Special Operations

Operation Dingson (1944)

Operation Dingson (5–18 June 1944) was an operation in the Second World War, conducted by about 178 Free Frenchparatroops of the 4th Special Air Service (SAS), commanded by Colonel Pierre-Louis Bourgoin, who jumped into German occupied France near Vannes, Morbihan, Southern Brittany, in Plumelec, on the night of 5 June 1944 (11 h 30), (Captain Pierre Marienne with 17 men), and Saint-Marcel (8–18 June).

At this time there was approximately 100 000 German troops, and artillery, preparing to move to the Normandy landing areas.

Immediately upon landing in Brittany, on the night of 5 June 1944 (11 h 30), 18 Free French SAS who jumped in near Plumelec, went into action fighting against German troops (Ukrainians and Georgians from Vlassov’s army).

One hour later (0 h 40) the first victim of the liberation of his country, Corporal Emile Bouétard (born in Brittany, 1915–1944) of stick was killed by a German NCO near Plumelec.

The Free French SAS established a base (Saint-Marcel) and began to arm and equip members of local resistance fighters, operating with up to 3,000 Maquis fighters. However, their base was heavily attacked by a German paratroop division on 18 June and were forced to disperse.

Captain Pierre Marienne with 17 of his companions (6 paratroopers, 8 resistance fighters and 3 farmers) died a few weeks later in Kerihuel, Plumelec, (12 July at dawn).

The Dingson team was joined by the men who had just completed Operation Cooney. Dingson was conducted alongside Operation Samwest and Operation Lost, which were parts of Overlord.

Operation Dingson 35A

On 5 August 1944, 10 Waco CG-4 gliders towed by aircraft of 298 Squadron and 644 Squadron transported the French SAS men and armed jeeps to Brittany near Vannes (Locoal-Mendon), each glider carrying 3 SAS troopers and a jeep. One glider was lost with the death of the British pilot.

The SAS teams remained behind enemy lines in occupied territory until the Allies arrived.


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