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Thread: German raid of British radar station in WWII

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski View Post
    I am not sure why the contemtuous approach to the German special forces. They operated since the start of the war, and frankly speaking I was surprised there was no activity on the British side of the Channel. Certainly it was within reach, though, I guess, they were busy elsewhere for most part of the war. So the mention of the single action seems quite intriguing.
    Not sure about lack of activity from British "special forces" (though the term came later). The Commando were active in Norway and the North then various units were active in the Middle East.

    Most of the techniques used by Special Forces and training methods were developed at Inverailort early in WWII.
    MB

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbriscoe View Post
    I recently bought a copy of an excellent new book, Commando Country. This is about the various training establishments used by Combined Operations, Commandos, SOE etc mainly here in the Highlands.

    In the book there is this paragraph

    "Only a single German commando attack was made on British soil, later acknowledges by a senior British Commando officer as "one absolutely splendid raid carried out by the Germans from the Channel islands ... we were rather jealous of it, it went very well indeed". This is believed to have been an attack against a radar station on the south coast of the Isle of Wight, launched from the occupied Channel island of Alderney in 1941."

    The source is a item by Major General Laycock in the RUSI Journal in 1947.

    I found an Isle of Wight website that reported rumours of such a raid but wondered if anyone here knows anything about it?

    Martin Briscoe
    "This is believed to have been an attack against a radar station on the south coast of the Isle of Wight, launched from the occupied Channel island of Alderney in 1941."

    A fairy tale I believe! The only 'Radar' we had at that time was the 'Chain Home' setup, which was way behind what the Germans had already
    Last edited by TilsheadLodge; 24th February 2020 at 18:09.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TilsheadLodge View Post
    "This is believed to have been an attack against a radar station on the south coast of the Isle of Wight, launched from the occupied Channel island of Alderney in 1941."

    A fairy tale I believe! The only 'Radar' we had at thet time was the Chain Home setup, which was way behind what the Germans had already
    Not sure where you got that idea. "Emergency" CHL sites were on before the end of 1939 - along the East coast, there more by January - February 1940 still East coast.

    By July 1940 there was CHL along the South coast, more by January 1941 and some GCI.

    By Spring there CD/CHL from Littlehampton to North Foreland.

    Not really correct to say that the RAF was behind the Germans. The RAF had a better developed Command & Control system to handly the information complete with backup systems. As was pointed out in one article, after an American called Chain Home 'crude', it might have been crude but it did the job and gave long range. The Americans had been shown the British work before the start of the war but learnt little. Chain Home on Hawaii might have prevented them being caught out at Pearl Harbour.
    MB

  4. #24
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    There were two radar sites on the south coast of the Isle of Wight; the main one being on St Boniface Down, inland of the town of Ventnor (https://www.subbrit.org.uk/sites/ven...radar-station/), and the other near St Lawrence (http://www.ventnorradar.co.uk/RAFStL.htm). If there was an attack it would have been against the latter (see the last para of the second link).

    Rumours of the attack have never been confirmed although a local author, Andrew Searle, published a book in 2016 describing the incident Churchill's Last Wartime Secret: the 1943 German raid Airbrushed from History. Interestingly the author of the St Lawrence story in the link above, refers to the book but does not expand his account to summarise what allegedly happened.

    Edit: According to Searle the raid was in 1943 not 1941.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 24th February 2020 at 16:08. Reason: Additional info

  5. #25
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    Has anybody seen the book? Is it of any value?
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

  6. #26
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    Not read it myself Franek, but the reviews were nearly all sceptical:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Churchills-.../dp/B01NAGE7LV

    See also
    https://historum.com/threads/german-...-wight.131902/

    and
    http://www.pillbox.org.uk/blog/245381/

    Then there's
    http://www.historyofwar.org/bookpage...st_secret.html, in which the prime source for the story, a German archivist, claims the raid was in May 1943 and involved men from his convalescent unit.

    Having read these the I'm left with the impression that the whole story is based on unreferenced hearsay - and not very well written.

    Brian

  7. #27
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    It does not cover the whole of 1943 (alleged year of raid) but the ORB of 2745 Squadron RAF Regiment might have something to say. The unit moved to Ventnor on 11 May 1943 and left on 13 October the same year.

    Brian

  8. #28
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    Thanks, Brian. Interesting, although a bit disappointing. I was thrilled to think that Higgins book was a true one. :)
    Still, I am curious of the source of the original claim of Laycock. Was it a mistake caused by the exercises?
    That said, I can imagine an event disappearing from the books without trace or almost without trace. Such mysteries concern events surrounding the Warsaw Uprising and planned flights to Poland.
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

  9. #29
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    The only thing I can come up with pertaining to this is that the 'Chain Home' towers at Ventnor were shot up by the krauts on several occasions.

  10. #30
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    Try searching Google for 'Raids on Ventnor" or something similar TL and you will find some instances of air attacks, see for example http://www.alexandragardens.co.uk/ww2.html; there are other links, but not many.

    Edit: Nor many raids either.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 29th February 2020 at 08:20.

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