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They are the forgotten men of the Landings. In the night of 5-6 June 1944, whilst the men of the American 82nd and the 101st Airborne Divisions and the British 6th Airborne Division got ready to jump into Normandy, thirty-six French com- mandoes were dropped into Brittany. They belonged to the Special Air Service (SAS), a unit of the British Army created in July 1941 whose motto was “who dares wins”.
Although their numbers were more modest than their Allied comrades, their mission was just as important: coordinating and training the Resistance, which was very active in the region, and preventing the Germans stationed there from reinforcing the troops already positioned on the coast or near it. The thirty-six men were the forerunners since they had to set up two bases to allow the rest of the unit and their materiel to land during the following days so they could launch guerrilla operations and sabotage missions: Samwest in the forest of Duhault (Côtes d’Armor) and Dingson, in the forest of Saint-Marcel (Morbihan).
The strength of the French SAS increased all throughout the Battle of Normandy and these men played a major role in freeing Brittany.
It is their little-known adventure that is told here in this book, from their training in Great Britain until their last fight in Holland in April 1945. With a lot of period photographs, objects and weapons belonging to some of these parachutists, maps and graphics to relive all the more vividly the daily life of these elite fighters during the summer of 1944.
This is a book published jointly with the Musée de la Résistance Bretonne at Saint-Marcel (Morbihan).
A journalist and writer, Jean-Charles Stasi is the author of twenty or so books of which several are given over to the Second World War. After telling the story of the epic of the Keiffer Commando (Commando Keiffer, les Français débarquent en Normandie – Heimdal 2014), he wanted to tell the story of these other fighters who had taken part in the D-Day fighting.