Special Operations

Operation Devon (1943)

Operation Devon was the codeword given to a British Commando raid during the Second World War. The operation an amphibious landing at Termoli on the Adriatic coast of Italy was carried out on 3 October 1943 by elements of the 2nd Special Service Brigade, No. 2 Commando and No. 40 (Royal Marine) Commando.

In the early hours of 3 October 1943, Nos 2 and 40 (Royal Marine) Commandos elements of the Special Raiding Squadron landed behind the German lines under cover of darkness at Termoli, a seaport town on the Adriatic coast, north of the Bifurno River, 40 Commando penetrated well into the town before the Germans were alerted and brisk close-quarter fighting with German parachute troops ensued. By 08:00 hours, 40 Commando had captured the town and controlled the approaches. So complete was the surprise that German vehicles and motor cyclists still drove into a Commando ambush position until noon. The Germans counter attacked in strength and 2 Commando with 40 Commando, the Special Raiding Squadron and some reinforcements from the 78th Division, held off repeated and heavy infantry and armoured counter-attacks by the 26th Panzer Division until eventually the 8th Army linked up with them on 6 October. The operation was an outstanding success. They had overcome all attempts, by a force vastly superior in numbers and armament, to dislodge them and in so doing, won a valuable harbour; they caused the enemy to withdraw from the natural defence line on the Bifurno and denied them the use of the important lateral road from Naples, thereby forcing them to retreat further northwards.


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