Here are some of the more daring accomplishments from soldiers in WWII.
Sidi Haneish Airfield – July 26, 1942
David Stirling’s SAS had earned a reputation for its covert operations in the North African desert. Airfields, fuel and ammo dumps were the primary targets. The raids were so effective that the German and Italian forces increased the defences around these sites. Consequently, the SAS were no longer able to sneak onto airfields unnoticed. Undeterred, Stirling conceived a plan to simply drive onto the airfields in a convoy of jeeps. On July 26, 1942, that’s exactly what he did. After driving across the desert for days under the cover of darkness, two columns of jeeps drove onto the German airfield. Moving at no more than four miles an hour, the jeeps, armed with mounted machine guns, poured bullets into the berthed aircraft, even destroying a bomber coming in to land, before disappearing back into the desert. Eighteen aircraft were destroyed and a further dozen heavily damaged.
St Nazaire Raid – March 28, 1942
Eager to destroy the dry dock facilities at St. Nazaire in France and reduce the Germans’ ability to repair their shipping, a plan was conceived to attack the facility – by ramming it with a decommissioned Royal Navy destroyer! Adorned with commandos, and under intense fire, the destroyer burst through the dry dock gates at 1:30am. The commandos disembarked and a furious firefight erupted. Facing insurmountable odds, the commandos were either killed or captured, but the pièce de résistance was yet to come. At noon the following day, with German officers and soldiers swarming all over the destroyer, a delay fuse ignited hidden explosives, taking the ship – and the dry dock – with it. The dock facility remained out of operation for the rest of the war.