7 – Operation Houndsworth: 6 June – 6 September 1944
This mission was carried out by the 1st Special Air Service and saw the team focus their energies in the Dijon region. The purpose of Operation Houndsworth was to impede the movements of German troops, disrupt communications and prevent them from reaching Normandy as the Nazis desperately needed reinforcements to fight back against the Allied invasion.
The squadron wore no insignia although they did wear battledress and red berets. After some of the team were dropped in the Morvan mountains (located between Dijon and Nevers), they encountered some initial difficulties due to low cloud which obscured their drop zone. They finally managed to establish a base and the rest of the squadron joined them.
It was a tough mission as they were constantly hunted but thanks to intelligence gathered by the French, the SAS were able to stay ahead of the Axis soldiers. During the following 3 months, the 144 man group managed to blow up the main railway line 22 times! In addition, they battled the Germans and inflicted severe casualties while also picking out 30 prime bombing targets for the RAF. A number of other small targets were sabotaged and an enemy oil refinery was destroyed.
Eventually, the Germans discovered the location of the SAS but once again, French intelligence came to the rescue and the raiders were prepared for an attack on 20 August where they fought off the Germans. By September, the Germans were forced to move eastwards and Operation Houndsworth was complete. The SAS team only sustained 18 casualties in total compared to over 350 German casualties.