On this page:
Special Ops, Commandos, Rangers
- Operation Chariot, my image collection about the 1942 raid on Saint-Nazaire, 1942
- A walk through Saint-Nazaire, my guided tour that includes some Chariot landmarks
- The Saint-Nazaire Society website
- The Saint-Nazaire Society facebook pages
- Operation Chariot website of James Dorrian, author and leading expert on Operation Chariot
- Operation Chariot on combinedops.com
- Operation Chariot on the pages of the U.S. Naval Institute
- Commando Roll of Honour St Nazaire
- St Nazaire raid at BBC News
- Airborne Museum "Pegasus Bridge"
- Photo of Pegasus Bridge 1944 at normandybattlefields.com
Recommended books about Special Forces & Operations
- Spec Ops (William McRaven, Presidio Press 1995, original title "The Theory of Special Operations")
A theory of the factors that lead to success of failure in sec ops. Well-written; the major part of the book is a series of 8 case studies, one of them Operation Chariot.
- Daring to Win (David Eshel,BCA, London 1993)
Special forces at war, a description in four parts and spanning all the time from 1939 to 1993.
- Beyond Valor (Patrick K. O'Donnell, The Free Press, New York 2001)
A book about the US Rangers and Airborne Forces.
- Commando Attack (Gordon Holman, Hodder & Stoughton 1942, revised ed. 1944)
The story of the British commandos and some of their early "work". Includes illustrations.
- Army Commandos 1940-45 (Mike Chappell, Osprey Elite Series book No. 64, Oxford 1996 & 2002)
Very detailed description of the British commando forces. The cover image shows three commando soldiers one of whom is obviously inspired by images of Col. Newman, in his famous pose.
- Commandos and Rangers of World War II (James D. Ladd, Book Club Associates 1978)
An exhaustive account of special operations on all fronts of WW II. Many illustrations and diagrams.
- Commando (Peter Young, Ballantine Books 1969, Weapons Book 7)
A pocketbook giving an overview of British commando forces and their operations, from Spitzbergen to Dieppe.
- The Green Beret (Hilary St. George Saunders, White Lion, London 1972)
The history of the commandos 1940-1945. One of the best-known books about the topic.
- The Red Beret (Hilary St. George Saunders, Michael Joseph, London 1950)
The history of the Parachute Regiment at war 1940-1945.
- Red Berets '44 (The Parachute Regiment, 1994)
A booklet commemorating the achievements of the Airborne Forces and the Parachute Regiment: I bought this one in the Airborne Forces Museum.
- Cockleshell Heroes (C.E. Lucas Phillips, Heinemann 1956)
An account of the commando raid on Bordeaux when a small force of canoes put six German cargo ships out of action.
- The Bruneval Raid (George Millar, Doubleday 1975)
A detailed description of the raid to capture a German radar installation, but most of the book is a general description of the radar war. The latter is also covered exhaustively in "Most Secret War" (see there).
Recommended books about Operation Chariot (Raid on Saint-Nazaire, 1942)
- Storming St. Nazaire (James G. Dorrian, Leo Cooper, London 1998)
Surprisingly, a new account of the action has been published 56 years after the event. A very well-written book that combines the "traditional" reports with the hindsight and additional information we have now, with some more material recently released from the archives. Includes photos of many persons involved, but only a few new photos of the raid, alas. (...but still more than I found after hunting British libraries and photo archives. I found this book in the bookshop of the National Army Museum, London. A very recommendable museum, too!)
- Saint-Nazaire: Operation Chariot (James Dorrian, Pen & Sword Books, 2006)
By the same author as above, a shorter account, published in the "Battleground Europe" series.
- The Greatest Raid – St Nazaire, 1942: The heroic story of Operation Chariot (Giles Whittell, Viking 2022, ISBN 978-0-241-50857-2)
I confess that at first I was put off by the photomontage on the cover and by the way the story lept to and fro between persons, events an background, all in worst "current documentary style". But reading on the story became more coherent and despite hints about stunning new perspectives changes to tell the story in proper order and with an enormous amount of detail, in particular in the personal accounts of the participants and their relatives.
- Into the Jaws of Death (Robert Lyman, Quercus Books, London 2013)
This book describes a lot of the background of the units involved and of the raiding concept and gives a good account of the raid and its aftermath. Some images from German archives that have not been published as often as the British ones. Unfortunately, also some small inconsistencies in the text, but still very much worth reading.
- The Greatest Raid of All (C.E. Lucas Phillips, Heinemann 1958)
In its time, the most complete book about Operation Chariot, including many pictures. Also includes lists of victims, awards, commando objectives, the bomber support, and a glossary. On of the many excellent accounts Brigadier Phillips wrote.
- The Attack on St. Nazaire (Commander R.E.D. Ryder, John Murray 1947)
The detailed account of the naval side of the raid, written by the naval commander himself. Includes pictures and diagrams, tide statistics, training programme, and a complete list of the naval and military personnel involved.
- St. Nazaire Commando (Stuart Chant-Sempill, John Murray 1985)
The account of a squad leader, Stuart Chant, of the raid and especially of the time after- his time in German POW camps. A book that is deeply moving, perhaps especially so because of the objective and human way he describes events and people.
- List the Bugle (Corran Purdon, Greystone Books, Antrim 1993)
Reminiscences of an Irish soldier- Corran Purdon took part in Operation Chariot and continued his military career after the war. Very interesting to read.
- Turned Towards The Sun - An Autobiography (Michael Burn, Michael Russell Publishing, Norwich 2003)
This book is not only interesting for the chapter about the Saint Nazaire Raid but also for the story about an eventful and interesting life.
- St Nazaire 1942 (Ken Ford, Osprey Campaign Series book No. 92, Oxford, England 2001)
Mostly accurate and well-edited description of the raid, with the high-quality graphics and text we are accustomed to from this publisher.
- Raid on St. Nazaire (David Mason, Ballantine Books 1970, Battle Book 14)
A compressed but very good account of the raid, in pocket-book format.
- Objectif Saint-Nazaire (J. Gille/ J.-P. Lucas, Presse Océan, 1990)
A high-quality comic book with an account of the raid. The French have a tradition of producing excellent comics, and this is an impressive example.
- Assault on St. Nazaire (Duncan Harding)
I include this reference just to warn you. What a crap! Written in cheapest pulp fiction style, full of improbable (often impossible) action, and in pretending to be based on historical fact insulting those who fought in the real event. A sloppy finish completes this annoying book.
- 7 jours, edition 12 avril 1942 (Lyon 1942)
A contemporary weekly magazine whose cover page plus 2 full inside pages are dedicated towhat must be one of the first accounts of "La tentative Anglaise de Saint-Nazaire".
- Journaux de Guerre No. 35.26, mars 1942 (Hachette, Paris)
A reprint of contemporary newspaper articcles. This edition contains an account of Operation Chariot.
- The Destroyer Campbeltown (Al Ross, Conway Maritime Press, London 1990)
Detailed technical and historical account of this ship, very good graphics and photos.
- Britischer Zerstörer "Campbeltown": Der Handstreich auf Saint-Nazaire (Wilhelm Wolfslast, Arthur Moewig Verlag, München)
No. 95 of the pulp novel edition "Anker-Hefte- Seefahrt in aller Welt" with a decent account of the raid and some technical information about the Campbeltown; also contains some seldom-published photos.
- Profile Warship No. 5: HMS Campbeltown (John Wingate, Profile Publications, Windsor, England 1971)
Technical information about the ship, its history, and its role in the raid. Lots of technical detail.
- The Yard (Michael S. Sanders, Perennial/HarperCollins, 2001)
This book is a history of the Bath Iron Works, the shipbuilders who built, among many other military ships, the USS Buchanan that later became HMS Campbeltown.
- Saint-Nazaire 1939-1945 (Daniel Sicard, Editions Ouest-France, Rennes 1994)
An account of Saint-Nazaire's fate during the war, with many excellent images and some maps. One chapter is dedicated to Operation Chariot.
- Eine Reise durch die Zeit (Guide booklet of the Ecomusée de Saint-Nazaire, German edition, 1990)
An overview of the exhibits and some additional information, good photos.
- Les grandes heures de Nantes et Saint-Nazaire (B. Roy)
An illustrated account of the WWII years in that area. Includes a small chapter on the St. Nazaire Raid.
- La Côte d'Amour hier & aujourd'hui (Lesacher/ Sclaresky/ Cattin, Editions Ouest-France, Rennes 1997)
Collection of photos, showing how the area of of Saint-Naziare and Croisic developed through the times.
Recommended books about Normandy 1944
- The Longest Day (Cornelius Ryan, 1959)
The Normandy landings from the perspective of the individuals involved, on both sides. Still a very readable and interesting book.
- Pegasus Bridge (Stephen Ambrose, Touchstone Books 1988)
The opening attack of the Normandy attack, 1944. Slightly off-topic here, but nevertheless a very good book about small unit operations.
Recommended books about Arnhem 1944
- A Bridge Too Far (Cornelius Ryan, 1974)
Operation Market-Garden, seen from the perspective of the persons involved. Very readable and giving an excellent overview.
- Arnhem 1944 (Stephen Badsey, Osprey Campaign Series Book No. 24)
Operation Market Garden described in great detail and with good graphics.
- Arnheim 1944 (Janusz Piekalkiewicz, Herbig, München 1994)
"Germany's last victory", another very detailed and accurate account of that battle.
- Arnhem Battlefield Map (John Waddy)
Based on US 1:25000 scale maps, this map shows the area in which the battle was fought in its historic lay-out.
Other recommended books about WW II
- Operation Sea Lion (Peter Fleming, Simon and Schuster, New York 1957)
A very well-written book about the projected invasion of England in 1940, written from extensive knowledge, well-documented. Includes soem photos and maps.
Recommended books about Secret Warfare, Cryptology
- Most Secret War (R. V. Jones, Hamish Hamilton 1978)
An account of the author's part in British Scientific Intelligence which aimed to anticipate and counter German application of science to war. Good reading, too!
- Evidence in Camera (Constance Babington-Smith, Quality Book Club, 1957)
The story of photographic reconnaissance in WW II.
- MI 9 (M. R. D. Foot and J. M. Langley, Book Club Associates 1979)
Escape and evasion 1939 to 1945: The inevitable follow-up of so many commando actions, written by men who were directly involved.