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Combined Operations (Hardback)

An Official History of Amphibious Warfare Against Hitler’s Third Reich, 1940-1945

Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: WWII WWII > German Forces & Weaponry WWII > Hitler & the Third Reich

Introduction by John Grehan
Frontline Books
Pages: 432
Illustrations: 32 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399040228
Published: 12th December 2022



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From the warmer climate of the Mediterranean to the frozen wastes of Norway’s Arctic islands, the Combined Operations organisation was a persistent thorn in the side of Hitler’s Third Reich. From mounting attacks against enemy-held coastlines with small teams of less than a dozen men, through to huge expeditions involving thousands of troops and other personnel, the headquarters of Combined Operations oversaw a wide variety of amphibious operations, all undertaken with the sole aim of tying down the Führer’s forces.

The raids, both big and small, were mounted as frequently as possible against anywhere boats could reach, keeping the Axis forces constantly on guard. The effects of the early Combined Operations far outweighed the resources committed to the raids, with an extra 30,000 German troops being sent to garrison Norway following the Commando raids, the largest of which included only around 500 men.

The Combined Operations organisation grew as the war progressed, and it was instrumental in the planning and training of troops and the provision of landing craft for the amphibious assaults which saw the capture of French North Africa, Operation Torch, and the invasion of Sicily, Operation Husky. Its culminating glory came in the summer of 1944, when the largest amphibious operation in history saw a quarter of a million men shipped across the English Channel to the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and its aftermath.

Combined Operations is an official history that explores the full story of how the body was set up, its structure, and how it put together the hugely complex tri-service operations. Also detailed is how its headquarters staff operated, and how the planning section functioned – in 1942, for example, the planners envisaged one raid every month, which culminated in the disastrous Dieppe raid in August of that year.

The Combined Operations organisation was also instrumental in the development and provision of specialist landing craft and ships, and of the clearing of beach obstacles and mines – all of which is explored in detail.

As might be expected, a large proportion of the book is dedicated to the various and fascinating projects in preparation for Operation Overlord which saw the culmination of everything that had been learned, in the successes and failures, throughout four years of amphibious warfare.

"A fascinating official history of an influential Allied organisation, it is recommended reading for anyone with a keen interest in World War Two special forces."

Classic Military Vehicle Magazine - Issue 264, May 2023

It is a well-written and informative book that provides a comprehensive overview of this important topic.

Read the Full Review Here

The History Fella

Review as featured in

Highlight: 'This is a useful volume in explaining how inter-service cooperation worked during the war.'

Gun Mart Magazine

About John Grehan

JOHN GREHAN has written, edited or contributed to more than 300 books and magazine articles covering a wide span of military history from the Iron Age to the recent conflict in Afghanistan. John has also appeared on local and national radio and television to advise on military history topics. He was employed as the Assistant Editor of Britain at War Magazine from its inception until 2014. John now devotes his time to writing and editing books.

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