Deep in the heart of Nazi-occupied France lies the small port town of Saint Nazaire. In March 1942, British forces launched one of the most daring raids in modern military history; an audacious attack on a heavily fortified German dry dock at St. Nazaire with just a handful of commandos. The mission was a complete success, and resulted in five Victoria Crosses being awarded – the highest honour for bravery in battle – as well as 80 other decorations and medals for gallantry.
The mission itself was incredibly daring and complex; a small fleet of Royal Navy destroyers had to navigate their way up the narrow River Loire, avoiding German warships stationed at strategic points along its length, while the soldiers would have to make their way undetected by barges onto land before launching their assault on two large coastal batteries guarding the dock. Once ashore, they had to fight their way through enemy lines and set explosives in key areas throughout the facility before retreating back to Britain under intense fire from German troops.
The courage and sacrifice these men displayed during Operation Chariot is remarkable, and it’s no wonder that this story has been made into both books and films over the years. Nowadays, we can experience this incredible tale through documentaries such as ‘Commando Raid: The Story of St Nazaire’, which tells us firsthand accounts from survivors as well as archival footage from that fateful day. If you’re looking for an inspiring story about extraordinary heroism, then look no further than this incredible documentary.