Friday, May 20, 2011

Gettin' My Commando On

Colonel John Durnford-Slater was the commander of No. 3 Commando, the first fully established British Commando unit (No.s 1 and 2 were formed slightly later, I believe because of their training regimens). 3 Commando saw a lot of action, from the first raids against German occupied Norway and France right through to the Normandy invasion and the end of the war.

Because of its long service record and the number of engagements it took part in, I've decided to use it as the mother unit for the characters in my forthcoming World War II action stories. There's a decent amount of information out there for the unit, and the British Commandos themselves are very well documented, but I was especially pleased to discover that Durnford-Slater had written a memoir of his experiences and the battles and adventures of 3 Commando.

Although I've got a few other books on deck at the moment, I hope to get into this one as soon as possible. It looks like a quick read, with some good maps and photos, and it will really help flesh out my research on the unit as I prepare to begin my first Commando adventure.


Jack said...

Let us know how this book is. I'm interested in reading more about WWII commando operations.

Jack Badelaire said...

The book is great. I'm about a third of the way through, and there's lots of very insightful anecdotes about the early organization, training, and operations.

Durnford-Slater also has a great writing style, very casual, chipper, and dare I say it, "British". It is extremely readable, and well worth whatever you pay to pick it up. Mine was only a few dollars through a used bookseller.

Jack said...

I'm specifically interested in Operation Frankton carried out by the Royal Marines at Bordeaux Harbor, striking Nazi targets on the Gironde River. Supposedly it is a pretty amazing case study when it comes to riverine operations.