The Old Mole by Mark Littlejohn

The Old Mole by Mark Littlejohn

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"The Old Mole" The Raid on St. Nazaire Saturday March 28th 1942

At 1.34am HMS Campbeltown a converted American destroyer its bow packed with explosives smashed into the lock gates of the Normandie Dock in France, the only dry dock capable of servicing the German battleship Tirpitz should she ever breakout into the Atlantic and return to the Western seaboard. At about the same time a fleet of smaller vessels prepared to land commandos ashore, their task being to render useless as many of the port facilities as possible, the operation succeeded despite heavy German resistance and casualties amongst the British forces, the Campbeltown blew itself and the dock gates apart later the same morning.

The picture shows one of the landing sites at the Old Mole, having just passed ML 447 which had just been badly hit in the engine room and thrown into reverse, ML 457 has managed to reach the ramp and land its demolition party and their protection ashore. The original painting is owned by the St. Nazaire Society and was completed with the help of the surviving veterans.

Drawing shows attempted landings and assault on the region of the Old Mole and Lighthouse by the Commando squads and Motor launches of the Royal Navy

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