The Jedburghs were three-man teams parachuted into occupied France after D-Day to develop liaison with the Resistance. They were truly inter-allied, French (103), Belgian (5), Dutch (5), British (90) and American (83). Each of the 93 teams included a Frenchman, with the remaining two members divided more or less equally between British and American officers.
Jedburg Missions, (Officially) The mission of the Jedburgh teams was to supplement existing OSS/SOE ‘circuits,’ to help organize and arm the resistance, arrange supply drops, procure intelligence, provide liaison between the Allies and the Resistance, and to take part in sabotage operations.
Project Jedburgh was a joint Allied program, with the OSS Special Operations (OSS) branch, the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), and the French Bureau Central de Renseignements et d’Action (BCRA) involved.
Eighty-three American, 90 British, 103 French, 5 Belgian, and 5 Dutch personnel were extensively trained in paramilitary techniques for Jedburgh missions. Ninety-three Jedburgh teams parachuted into France and eight went into The Netherlands.
A model team consisted of one French, one British, and one American serviceman. Every team had at least one officer and a radioman, but team sizes vary from two to four men.
The purpose of the Jedburgh and the Jedburgh Operations is to coordinate the French resistance actions with the allied strategic and tactical plans of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force in order to slow down German troops’ movement in France. These operations were done by airdropping equipment and personnel belonging to the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the Free France Central Bureau of Intelligence and Action (BCRA) to local French resistance networks.
The British, experts in commando operations, initiated the project in the fall of 1943 and began the selection of hand-picked cadres from the Special Air Service (SAS). With an excellent physical condition, these volunteers must be determined and accept to endure multiple tests while perfecting their technical skills. Col Wilkinson of the SOE gave the code name Jedburgh to these small teams trained to work alone and deep into enemy territory. The term Jedburgh comes from the name of a town located on the Scottish border, near which many exercises were organized like Spartan, the first training setting the bases of the general concept of these operations.
In the summer of 1944, Allied special operations teams known as Jedburghs parachuted into occupied Europe to cooperate with resistance groups behind German lines and to aid in the advance of Allied ground forces. Each of the 19 Jedburgh teams consisted of three special trained volunteers. Clandestine operations of the kind that the Jeds conducted often have been recounted in memoirs and novels, but only a portion of the actual operational records have been declassified. The Jeds, as they called themselves, were but one group charged with clandestine work. Individual agents, inter-Allied missions, Special Air Service (SAS) troops and other such organization will only be included in this study when they specifically influenced Jeds operations.
This study examines the operations of the 11 Jeds teams dropped into northern France during the summer of 1944, with particular emphasis on the degree to which they assisted in the advance of Gen Omar N. Bradley’s 12th Army Group from Normandy to the German border. The treatment of these Jeds teams will be arranged chronologically, by date of insertion. The area of operations covered by these teams reached from the Belgian border in the north, south to Nancy. Jed operations south of Nancy lie beyond the scope of this study. The operational records of these 11 northern teams form the core of the documentation for this study, although a good deal of the story told here has been gleaned from other sources, memories, and interviews with Jeds veterans.
Regrettably, the records of the Special Forces Headquarters, the organization with Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower’s SHAEF that provided operational command and control for Jed teams, remain classified and, therefore, were not available for use in this study. I have resolved to follow MRD Foot’s examples and capitalized the names of intelligence circuits to assist the reader amid the sea of names and code names used to protect these operations.
The name of each individual in the text is the individual’s real name (as well as that can be determined), Nom de Guerre of each French Jeds will be mention in the appropriate footnote. I have adopted the word Axis as a generic term for the German-dominated security forces. In some instances, these rear-area defense forces were not German, but Vichy security forces, such as the Milice.
The sun was setting on July 7, 1944, at Harrington Air Base some fifty miles north of London. Capt Bill Dreux, a 31-year-old lawyer from New Orleans, like his two partners was weighed down by a Colt M-1911-A1 cal .45 pistol, a cal. 30 carbine, ammo, binoculars, money belt, escape kit, flashlight, tobacco, map case and could barely move.
Overall this equipment each man wore a camouflaged British paratrooper body-length smock (Denison). Dreux felt wrapped like a mummy and had trouble getting out of the station wagon. Finally, after the driver-assisted each out of the vehicle, the three tightly wrapped men waddled in short, jerky steps toward a black-painted B-24 Liberator.
The absurdity of the situation was not lost on the bomber’s US Army Corps crew, who succumbed to laughter. After a last cigarette, Bill Dreux, his partners, and the crew scaled the B-24 and took off for Brittany. Dreux and his two colleagues were Jeds. Jeds were volunteers specially trained to conduct guerrilla warfare in conjunction with the French Resistance in support of the Allied invasion of France.
Bill Dreux and his two partners survived their mission. Their story has already been told, however, and with some skill in one of the few Jed memoirs. This paper will examine the role of the 11 Jed teams parachuted into northern France in the summer of 1944 whose story has not been told. These 11 teams, like Dreux’s, has worked with mostly French teenagers and the few Frenchmen not drafted into Germany labor or prisoners of war in Germany.
Many Jed teams had difficulty radioing London, and some that did contact London doubted that their reports were acted upon. After the Jeds operations in France concluded, the teams’ after-action reports reflected a sense, not of failure, but rather of frustration. The teams felt they could have been used more effectively. The major reason for this frustration was a professional officer Corps, unfamiliar with the capabilities of unconventional warfare and the multiplicity of secret organizations (several of them new) competing for recognition, personal, funds and missions.
Following the fall of France, in July 1940, the Chamberlain cabinet, in one of its last acts, created the Special Operations Executive, (SOE). Independent of other British Intelligence Service, its charter was suitably unique, two foster sabotage activity in axis-occupied countries.
Two offices in the War Office and one in the Foreign Office had been studying the subject since 1938, and they combined to form SOE. Although SOE ran intelligence circuits, it was independent of the Secret or Special Intelligence Service, (SIS), which today is known as MI6.
In a similar fashion, the Special Air Service Regiment remained independent of the SOE and the SIS. David Stirling who created the SAS in 1941, summarized his organization’s purpose as follows: firstly, raids in-depth behind the enemy lines, attacking Headquarters nerve centers, landing grounds, supply lines and so on; and, secondly, the mounting of sustained strategic offensive activity from secret bases within hostile territory and, if the opportunity existed, recruiting, training, arming and coordinating local guerrilla elements.
The United States approached World War II without a strategic intelligence organization. It first created the Committee of Information, a conspicuous failure that soon became the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Its director, William ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan, allowed it to duplicate the functions and methods of the British Intelligence Organizations, to which it was closely tied. But whereas the British effort was marked by independent competing organs, Donovan attempted to unify the many facets of the secret world in his neophyte OSS.
Following September 1942, the OSS special operations branch joined the SOE London Group to create a combined office known as SOE/SO on Baker Street in London. S0E’s first director, Dr. Hugh Dalton, explained his organization’s purpose as follows: we have got to organize movements in enemy-occupied territory comparable to the Sinn Fein in Ireland, to the Chinese Guerillas now operating against Japan, to the Spanish Irregulars who played a notable part in Wellington’s campaign or – one might as well admit it – to the organizations which the nazis themselves have developed so remarkably in almost every country in the world. This ‘democratic international’ must use many different methods, including industrial and military sabotage, labor agitation and strikes, continuous propaganda, terrorist acts against traitors and German leaders, boycotts and riots.
One of the most important personalities in the SOE was Sir Colin McVean Gubbins, who eventually became its executive director. Born in Japan in 1896, Gubbins was a slight Scot who had served in the artillery on the Western Front in World War One, in Ireland during the Troubles, and in northern Russia during the Russian Civil War. In 1939, in the War Office’s small unconventional war section, he wrote two short pamphlets: The Art of Guerilla Warfare and Partisan Leaders’ Handbook. He created the Independent Companies (later renamed commandos) and successfully led several of them in Norway in 1940.
May 1942 found Sir Colin McVean Gubbins a brigadier general and, with the title of a military deputy, at the head of the SOE. In May 1942, the SOE entered into talks involving its support of a future Allied invasion of northwestern Europe.
The British Chief of Staff foresaw the SOE activity occurring in two phases. In the first phase (cooperation during the initial invasion) the SOE would organize and arm resistance forces and take action against the enemy’s rail and signal communications, air personnel, etc. During the second phase, after the landing, the SOE would provide guides for British conventional units, guards for important locations, labor parties, and organized raiding parties capable of penetrating behind German lines.
Brig Gubbins and the SOE developed the Jedburgh concept from these discussions with one paper, drafted by Peter Wilkinson, summarizing its activities as follows: as and when the invasion commences, the SOE will drop additional small teams of French-speaking personnel carrying arms for some forty men each. The role of these teams will be to make contact with local authorities or existing SOE organizations, to distribute the arms, to start off the action of the patriots, and, most particularly, to arrange by W/T (Wireless Telegraphy) communication the dropping points and reception committees for further arms and equipment on the normal SOE system. Each Team will consist of one British Officer, one W/T operator with a radio set and possibly one guide.
On July 6, Gubbins (recently promoted to major general) briefly explained the project to the head of the SOE security section, requesting a code name for teams to raise and arm the civilian population to carry out guerrilla activities against the enemy’s lines of communication.
The following day, the security section issued the project the code name Jedburgh, after a small town on the Scots-English border. The Jedburgh project evolved along with the changing Allied invasion plans of the Continent.
Later in the month, the SOE resolved that seventy Jedburgh teams would be required, with the British and Americans each providing thirty-five. In August 1942, the British Chiefs of Staff informed the SOE that there was no longer a requirement for Jedburgh teams to provide guides and labor or raiding parties, effectively eliminating phase two of the original proposal.
On December 24, 1942, a meeting at General Headquarters Home Forces, determined that the Jedburghs would all be uniformed soldiers and that one of the two officers in each team should be of the nationality of the country to which the team would deploy. This signified that the project would require Belgian, Dutch, and French soldiers.
Furthermore, Jedburgh teams would be dropped to secure areas, where SOE agents would receive them. Each team would be given one or more military tasks to perform in their area. In addition, since it would take at least seventy-two hours to deploy a team and have them operational, Jedburgh teams would not be used to assist the tactical plans of conventional ground forces. Finally, the SOE would provide twelve Jedburgh teams to further examine the concept’s possibilities and limitations during Exercise Spartan from March 3-11 1943.
Exercise Spartan simulated an Allied breakout from the initial invasion lodgment area. SOE’s Jedburgh teams attempted to assist the British Second Army advance, with the 8th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in the role of local resistance groups. The SOE also used this opportunity to test the insertion of individual agents behind enemy lines and the role of the SOE staff officers at the army and corps headquarters. Each of these parties communicated via an SOE radio base in Scotland.
Following the exercise, the SOE concluded that the Jedburgh teams should be inserted at least forty miles behind enemy lines to conduct small-scale guerrilla operations against enemy lines of communication. The exercise also demonstrated that each army and army group headquarters required an SOE liaison and signal detachment. The SOE also concluded that it should maintain a small detachment with the Supreme Headquarters.
SOE and OSS, after compiling the Spartan lessons learned, both began the process of moving similar position papers through the British and American hierarchies, seeking approval, support, and personnel. On July 19, 1943, Gen Frederick R. Morgan, Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander, recommended that the SOE proposals be approved. To his understanding, the SOE would provide small staffs and signal detachments to each army and army group headquarters (and the Supreme Allied Commander’s headquarters) for controlling resistance groups.
Jedburgh teams would constitute a strategic reserve in England until D Day to provide, if necessary, suitable leadership and equipment for those resistance groups found to be in need of them.
Two days later, the British Chiefs of Staff approved the SOE proposal, with the Americans following suit on August 24 1943. By October, the SOE and the OSS each agreed to provide sufficient personnel to field 35 Jedburgh teams plus 15 reserve teams, a total of 300 men in 100 teams. SHAEF created a special forces (SF) detachment for each army and army group headquarters to coordinate these operations with the field army.
The senior OSS officer with the US 3-A described the organization as follows: the Special Force Detachment was an orthodox military staff organized to provide the Commanding General of the Army a direct means to exercise control over the organized resistance elements and to use these elements in connection with military operations.
The detachments, however, had no means of directly contacting those organized resistance groups and Jedburgh teams other than through the SOE/SO. That organization summarized agent and resistance group reports and dispatched those summaries to the SF detachments. To integrate this effort with the Allied invasion of France, the SOE/SO, on May 1, 1944, became the Special Forces Headquarters responsible to SHAEF’s G-3 Branch. Although the SOE had several sections running circuits in France, the most important were RF Section (circuits supporting Gen Charles de Gaulle) and F Section (which operated non-Gaullist circuits).
One such occasion was January 25, 1944, London meeting to discuss the reception of Jedburgh teams in France. The SOE, the OSS, and the BCRA agreed to finance a mission for the BCRA and the F Section to establish reception committees and safe houses for Jedburgh teams.
Through herculean efforts, de Gaulle’s government managed to largely unify the many diverse French resistance groups, in March 1944 announcing the creation of the Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur (FFI). The FFI included the Franc Tireurs et the Partisans (leftist resistance organization), the largest and most active resistance organization. It remained difficult, however, for the many diverse French resistance organizations to cooperate without considering postwar political dilemmas.
In July 1944, SHAEF directed de Gaulle’s subordinate and personal friend, Pierre Koenig, commander of the FFI, to gradually assume command over SFHQ operations in France.
The transfer did not occur until August 21. In any case, this was largely a political and cosmetic measure, because Koenig’s deputies from the SOE and the OSS maintained the mechanisms of command, communication, and supply. Most of the eleven Jedburgh teams examined here operated in eastern France, known as Region C to the FFI, commanded by District Military Representative Planète.
Region C consisted of the Ardennes, Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Vosges, Bas-Rhin, and Haute-Rhin Departments. This had been a difficult area in which to operate from the beginning, but in August 1944, it became even more difficult, as the Vichy police, the Milice, and its supporters fled east with the remnants of the defeated German Army.
In mid-September 1943, with the Allied invasion of France just around the corner, no Jedburgh force existed. Over the next three months, the SOE and the OSS each recruited officers and non commissioned officers (NCO) with French language skills – all volunteers. The NCOs would serve as radio operators, the officers as either Jedburghs or staff officers of the SF detachments. Little is known of the SOE selection process, but the OSS qualifications for Jedburgh officers were as follows:
Officers recruited as leaders and seconds in command should be picked for qualities of leadership and daring, ability to speak and understand French, and all-around physical condition. They should be experienced in handling men, preferably in an active theater of operations, and be prepared to be parachuted in uniform behind enemy lines and operate on their own for some time. They must have had the basic military training and preferably have the aptitude for small arms..
Qualifications for the NCO radio operators were less stringent, requiring only a working knowledge of French and the ability to attain a speed of fifteen words per minute before leaving the United States. They, too, had to be in top physical condition. It would appear that the screening procedures were quite rigorous. Of the fifty-five officers selected for further Jedburgh training in Great Britain, only thirty-five became Jedburghs. This signified that the OSS was forced to secure additional volunteers from the US Army units in Great Britain. Several of those volunteers did not join their colleagues until February, a good month after basic training had already begun. Although the SOE and the OSS were theoretically coequals in the SOE/SO (and later in the SFHQ), the SOE remained dominant. The SOE provided the training sites and most of the instructors. The American volunteers arrived in Great Britain in late December 1943, with the officers spending two weeks going through psychological tests near Peterfield, south of London.
The officers then split into three groups and rotated through the Special Training Schools (STS) No. 6 at Walsingham, No. 45 at Fairford, and No. 40 at Gumley Hall. The sixty-two American NCOs attended the SOE communications school at Henley-on-Thames. Like the officers, however, they also underwent the ubiquitous psychological tests and practiced marksmanship, self-defense (taught by former members of the Shanghai Police), and physical training. In late January, all the Americans attended the Bingway parachute school, a three-day course, where they trained on Parachuting through the small hole (Joe hole) of a Royal Air Force bomber. Lt Col Frank V. Spaoner of the British Army established the Jedburgh Training School at Milton Hall, a large estate four miles from Peterborough, England. Operational training for the Jedburghs began there in February 1944, emphasizing guerrilla warfare tactics and skills demolitions, use of enemy weapons, map reading, night navigation, agent circuit operations, intelligence, sabotage, escape and evasion, counterespionage, ambushes, security, the use of couriers, and hand-to-hand combat. The final seventy French volunteers did not arrive at Milton Hall until March 1944, after the SOE/SO had conducted a recruitment drive through the Middle East. From May 21 to June 8, any Jedburgh teams participated in Lash, the last large-scale exercise. In the Leicestershire’s Charnwood Forest, the teams rehearsed receiving orders, linking up with resistance groups, and later leading attacks against targets designated by a radio message.
Almost all the Jedburgh members practiced French, Morse code, and long marches. The Jedburghs also received briefings on the history and organization of the resistance in France and other European countries.
The SOE/SO, or the SFHQ as it was now known, expressed pleasure with the exercise, although the simulated guerrillas had been observed moving during daylight in large groups.
The SFHQ concluded that the guerrillas should have approached their targets in smaller bands. In the category of minor criticisms, the guerrilla groups had received vague orders, which led to confusion. In addition, the groups had difficulty with their escape and evasion techniques. The Jedburghs formed their own teams in March and April, between the large-scale training exercises. In early April, Lt Col George R. Musgrave, British Army, became the new commandant at Milton Hall.
By April, training was largely complete, and on May 2, 1944, fifteen Jedburgh teams sailed for North Africa in preparation for insertion into southern France from Algiers. The teams remaining at Milton Hall continued to train while awaiting their alert or warning order. As a rule, upon receipt of their alert order, the team would be isolated and driven to a London safe house, where the SFHQ representatives from the SOE’s country sections briefed the officers on the particulars of the mission, local conditions, and background information. Although most Jedburghs entered France wearing military uniforms, several teams were informed at the briefing that they would be parachuted into France in civilian clothes. Needless to say, if they were caught wearing civilian clothes, the Germans would treat them as spies.
From there, the team was usually driven to Harrington or Tempsford Air Bases to await a flight that same evening. Other air bases were occasionally used, but Harrington fielded the modified black-painted bombers of the US 8-AAF’s 801st (Provisional) Bomb Group (Heavy), while the RAF’s 38th Group flew out of Tempsford. The SFHQ maintained its supply and packing area (known as Area H) some thirty-five miles from Harrington near the village of Holme.
Many of the Jedburghs heard of the D Day invasion while on Exercise Lash in Leicestershire. There was a general sense of disappointment upon the realization that they would not be deployed before but after the invasion. By the end of June, the SFHQ had dispatched thirteen Jedburgh teams to France (six from England and seven from North Africa). At the end of July, the number of teams in France increased to twenty-five, although none had been dropped north of the Seine River.
The Jedburgh concept had evolved considerably from Gubbins’ original 1942 proposal. The number of teams mushroomed from 70 to 100, of which 93 would deploy to France and another 6 to Holland in support of Operation Market Garden. From being a British force, the Jedburghs became an international one including Americans, French, Belgians, and Dutch. Basically, they constituted an unconventional warfare reserve in the theater to provide leadership, organization, training, weapons, supplies, and communication links to the FFI resistance groups. They would be inserted at least forty miles behind enemy lines and hence would not usually be in a position to provide tactical assistance to conventional forces. The teams would conduct unconventional warfare against German lines of communication, but not until told to do so by the SFHQ.
When Gen Frederick Morgan approved the Jedburgh concept in 1943, it was with the understanding that the special forces detachments at army and army group headquarters would control the organized resistance groups behind German lines. Furthermore, he believed it was the job of his army commander to exercise that control. The teams would conduct unconventional warfare against German lines of communication, but not until told to do so by the SFHQ. Modern professional officer corps, as a rule, have very little interest in unconventional warfare. That was certainly the case for the senior commanders and staff officers of World War II, trained in the branch schools and staff colleges of the 1920s and 1930s. Robin Brook, a senior SOE adviser to SHAEF, observed that the regular officers he served with had little knowledge of or interest in unconventional warfare. The SF detachments began to see similar patterns upon taking the field in France.
As early as July 12, when the commanders of the #10 and #11 SF Detachments met, one observed: it appears from his experience and ours here that Armies working under Army Groups are not very strategically minded.
The first response of the US 3-A upon breaking out of the Normandy bridgehead was to disarm the FFI. It took a directive from the 12-AG to establish that the FFI were allies and not enemies. Basically, there was little interest in the SF detachments on what was happening 100 kilometers in the enemy’s rear. To complicate the situation further, the SF detachments could only contact Jedburgh teams and resistance groups through the SFHQ. Another possible cloud on the horizon was the efficiency of communications between resistance groups, the SFHQ, and the SF detachments. With more and more Allied special operations teams and resistance groups operating behind German lines, would the SFHQ be capable of receiving and analyzing the increasing radio traffic and giving the SF detachments sufficient information to act upon?
Jedburgh teams were but one special operations instrument available to SHAEF in the summer of 1944. Current military doctrine emphasizes a rational construct of Special Operations Forces, an umbrella concept encompassing numerous organizations and functions ranging from psychological warfare and civil affairs all the way to elite special forces teams conducting direct-action missions deep behind enemy lines. In 1944, however, there was no such concept. Theoretically; SHAEF and its SFHQ provided the umbrella to encompass the many special-operations-type forces.
But as we have seen, the Allied special operations effort was marked by different organizations competing for funds, personnel, and missions. Although pledged to support SHAEF in the invasion of western Europe, a number of organizations remained independent, the most conspicuous being British Intelligence and the Special Air Service Regiment. A number of Jedburgh teams in the field, when confronted with a mission beyond their means, specifically requested reinforcement by SAS parties. Unfortunately, the SFHQ did not control the operational use of those forces. The modern concept of deconfliction (ensuring that simultaneous special or intelligence operations do not conflict or compromise each other) did not exist.
The experience and skills of the FFI groups (and the SOE agents inserted to work with the resistance) varied considerably. Some groups were rather familiar with the reception procedures (flash-light identification signals and two lines of bonfires) and had even used the procedures once or twice.
Other groups would form their first reception committee to meet a Jedburgh team. A coded BBC message (known as a blind transmission broadcast) informed each FFI group of the impending arrival of a Jedburgh team. Some Jedburghs trained to receive a small aircraft in the field to evacuate the severely wounded.
Jedburghs, however, were expected to remain in the field until they linked up with advancing Allied ground forces. This event was called being overrun and required no special procedures other than a Jedburgh showing his SFHQ identification paper. The Jedburghs who would parachute into northern France followed the progress of Operation Overlord in the newspapers and BBC newscasts. Until they received their warning order and briefing in London, however, they did not know where they would be inserted. Of the 12-AG and its operations, they knew next to nothing.
The Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, succeeded at all points, and Allied control of the sea and air ensured the rapid buildup of follow-on forces. The German High Command erroneously believed the main invasion would come farther north, in the Calais area. This misconception, along with Allied air interdiction, slowed the arrival of German reinforcements. The feared German counterattack never took place. Instead, a battle of attrition developed – a battle the Germans could not afford to fight.
The Operational Situation, August 15 1944
The strain on the German Army began to show by June 13, when the US VII Corps stretched the German line to the breaking point, severing the Cotentin Peninsula on June 18 and advancing north to capture the port of Cherbourg. The Allied armies in Normandy continued to grow in strength and experience as they wore down the Germans, who still ably defended the difficult Bocage terrain.
On July 18, the US 1st Army captured Saint-Lo, while the British Second Army engaged most of the German armored divisions near Caen. What was needed was one powerful thrust to break through the German line. That occurred with Operation Cobra on July 25, 1944, when the US 1-A broke through the positions of the German 7.Army ably exploiting the breakout and reaching Avranches on July 31.
On August 1, the Allied armies reorganized into two army groups. Gen Montgomery commanded the 21-AG, consisting of the Canadian First and the British Second Armies, while Gen Omar N. Bradley commanded the US 12-AG, with Gen Courtney Hodges’s US 1-A and Gen George S. Patton‘s US 3-A. Patton’s 3-A swept across Brittany in a vain attempt to secure a usable harbor and then swung east against minimal opposition.
SHAEF headquarters had been reading the most secret German signals communications and realized that Hitler, instead of allowing his forces to retreat to a defensible position, was about to counterattack at Mortain. This provided SHAEF the opportunity to surround and trap most of the German Army Group B south of the Seine River.
On August 13, however, as the Canadian 1-A and US 3-A were approaching each other to close the trap, Gen Bradley halted Patton’s forces. Several days later, the trap closed, but the delay allowed many of the German troops to escape north across the Seine. A second attempt to destroy German Army Group B (Gen Erwin Rommel), by trapping it against the Seine River, also, failed. Nevertheless, the Allies had largely destroyed the German 5.Panzer-Army (Gen Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg) and the 7.Army (Gen Friedrich Dollmann). On the morning of August 15, the second Allied invasion struck, not at Calais, but along the French Riviera.
Although the German forces in the west had been thoroughly defeated, Hitler, from his headquarters hundreds of miles away, issued orders to defend the Seine River and later the Marne River, as if the defeat in Normandy had not taken place.
He did, however, allow the German forces in southern France to withdraw north, which made possible their escape. For the German commanders and troops, each day was a struggle to survive. Faced with total Allied air superiority, the remnants of the German Army could move freely only at night or in rain or fog.
To their rear, the French Resistance had risen in arms and posed a real threat to any German force smaller than a company. On paper, German commanders still acted as if they were obeying Hitler’s orders, but in actuality, they were simply trying to save what was left of their battered formations. They marched east, mostly at night, taking shelter behind the successive river lines in northern France, hoping to get back to Germany. The Allied commanders, like their German counterparts, fully understood the magnitude of the German defeat in Normandy. The only question remaining was how to exploit the situation.
For the US 7-A that had invaded southern France, this was rather simple, it would advance north up the Rhone River valley. Gen Eisenhower reexamined the pre-invasion planning and decided to exploit the advance beyond the Seine River. He directed the 21-AG to advance northeast through Belgium and directed Bradley’s 12-AG to protect the 21-AG’s southern flank. Gen Patton’s 3-A launched a subsidiary offensive due east towards Nancy and Metz. Both the western Allies and the Germans expected the war to end within weeks. The only shadow on the horizon was the possibility that the Allied system of logistical support would halt their triumphant procession to the east.
By August 15, the SFHQ had deployed only two Jedburgh teams in northern France in front of the advancing 12-AG. Nine more teams were soon to follow. Recent experience in Brittany demonstrated that US Army field commanders were particularly impressed with the help of the FFI guides and scouts. Therefore, most of the Jedburgh teams sent into northern France were instructed to be prepared to send the FFI volunteers to meet the advancing field armies. SHAEF possessed abundant supplies to be parachuted to the SOF forces, but with resistance groups springing into action all across France, the limited air assets could not provide immediate delivery. The SFHQ briefing officers informed most Jedburgh teams that deployed in northern France that it would take eight days for them to receive supply drops.
German Rear Area Administration and Security
For the most part, the Jedburgh teams would not encounter German main force combat units, but rather the rear area security administration and supply units of the Military Governor of France (Gen.d Infanterie Carl-Heinrich Rudolf Wilhelm von Stülpnagel), the military government directly responsible to the German Army High Command. The German security forces observed a noticeable increase in French Resistance activity early in 1944, particularly in nocturnal English parachute drops of arms. As early as January and February, the Military Governor of France reported that his major effort was devoted to fighting the French Resistance with his security units, East Battalions (composed of Russians) and military police. By May, there was increased resistance activity in Brittany, which had earlier been rather quiet. The Germans believed that the major resistance activity was Communist-inspired and centered in southeast France and Dordogne. German security forces knew the basic organization of the resistance, its radio links to London, and its mission to prepare for and assist the coming Allied invasion of France. They also concluded that the majority of the population sympathized with and provided support to the resistance. Furthermore, French police and security forces, for the most part, were merely going through the motions of tracking down the resistance and in some instances assisted the resistance.
The number of French who willingly provided information to the Germans was actually quite small and presumably known to the resistance. German security soon began to form the image of French Communists, professionals, former army officers, and students lined up shoulder to shoulder against the occupation force.
The Third Reich considered all resistance activity to be terrorism, which was to be met with counter-terrorism: shootings, illegal arrests, and torture. To assist in the more unspeakable aspects of this policy, the SS provided Gestapo (Geheim Stadt Polizei) and other security offices in the larger cities across France.
Besides the garrison of Paris, the Military Governor of France divided France into four sectors, each with a military commander: northwest, northeast, southwest, and south. Each military commander possessed basically one Feldkommandantur headquarters for each French department, usually commanded by a colonel or brigadier general and from 2000 to 3000 personnel. Most of that personnel, however, were administrators and sometimes civilians or women. The sector military commanders also possessed several security regiments and on occasion one or two East Battalions.
The Jedburgh teams we shall examine in this study jumped into the sectors of either the Military Governor of Northwest France or Military Governor of Northeast France, the former’s headquarters located at Paris and the latter’s in Dijon. The experience of the Chaumont garrison indicated the inherent dilemmas of the German situation. The Feldkommandantur 769 governed the Haute-Marne Department in northeastern France from the city of Chaumont and maintained a smaller headquarters (Aussenstelle) in Langres. One of its senior civil servants, a Dr. Achten, observed that Chaumont remained quiet and orderly through, the German occupation.
Since early August, the headquarters was responsible for constructing defenses behind the Marne River, its sector of the Kitzinger Line. Dr. Achten reported that about 60 percent of the French males in the area helped construct the fortifications and assisted the Germans in moving livestock and grain north of the Marne. He noted that the only difficulty was a tendency of the German vehicles to break down. It would appear that as long as the area appeared quiet and orderly, the German occupation forces were satisfied.
In reality, the forced laborers along the Marne sabotaged both the German motor vehicles and fortification efforts. Many of those same workers weeks later helped guide the US 3-A units through and around the Kitzinger Line. In addition, by August 1944, the German occupation forces really did not want to know what was happening in the countryside. The threat of FFI ambushes led the occupation forces to send only large armed groups outside their garrison. In August 1944, there were vast stretches of France, particularly in the south, virtually unobserved by the Germans.
World War II Special Operations Forces
Code & Cover Names
European Theater of Operations
Note: Abr. (AUS) Australia, (BE) Belgium), (CA) Canada, (FR) France, (NL) Netherlands, (UK) England, (US) United States
[Alan] (UK) Capt Stanley M. Cannicott (Pembroke); (FR) Lt André Gairaud (Ariège); (FR) Lt Robert Clause (Kroner)
[Alastair] (UK) Maj Oliver H. Brown (Kent); (FR) Lt René Karrière (Donegall); (UK) Sgt G.N. Smith (Lincoln)
[Alec] (US) Lt George C. Thompson (Cromarty); (FR) Capt Alain Bordes (Oxford); (US) Sgt John A. White (Colorado)
[Alexander] (US) Lt Stewardt J.O. Alsop (Rona); (FR) Capt Louis René de la Tousche (Leix); (US) Sgt Norman R. Franklin (Cork)
[Alfred] (UK) Capt Lewis Ritchie MacDonald (Argyll); (FR) Lt Jean-Marie Herenguel (Aude); (UK) Sgt Albert W. Key (Wampum)
[Ammonia] (US) Capt Benton McDonald (Gaspard); (FR) Capt Raymond Emile (Ludovic); (US) 1/Sgt Jacob B. Berlin (Martial); (FR) Lt Jean Verneuil (non Jedburgh)
[Andrew] (UK) Maj A.H.S. Henry Coombe-Tennant (Rupel); (BE) Lt Edouard C. d’Oultremont (Demer); (UK) Sgt Frank Harrison (Nethe)
[Andy] (UK) Maj Ronald A. Parkinson (Fife); (FR) Capt Jean Vermeulen (Carlow); (UK) Sgt Robert G. Loosmore (Lundy)
[Anthony] (US) Lt Mason B. Starring (Nebraska); (FR) Capt Maurice N. Stasse (Perth); (US) Sgt John L. Bradner (Pfennig)
[Archibald] (UK) Maj Arthur du P. Denning (Cumberland); (FR) Capt François Coste (Montgomery); (US) Sgt Roger L. Pierre (Sen)
[Arnold] (FR) Capt Michel de Carville (Sussex); (UK) Capt James H. Monahan (Londonderry); (UK) Sgt Alan de Ville (Escudo)
[Arthur] (US) Capt Cecil F. Mynatt (Connecticut); (FR) Lt Xavier Humblet (Sambre); (US) Sgt Albert V. Bacik (Millième)
[Aubrey] (UK) Capt Godfrey Marchant (Rutland); (FR) Lt Jean-François Chaigneau (Kildare); (UK) Sgt Ivor Hooker (Thaler)
[Augustus] (US) Maj John H. Bonsall (Arizona); (FR) Capt Jean Delviche (Hérault); (US) Sgt Roger E. Cote (Indiana)
[Basil] (UK) Capt Thomas A. Carew (Sutherland); (FR) Capt Robert Rivière (Amblève); (US) Sgt John L. Stoyka (Ore)
[Benjamin] (UK) Maj Hubert O’Brian-Tear (Stirling); (FR) Lt Paul Moniez (Ulster); (FR) Lt Henri Kamiski (Serre)
[Bernard] (FR) Capt Etienne Nasica (Argens); (UK) Capt Jocelyn de Warenne Waller (Tipperary); (UK) Sgt Cyril M. Bassett (Lancashire)
[Brian] (UK) Maj Francis P.C. Johnston (Illinois); (FR) Capt Roger Crétin (Orkney); (UK) Sgt N.A. Smith (Lira)
[Bruce] (US) Maj William Egan (Bill) Colby (Berkshire); (FR) Lt Camille Michel Lelong (Galway); (FR) Lt Roger Villebois (Piastre)
[Bugatti] (US) Maj Horace W. Fuller (Kansul); (FR) Capt Guy de La Roche du Rouzet (Hopei); (FR) Lt Martial Sigaud (Chekiang)
[Bunny] (UK) Capt Jocelyn F.D. Radice (Peso); (FR) Lt Maurice Géminel (Yen); (UK) Sgt James T. Chambers (Drachma)
[Cecil] (UK) Maj David J. Nielson (Delaware); (FR) Capt Alfred Keser (Lys); (UK) Sgt Ronald Wilde (Centavo)
[Cedric] (US) Capt Douglas Bazata (Vesdre); (FR) Capt Louis Lesne (Dendre); (US) Sgt Richard C. Floyd (Gulder)
[Chloroform] (FR) Capt Jacques Martin (Joshua); (US) Lt Henry D. McIntosh (Lionel); (FR) Lt Jean Henri Sassi (Latimer)
[Chrysler] (UK) Capt Cyril H. Sell (Elie); (FR) Capt Paul Louis Aussaresses (Bazin); (UK) Sgt Ronald E. Chatten (Artus)
[Cinnamon] (FR) Capt François Lespinasse-Fonsegrive (Orthon); (UK) Capt R. Harcourt (Louis); (FR) Lt Jacques Georges Morineau (Luc)
[Citroen] (UK) Capt John E. Saint (Anne); (FR) Capt Pierre Bloch (Laurent); (UK) Sgt F.A. Bailey (Rétif)
[Clarence] (NL) Capt Arie D. Bestebreurtje (?); (US) Lt G.M. Verhaeghe (?); (US) Sgt W.W. Benyon (?)
[Claude] (NL) Capt Jacobus Groenewoud (?); (US) Lt Harvey A. Todd (?); (US) Sgt Carl A. Scott (?)
[Collodion] (UK) Capt Harold Hall (Augustine); (FR) Lt Henri Marsaudon (Benoît); (US) Sgt Theodore Baumgold (Jules)
[Daniel-1] (UK) Maj Kemys D. Bennett (Apôrtre); (FR) Lt Pierre E. de Schonen (Argentier); (UK) Sgt Ronald Brierley (Florin)
[Daniel-2] (UK) Maj R.K. Wilson (?); (FR) Lt Paul Scherrer (Pirogue); (UK) Sgt G.W. Mason (?)
[Desmond] (US) Capt William H. Pietsch (Skerry); (FR) Capt Gilles Henri Maunoury (Shetlan); (US) Sgt Robert R. Baird (Hampshire)
[Dicing] (UK) Maj Robert A. Foyson Harcourt (?); (NL) Capt C.J.L. Ruijsch van Dugteren (?); (NL) Capt Arie Dirk Bestebreutje (?); (UK) Sgt Claude Charles Somers (?)
[Dodge] (US) Maj Cyrus E. Manierre (Rupert); (CA) Sgt L.T. Durocher (Oswald)
[Douglas-1] (UK) Capt Richard A. Rubinstein (Augure); (FR) Capt Jean Roblot (Anachorète); (UK) Sgt John D. Raven (Half Crown); (FR) Lt J. Poignot (?)
[Douglas-2] (UK) Capt Richard A. Rubinstein (Augure); (FR) Capt Jean Roblot (Anachorète); (US) Sgt John T. Van Hart (Half Crown); (FR) Lt J. Poignot (?)
[Dudley] (NL) Capt Hendrik Brinkgreve (?); (US) Maj John Malcolm (Olmsted); (UK) Sgt John Patrick Standidge (Austin)
[Edward] (NL) Capt Jacob Staal (?); (US) Capt McCord Sollenberger (?); (?) Sgt R. Mills (?); (US) Sgt Leonard R.D. Douglas (?); (US) Sgt James R. Billingsley (?)
[Ephedrine] (FR) Capt Lucien Donnart (Julien); (US) Lt Lawrence E. Swank (Gantor); (FR) Lt Robert Desplechin (Léon)
[Felix] (FR) Capt Jean Paul Souquet (Carnavon); (UK) Capt John J. Marchant (Somerset); (UK) Sgt Peter M. Colvin (Middlesex)
[Francis] (UK) Maj Colin Malcom Ogden-Smith (Dorset); (FR) Capt Guy Le Borgne (Durance); and (UK) Sgt A.J. Dallow (Groat)
[Frank] (FR) Capt André Massoni (Dumbarton); (UK) Capt Idriss Isaac (Westmoreland); (UK) Sgt Thomas Henney (Chesire)
[Frederick] (UK) Maj Adrian W. Wise (Kinros); (FR) Capt Paul Bloch-Auroch (Vire); (US) Sgt Robert R. Kehoe (Peseta)
[Gambling] (UK) Maj Arthur Henry Clutton (?); (NL) Capt Maarten Jan Knottenbelt (?); (UK) Cqms James Stuart Scott Menzies (?)
[Gavin] (UK) Capt William B. Dreux, (Sixpence); (FR) Cdt D. Joseph Jean Carbuccia (Schilling); (FR) Lt Paul Valentini (Halfpenny)
[George-1] (FR) Capt Philippe Raguenau (Save); (US) Capt Paul Cyr (Wington); (FR) Lt Pierre Gay (Rupee)
[George-2] (FR) Capt Philippe Raguenau (Save); (US) Capt Paul Cyr (Wington); (FR) Lt Pierre Gay (Rupee)
[Gerald] (US) Capt Stephen J. Knerly (Norfolk); (FR) Capt Claude L’Herbette (Suffolk); (US) Sgt Berent E. Friele (Selkirk)
[Gilbert] (UK) Capt Christopher G.W. Blathwayt (Surrey); (FR) Capt Paul Charron de la Carrière (Ardèche); (UK) Sgt Nelville Wood (Dubloon)
[Giles] (UK) Capt Bernard M.W. Knox (Kentucky); (FR) Capt Paul Grall (Loire); (UK) Sgt Gordon H. Tack (Tickie)
[Godfrey] (US) Lt Ian Forbes, (Rhode Island); (FR) Lt Pierre Laval (Roscommon); (US) Sgt Frank A. Hanson (Roxburgh)
[Graham] (UK) Maj Michael C.M. Crosby (Huge); (FR) Cdt Pierre Gavet (Crispin); (UK) Sgt William H. Adams (Desire)
[Gregory] (UK) Maj Kemys D. Bennett (Apôtre); (FR) Capt Pierre Étienne Albert de Schonen (Argentier); (UK) Sgt Ron Brierley (Florin)
[Guy] (UK) Capt Aubrey A. Trofimov (Gironde); (FR) Capt André Duron (Drôme); (FR) Lt Roger Groult (Dordogne)
[Hamish] (US) Lt Robert M. Anstett, (Alabama); (FR) Lt L. Blanchere (Louisiana); (US) Sgt Lee J. Watters (Kansas)
[Harold] (UK) Maj Valentine E. Whitty (Ross); (FR) Lt Pierre Jolliet (Tyrone); (UK) Sgt Harry Verlander (Sligo)
[Harry] (UK) Capt Ducan D. Guthrie (Denby); (FR) Lt Pierre Etienne Rousset (Gapeau); (FR) Lt René Albert Couture (Centime)
[Henry] (US) Lt Raymond E. Moore, (New Mexico); (FR) Lt Jean Montcler (Anglesey); (US) Sgt Vincent M. Rocca (Wext Virginia)
[Hilary] (US) Lt Philip H. Chadbourn, (Nevada); (FR) Capt Edgar Mautaint (Charente); (FR) Lt Roger Hervouet (Kopek)
[Horace] (US) Maj John W. Summers, (Wyoming); (FR) Lt Georges Leclercq (Somme); (US) Sgt William F. Zielske (Dime)
[Hugh] (UK) Capt W.R. Crawshay (Crown); (FR) Capt Louis L’Helgouach (Franc); (FR) Lt René Meyer (Yonne)
[Ian] (US) Maj John J. Gildee, (Oklahoma); (FR) Capt Alexandre Desfarges (Maine); (US) Sgt Lucien J. Bourgoin (Mayo)
[Ivor] (UK) Capt John H. Cox (Monmouth); (FR) Lt Robert Colin (Selune); (UK) Sgt Robert G. Loosmore (Lundy)
[Jacob] (UK) Capt Victor A. Gough (Arran); (FR) Lt Maurice Boissarie (Connaught); (UK) Sgt Ken Seymour (Skye)
[James] (US) Lt John K. Singlaub, (Mississippi); (FR) Lt Jacques Le Bel de Penguilly (Michigan); (US) Sgt Anthony J. Denneau (Massachussetts).
[Julien] (UK) Maj A.J. Clutton (Stafford); (FR) Lt J. Brouillard (Vermont); (UK) CQMS T.S. Menzies (Essex)
[Jeremy] (UK) Capt Geoffrey MacLeod Hallowes (Aimable); (FR) Capt Henri Giese (Dur); (UK) Sgt Roger A. Leney (Ferme)
[Jim] (US) Capt Philip W. Donovan (Pennsylvania); (FR) Lt José Albert de Francesco (Leitrim); (US) Sgt Michael F. Heneley (Wexford)
[John] (UK) Capt David L. Stern (Beau); (FR) Lt Maurice de Galbert (Lucide); (UK) Sgt Donald Gibbs (Silencieux)
[Jude] (UK) Capt William L.O. Evans (Glamorgan); (FR) Capt Jean Larrieu (Rence); (UK) Sgt Alfred E. Holdham (Guinea)
[Julian-1] (UK) Maj Arthur H. Clutton (Stafford); (FR) Lt Marcel Vermot (Vermont); (UK) Cmqs James S. Menzies (Essex)
[Julian-2] (FR) Capt Jean Paul Souquet (Carnavon); (FR) Lt Paul Scherrer (Sauvage); (FR) René Meyer (Yonne)
[Lee] (US) Capt Charles E. Brown, (Pièce); (FR) Lt Pierre Angoulvent (Sous); (FR) Lt Maurice Pirat (Reis)
[Mark] (US) Lt Lucien E. Conein (Intrépide); (FR) Lt Joannes Theveney (Sympathique); (US) Sgt James J. Carpenter (Lester)
[Martin] (UK) Capt Thomas A. Mellows (Blasé); (FR) Lt Georges Redonnet (Substantif); (UK) Sgt Nelville E.S. Careay (Placide)
[Masque] (US) Capt Nelson E. Guillot (Harmonieux); (FR) Capt Jacques Bouvery (Succulent); (US) Sgt Francis M. Poche (Idéal)
[Maurice] (US) Capt Charles M. Carman, (Utah); (FR) Lt Hubert Reveilhac (Virginia); (US) Sgt Francis J. Cole (Georgia).
[Miles] (US) Capt Everett T. Allen (Libre); (FR) Capt René Estève (Lumineux); (US) Sgt Arthur Gruen (Fidèle)
[Minaret] (UK) Maj Lancelot C.M. Hartley-Sharpe (Edmond); (UK) Capt Pierre Cros (Hector); (US) Sgt John W. Ellis (Arsène)
[Monocle] (FR) Capt Jacques Fiardo (Immense); (US) Lt Ray H. Foster (Solide); (US) Sgt Robert J. Anderson (Radieux)
[Nicholas] (UK) Capt John C.C. Maude (Leicester); (FR) Lt Henri Penin (Breaknock); (UK) Sgt Maurice A. Whittle (Northumberland)
[Norman] (FR) Lt Marc Lautier (Washington); (US) Lt Konrad C. Dillow (Minnesota); (US) Sgt Lucien E. Lajeunesse (Tennessee)
[Novocaine] (US) Lt Charles J. Gennerich (Mathieu); (FR) Lt Jean-Yves Pronost (Hervé); (US) Sgt William T. Thompson (Gilles)
[Packard] (US) Capt Aaron Bank (Cheshwan); (FR) Capt Henri Denis (Fukien); (FR) Lt Marcel F. Montfort (Formosa)
[Paul] (UK) Maj Ernest H. Hood (Shropshire); (FR) Lt Michel Vallée (Durthe); (UK) Sgt K.J.W. Brown (Limerick)
[Philip]-[Rupert] (FR) Cdt Jean Liberos (Kintyre); (US) Lt Robert A. Lucas, (Caithness); (US) T/3 Joseph M. Gergat (Leinster)
[Quentin] (UK) Capt R.S. Fenton (Cornwall); (FR) Lt Jean Raux (Wicklow); (UK) Sgt David G. Dawson (Merioneth)
[Quinine] (UK) Maj Ronald S.T. McPherson (Anselme); (FR) Lt Michel de Bourdon-Parme (Aristide); (UK) Sgt Arthur O. Brown (Félicien)
[Raymond] (FR) Capt Alfred Dehosse (Waterford); (FR) Lt Henri Chaulais (Gloucester); (UK) Sgt Walter Adams (Kincardine)
[Roderick] (FR) Capt Jean Preciozi (Nairn); (US) Lt William C. Boggs (New Hampshire); (US) Sgt Charles P. Mersereau (Stronsay)
[Ronald] (US) Lt Shiny R. Trumps, (Boursier); (FR) Lt Georges Deseilligny (Boutton); (US) Sgt Elmer B. Esch (Pound)
[Rupert]-[Philip] (FR) Cdt Jean Liberos (Kintyre); (US) Lt Robert A. Lucas, (Caithness); (US) T/3 Joseph M. Gergat (Leinster)
[Sceptre] (US) Lt Walter C. Hanna (Vaillant); (FR) Lt François Franceschi (Intense): (US) Sgt Thomas J. Tracy (?); (US) Sgt Howard V. Palmer (Dévoué)
[Scion] (UK) Maj Osborne P. Grenfield (Scintillating); (FR) Capt Roger Gruppo (Vif); (UK) Sgt Thomas Cain (Vibrant)
[Simon] (FR) Cdt Maurice Fouere (Fernand); (UK) Capt Anthony W.C. Coomber (Coustard); (UK) Sgt Claude Charles Somers (Stéphane)
[Stanley-1] (UK) Capt Oswin E. Craster (Yorkshire); (FR) Lt Robert Cantais (Meath); (UK) Sgt Jack E. Grinham (Worcestershire)
[Stanley-2] (NL) Capt Arie D. Bestebreutje (?); (UK) Capt Peter C.H. Vickery (?); (US) Sgt Willard W. Benyon (?)
[Timothy] (FR) Capt Louis Moutte (Nesque); (US) Lt Robert G. Mundinger (Marcellin); (US) Sgt Donald A. Spears (Escaut); (US) Lt Robert E. Heyns (Dyle)
[Tony] (US) Maj Robert K. Montgomery (Dollar); (FR) Lt Lucien Paris (Écu); (US) Sgt John E. McGowan (Quarter)
[Veganin] (UK) Maj Neil H. Marten (Cuthbert); (FR) Cdt Gaston Vuchot (Derek); (UK) Sgt Dennis Gardner (Ernest)
[Willys] (FR) Capt Georges Marchal (Simon); (UK) Capt John C. Montague (Honan); (UK) Sgt Edward A. Cornick (Chansi)
Achille – a Maquis group leader
Adiabatique – Maj Cesac, a non-American organizer and head of Maquis
– Agure – Capt R.A. Rubinstein, (UK) (Jedburgh Team Douglas)
– Alabama – 1/Lt Robert M. Anstett, (US) (Jedburgh Team Harry)
Alain – a Captain of the FFI
– Alan – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Capt S.N. Cannicott (Pembroke); (FR) Lt A. Gairaid (Ariège); (FR) Lt F. de Heysen (Kroner)
– Alastair – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Maj O.H. Brown (Kent); (FR) Lt R. Maitre (Donegall); (UK) Sgt G. N. Smith (Lincoln)
– Alec – Jeadburgh Team with (US) Lt G.G. Thompson (Cromarty); (FR) Capt B. Allet (Oxford); (US) Sgt J. White (Colorado)
Alex – FTP regional chief
– Alexander – Jedburgh team with (US) Lt S.J.O. Alsop (Rona); (FR) Lt R. Thouville (Leix); (US) Sgt N. E. Franklin (Cork)
Alexander – a French intelligence agent
– Alfred – Jedburgh team with (UK) Capt L.D. MacDougall (Argyll); (FR) Lt G. de Wavrant (Aude); (UK) Sgt A.W. Key (Wampum)
Aloes – Mission Special EMFFI composed of Allied officers, Jedburghs and FFI agents, sent to set up resistance Hqs in Brittany
– Anachorere – (FR) Lt J. Ronglou, member of Jedburgh Team Douglas
André – Military chief of the FFI
– Andy – Jedburgh team with (UK) Maj R. Parkinson (Fife); (FR) Capt J. Vermeulen (Carlow); (UK) Sgt R. Loosmore (Lundy)
Anic – Maquis regional commander
– Anthony – Jedburgh Team with (US) Lt M.B. Starring (Nebraska); (FR) Capt C. Deprez (Perth); (US) Sgt J. Bradner (Pfennig)
Antoine – F-Section British agent and organizer of Ventriloquist circuit. Usage Antoine at St. Paul
– Aporte – (UK) Maj K.D. Bennet, leader Jedburgh Team Daniel
– Ardèche – (FR) P. Charron, member Jedburgh Team Gilbert
– Ariège – (FR) Lt A. Gairaud, member of Jedburgh Team Alain
– Argentier – (FR) Capt P. De Schonen, member Jedburgh Team Daniel
Armand – organizer of F-Section Spiritualist circuit
– Arran – (UK) Capt V.A. Gough, leader Jedburgh team Jacob
AS – Armée Secrète (Gaullist Secret Army)
– Aubrey – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Capt G. Marchant (Rutland); (FR) Lt J. Telmon (Kildare); (UK) Sgt I. Hooker (Thaler)
Barbier – for member of the FFI
Baron – non-American agent
Barthelemy – F-Section organizer
– Basil – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Maj T.A. Carew (Sutherland); (FR) Capt Raincourt (Amblève); (US) Sgt J.L. Stoyka (Ore)
BCRA – Bureau Central de Renseignements et d’Action (Gaullist intelligence service first established in London)
Beigne – Chief of regional ORA
– Benjamin – Jedburgh team with (UK) Maj A.J. Forrest (Stirling); (FR) Lt P. Marchand (Ulster); (FR) Lt J. Camouin (Serre)
Benoit – Col Bertrand of the FFI
– Berkshire – Maj William Colby, leader Jedburgh Team Bruce
Blaise – non-American agent
Blondel – member of the FFI
BOA – Bureau d’Opérations Aériennes (Nord) (Service for clandestine air operations northern France)
Boulaya – French agent. Usage: Boulaya at Berthelot
Bourgoin – French Maquis Commandant
– Boursier – (US) 1/Lt Shirley R. Trumps, leader Jedburgh Team Ronald
– Button – (FR) Lt J. Dartigues, member Jedburgh Team Ronald
Bral – Bureau Renseignements Action Londres (Gaullist French resistance organization London)
– Brian – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Maj F. Johnston (Illinois); (FR) Capt R. Francompte (Orkney); (UK) Sgt N. A. Smith (Ura)
Bullbasket – SAS party dropped into France with Jedburgh Team Hugh
Burgamotte – Mission RF Section Allied-Maquis mission in France
Butch – (AUS) Lt Col Serge Obolensky, leader of Operational Group Patrick
– Caithness – (?) Lt R.A. Lucas, member Jedburgh Team Philip & Rupert
Canelle – Mission EMFFI in France
Camille – French agent
– Carlow – (FR) Capt J. Vemeulen, member Jedburgh Team Andy
– Canavon – (FR) Capt J. Kerneval, member Jedburgh Team Felix
CDL – Comité Départementale de Libération (Departmental Liberation Committee), French Resistance Organization
– Cecil – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Maj D.J. Nielson (Delaware); (FR) Capt A. Frayan (Lys); (UL) Sgt R. Wilde (Centavo)
– Centime – (FR) 2/Cl R. Legrand, radio operator, Jedburgh Team Harry
CFL – Corps Francs de la Libération (French military groups unified in 1944)
CFLN – Comité Français de la Libération Nationale (French Committee of National Liberation)
Chabanne – member of Maquis
– Charente – (FR) Capt E. Marchant, member Jedburgh Team Hilary
Chaussade – French agent
Chevrier – French agent
Christopher – Operational Group dispatched to the Poitiers area of France, 3/4 September 1944
Claude – French agent
Cluny – Allied mission into France
CNR – Conseil National de la Résistance (National Resistance Council, France)
Collet – French agent
Colon – FFI regional chief
– Colorado – (US) Sgt J. White, radio operator, Jedburgh team Alec
COMAC – Comité d’Action Militaire (Military Action Committee – CNR). Do NOT confuse with Comité d’Action Militaire, France – DGSS)
Compte – member of Armee Secrete
Conan – French agent
– Connaught – (FR) Lt G. Baraud, member Jedburgh Team Jacob
– Cork – (US) Sgt N.E. Franklin, radio operator, Jedburgh Team Alexander
Corps Franc – Commando-type military groups
Cottin – Général Cochet, FFI
Croc – member of Maquis and organizer
– Cromarty – (US) Lt G.G. Thompson, member Jedburgh Team Alec
– Crown – (UK) Capt W.R. Crawshay, leader Jedburgh Team Hugh
– Daniel – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Maj K.D. Bennett (Aportre); (FR) Capt P. de Schonen (Argentier); (UK) Sgt R. Brierley (Florin)
Daries – departmental chief of French resistance organization
Darol – non-American agent
David – FFI regional chief
Delaferthe – member of the FFI
– Denby – (UK) Capt D.D. Guthrie, leader Jedburgh Team Harry
Deneville – French patriot
Dennis – British agent
Descarvet – member of the Maquis
DGSS – Direction Générale des Services Spéciaux (Gaullist Special Services Executive – Jacques Soustelle)
Diagramme – member of the FFI
Diamètre – member of the FFI
Dickens – SAS party
Die – member of Maquis
Dieudonné – French agent
– Dime – (US) T/3 W. Zielski, radio operator, Jedburgh Team Horace
Dingson – member of British SAS party
Ditcher – F-Section circuit
DM – Délégué Militaire (Military Delegate)
DMOS – Délégué Militaire Opérations Sud (Military Delegate, Southern Operations, Leader Gén Gabriel Cochet)
DMR – Délégué Militaire de Region (Regional Military Delegate)
Domigny – Regional commandant of French resistance group
Donkeyman – F-Section circuit
– Dordogne – (FR) 2/Lt J. Deschamps, member Jedburgh Team Guy
– Dorset – (UK) Maj C. Ogden-Smith, leader Jedburgh Team Francis
– Doublon – (UK) Sgt N. Wood, radio operator, Jedburgh Team Gilbert
– Douglas – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Capt R.A. Rubinstein (Augure); (FR) Capt J. Ronglou (Anachore); (UK) Sgt J.D. Raven (Half Crown)
– DR/JED – SFHQ symbol for Chief of the Jedburgh Section
– Dronne – (FR) Capt A. Dhomas, member Jedburg Team Guy
Du Fouet – member of French resistance and inspector of Maquis
Duplix – Maquis group leader
– Durance – (FR) Capt G. Le Zachmeur, member Jedburgh Team Francis
Durant – Commandant Boucher, regional FFI chief
Duret – member of Armee Secrete
Eclipse – SI mission.
Edward – British officer organizing resistance
Egalité – French resistance group
Ellipse – French military delegate of the region
Emile – French patriot
Eminence – Col Roland of the FTP
EMFFI – Etat Major des FFI, (General Staff, French Forces of the Interior)
– Essex – (UK) CQMS T.S. Menzies, radio operator, Jedburgh Team Julien
Etoile – SAS mission
Faust – F-Section agent
FCNL – French Committee of National Liberation, resistance executive body dominated after March 1944 by de Gaulle. See CFLN
– Felix – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Capt J. Marchant (Somerset); (FR) Capt J. Kerneval (Carnarvon); (UK) Sgt P.M. Colvin (Middlesex)
Fernand – British agent
FFI – Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur (French Forces of the Interior) Général Koenig
– Fire – (UK) Maj R. Parkinson, leader Jedburgh Team Andy
– Florin – (UK) Sgt R. Brierley, radio operator, Jedburgh team Daniel
Fonction – French DMR
Fourche – Allied agent
Fournier – (UK) SAS officer
FN – Front National (Communist-dominated French resistance group)
– Franc – (FR) Capt L. Legrand, member of Jedburgh Team Hugh
Francante – French agent
– Francis – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Maj C. Ogden-Smith (Dordet); (FR) Capt G. le Zachmeur (Durance); and (UK) Sgt A.J. Dallow (Groat)
Francis – member of the FFI
François – member of French resistance organization
– Frank – Jedburg Team with (FR) Capt A. Massoni (Dumbarton); (UK) Capt I. Isaac (Westmoreland); (UK) Sgt T. Henney (Chesire)
– Frederick – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Maj A.W. Wise (Kinross); (FR) Capt P. Aguirec (Vire); (US) 1/Sgt Robert R. Kehoe (Peseta)
Frontal – non-American agent
F-Section – A tripartite organization & branch, Western European Section, controlled by SOE/SO independently of the FFI (on-Gaullist agents)
FTP-(F) – Francs-Tireurs et Partisans (Français) (Communist-dominated French military resistance organization)
Gaiety – non-American agent
– Galway – (FR) Lt J. Favel, member Jedburgh Team Bruce
– Gapeau – (FR) Lt P.E. Dupont, member Jedburgh Team Harry
Gardener – SOE F-Section circuit in the Marseilles area controlled by R.R. Boiteux
– Gavin – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Capt W.B. Dreux, (Sixpence); (FR) CDTM D. Jean-Claude (Schilling); (FR) Lt G. Masson (Halfpenny)
– George – Jedburgh Team with (FR) Capt Paul Cyr, Infantry, (Wigton); (FR) Capt P. Erard (Save); (FR) Lt C. LeJeune (Rupee)
– Gerald – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Capt J. Knerly, Field Artillery (Suffolk); (FR) Capt J. Beaumont (Norfolk); (US) Sgt B.E. Friele (Selkirk)
Germinal – F-Section Allied mission to wind up résitance in France
– Gilbert – Jedburgh team with (UK) Capt C. Blathwayt (Surrey); (FR) Capt P. Charron (Ardèche); (UK) Sgt N. Wood (Dubloon)
– Giles – Jedburgh team with (UK) Capt B.M. Knox, Infantry, (Kentucky); (FR) Capt P. Lebel (Loire); (UK) Sgt G. H. Tack (Tickie)
– Girond – (UK) Capt A.A. Trofimov, leader Jedburgh Team Guy
– Godfrey – Jedburgh Team with (US) Lt J. Forbes, (Rhode Island); (FR) Lt J. Morhange (Roscommon); (US) Sgt F. Hanson (Roxburgh)
Goodfellow – member of SAS party
Groujeard – French resistance leader
Graffier – DMR
Grandjean – regional Maquis commander
– Gregory – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Maj K.D. Bennett; (FR) Capt P. de Schonen; (UK) Sgt R. Brierley
Grilette – French patriot
Groat – (UK) Sgt A.J. Dallow, radio operator Jedburgh Team Francis
Grog – SAS party
Group GDNRJ Signal code
Groupes francs. Military units of the MUR specializing in sabotage and raids
– Guy – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Capt A.A. Trofimov (Gironde); (FR) Capt T. Thomas (Dronne); (FR) Lt J. Deschamps (Dordogne)
Half Crown – (UK) Sgt J. D. Raven, radio operator Jedburgh Team Douglas
HalfPenny – (FR) Lt G. Masson, radio operator Jedburgh Team Gavin
– Hamish – Jedburgh team with (US) Lt Robert M. Anstett, (alabama); (FR) Lt L. Blanchere (Louisiana); (US) 1/Sgt L.J. Watters (Kansas)
Hamlet – non-American SFHQ organizer
– Harold – Jedburgh Team With (UK) Maj V.E. Whitty (Ross); (FR) Lt P. Rimbaut (Tyrone); (UK) Sgt H. Verlander (Sligo)
Harrods – SAS party
– Harry – Jedburgh team with (UK) Capt D.D. Guthrie (Denby); (FR) Lt P.E. Dupont (Gapeau); (FR) 2/Cl R. Legrand (Centime)
Hauteur – FFI agent and DMR
Hector – French organizer
– Henry – Jedburgh Team with (US) Lt R.E. Moore, (New Mexico); (FR) Lt S. Montcler (Anglesey); (US) Sgt V. M. Rocca (Wext Virginia)
Heric – FFI agent and commandant
Herve – non-American organizer
– Hilary – Jedburgh team with (US) Lt P.H. Chadbourne, (Nevada); (FR) Capt E. Marchant (Charente); (FR) Lt R. Pariselle (Kupek)
– Horace – Jedburgh Team with (US) Maj J. Summers, (Wyoming); (FR) Lt C. Levalois (Somme); (US) Sgt W. Zielske (Dime)
Hubert – member Armee Secrete
– Hugh – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Capt W.R. Crawshay (Crown); (FR) Capt L. Legrand (Franc); (FR) C.C.R. Mersiol (Yonne)
– Ian – Jedburgh team with (US) Maj J. Gildee, (Oklahoma); (FR) Capt Y. Delorme (Maine); (US) Sgt L. Bourgoin (Mayo)
Isaac – RF Section Allied mission
– Ivor – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Capt J.H. Cox (Monmouth); (FR) Lt Y.M. Dantec (Selune); (UK) Sgt R. Loosmore (Lundy)
– Jacob – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Capt V.A. Gough (Arran); (FR) Lt G. Baraud (Connaught); (UK) Sgt K. Seymour (Skye)
– James – Jedburgh Team with (US) Lt J.K. Singlaub, (Mississippi); (FR) Lt D. Leb (Michigan); (US) Sgt J. Denneau (Massachussetts)
Jean – military chief of region
Jean-Bari – Maquis leader
Jean-Marie – organizer of F-Section (Donkeyman) circuit
Jedburgh – UK & US specially-trained three-man team to work with resistance units behind the enemy lines
Jockey – F-Section circuit in southeastern France controlled by F. Cammaerts
Joseph – agent of the Maquis
– Julien – Jedburgh team with (UK) Maj A.J. Clutton (Stafford); (FR) Lt J. Brouillard (Vermont); (UK) CQMS T.S. Menzies (Essex)
– Kansas – (US) 1/Sgt L.J. Watters, radio operator, Jedburgh team Hamish
– Kentucky – (US) Capt B. M. Knox, member Jedburgh Team Giles
– Kilfire – Lt J. Telmon, member Jedburgh Team Aubrey
Kinley – chief subdivisionnaire of the FFI
– Kinros – (UK) Maj A.W. Wise, leader Jedburgh Team Frederick
– Kroner – (UK) Sgt I. Hooker, radio operator, Jedburgh Team Alan
– Kupek – (FR) Lt R. Pariselle, radio operator, Jedburgh team Hilary
Lash – Jedburgh exercise commencing 31 May 1944 and ending 8 June 1944, of a plan for Jedburgh teams to contact a resistance group and using it to attack enemy rail communications and other targets as indicated through radio transmissions at a later time.
Le Chat – French resistance group leader
– Lee – Jedburgh Team with (US) Capt C.H. Brown, (Pice); (FR) Lt N. Viguier (Sous); (FR) Lt A. Chevalier (Reis)
– Leix – (FR) Lt A. Thouville, member Jedburgh Team Alexander
Lemmiscate – DMR French resistance group
Lescat – agent of French Maquis
Ligne – French patriot
Lionel – Allied agent. Usage Lionel at Edouard
– Loire – (FR) Capt P. Lebel, member Jedburgh Team Giles
Louis – member of French resistance group
– Louisiana – (FR) Lt L. Blanchere, member Jedburgh Team Hamish
Loyton – SAS party
– Lundy – Sgt R. Loosmore, radio operator Jedburgh Team Andy
Lysander – (UK) light aircraft type used for insertions
– Maine – (FR) Lt Y. Delorme, member Jedburgh Team Ian
Mandinaud – member of the Maquis
Manomètre – French agent
Maquis – French guerrilla bands. (southeastern France)
Marcel – FFI leader
Marie-Thèrèse – FFI agent and liaison
Marksman – F-Section circuit
Marrionneau – FFI leader of Corps Franc
Mary – French liaison agent
– Massachussetts – (US) Sgt A.J. Denneau, radio operator Jedburgh Team James
Massingham – SOE base at Guyotville, west of Algiers
– Maurice – Jedburgh Team with (US) Capt C.M. Carman, (Utah); (FR) Lt H. Dumesnil (Virginia); (US) Sgt F.J. Cole (Georgia).
Maximum – non-American agent
– Mayo – (FR) Sgt Lucien Bourgain, radio operator Jedburgh Team Ian
ME/65 – Milton Hall, Jedburgh Training School in Peterborough, England
Mechalis – F-Section organizer
MI-6 – British military intelligence
Michaud – departmental chief of French resistance organization. Usage Michaud at Daries
Michel – member of the FTP
– Michigan – (FR) Lt D. Leb, member Jedburgh Team James
Michonneau – French resistance leader
– Middlesex – (UK) Sgt P.M. Colvin, radio operator Jedburgh Team Felix
Milice Vichy – police force, headed by Joseph Darnand, that employed Gestapo-like tactics against the Resistance.
– Mississippi – (US) Lt J.L. Singlaub, leader Jedburgh Team James
Mitchell Plan – Capt M. Millett’s mission in France to prepare the reception of Jedburgh Teams
MLN – Mouvement de Libération Nationale
MUR – Mouvements Unis de la Résistance (Combat, Libération, Franc-Tireur)
– Monmouth – (UK) Capt J.H. Coxe, leader Jedburgh Team Ivor
Monarque – non-American agent
Moraglia – French agent
Mossy – dropping ground (DZ)
– Nebraska – (US) Lt M.B. Starring, leader Jedburgh Team Anthony
– Nevada – (US) Lt P.H. Chadbourne, member Jedburgh Team Hilary
– Nicholas – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Capt J.C. Maude (Leicester); (FR) Lt H. Puget (Brecknock); (UK) Sgt M.A. Whittle (Northumberland)
Nicolas – French agent of the Maquis
Nicole – French agent
Noizet – French member of Maquis
– Norfolk – (FR) Capt J. Beaumont, member JUedburgh Team Gerald
OG – Operational Group. (Sabotage and Guerrilla – Normally 2 officers and 28 enlisted men)
– Oklahoma – (US) Maj John Gildee, leader Gedburgh Team Ian
Olive – French agent
ORA – Organisation de la Résistance de l’Armée, disbanded in 1942 by the Germans
Orcia – French agent
Orgeot – Mission Special EMFFI, mission set up resistance, southeastern France, and liaison with SF detachments, Allied officers, Jedburghs, FFI agents
– Oxford – (FR) Capt B. Allet, member Jedburgh Team Alec
Pablo – member of the FFI
Pair – French agent
Pascal – French patriot
Patre – non-American Allied radio operator
Patrick – Operational Group dispatched on 14/15 and 15/16 Aug 1944, Indre Département, France
Patrick – member of French Maquis
– Paul – (UK) Maj E. Hood (Shropshire); (FR) Lt F. Cormier (Durthe); (UK) Sgt K.J.W. Brown (Limerick)
Pauline – (FR) Miss P. Witherington, French agent. Usage Pauline at Geneviève & Pauline at Marie
– Pembroke – (UK) Capt S.N. Cannicott, leader Jedburgh Team Alan
– Perth – (FR) Capt C. Deprez, member Jedburgh team Anthony
Péruvier – Allied non-American radio operator
– Peseta – (US) 1/Sgt Robert R. Kehoe, radio operator Jedburgh Team Frederick
– Pfenning – (US) Sgt J. Bradner, radio operator Jedburgh Team Anthony
– Philip – Jedburg Team with (FR) Capt J. Derouen (Kintyre); () Lt R.A. Lucas, (Caithness); (US) Sgt G. Grgat (Leinster)
– Piastre – (FR) Lt L. Giry, radio operator Jedburgh Team Bruce
– Pice – (US) Capt C.H. Brown, leader Jedburgh Team Lee
Pierre – non-American agent
Pimento – F-Section circuit in the Rhône valley and adjacent areas controlled by A. Brooke
Planète – DMR of the FFI
– Pound – (US) Sgt E.B. Esch, radio operator Jedburgh Team Ronald
PWE – Political Warfare Executive (British)
QSA3 – Communication signal
– Quentin – Jeadburgh team with (UK) Capt W.S. Fenton (Cornwall); (FR) Lt J. Lessere (Wicklow); (UK) Sgt R. Dawson (Merioneth)
– Quinine – Jedburgh Team with (UK) Maj R. McPherson (Anselme); (FR) Lt M. Bourdon (Aristide); (UK) Sgt O. Brown (Félicien)
R – Resistance Region. Usage : R-1, R-2, etc
RAC – member of the FFI
Rado – RF Section agent
Rateau – RF Section agent
Ratissoire – French agent
RC – Reception Committee
– Reis – (FR) Lt A. Chevalier, radio operator Jedburgh Team Lee
RF Section – Section, Western European Directorate, independent French resistant groups which maintained direct liaison with BCRA
Renandin – member of the FTP
Revez – non-American agent
Richard – F-Section Agent
Robert – leader of a Maquis group
Rocket – non-American agent
Roger – member of the BOA
Rolland – Chief of FTP of région
– Rona – (US) Lt S.J.O. Alsop, leader Jedburgh Team Alexander
– Ronald – Jedburgh team with (US) Lt S.R. Trumps, (Boursier); (FR) Lt J. Dartigues (Boutton); (US) Sgt E.B. Esch (Pound)
– Ross – (UK) Maj V.E. Whtty, leader Jedburgh Team Harold
Rossignot – French patriot
Rousseau – member of the FFI
– Rupee – (FR) Lt C. Lejeune, radio operator Jedburgh Team George
– Rupert – Jedburgh team with (US) Lt R.A. Lucas, (Caithness); (FR) Capt J. Derouen (Kintyre); (US) Sgt G. Grgat (Leinster)
– Rutland – (UK) Capt G. Marchant, leader Jedburgh Team Aubrey
RV – Abbreviation for rendezvous
Salesman – F-Section circuit
Samson – non-American agent
Samuel – F-Section British agent
Samwest – SAS base
Sandra – regional commander of the Front National and chief of German controlled police in Nantes
SAP – Section d’atterrissage et de parachutage (Landings & Parachuting, southern France)
SAS – Special Airborne Service. British Army Airborne force for special missions
– Save – (FR) Capt P. Erard, member Jedburgh Team George
Secret Army – Gaullist military forces (l’Armée Secrète)
– Selkirk – (US) 1/Sgt Berent E. Friele, radio operator Jedburgh Team Gerald
– Selune – (FR) Lt Y.M. Dantex, member Jedburgh Team Ivor
Serpolet – Sub-mission of the Orgeot Mission
SFHQ – Special Force Headquarters. Joint SOE/SO headquarters in SHAEF.
SFU – Special Force Unit. SFU #4 was SPOC’s field liaison FFI/US 7-A
SHAEF – Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force
– Shilling – (FR) Maj Leanclaude, member Jedburgh Team Gavin
Shinoile – Mission RF Section mission and sub-mission of the Orgeot Mission
Shipwright – F-Section circuit
SI – Special Intelligence Branch, Office of Strategic Services
SIPO – Sicherheitspolizei (German Security Police)
– Sixpence – (UK) Capt W. Dreux, leader Jedburgh Team Gavin
– Skye – (UK) Sgt K. Seymour, radio operator Jedburgh Team Jacb
– Sligo – (UK) Sgt H. Verlander, radio operator Jedburgh Team Harold
Snelgrove – SAS party
SO – Special Operations Branch, Office of Strategic Services
Socrate – regional Maquis commander
SOE/SO – Joint SOE and SO (of OSS) office in London which later became SFHQ
– Somerset – (UK) Capt J.J. Marchant, leader Jedburgh Team Félix
– Somme – (FR) Lt G. Levalois, member Jedburgh Team Horace
– Sous – (FR) Lt N. Viguier, member Jedburgh Team Lee
Spitfire – landing strip on the Vaucluse Plateau, ten miles north of Apt
SPOC – Special Project Operations Center, in Algiers
SSS – Strategic Service Section (an OSS/SI unit attached to US 7-A)
Ultra – German messages deciphered at Bletchley Park, England, Enigma machine
Underfoot – 21st Army Group
Uriage – member of the FFI
Vaudel – Lt Col Félix, French DMR
Vega – on-American agent
Ventriloquist – F-Section circuit
– Vermont – (FR) Lt J. Brouillard, member Jedburgh Team Julien
Verneuil – Maquis regional commander
Vervaine Mission – EMFFI mission
Verry – French agent
Violette – French agent
– Vire – (FR) Capt P. Aguirec, member Jedburgh Team Frederick
Wallace – non-American agent
Wash 19115 – British SAS party
Watermarck – SFHQ
Welehore – non-American agent
– Wington – (FR) Capt Paul Cyr, leader Jedburgh Team George
– Wyoming – (US) Maj J. Summers, leader Jedburgh Team Horace
Xavier – F-Section British agent
Yacc – Maquis regional chief
Yalelock – Special Force Detachment #12
– Yonne – (FR) C.C.R. Mersiol, radio operator Jedburgh Team Hugh
Yves – regional chief of the FFI
Yvon – member of the FTP
Zelabdais – non-American agent
Zéro – regional chief of resistance
During the night of August 12, 1944, the SFHQ dispatched the Jedburgh Team Jacob to the Vosges area north of Epinal as the twenty-sixth Jedburgh team to the Continent. They landed at about 0100 on August 13 near the village of La Petite-Raon. The SFHQ had previously been unable to support the eastern area of France and in mid-August resolved to send a Jedburgh team to the area. The SAS resolved to dispatch the ninety-one-man Team Loyton to the area also. The Jedburgh Team Jacob was to assist the local Maquis, cooperate with the SAS, but to remain under the command of the SFHQ. They were to avoid open offensive action against Axis forces. Team Jacob consisted of (UK) Capt Victor A. Gough (Arran); (FR) Lt Maurice Boissarie (Connaught); (UK) Sgt Ken Seymour (Skye). Gough was a pleasant young man from Somerset, who before entering the service had been a cartoonist. It was Gough who created the design for the Special Forces wings that the Jedburghs wore on their uniforms.
On August 16, Team Jacob radioed the SFHQ reporting that they had landed safely and were with a Maquis two kilometers south of Vexaincourt. Sgt Seymour injured his ankle in the jump, but they expected him to be ambulatory in seven days. Meanwhile, the team used the SAS radio operator and hoped to meet the Réseau Planète in a day or two. Of the 800 FFI volunteers in the area, only 50 were armed. Some 600 were forced to remain sedentary inactive in their homes. In two messages on August 26, the team requested a large supply drop and indicated that their radio set was not functioning. On September 5, Team Jacob reported that they had not yet received another radio but that they had contacted the SAS Team Loyton. It would appear that several days earlier Team Jacob and the SFHQ had attempted to conduct an arms drop that proved unsuccessful, resulting in numerous FFI casualties when Axis forces attacked them on the drop zone (DZ).
On the following day, Team Jacob canceled that night’s arms drop, reporting that Germans were on the DZ. The SFHQ next heard from Team Jacob on September 15, when it reported that Sgt Seymour had been captured on August 17 and was rumored to have been shot on the 20. In a recent battle, Capt Boissarie had been killed along with 100 Maquis. Another 100 Maquis had been captured with the remainder dispersed. On September 16, Capt Cough (Jacob’s sole survivor) radioed the SFHQ stating that he had rallied 200 Maquis and with the SAS assistance had armed them. He also reported that the transmitter and radio set recently dropped had broken during the drop. Cough said he planned to continue using the SAS set.
At 1900, September 18, Capt Cough sent his last message: have contacted 800 Maquis under Marlier. Sent message with the SAS yesterday for arms drop. Gave ground. The SAS will liaise [liaison] with you. Great difficulty working alone. Can’t come up at regular skeds [schedules]. Will come upon an emergency when can. Please have your message ready for me on this channel. Have not had money yet. The SAS having personnel drop to team here tomorrow. Please send money addressed to me with one of their officers
The SFHQ continued to send messages to Team Jacob through September 28. Capt Gough was captured in the days following September 18 and executed on November 25, 1944, at the Schirmek La Broque concentration camp in Alsace.
He is buried at the Durnbach Commonwealth Cemetery near Bad Tölz, Bavaria. Capt Boissarie (alias Baraud) apparently died in a skirmish on September 4, 1944, at the Viambois Farm in the Vosges. Sgt Seymour was captured by the Germans, survived incarceration in a concentration camp, and returned to England.
The SFHQ dispatched Team Aubrey as the twenty-seventh Jedburgh team to France from the United Kingdom. It was to assist the [Spiritualist] network (code name for the organizer and circuit) in the Seine-et-Marne region east of Paris, providing an additional communication link to London, particularly for the delivery of arms and ammunition. The team consisted of (UK) Capt Godfrey Marchant (Rutland); (FR) Lt Jean-François Chaigneau (Kildare); (UK) Sgt Ivor Hooker (Thaler). They received their briefing in London on August 11 and left for Harrington Air Base at 1700. The team wore civilian clothes for the jump and took off in a modified B-24 from Harrington at 0015 on August 12, followed by two more B-24s carrying weapons, ammunition, and equipment.
At about 0155, the team parachuted without incident into a DZ near La Plessis-Belleville and were greeted by Maj René Dumont-Guillemet, the leader of the [Spiritualist] circuit, and a large reception committee from the village of Saint-Pathus. On the evening of August 12, the team cycled to the village of Forfry, where they established themselves in a safe house. The following day, Sgt Hooker developed a case of the mumps, and since there were no Germans in the village, he set up his radio and operated it from his sickbed throughout most of the remainder of the mission.
On the 14, the SFHQ approved Capt Marchant and Capt Chaigneau’s request to shift operations to the suburbs of northern Paris, where Maj Dumont-Guillemet had identified some 1500 volunteers. The team believed it much safer to operate in the built-up suburbs than in the gently rolling hills of the Seine-et-Marne. Capt Marchant secured Spanish identity papers and traveled daily throughout the suburbs, instructing small groups (including Parisian gendarmes) on sabotage techniques. The local resistance group provided Capt Chaigneau with false papers and a motorcycle, and he served as a liaison between resistance groups.
On August 21, Chaigneau and Marchant decided that with the German Army retreating from France, it was time to move to the Meaux area. When Marchant and the [Spiritualist] radio operator named Blaise, bicycled back to Saint-Pathus, however, they found an SS and a German Army field unit camped about the village. The Germans moved north on August 24, and the following day, Maj Dumont-Guillemet, on his own initiative, instructed his forces to rise in revolt. Within hours, however, the SFHQ radioed to tell him that the revolt could not start until the SFHQ sanctioned the rising. Maj Dumont-Guillemet and Capt Marchant then conferred and agreed that to call off the uprising would only create confusion. They decided to go ahead with the insurrection.
Team Aubrey put on their uniforms again on August 26 and awaited the arrival of the FFI volunteers from northern Paris. The latter arrived the following morning in some twenty vehicles, having managed to avoid large German military convoys escaping to the north. This FFI group with Maj Dumont-Guillemet and Team Aubrey attempted to set up an ambush position near Rougemont, between Oissery and Forfry. It was not a bad defensive position, resting upon a sunken road with a good field of fire to the south, protected on the west by heavy wood and on the east by marshy ground impassable to armored vehicles.
The problems were twofold: the Maquis were basically unorganized and untrained, and the men really had no idea what would be coming down the road into their ambush. Only two Bren guns were operational, and only the Jedburghs knew how to operate the four PIATS (a hand-held antitank rocket – Projectile Infantry Anti Tank). Even as the FFI column unloaded at the sunken road, a German armored car opened fire on two FFI vehicles in Oissery. Seconds later, a German light tank opened fire on the vehicles in the sunken road. After about eighty minutes, at about 1230, with the arrival of additional Germans, Maj Dumont-Guillemet directed a covering force to hold off the Germans while the remaining men dispersed.
Capt Marchant said he would remain with the covering force and ordered Sgt Hooker to leave the field. Hooker moved east along the streambed, where he met Maj Dumont-Guillemet. They spotted Capt Chaigneau about thirty yards ahead of them. Capt Marchant and the covering force held their positions for a short while until another German tank approached and opened fire at close range, whereupon the covering force also fled. Marchant was forced to crawl north to a lake, where he hid for the next eight hours.
The German armor continued to fire, killing Capt Chaigneau in the streambed with a high-explosive shell. The mud in the streambed was rather deep, so Hooker, Dumont-Guillemet, and the others crawled some two kilometers through the mud until they finally reached the shelter of the woods. From there, the group dispersed, with Hooker (who had discarded his codes) and Maj Dumont-Guillemet making their way to a safe house in Nongloire-par-Puisieux. Maj Dumont-Guillemet and Sgt Hooker spent the next day at the safe house.
On the morning of August 29, they awoke to the sound of machine guns and discovered a US VII Corps column advancing down the road to Soissons. They received a ride from the Americans to Meaux, from where they returned to Paris. On the 30, Sgt Hooker borrowed a jeep and drove to Forfry, where he found Capt Marchant, and the two returned to Paris, Maj Dumont-Guillemet had already returned to London, and the two surviving members of Team Aubrey followed soon after.
The German armored unit that Team Aubrey encountered belonged in all probability to the LVIII Panzer-Corps, which was responsible to the German 1.Army on August 25-27. It consisted of the remnants of several severely battered divisions, including the Panzer-Lehr and the 9.Panzer-Division. The LVIII Panzer-corps concentrated its efforts on blacking the major road nets north of Paris until August 27, when it was forced to retire to the line Beaumont – Survillers – Dammartin-en-Goele – Meaux. In the nineteen days, it was in the field, Team Aubrey provided valuable information to London, particularly targeting data on a Luftwaffe airfield north of Paris. In addition, although the SFHQ probably knew of the withdrawal of the German’s Paris garrison, Team Aubrey’s confirmation of its departure on August 19 undoubtedly assisted in clarifying the situation. Capt Marchant estimated that the FFI lost eighty-six men and women killed in the August 27 engagement near Bougemont. Godfrey Marchant, originally from Buenos Aires, died in April 1945 when his B-24, bound for an SOE mission in Burma, crashed on takeoff near Calcutta. Ivor Hooker survived the war, returning to England to live in Suffolk County. He died in June 1988.
The SFHQ dispatched Team Augustus as the thirty-fourth Jedburgh team to the Continent on August 15, 1944, to the Aisne region, where it was to assist the local Maquis and serve as an additional communication link to London. Maj Maj John H. Bonsall (Arizona)(US), the team leader, was born on June 11, 1919, in Morristown, New Jersey. After attending a number of preparatory schools, he entered Princeton University, where he was in the ROTC program. He was commissioned an Army second lieutenant upon graduation in 1941, although he planned to follow his father’s example and practice law. He was called to active duty in August 1941, arrived in England in December 1943, and was promoted to major in April 1944. Capt Jean Delviche (Hérault)(FR) and T/Sgt Roger E. Cote (Indiana)(US) were the other members of the team. Delwiche was a professional officer born in Vivaise, a small village ten kilometers north of Laon. He was a profoundly quiet man, undoubtedly the result of the death of his wife and child to illness.
On the night of August 15, the team flew from England with twenty-four containers weighing 3 tons and with no other passengers. Landing near the hamlet of Colonfay, about fifteen kilometers south of Guise, they moved to Le Nouvion-en-Thierache, the local resistance headquarters. On the afternoon of August 16, they reached a farm near the village of Clary, which the resistance suggested would be much safer. The team radioed the SFHQ on August 17 that the reception had gone perfectly. Two days later, they reported that they had successfully contacted the local resistance leader. At that meeting, they apparently decided to follow the suggestion of the resistance to conduct operations to the south near Soissons. On August 20, the team radioed that the resistance movement in the Aisne Department was quite advanced, with 1100 men armed and trained and 4900 unarmed men.
On August 21, the team moved south about 100 kilometers to the village of Rugny. Through August 24, the team sent London several reports on specific targets for the Allied air forces, mostly large German troop columns headed east for the German border or trains stuck between railroad demolitions.
On August 25, however, Augustus reported that there were so many German troops in the area that it would be unwise to form any Maquis and that hiding places were becoming harder to find.
The following day, the team reported that the Germans were constructing field fortifications behind the Aisne River, although without minefields.
On August 28, they learned that American tanks were in the vicinity and moved north to Soissons. There, they briefed the staff officers of the US 3-AD on German defenses in the area. The American officers displayed a particular interest in the German camp at Margival. The SFHQ, on August 30, sent Augustus the following message: have received the order from Army commander for the FFI to take all possible steps to preserve following Somme River bridges from enemy demolition. All bridges in the Amiens area, also at Moreuil, Boves, Fiquigny, Conde, Longpré. You should attempt to preserve these bridges for about four days after receipt of this message. This is an important task. Count on you for fullest cooperation. If you need arms can drop from low flying typhoons.
Team Augustus presumably received this message. That same day, the team passed through the American lines north of Laon (south of Froidmont), an area well known to Capt Delwiche. A subsequent OSS investigation revealed that all three members were shot and killed on the night of August 30 at the village of Barenton-sur-Serre. Apparently, German troops stopped a horse-drawn cart and found the three occupants in civilian clothes, carrying false French identity cards, and equipped with weapons, a radio, and other equipment.
Since the German troops were the remnants of an armor unit interested mainly in escaping to the German border, they undertook no further searches but merely shot the team and soon departed in the rain. The horse, still towing its cart, returned on its own to its stable in Mr. Magnien’s barn, which was occupied by armed FFI volunteers. The return of the horse and empty cart created considerable consternation, Mr. Magnien and his colleagues found the bodies of the Jedburgh Team Augustus the following morning, buried the three men at the Barenton-sur-Serre cemetery, and subsequently erected a memorial in their honor.
Jedburghs Team Andrew, August 15 1944
Operations in eastern France and Belgium were particularly difficult for the SFHQ owing to the great distance from England and the proximity of German training areas and Axis security forces. In mid-April 1944, the SFHQ dispatched the first four members of the Operation [Citronelle], the code name for one twelve-man inter-Allied mission led by Col Paris de Bolladière into the Ardennes on April 12 and June 5, 1944. Team Andrew (UK); (BE) Lt Edouard C. d’Oultremont (Demer); (UK) Sgt Frank Harrison (Nethe). The mission’s leader, Maj A.H.S. Henry Coombe-Tennant (Rupel)(UK) and seven more men parachuted into the area on June 5 was to contact and assist the Maquis on the French-Belgian border of the Ardennes. The Germans soon launched a series of attacks in the area, and an American member of [Citronelle], Capt Victor J. Layton, radioed the SFHQ to report that a German attack on June 12 had scattered the resistance group. He reported 5 FFI members killed, 140 captured and estimated that perhaps 100 remained.
The SFHQ, on the night of August 15, dispatched Jedburgh Team Andrew to the southern Ardennes in France, where they were to assist the FFI with arms deliveries and provide another communications link to London. The team consisted of Maj A.H.S. Henry Coombe-Tennant (Rupel)(UK), Lt Edouard C. d’Oultremont (Demer)(BE), and Sgt Frank Harrison (Nethe)(UK).
Henry Coombe-Tennant was born on April 9, 1913, in the Vale of Neath, South Wales, and subsequently became a career officer, serving in the Welsh Guards. As a member of the British Expeditionary Force in 1940, he was captured near Boulogne. In 1942, he and two colleagues escaped from their German POW camp near Warburg in Westphalia and were fortunate enough to link up with the [Réseau Comet] network in Belgium, which assisted their return to England. Upon his return to England, Coombe-Tennant attended a staff college and in 1943 served on the SOE planning staff on Baker Street. Soon thereafter, he volunteered for the Jedburgh project. One of the members of the [Réseau Comet] network was Count d’Oultremont, born on September 27 1916 in Paris, a resident of Brussels, who was of medium height, well built, with blonde hair and mustache, and distinguished in appearance.
In 1943, d’Oultremont followed the [Réseau Comet] escape route, shortly before the Germans rolled up the network. The two men were rather surprised to meet each other again at Milton Hall and decided to form their own team. With d’Oultremont on the team, they guessed they would be inserted into Belgium. The team received their alert on August 8 and on the 10, traveled to London for their briefing. The briefer informed them that the resistance forces in the Ardennes had recently lost 200 men in an engagement, and only 150 remained. The SFHQ instructed Team Andrew to contact the [Citronelle] mission upon their arrival. Two French officers on a similar mission would fly with the team. In addition, a ten-man Belgian SAS force on an independent mission would parachute with them.
On the night of August 15, the group flew to the Ardennes skirting a storm with high winds. The SFHQ dispatched two bombers to the Ardennes that night carrying thirteen parachutists and forty-eight containers weighing approximately 6 tons total. Upon approaching the DZ, the landing lights were clearly visible, and the SAS team jumped first, about two kilometers east of Revin, France. The aircraft turned around to make a second pass, but this time the landing lights could not be spotted. Upon being informed that they would either have to jump ‘blind’ or return to England, Maj Coombe-Tennant decided to risk the jump. The strong wind scattered the team, but during the remaining hours of darkness, they located each other and buried their chutes. The Belgian SAS team had disappeared to conduct its own mission. At dawn, Team Andrew marched through the forest until they found a woodsman’s cottage, where they were offered shelter. On August 17, a Maquis lieutenant arrived and took them to meet Col de Bolladière’s [Citronelle] mission. Along with some other equipment, Team Andrew lost its radio crystals in the drop and was therefore dependent upon [Citronelle]’s radio for contacting the SFHQ.
On August 25, the de Bolladière group received a request for help from a Belgian resistance group about five miles to the east that was in a skirmish with a German convoy. Col de Bolladière took about sixty men with him and found the ambush site. Upon spotting women in the convoy, he ordered that it not be attacked; but it was too late, and a firefight ensued. The following day near noon, a German company from Belgium found and attacked the [Citronelle] group as they were having lunch. The Germans’ use of 50-MM mortars proved particularly effective, and the [Citronelle] mission lost eight men killed and twelve wounded, including Col de Bolladière and Lt d’Oultremont. The Germans, however, had not expected such firepower, and both forces simultaneously retired – the [Citronelle] group to a camp south of Tourbillon. The following day, Coombe-Tennant and Capt Layton returned to the scene of the engagement and observed that the Germans had not removed their dead.
The [Citronelle] group subsequently remained deep within the forest about two miles north of the French border. Their main link to the outside world was a Capuchin friar, Anton Hegelmann, who periodically visited their camp. Since they had little ammunition, they remained at their hideout the following week. Around September 1, the group learned of the advance of the US Army and decided to move south toward Charleville. Upon reaching the city, they discovered that the US Army had already seized the town.
The group did, however, set up an ambush and managed to intercept a group of Germans retreating east. The US 1-A’s 10th Special Force Detachment picked up the team on September 8 at the V Corps headquarters and gave them a ride to Paris. Maj Coombe-Tennant and Lt d’Outremont left for Brussels to rejoin their regiments, leaving Sgt Harrison to file the final report.
Team Augustus was in the field for slightly more than three weeks, working with the [Citronelle] inter-Allied mission. The [Citronelle] group obviously undertook direct military action prematurely and consequently was forced to spend one critical week in hiding. If the [Citronelle] mission materially assisted the advance of Allied ground forces, it was only indirectly by tying down German forces and constituting yet one more possible threat to German forces retiring east. Maj Coombe-Tennant returned to the Welsh Guards, served in the Middle East, and retired in 1956. In 1961, he joined the Benedictine Order. On November 6 1989, he died at Downside Abbey. Edouard Comte d’Oultremont survived the war and returned to Brussels, where he died on February 3 1988. The Jedburgh community subsequently lost touch with Frank Harrison.
The SFHQ planned to dispatch Teams Benjamin and Bernard on the night of August 19, 1944, to the Meuse-Argonne area of northeastern France to assist the local FFI. Team Benjamin consisted of (UK) Maj Hubert O’Brian-Tear (Stirling); (FR) Lt Paul Moniez (Ulster); (FR) Lt Henri Kamiski (Serre) and was to operate east of the Meuse River. Team Bernard consisted of (FR) Capt Etienne Nasica (Argens); (UK) Capt Jocelyn de Warenne Waller (Tipperary); (UK) Sgt Cyril M. Bassett (Lancashire). Each team parachuted with the standard Jedburgh radial set, with which they were to contact the SFHQ in London to arrange the delivery of additional weapons and supplies.
Following a request for such supplies, it would take an estimated eight days for delivery. The two teams received a joint briefing on August 17 that proved suspiciously brief. Information on the state of the resistance in eastern France proved sketchy, and the teams were not provided with detailed maps of the area. The planned jump for August 19 did not transpire, but on the following night, each team took off in a bomber from Fairford Air Base. Both bombers found their way to the DZ, several kilometers south of Clermont-en-Argonne, but could not spot the landing lights until directly above them. As the six Jedburghs parachuted, they suspected that something had gone wrong in the reception committee.
The FFI reception committee had no previous experience working with parachuted men or materiel so consequently had not selected or prepared a suitable DZ. They had picked a very small field surrounded by the Argonne Forest. Thus, five of the Jedburghs, along with sixteen packages and about thirty containers, landed in the trees. The reception committee had selected a DZ that was far too small and complicated the problem by placing the landing lights too close to the tree line. Furthermore, they had only fifteen men, so it took two days and three nights to assemble the scattered containers and parachutes.
On August 21, two local resistance leaders escorted the Jedburghs to their camp on the edge of the Argonne forest, three miles south-southwest of Clermont, where at 0630, they established radio contact with the SFHQ. They used Team Bernard’s radio since the other radio had been destroyed in the drop. They also decided to remain together in one large team until another radio could be supplied. It was not until August 23 that two senior FFI officials, Col Aubusson and Col Angelet (assistants of Planète), arrived to brief them on the local situation.
They reported that Planète was in Nancy planning for a major operation in the Vosges and that he desired the FFI to harass the Germans in the Argonne region east and west of the Meuse. To accomplish this, there were about 600 men scattered about this rural area and another 300 in Saint-Mihiel. The Franc Tireurs et Partisans (FTP) had an estimated forty men in Stenay, 200 in Spincourt, and 50 in Souilly.
To confuse the situation further, about 3000 Russian POWs worked as miners in Bassin-de-Briey.
The two team leaders decided, therefore, to split up and return to their original plan. They would call for six priority parachute-supply drops at the beginning of the new moon, three in the Bernard sector west of the Meuse and three in the Benjamin sector east of the Meuse. They planned to arm a nucleus of 200 men in each sector. They consequently began preparations, contacting the local FTP leader to arrange his cooperation and to prepare for Team Benjamin to cross the Meuse. Then disaster struck.
The following morning, August 24, the Gestapo and the French Milice posing as FFI Maquis at the town of Les Islettes, arrested the local FFI leaders. The two Jedburgh teams learned of this several hours later and began to carry off as much of their equipment as possible to a new camp. Later in the afternoon, 150 Axis troops led by an SS captain raided the Jedburgh camp evacuated only hours earlier. Through coincidence, an FTP patrol from Souilly, desiring to coordinate with the Jedburghs and secure more arms, arrived at the camp to find not Maquis but a large enemy force. The FTP fled, losing ten men and, no doubt, some measure of confidence in their FFI colleagues. The Jedburghs abandoned their earlier plans, knowing now that they were being hunted. They consequently moved again that same night through the heavily wooded Argonne forest to the western side of the Biesme valley into the Foret Domaniale-de-Chatrices.
The move to the western side of the valley took three days, during which scouts attempted to determine the level of damage done by the Les Islettes incident. On August 28, they learned that one of the FFI leaders had been captured with a map showing the planned supply DZs. The following day, the group met with Major Rooney’s SAS group Rupert, both groups having selected the same DZ for that night’s supply drop. After coordinating for a joint drop, the SAS canceled the drop later that evening. Probably on this same day, the SFHQ informed Team Benjamin of the imminent arrival of American ground forces and requested that Benjamin send guides through the German lines to meet them.
On August 30, the guides dispatched by the Jedburghs contacted the advancing American force (US 3d Cavalry Group, US XX Corps), providing them with an estimate of the local situation. In the morning, the Jedburghs made three offensive patrols on the Sainte-Menehould – Les Islettes – Clermont road, hoping to cut off retreating German forces. They also desired to prevent the destruction of the railway tunnel and bridges of Sainte-Menehould. The road patrol encountered no German forces. A second patrol found the railway tunnel abandoned and not rigged for detonation. The third patrol (consisting of Lt Moniez, Commandant Dulac, and six men) entered Sainte-Menehould, killing four Germans, but later withdrew at the approach of German troops. A party of eighty FFI that was supposed to assist at Sainte-Menehould proved unable to fight through German forces.
The US XX Corps began its advance on Verdun on August 30, led by its 3d Cavalry Group and the 7th Armored Division. The cavalry seized Sainte-Menehould at 0545 on August 31, and CCA (7-AD) moved toward Verdun to capture a bridgehead over the Meuse River.
The Germans had destroyed all of the Meuse River bridges in the area except the main bridge at Verdun, which was rigged for demolition and defended by a rearguard with two Mark V Panther tanks. As units of CCA entered the town shortly afternoon, a number of FFI volunteers ran under the bridge and managed to cut the wires to the explosive charge before the German sentries opened fire. Minutes later, the tanks of CCA arrived, knocked out the two Panthers, and proceeded east to secure the bridgehead.
On August 31, before the arrival of American forces, Capt Nasica was wounded in a skirmish with a German patrol at Futeau in the Biesme valley. The Maquis advanced along the Biesme valley, taking Les Islettes on September 1. On September 2, the group, about 100 men, entered Clermont and began to intercept German stragglers, killing or capturing about fifty men. The Jedburghs had turned over command of the Maquis to Commandant Dulac and on August 31, moved east across the Meuse toward Verdun. Upon reaching that historic town, they discovered troops of the US XX Corps in force and decided to contact the US 3-A headquarters to receive new instructions. On the return drive, as they approached Clermont, a German outpost opened fire on their truck, wounding everyone except Capt Waller and Lt Moniez. The Jedburgh team fled, losing its truck, radio, and the last of its personal equipment. During the previous night, a regiment of the 15.Panzer-Grenadier-Division had driven the Dulac Maquis out of Clermont and occupied the town. The Jedburgh group infiltrated through the German lines and reached Epernay on September 2, where Capt Waller met them. On the following day, they reported to Lt Col Powell of the 11th Special Force Detachment at the US 3-A HQ in Châlons.
The Jedburgh group rested and re-equipped over the week. Capt Nasica and Sgt Bassett were evacuated from local hospitals to England. On September 11, Col Powell directed the group to assist the [PEDLAR] (Pedlar was an Intelligence Circuit led by Maj Bodington in the Châlon-sur-Marne area) circuit in the Chaumont area (Team Arnold report on Pedlar). The group subsequently participated in a daylight supply drop at Garganville on September 13 and, following the capture of Chaumont, assisted Maj Bodington in the demobilization of his Maquis.
From September 18-22, Teams Benjamin and Bernard stored excess parachuted arms at Nancy. They returned to England on October 2, observing that they should have been deployed at least two months prior to August 20. They also noted that the SFHQ had basically ignored the Meuse-Argonne region until August 1944, by which time it was too late to create an efficient organization. Teams Benjamin and Bernard served in France for roughly six weeks, although only nine days before the US 3-A overran the area. Effective Axis security forced the two teams to hide from August 24-30. Between August 30 and September 2, four of the six Jedburghs were wounded, with two requiring evacuation.
(Image) A platoon of American Armored Infantry (right) and a platoon of FFI men (left) present arms as Maj Gen Lindsey McDonald Silvester, CG 7th Armored Division, arrives in Verdun to decorate fighting Frenchmen of the town who contributed greatly to the American advance.
In many ways, the story of Teams Benjamin and Bernard provides more questions than answers. Their after-action report makes no reference to the FFI of Verdun and the capture of the Verdun bridge, even though Verdun was only some thirty kilometers to the east. In a similar fashion, US Army records fail to mention any Jedburgh teams operating in the area. We also know that on August 30, the SFHQ directed Jedburgh teams to seize the bridges in front of the US 1-A to assist the advance of the ground forces. There is no indication, however, that similar messages, were sent to the SOF teams in front of the US 3-A. How it came to pass that an FFI group knew when and how to cut the wires of the demolitions on the Verdun bridge remains open to question.
Jedburgh Team Alfred, August 24 1944
The SFHQ dispatched Team Alfred on August 24, 1944, to the Oise River Valley north of Paris to assist in organizing the local FFI, particularly through providing them an additional radio link to London and assisting in the delivery of arms.
The team consisted of (UK) Capt Lewis Ritchie MacDonald (Argyll); (FR) Lt Jean-Marie Herenguel (Aude) and (UK) Sgt Albert W. Key (Wampum).
The team left Milton Hall in somewhat of a rush on the morning of August 9 for London, after which they prepared for their jump. It was not until August 23 that they received a rather hurried second briefing on the FFI and German situation in the Oise sector. They were also informed that it would take about eight days for the delivery of arms drops. The briefing officer told them that if they found themselves within forty miles of the battle zone, they were to recruit fifteen volunteers and move toward the Allied army, gathering tactical information along the way. Upon landing in France, they were to contact the local FFI chief DuPont-Montura. The team was instructed to avoid open combat.
That night, at 2300, Team Alfred departed on a two-hour flight through a rather severe storm for the DZ at Moulin-sous-Touvent (about 15 kilometers northeast of Compiègne), where the pilot dropped the packages and containers with some difficulty. He then gained altitude for a second pass so the team could safely jump, but amid fierce winds, he could not spot the landing lights and was forced to cancel the jump. The following night, they tried again, and after a fifty-minute search for the DZ in Moulin-sous-Touvent, the RAF bomber dropped both the Jedburgh team and their packages and containers. It proved an excellent drop, and it took little time for the reception committee to assemble the team and equipment and take them to the safety of a nearby quarry. As it turned out, the reception committee had secured the containers and packages dropped the previous night but had moved the equipment to a village some twenty kilometers away. Thus, the team would have to do without their personal kits for some time.
On the morning of August 26, Lt Herenguel traveled to Clermont, where he met Commandant DuPont-Montura, the FFI commander for the Oise area. Following their meeting, Team Alfred sent the following message to the SFHQ: have contacted Chef FFI departmental. Five to six thousand partisans in area poorly organized but very enthusiastic and demand arms and yet more arms. 400 of the total armed in area Compiègne – Clermont. Area Beauvais destitute of arms. That night, the team vainly awaited an arms drop at the DZ. The following morning, word arrived that there were parachutists nearby at Francières, so Capt MacDougall went to investigate. He returned later with five Special Air Service men. Their aircraft could not find the DZ, so the team dropped blind, although the pilot did not drop the arms containers.
The following day, Team Alfred radioed London, reporting the non-arrival of their arms shipment and stating that large bodies of disorganized German troops were moving north through Montdidier toward Lille. A coded BBC broadcast heralded another drop for that evening, so once again, the team assembled at the DZ. This time, they waited until 0230, when a heavy thunderstorm struck. Team Alfred later learned that the arms shipment had been dropped some fifteen kilometers away, where the local Communist-Party-sponsored resistance group had retrieved it.
At this time, German activity forced Team Alfred to seek a safer location each day. On August 28, they took shelter in a cave located in a small wood. That same day, the team sent the SFHQ at least three messages, reporting that the Germans were destroying their airbase at Creil, preparing bridges for demolition, and at several locations erecting antitank obstacles and minefields. The team also reported that it had dispatched five volunteers toward the Allied lines to gain tactical information. That same day, the team received its first message from the SFHQ, enigmatically requesting exact map references-information the team was certain that agent Pasteur had already sent to London.
On August 29 and 30, the team informed the SFHQ that the Germans were preparing the Oise bridges for demolition and suggested that to prevent their destruction, London should send arms and an SAS group if possible. Team Alfred also reported that the Oise valley remained heavily congested with German troops and gave the location of forty tanks south of Compiègne. The team still hoped to set up several ambushes, even though it would have to use aged rifles and shotguns. Then at 1100, August 30, it received the following message from the SFHQ: would like you to take all possible steps on receipt this message to preserve following Somme River bridges from enemy demolition. All bridges Amiens area. Also at Moreuil, Boves, Fiquigny, Conde, Longprè. Try to keep bridges in the state of preservation for about 4 days. This target of the highest importance. Can drop arms to you from low flying typhoons if you need them.
Team Alfred had still not received any arms drops, so attempting to stop the German Army from blowing up a number of bridges proved a rather difficult task. On August 31, the team radioed London twice requesting arms drops and that evening set off to conduct two ambushes. Lt Herenguel and Sgt Key remained with the ambush party, while Capt MacDougall took the radio with a horse and cart and attempted to contact the FFI in Amiens.
When he arrived in Ferrières at the same time as an American armored column, an American staff officer provided him with a vehicle so he could rapidly reach Amiens. But just as he was preparing to leave Ferrièes, word arrived that the British Army had already captured the town. Team Alfred’s ambushes went rather well, at Francières shooting up a German column while receiving few losses.
The second ambush killed a small group of Germans while liberating thirty American prisoners of war. The following day, large US Army forces overran the area. Team Alfred subsequently remained in the area working with the FFI attempting to locate German stragglers. After spending three days in Paris, the team returned to the United Kingdom on September 27.
The team concluded its after-action report with the following paragraph: this was the tale of the Team Alfred, not a very glorious one but not through any fault of the team. If we had been dispatched when we were first alerted some two weeks previous to our actual departure (team was alerted and briefed on August 9 but did not leave until August 24) we could have done something useful. Team Alfred spent four weeks in France, but only eight days before US Army conventional forces overran the area. Perhaps their own postmortem was too critical, for the team did provide valuable information on German troop movements and defenses. Lt Herenguel died on September 8, 1945, in Nape, Laos. Albert Key died shortly after the end of the war. The Jedburgh community subsequently lost contact with Capt MacDougall.
Jedburgh Team Arnold, August 24 1944
The Marne Department of eastern France proved a difficult area for the French Resistance. The SOE resolved to open an intelligence circuit in this area and picked one of its more experienced operatives to lead it, Maj Nicholas R. Bodington (almost always misspelled Boddington). A former Reuters Paris correspondent, Bodington had already undertaken several journeys to occupied France. The SFHQ sent him to the Marne region in early July 1944 to reopen the [Pedlar] circuit. Jedbugh Team Arnold would assist Bodington’s circuit in late August. The SFHQ dispatched Team Arnold late in the evening of August 24 1944 to the Marne area near Epernay to assist the local FFI. The team consisted of (FR) Capt Michel de Carville (Sussex); (UK) Capt James H. Monahan (Londonderry); (UK) Sgt Alan de Ville (Escudo). The team flew from Tarrant Rushton Airdrome at 2230, August 24, in two Halifax Bombers of the Royal Air Force’s 38th Group, taking with them thirty containers of supplies. They dropped at 0030, August 25, in civilian clothes southwest of Epernay near the small village of Igny-Comblize. The DZ was easily recognized, and the team jumped without difficulty. Maj Bodington (code-named ‘Nick’) led the reception committee, which fetched the containers and retrieved all the equipment except Team Arnold’s leg bags with their personal weapons, maps, uniforms, and crystals for the radio. As a result, the team could not contact the SFHQ. Major Bodington provided a secluded hunting lodges and several guides to the Jedburghs and suggested that they control the zone from Epernay west to Dormans.
On August 26, Team Arnold sent four agents (selected by Bodington) south to contact the advancing forces of the US 3-A. The team also decided to form a Maquis as soon as possible. The local FFI had already armed some 260 men from parachuted arms and hoped to field 200 more. On August 27, while the team was visiting local FFI leaders, the resistance group in Cerseuil shot and killed a member of the Organization Todt (a labor organization that performed construction for the Wehrmacht). Team Arnold decided to use this incident to raise the Cerseuil FFI to insurrection. On the way to Cerseuil, however, a German patrol spotted the team and drove it into hiding. The team spent that night in the village of Try.
In the morning, they were awakened by the sound of German Army columns crossing the Marne River bridge at Try. Team Arnold sent word for the FFI to assemble at Try. Later in the morning, elements of the US 7-AD’s CCB and the local FFI arrived and attempted to seize the Marne bridge. As the Allied forces approached, however, the German defenders blew up the bridge and successfully warded off a subsequent American attack. The FFI assisted the troops of the 7-AD by providing a flank screen and taking care of the wounded. The German unit that prepared the defense of this sector of the Marne was Gen Eckart von Tschammer, Osten’s Feldkommandantur 531, which administered the Marne Department, but from some distance away in Châlons-sur-Marne. Its nearest office or outpost was in Epernay.
In Châlons the Germans did not view resistance activity as very threatening and continued to work until American armor arrived on August 28. The Germans concentrated on repairing roads and bridges and preparing demolitions. One major problem was transporting French collaborators and their families east, with some 200 leaving Châlons-sur-Marne only on August 27. Besides assembling livestock north of the Marne, the Feldkommandantur was also responsible for constructing defensive positions behind the river’s north bank. Only 7690 of the requisitioned 12000 French workers appeared on the first day. The Germans soon noticed that the French were sabotaging their vehicles. Gen Franz Beyer’s LXXX Corps headquarters assisted in the construction of this sector of the Kitzinger Line. The German forces that crossed the Marne bridge at Dormans were the remnants of Gen Kurt von der Chevallerie’s 1.Army retiring from the upper Seine. Included in this force was a battle group of the Panzer-Lehr-Division.
From August 29 until September 2, Team Arnold collected weapons from the FFI. They reported no disturbances.
On September 2, along with Maj Bodington and his Maquis, the team moved to Montier-en-Der, where they were to help collect German stragglers. The team discovered few if any Germans at Montier-en-Der, however, and resolved to move on to Saint-Dizier. They found that town occupied by about three companies of resistance troops and contacted Col de Grouchy, the head of the resistance in the Haute-Marne.
Their tranquility was disturbed on September 8, when news came down through FFI channels to prepare rapidly to move south. Team Arnold went to the US 3-A’s headquarters for more precise orders and in the hope of securing more arms. Personnel at Patton’s headquarters instructed them to move on Chaumont with all available forces to prevent German forces from escaping to the north. Maj Bodington dispatched one company from Saint-Dizier toward Chaumont on September 10. The following day, Team Arnold followed with two half companies. They found FFI troops occupying villages on the road between Juzonnocourt and Boulogne, the latter village being ten kilometers north of Chaumont and the closest point to the German positions.
The 2d French Armored Division secured Chaumont on September 13, ending any possible threat to Patton’s southern flank. On September 14, the FFI forces returned home. Team Arnold reported in at Paris on the 19 and later continued on to London. They observed that they had been inserted far too late to organize and coordinate resistance activities, that it had taken too long for them to receive their requested arms drops, and that since they had been parachuted in civilian clothes, they should have been issued false identity papers.
Jedburgh Team Archibald, August 25 1944
Jedburgh training, as previously mentioned, proved quite rigorous and, at most times, injured Jeds could be found in the local hospital. In May, while the Jedburghs were forming their own teams at Milton Hall, (UK) Maj Arthur du P. Denning (Cumberland); (FR) Capt François Coste (Montgomery); (US) Sgt Roger L. Pierre (Sen), while in the hospital, resolved to form their own team. Denning was a rather imposing figure at six feet three inches in height, with a trim regimental mustache and ever-present pipe. Coste was a career officer in the French Army, a Saint-Cyr graduate, who was usually found smoking a cigarette. Roger Pierre was a nineteen-year-old New Yorker. Upon their return to Milton Hall, their self-selection was approved, and they volunteered to jump into France in civilian clothes.
After receiving their briefing in London, however, their mission was canceled. Finally, after waiting fourteen days in London, Denning and Coste received another briefing on August 25. Team Archibald would jump in their uniforms near Nancy, contact the Réseau Planète, and assist the FFI through training, liaison, and delivery of weapons. Their pre-mission briefing, however, was based on information six months old, and hence out of date. They were not informed that other Allied agents were operating in the same area nor that Team Archibald would be delivering a large sum of money to Planète. The team was instructed to avoid pitched battles with Axis forces. That same day, the team drove north for Harrington and took off in a bomber at 2045. The pilot had difficulty identifying the DZ but dropped the team and equipment on the second pass at 0110 of August 26 in the Nancy region near the Forêt de Charmes. Two sixty-man reception committees, each desiring weapons, met the team. Maj Denning gave half the weapons to each group and decided to join the Maquis in the forest, which already possessed some weapons, was led by a Capt Noel and was capable of some military action.
On retrieval of the parachuted equipment, the team discovered that their radio set was destroyed and numerous weapons seriously damaged in the drop. Another agent from the SFHQ, however, (code-named Careful) was in the area and informed London that Archibald had arrived. Team Archibald received another radio with the first parachuted delivery of supplies. Capt Noel led the team to his Maquis camp, where Major Denning and a former Yugoslavian captain attempted to repair the damaged firearms. Team Archibald also began to receive parachute drops – some expected, some a surprise. In the latter category was a ten-man Canadian SAS team with three jeeps led by a major code-named Peter. After much handshaking and backslapping, the SAS team drove off toward Saint-Die and never returned.
Team Archibald later discovered that the entire SAS team was killed in combat. Archibald’s guerrilla band soon rose to a strength of 300 armed and 250 unarmed men. Planète finally arrived to receive his 35 million francs, but he could offer little information on the resistance situation in the area. He promised, however, that one of his deputies would subsequently deliver that information. That deputy eventually arrived but only after the end of guerrilla operations with the arrival of US Army field units. Upon learning of the approach of a German division, the group left 150 armed men to await further arms drops in the Forêt de Charmes and moved the remainder to Lemenil – Mitry in the Bois de Chivoiteux.
The Germans subsequently swept the Forêt de Charmes, burning the village of Saint-Remy. Maquis Noel lost much of its impetus when Planète called its leader away to Nancy. On September 2, however, Capt Montlac led a resistance group to the German depot at Tantonville, in the afternoon ambushing a German column along the way and subsequently participating in action at Tantonville. News received during the morning indicated that advancing US Army field forces were only some thirty-five kilometers away, so Maj Denning resolved to contact them. He encountered the 42d Cavalry Squadron and gave them his interpretation of the situation, but on the return trip, he ran into a skirmish and received a slight wound in the thigh.
Upon returning to the Maquis camp, Denning discovered that Capt Coste and several of the group had been wounded.
Owing to the severity of their wounds, Denning sent the wounded behind German lines to a Catholic hospital in Luneville. If asked, the driver carrying them was to declare that they were innocent victims of FFI terrorists. Denning remained with the Maquis, hoping to assist the US Army in securing bridges over the Moselle. The only bridges between Nancy and Charmes not defended and rigged for demolition were at the towns of Charmes and Langley. Denning’s group managed to capture the bridge at Charmes, driving off the small garrison in a coup de main in the evening. The US 3-A, however, ran out of gasoline and was unable to push forward to Charmes. The Germans subsequently retook the town and destroyed the bridge during their defense of the Moselle.
With the Americans temporarily out of fuel and German reinforcements now available, the front soon stabilized along the Moselle River. In early September, Patton’s forces secured bridgeheads across the Moselle north of Bayon at Lorey, Saint-Mard, and Velle and asked the FFI for assistance. Major Denning consequently took four companies of Maquis across the river, placing one company in each village and a fourth in Domptail. Capt Noel meanwhile formed an 800-man mobile group that assisted in providing rear-area and flank protection in the no-man’s-land between the US 3-A and 7-A. Following a brief trip to Paris, Major Denning returned to the Nancy area, but the large Jedburgh-FFI operations had come to a close. The French government intended to incorporate the Maquis into a field army, and SHAEF saw no further use for Jedburgh teams. Team Archibald made numerous requests for arms drops after September 3, but the SFHQ or the RAF managed to avert the delivery of arms.
Finally, on October 31, the US 3-A directed Team Archibald to return to the United Kingdom. The Team served in the field for more than two months, although only nine days before the arrival of US 3-A units. The Team provided invaluable assistance in organizing a large Maquis that fought as a conventional infantry force with the US 3-A along the Moselle River.
Jedburgh Team Stanley, August 31 1944
Team Stanley was in a London hotel as late as August 31, wondering if they would in fact ever be sent into action when they received the alert notification. As they drove north for Tempsford airfield, Craster and Cantais received their briefing in the back of a truck. Team Stanley took off at 2045 on August 31 in a Stirling Bomber.
The SFHQ dispatched Team Stanley as the fifty-third Jedburgh team to France on August 31, 1944, to the Haute-Marne region. It consisted of (UK) Capt Oswin E. Craster (Yorkshire); (FR) Lt Robert Cantais (Meath); (UK) Sgt Jack E. Grinham (Worcestershire). In addition, two French aspirants, Lt Denis and Lt Ely, jumped with Team Stanley and accompanied them throughout the operation, usually commanding platoon-size FFI groups. Oswin Craster had served since 1939 in the 5th Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. When it became apparent that his unit would not be sent into combat, he and several of his comrades volunteered for operations behind German lines.
Cantais was a regular in the French Army, who eventually retired as a colonel. Jack Grinham had previously served in the Royal Armoured Corps. Their mission was to assist the FFI near Chaumont on the Plateau de Langres particularly, in setting up air-supply drops. The SFHQ also directed them to prevent the destruction of several engineering structures in eastern France. By this late date, the SFHQ knew of the imminent arrival of Allied ground forces, so Stanley received instructions to immediately dispatch agents to serve as guides for the advancing ground forces.
They parachuted shortly before midnight from too high an altitude, so the five parachutists and numerous containers scattered considerably near Rivière-les-Fosses, about twenty-five kilometers south-southwest of Langres. The reception committee assisted in the retrieval of the equipment and provided the team with shelter and transportation. They spent the night in the village and on the evening of September 2, drove about twenty-two kilometers northeast in the rain to join an organized Maquis, which they found in the woods west of Bussières-lès-Belmont.
On September 3, the team reported that 300 armed Maquis were in the area along with three companies of the French 1st Regiment, which had defected to the Allies along with sixty French gendarmes. They estimated that another 2000 Maquis could be raised if the SFHQ dropped sufficient arms. The French 1st Regiment possessed only light infantry weapons and enough ammunition to last one day. The Team also discovered that the Germans had already destroyed the facilities the SFHQ had requested saved.
One SAS troop in jeeps arrived one morning and asked to use the Jedburgh’s radio since theirs had been smashed on landing. Sgt Grinham sent their message for them, and the SAS disappeared the following day.
Through September 14, Team Stanley provided excellent information on German forces in the area to the SFHQ, including the heavy road traffic toward Langres (held by 8000 Germans, with one general identified) and Chaumont (which the Germans were preparing for defense). The team attempted to avoid pitched battles as a result of insufficient arms and ammunition. Beginning on September 7, however, they began to capture small groups of German troops attempting to escape east from the Bay of Biscay on the road from Champlite to Bonne. On September 8, the team received its first message from the SFHQ, which requested more information on a prospective DZ.
The following night, however, the team received its weapons drop. On September 11, a large body of German troops and their Russian auxiliaries occupied the villages of Grenant, Saulles, and Belmont. A platoon of the French 1st Regiment on its way to guard the Saulles Chateau ran into these German forces and was repulsed. Team Stanley radioed the SFHQ and requested that Allied aircraft attack the Germans dug in around the Belmont Cemetery.
Three hours later, four US P-47s arrived and inflicted considerable damage to the German force, particularly the motorized transports. Team Stanley reported that they had no idea whether the P-47s’ arrival was a result of their message or simply a coincidence but it certainly improved their relations with the Maquis. On the following day, Team Stanley radioed London that the German forces around Belmont remained stationary and indicated that they would surrender to the US Army, but not to the FFI. On the same day, the FFI captured five Indians in German uniforms (from the Indian Legion). On September 13, the Maquis contacted reconnaissance elements of French troops of the US 7-A advancing from the south.
While the French unit attacked the three villages occupied by the Germans (Grenant, Saulles, and Belmont), Team Stanley and the Maquis helped mop up German stragglers in the woods, guarded POWs, and protected the unit’s rear. On September 15, the SFHQ told Team Stanley that their mission was completed and to return to England via Paris.
It remains unclear when Team Stanley dispatched local FFI volunteers to contact advancing Allied ground forces. In all probability, they did so on September 1 or 2, since the volunteers returned to inform Team Stanley that they had successfully made contact. Since Team Stanley jumped into the no-man’s-land between the US 3-A and 7-A, they sent messengers in both directions. Team Stanley served in the field for fifteen days. Later, they reported that they had been dispatched to France at least a month too late. They obviously had little time to prepare the Maquis for combat. In addition, Team Stanley had instructions to prevent the destruction of several engineering structures, but when they landed, the Germans had already destroyed them. The Team also observed that while the former Vichy officers were far too passive, the young volunteers performed quite well.
The Team also felt that the SFHQ ignored their messages, particularly their requests for arms drops and an undamaged radio set. The Team suggested that in the future, such Jedburgh teams be capable of direct communication with Allied aircraft so that enemy columns could be attacked immediately.
Jedburgh Team Rupert-Philip, August 21 1944
The SFHQ dispatched Rupert on the night of August 31 as the fifty-first Jedburgh team to France. It was to enter the Meurthe-et-Moselle region, assist the local FFI, particularly with communications and resupply, and provide information to advancing Allied ground forces.
The team consisted of (FR) Cdt Jean Liberos (Kintyre); (US) Lt Robert A. Lucas, (Caithness); (US) T/3 Joseph M. Gergat (USN) (Leinster).
Liberos was a career officer in his early forties, a Saint-Cyr graduate originally from Rouen. Robert Lucas was a twenty-seven-year-old infantry officer from Sheldon, Iowa, who had served in the Iowa National Guard and received his commission in 1942. Joseph Gergat was about twenty-one years old and from Uniontown, Pennsylvania.
A young Frenchman in civilian clothes briefed Team Rupert in a safe house in the suburbs of north London, telling them that their main mission was to prevent German sabotage of French utility structures between Nancy and Verdun. So, the team departed Harrington Air Base at 2125 of August 31 and flew east without incident. West of Mirecourt, they parachuted at about 0200, landed safely, and were met by a reception committee of about fifty FFI. Ten minutes later, another team of two French officers landed at the DZ from another B-24, so the area proved rather noisy and overcrowded. Team Rupert recovered all its gear except their civilian clothes, two carbines, and two bags including the cipher document. They decided to accompany the Maquis to Offroicourt, which had three trucks and drove them most of the way to the camp.
On Friday September 1, the SFHQ radioed Team Rupert to tell them the team’s name was changed to Philip. The team’s radio, however, had been misplaced by the Maquis during the move, so they were out of contact with London. They spent the day with the group of the Maquis Offroicourt, which consisted of about 100 men organized in 3 platoons. They spent the night in Viviers-les-Offroicourt attempting to contact a representative of Planète. The following day around noon, the team met a light column of the US 3-A at Jevoncourt. Team Rupert – Philip recovered its radio, but their search of the DZ did not produce the lost cipher document. The team spent the night at Forcelles-Saint-Gorgon and on the morning of Sunday, September 3, set off to contact the Maquis at Lemenil-Mitry.
That Maquis, which worked with Team Archibald, had withdrawn from the Forêt de Charmes and consisted of about 300 armed and 400 unarmed men. Team Rupert – Philip, at about 0900, found them at a large abandoned building, where they were under periodic fire from a German heavy-weapons platoon. In fighting west of Bayon and south of the Bayon-Vezélise road, the Germans inflicted rather heavy casualties on the Maquis, including three officers. At about noon, Team Rupert – Philip radioed the SFHQ, stating that they were with Team Archibald at Lemenil-Mitry and requesting an arms drop for 500 men at a DZ 3 kilometers west-southwest of Bayon.
With the death of Capt Maurin and the absence of Maj Denning, Capt Liberos of Team (now) Philip attempted to prevent the Germans from destroying the bridges at Bayon and Bainville. Liberos sent two young French women on bicycles to determine if and how the Germans were defending the bridges. He also dispatched three groups of Maquis to the two towns to fire on the Germans if the latter attempted to blow up the bridges. In addition, he sent three volunteers to Bayon to sabotage the electric charges for its three bridges. At 1700, Team Philip radioed the SFHQ, reporting that the bridge at Bayon was mined but not heavily guarded and that Maj Denning and Maj Montlac had been slightly wounded. Maj Denning returned at 2000 and approved Capt Liberos actions.
On Monday, September 4, with the return of Maj Denning, Team Philip prepared to travel to Nancy. The team left Lemenil-Mitry at approximately 1900 in a truck. As they were driving out of Houdreville at about 2015, a column of military vehicles approached from the rear and opened fire. The three Jedburghs and their French driver all jumped out of the truck to seek cover. The approaching column proved to be the Recon Platoon of the 25th Cavalry from the 3-A. Its lieutenant regretted firing on Team Philip, fearing that the gunfire had alerted the German column he was stalking on a parallel road. Capt Liberos, Lt Lucas, and the driver remained uninjured, but they could not locate Specialist Gergat. They consequently spent the night in the Forêt Domaniale de Serres west of Houdreville (2 km north of Vezélise) with an American platoon. The following day, as more US Army field units passed through the area towards the Moselle River, the team searched for Specialist Gergat, but without success. In the evening, they entered their slightly altered truck and drove to Parey-Saint-Césaire, where they spent the night. On Wednesday at noon, they radioed the SFHQ, reporting that they were in the Forêt de Goviller (5 km north-northeast of Goviller), that they had still not contacted Planète, and again requesting resupply of their codes. That evening, as they were starting a trip to Toul, they encountered Col Charles H. Reed, commander of the US 2d Cavalry Group, and followed his advice that it would be best to spend the night in the forest.
On Thursday, September 7, the team drove to Toul, where they contacted the local Maquis leader and Lt Ripley of the US 3-A’s 11th Special Forces Detachment. Team Philip radioed the SFHQ in the afternoon, informing London that it was impossible to contact Planète in Nancy and requesting new orders. They awaited instructions from the SFHQ until September 9, when they drove to the headquarters of the US 3-A. There, the Special Forces detachment commander informed them that Specialist Gergat had escaped and was on his way back to London. Lt Col Powell gave Team Philip the following mission: in liaison with the Chef de Bataillon Joly, Lt Couton, FFI Chief at Verdun, and Chef de Battalion Duval, F.M.R. for the region Conflans – Briey – Longwy – Longuyon, to arm the Maquis of Verdun (2000 men) and of Conflans (1000 men). Once the men are armed and regrouped in the north, to protect the left flank of the US 3-A.
Team Philip operated out of Verdun for the next weeks and met with a local FFI officer in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain arms drops from the SFHQ. On Sunday, September 17, the 11th Special Force Detachment at US 3-A headquarters directed the team to report to the 12th Special Force Detachment at the Hôtel Cécil in Paris. Liberos and Lucas remained in Paris for several days and then returned to London. Team Philip served in the field seventeen days, a period marked by repeated frustrations. Its members concluded that they had been dispatched to France far too late. They also observed that they were never able to contact Planète or his deputies and consequently were unable to reach Nancy. They noted that the Maquis from rural areas proved more able than their urban counterparts.
Team Philip also concluded that the resistance volunteers were very enthusiastic but took too many casualties in combat. Robert Lucas subsequently served with the OSS in northern China. He left the US Army as a captain in January 1946 and settled in the greater Kansas City area. After World War II, Joseph Gergat resided in Bowling Green, Ohio, where he died in early May 1988. Capt Liberos survived the war to retire as a colonel in Toulon.
The operations of the eleven Jedburgh teams in northeastern France demonstrate a number of institutional failings. It would be altogether too easy to focus one’s attention on radios that did not function (Usual with British Material), teams inserted too late, or army staffs without the ability to directly contact the special operations forces (SOF) teams on the paths of their advance. One major problem was that the SOE and the OSS were new organizations attempting to conduct special operations with the new means of radio and aircraft. It should not be surprising that new organizations breaking new ground would encounter unforeseen difficulties.
The second major problem was with the officer corps of the Allied armies, particularly at the senior levels, which remained unaware of the capabilities of the SOF teams beyond post linkup tactical assistance. Most US Army division, corps, army, and army group headquarters turned in favorable reports on both the French Resistance and the Special Force Detachments for the summer campaign of 1944. US Army field commanders were particularly enthusiastic regarding the help provided by French guides who accompanied American units, briefed them on local conditions, interpreted for them, and led them around German positions. In short, US commanders appreciated the tactical benefits provided by the French Resistance. There is a scant reference, however, in the Special Force Detachment summaries to Jedburgh teams or other special operations teams.
The Special Force Detachments themselves frequently remarked that army headquarters remained uncertain where they would be operating in the future, which naturally retarded planning. On July 29 1944, the 1-A’s 10th Special Force Detachment planned ahead only as far as Chartres and Dreux, and they were still not examining the area north of the Seine on August 2. One of the problems was that the American staff officers and commanders had been schooled to not extend their boundary lines beyond the front, a practice many still maintained in August 1944. On August 24, the detachment observed: the army tactical plan is still confused. Col Colby at this moment is conferring at the 12-AG with Col Jackson and it is expected that he will bring back to this Headquarter future tactical plans of the American Armies on the continent.
Besides a reluctance to plan ahead and inform subordinate headquarters of those plans, it would seem that the Special Force Detachments did not always receive timely and accurate reports from the SFHQ regarding resistance activities, as the following summary reveals: resistance activities at V Corps: on arriving at this Corps on September 7, we found them in the midst of the French Ardennes. They had just picked up the Citronelle Mission and Jedburgh Team Andrew. These missions proved very disappointing, as they had been quite inactive. From their reports to London which had been transmitted to us in the field, it had never appeared that resistance was very well organized in the Ardennes.
This was found to be the opposite of the truth, and it seems that it was the Citronelle Mission that was not well organized. The local FFI had been doing a marvelous job for the V Corps throughout the entire area. The G-3 assigned, through Maj Broussard, areas of responsibility to the FFI. It was very interesting to see that on the G-3 operations map the boundaries laid out for the FFI, as well as for the regular regiments and battalions, Maj Broussard had one group of almost 500 armed men whom he dispatched here and there to clean up German pockets. Where necessary the FFI groups were augmented by light tanks and on several occasions with AAA units. It is interesting to note that the AA units in this Corps were used mostly to clean up Germans and not in their normal role.
This summary is revealing in several aspects. It tells us that the Special Force Detachment was unaware of the difficulties in operating agents and networks in eastern France and Belgium, of the previous troubles the SOE had encountered there, and of the very difficult time, the [Citronelle] Mission (and Team Andrew) had in the Ardennes. The above-quoted summary also reveals that in spite of the difficulties, many French and Belgians came out to help the Allied cause once there was a realistic chance to participate without committing suicide. One might disparage such late election, but the volunteers provided valuable assistance that SHAEF’s ground commanders appreciated. Furthermore, eastern France and Belgium proved one of the more difficult areas in which to operate, and premature revolts, as has been demonstrated, often led to catastrophe.
Finally, the detachment’s summary indicates certain preconceived notions about doing business, for example, a tendency to equate success with quantification: (1) the number of armed FFI fielded, (2) the number of POWs taken, or (3) the number of sabotage actions. Those totals were usually associated with tactical missions. Operational significance, possibilities for further exploitation, or lessons learned tended to be deemphasized. It would appear, therefore, that the army headquarters were not the only ones thinking shallow and not deep.
The 11th Special Force Detachment (3-A) used FFI troops to a far greater extent than the 1-A. The 3-A used large bodies of resistance troops to assist in the reduction of German garrisons of the Breton seaports and subsequently used some 15.000 FFI troops to guard the Loire River line as the 3-A swept east toward the German border. Nevertheless, there are relatively few references in the 11th Special Force Detachment’s summaries to Jedburgh teams, and those merely reported the linkup of ground units with the Jedburgh teams. The detachment observed the date of Sept 4 when the FFI captured the Moselle bridge at Charmes but failed to mention the participation of Jedburgh teams.
(Image : Summary execution was really the best that Resistance’s Members as well as SAS, OSS, SOE could expect if captured. Many endured indescribable torture at the hands of the Gestapo. A German picture of Resistance fighters who were executed near Lantilly in May 1944)
As demonstrated in the reports of the eleven Jedburgh teams dropped in front of the 12-AG, most Jedburghs concluded that they had been inserted far too late. That sentiment was shared by many other Jedburgh teams regarding their own operations. Such spirit and aggressiveness speaks well for those soldiers but raises a number of awkward questions. We have observed how inherently dangerous such operations were. What would the teams have accomplished had they in fact been inserted a month or two earlier ?
In all probability, they would have recruited, armed, and trained more FFI volunteers. Had that been done, it would have made it all the more difficult to restrain the FFI from premature revolt and also would have given Axis security forces greater opportunity to infiltrate the resistance. The teams would also have sent additional radio messages to London, which would have given the Germans a greater opportunity to locate the radios with direction-finding sets. There were many areas in occupied France where it was very hazardous for individual agents to operate. To have inserted three-man, uniformed teams into such areas probably would have been risking too much. One of the major problems with the SOF operations in 1944 was clearly communications. Jedburgh team reports indicate that radios packaged in 1944 had a tendency to break during parachute drops. During training exercises early in 1944, a number of problems became evident, but by August, those problems had obviously not been resolved.
Jedburgh team reports also demonstrated the feeling that their radio messages were not being listened to or acted upon. It would appear that in August 1944, the SFHQ message centers were receiving so much traffic that it became impossible to analyze, act upon, and disseminate information. The difficulties in the field were best summarized in the report of the Special Force Detachment officer operating with the 4-AD in Brittany, who on Aug 12 observed: in my estimation and in the Division’s the FFI did good work. It was a great sense of security to see armed friendly civilians all around us. They served an excellent purpose in that they helped to guard our supply lines and that they rounded up and cleared the area of German stragglers. However, due to lack of communication between myself and this Hqs, and myself and field, Resistance could not be controlled to the maximum effectiveness for use to the Division. Due to a lack of concrete orders, both concise and timely, from London, greater action on the part of Resistance in front of the Division was lost. All told, I would estimate that Resistance had been used at 50 percent efficiency in the Brittany campaign.
In the area of communications, there were obvious problems with the radio sets. Furthermore, in August 1944, the SFHQ receiving stations received too many messages to effectively evaluate and act upon. And finally, a real problem existed in the inability of the ground force Hqs to effectively communicate tactically with the SOF groups.
(Doc Snafu: It is hard to believe that the country who pierced the German Enigma coding system was not able to manufacture reliable radio communication sets and/or Aerial Delivery Containers. They didn’t correct this problem while the Jedburghs were in their training period and reported the issue. They didn’t either correct the problem while the Jedburghs were being sent to France for operations and, that’s really the best, they didn’t for Operation Market Garden which resulted for nearly 80% of the British Paratroopers of the 1st Airborne Division being left in Arnheim without any functioning communication means, being encircled then captured by the troops of SS-Obergruppenführer Wilhelm Bittrich’s 2nd Panzer Corps)
Beginning in 1941, the British SOE (Special Operations Executive) and the American OSS (Office of Strategic Services) intelligence agencies both parachuted agents into occupied Europe to gather intelligence and organize resistance forces. Communication networks were critical for these agents, but so was the need for secrecy. One solution was the suitcase radio. Compact and capable of being adapted to many power supplies, the whole radio fit neatly into a small suitcase. The suitcase was dropped to agents by parachute in an airtight container.
The British Type 3 Mark II suitcase radio set was the most common set in use by clandestine operatives in Europe between 1943 and 1945. The set was designed to send and receive messages by Morse code rather than voice transmission. The radio had a range of over 500 miles. It was the smallest transceiver (transmitter and receiver combined) during World War II.
As a number of Jedburgh team reports indicate, when teams requested reinforcement by one SAS party, they usually did not receive it. On the other hand, there were numerous instances of Jedburgh teams encountering unannounced SAS parties. In most instances, when that occurred, the two groups simply went their separate ways. These ‘private wars’ of the SAS often hindered the resistance, drawing Axis retaliation against the resistance and local villagers, usually after the SAS party had already ex-filtrated. One thing is certain, however, and that is that the creation of separate and competing organizations, such as the SAS and the SFHQ, leads to overlapping functions and creates the opportunity for unnecessary friction. At army and army group headquarters, staff cells did on occasion incorporate the SOF into their future plans. Before the Operation Cobra breakout from Normandy, SHAEF developed a plan using a large portion of the SAS brigade to cooperate with ground units in capturing the Bay of Quiberon in Brittany. That, like many other plans, was soon outdistanced by events.
When Montgomery’s 21-AG undertook the ill-fated Operation Market-Garden in September, six Jedburgh teams deployed to support the operation. In the Jedburgh team operations we have looked at, however, there was only one instance of an army or army group request for direct operational support on August 30, request to seize and hold the Somme River bridges and those near Amiens for four days. Team Augustus was wiped out that evening, and Team Alfred was too far away and in too threatened a position to undertake the mission. The request itself, however, was far too ambitious. It might have been possible for each team to sneak in and blow up one bridge, but it would have been suicide to attempt to hold those bridges for any length of time.
Within the British special operations community, there was a feeling that the higher-level commanders, particularly Montgomery, failed to appreciate the possible uses of the SOF. It remains difficult, however, to find a US Army commander who had a firm grasp of those potentialities. One searches in vain through the published Patton Papers for a reference to the SOF, finally discovering a transcript of a September 7, 1944, press conference where a correspondent asked how much support he had received from the FFI. Patton responded: better than expected and less than advertised.
In his diary, however, on September 2 1944, he observed: Gen Donovan was in camp when I got back and was most complimentary. While I think the efforts of his cohorts (office of strategic services) are futile, I personally like and admire him a lot. I will now get set for the next move. This is not meant to single out Gen Patton as one of the generals who stubbornly opposed the use of the SOF. To the contrary, he proved one of the commanders open to new ideas. He, in fact, used the FFI and the SOF teams from the SFHQ to a greater extent than his colleagues. Nonetheless, he disapproved of them.
If even the bold and imaginative commanders disapproved of operations in the enemy’s rear, what chance did such operations have in SHAEF’s future? The answer to that question was not long in coming; SHAEF began to disassemble the Special Force Detachments during the first week of September 1944, and by the end of the year, most of the Jedburghs and a large number of other Special Operation Force personnel had been transferred to Asia. SHAEF justified its decision by observing that there was no prospect for successful guerrilla warfare in Germany. That was no doubt a correct assessment, but one also senses a certain relief, as if unwanted house guests had finally departed. One is left finally with the impression that the concept of Jedburgh operations was ahead of its time. The requirements for radios, modified aircraft, and other specialized equipment and weapons pushed the limits of 1943-44 technology and were not entirely reliable. In the realm of organization, this concept was relatively new and of necessity grew out of the SOE’s experiences in intelligence gathering. Indeed, one of the most instructive examples from these operations was the use of intelligence-gathering networks that provided guides and security for the insertion of the Jedburgh teams (what is known in today’s Special Forces lexicon as ‘area assessment’ or ‘pilot’ teams).
That the SFHQ organization proved deficient in a number of areas (i.e., failure to develop networks in eastern France, late deployment of Jedburgh teams, and inability to rapidly resupply teams in the field) should not have came as a surprise since such a major undertaking had not been tried before. Furthermore, the inability of senior ground commanders to appreciate the value of the SOF and operations in the enemy’s rear must also be placed within the historical context. For the generals of World War II-educated in the military schools of the 1929s and 1930s-guerrilla warfare tended to be an alien concept. One of the most important lessons to be learned from these operations is that senior ground force commanders and their staffs must be fully educated in the SOF capabilities and limitations.
It remains difficult to assess the effectiveness of the eleven Jedburgh teams dropped in front of the 12-AG in August 1944. Like the other teams dropped to the south, they provided organization, tactical expertise, and training to the FFI volunteers. Upon linkup with advancing Allied ground forces, they also provided well-documented assistance.
The teams were designed, however, to work behind enemy lines, and it is on that basis that their performance must be evaluated. Viewed dispassionately, one must conclude that the operations of these eleven teams in northeastern France were only marginally successful. Their major contributions were indirect and defy quantification: their psychological effect upon occupied France and the German occupation force and their role in providing intelligence data, both to the SFHQ by radio and by sending guides to meet the advancing Allied ground forces.
That the teams could have been much more effective certainly was not the fault of the individual Jedburghs, who proved tough, resourceful, skilled, and highly motivated. It was not the job of these teams to single-handedly defeat the German Army in the west, and in any case, three-man teams were absurdly small. In the event of even one casualty, operations became extremely difficult if not impossible. If the Jedburghs may be faulted for anything, it is perhaps that they were too willing to enter into combat.
It would be altogether too easy to describe the shortcomings of these operations as the result of an institutional failure, but there was no SOF institution per se to blame. The SOE and the OSS were brand new organizations inventing the scope, direction, organization, and methods of the SOF operations. The SOE and the OSS were so new and insecure that they were both abolished in 1946 and 1966 therefore do not actually qualify as institutions.
Upon reflection, it appears remarkable that the SFHQ achieved as much as it did. One of the more important successes of the Jedburgh operations was the psychological impact the teams had on the citizens of occupied France. Following years of occupation, the sight of uniformed Allied soldiers behind the lines was a harbinger of liberation and a call to action. As these Jedburgh team operations have demonstrated, that call did not go unanswered. The ultimate triumph of the Jedburgh project, however, was in the successful formation of teams of professional and nonprofessional soldiers from different nations who worked together toward a common goal. To make an accurate and fair evaluation of Jedburgh operations, it remains clear that more study is required, not only of Jedburgh activities in other parts of France but also their subsequent operations in China and Southeast Asia.