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In 1941, the United Kingdom faced its darkest hour: it stood alone against the Germans, who had chased British forces out of France, Norway, and Greece. All it had left were desperate measures--commando raids, intelligence coups, feats of derring-do. Any such "novel enterprise," wrote Admiral John Godfrey, Director of Naval Intelligence, required "an officer with drive and imagination of the highest order." He found one in Commander Ian Fleming.
In Ian Fleming's Commandos, Nicholas Rankin tells the exciting story of a secret intelligence outfit conceived and organized by Fleming. Named 30 Assault Unit, the group was expected to seize enemy codebooks, cipher machines, and documents in high-stakes operations. Assault unit commandos fought in the North African campaign and the invasions of Sicily and Italy, poked over the bones of bombed Pantelleria, and liberated Capri. Rebranded '30 Assault Unit', they went ashore on D-Day, heading for rocket-sites and radar-stations. They helped liberate Paris (including the Ritz Bar and the Rothschild mansion) and then set out to steal scientific and industrial secrets from the heart of Germany. Their final amazing coup was to seize the entire archives of the German Navy's three hundred tons of documents. Ian Fleming flew out in person to accompany the loot back to Britain, where it was combed for evidence to use in the Nuremburg trials.
Based on incisive research and written with verve and insight, this new paperback edition of Ian Fleming's Commandos brings to life a long-obscured chapter of World War II and reveals the inspiration behind Fleming's famous fiction.
Nicholas Rankin is the author of A Genius for Deception and Telegram from Guernica. He lives in London.