Ian Fleming's Commandos The Story of the Legendary 30 Assault Unit

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-10-07
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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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. InIan 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. The unit first saw action in the TORCH landings in North Africa in 1942, followed by missions during the invasion of Italy, the Normandy landings, and the liberation of Paris. Rankin vividly describes hair-raising adventures as well as more methodical work, such as the compilation of an exhaustive list of every firm supplying the German navy and studies of strategic raw-material chokepoints. He provides equally gripping accounts of operations amid the chaos of Germany's defeat, as the unit raced Soviet and even American intelligence to find technological secrets and key scientists, including Helmut Walther, inventor of jet engines. Here too are heroic and eccentric figures who filled the ranks of 30 Assault Unit, such as its first leader, Commander Richard Ryder, winner of the Victoria Cross, along with safecracker and jail-breaker Johnny Ramensky. Based on incisive research and written with verve and insight,Ian Fleming's Commandosbrings to life a long-obscured chapter of World War II and reveals the inspiration behind Fleming's famous fiction.

Author Biography

Nicholas Rankin is the author of A Genius for Deception and Telegram from Guernica. He lives in London.

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