spend four and a half hours ashore but did not see any Germans, just unoccupied strong points.[4]
Hardtack 7[3] 25/26 & 27/28 December 1943[5] No. 12 Commando
No. 8 French Troop, No. 10 Commando
Sark Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners
On the first attempt the Commandos had to return to England when they were unable to scale the cliffs, the second attempt was abandoned when the Commandos entered a minefield losing two men.[5]
Hardtack 11[3] 24/25 & 26/27 December 1943 No. 1 & No. 8 French troops, No. 10 Commando Gravelines
Hardtack 13[3] 26/27 December 1943 No. 1 French Troop, No. 10 Commando
SBS
Benouville
Hardtack 21[3] 26/27 December 1943 No. 1 French Troop, No. 10 Commando Quineville Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners
The raid gathered information on the defensive obstacles on what would become Utah Beach.
Hardtack 22[6] January 1944 (Cancelled) No. 10 Commando, later 2nd US Rangers Herm Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners
Raid was cancelled at the planning stage.
Hardtack 23[3] 27/28 December 1943 No. 1 French Troop, No. 10 Commando Ostend Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners
The raid was called off after their Motor Torpedo Boat transport ran aground.
Hardtack 28[3] 25/26 December 1943 No. 8 French Troop, No. 10 Commando
No. 12 Commando
Jersey
Hardtack 36[3] 24/25 December 1943 No. 8 French Troop, No. 10 Commando Wassenaar Reconnaissance and
capture prisoners
All the Commandos involved were killed after landing.

References[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Cruickshank, Charles (1975). The German Occupation of the Channel Islands. The Guernsey Press Co. Ltd. ISBN 0-902550-02-0. 
  • Messenger, Charles (1985). The Commandos: 1940–1946. London: Kimber. ISBN 0718305531. 
  • Anderson, Duncan (2000). The Fall of the Reich: D-Day to the Fall of Berlin. Zenith Press. ISBN 0760309221. 
  • van der Bijl, Nick (2006). No. 10 Inter-Allied Commando 1942-45. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-999-1. 

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