WW2 Commando History - July
14th/15th July 1940 Operation Ambassador, a raid on the coast of Guernsey by men from the Independent Companies grouped together as No 11 Ind. Coy. and led by Major Ronnie Tod and also No 3 Commando. Our gallery for the Independent Companies can be viewed HERE .
July 1941 saw 'B' Bn Layforce (No 8 Commando) in action in Tobruk and No 12 Commando in action at Ambleteuse, France.
July 1943 Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. In addition to Commando units the Special Raiding Squadron (SRS) also participated. Whilst the SRS were engaged at Bagnara and Augusta and other areas, No 3 Commando's time in Sicily included one particular action at Agnone.
On the 14th/15th July 1943 No.3 Commando were tasked with taking and holding a bridge at Punta dei Malati until the arrival of the 50th Division. After capturing the bridge from the Italians and removing the demolitions they had laid, a counter attack by the Germans with support of tanks inflicted heavy casualties on No.3 Commando. Eventually they were ordered to withdraw but the bridge had been saved from demolition.
General Montgomery later ordered that a stone be carved with “3 Commando Bridge” and this stone cemented into the Punta dei Malati bridge.
An excellent account of the raid can be found in Lieut. Erskine’s recollections below :
28/29th July No. 2 Commando at Spilje, Albania (Operation Healing 2.)