Operation Gaff (1944)

During World War II, Operation Gaff was a six-man patrol of Special Air Service commandos, who parachuted into Nazi-occupied France on 18 July, 1944, with aim of severely injuring or killing Field Marshall Erwin Rommel.

From March 1943, Allied Intelligence had been undertaking research on the whereabouts, bases and travel arrangements of Field Marshall Rommel. Part of the research asked the question of how easy it would be to kill Rommel? Post D-Day, the Allies were meeting fierce resistance, marshalled by Rommel with Hitler’s orders to stand firm at all costs. With losses mounting, Field Marshall Montgomery agreed with a plan to take Rommel out of the battle plan temporarily.

After SAS Lieutenant Colonel William Fraser was told the location of Rommel’s headquarters, a chateau home of the Dukes de La Rochefoucauld in the village of La Roche-Guyon, Brigadier R.W. McLeod assigned a dedicated team of six specially trained assassins from the International SAS, led by French-national Captain Jack William Raymond Lee.

On July 18, Lee and his team parachuted into Orléans. However, on radioing in, they found that Rommel had been severely injured the previous day after his staff car had been over turned in an attack by RAF Hawker Typhoon’s, and replaced by Günther von Kluge.With their orders aborted, they moved toward advancing US Army lines on foot, while ambushing trains and attacking German units along their route. They reached safety on 12 August.

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