Honour - ST. NAZAIRE 1942
The action took place at St. Nazaire at the mouth of the River Loire.
St. Nazaire contained the Normandie dry dock, the only one on the Atlantic coast big enough to repair the German battleship Tirpitz.
The plan was to send in a ship to ram the dock gate and then explode; this vesselís mission would be supported by many small ships carrying Commandos who would destroy the dockís winding and pumping facilities then wreck the dockyard infrastructure.
The ship chosen was HMS Campbeltown, which was stripped out internally to reduce draught and allow her to cross the shallow waters of the approach to the target. The bows contained 4.5 tons of explosive encased in steel and set in concrete, set to explode by time delay fuses, after British forces had withdrawn.
Campbeltown rammed the dock gates at 0134hrs, 4 minutes later than planned and blew up at 1135hrs killing 360 Germans who were aboard her. The dock was put out of action until 1948.
The raid was a complete success but very heavy casualties were sustained. of 611 who took part, 169 were killed, 215 captured and only 227 returned home.
Decorations awarded included 5 VC's, 80 other gallantry medals and 51 mentions in despatches.
This page last edited -
22 April, 2013.
Copyright © Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.