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March 1942

WWII rages – Britain is losing the battle for the Atlantic

Nazi Germany is rampant in Europe, with U-boats starving Britain into submission…

Japan is unravelling Britain’s SE Asian Empire…

Rommel unchecked in North Africa… and the Soviet Union are demanding a Second Front…

The Plan

An old American destroyer disguised under German Navy colours packed with explosives…

17 vulnerable wooden-hulled Motor Launches and Motor Torpedo Boats…

264 British commandos. 357 British sailors…

A Total of 621 young men willing to sacrifice their lives for their country…

On the fateful day of 28 March 1942, over 600 Commandos and Royal Navy servicemen set sail from Falmouth, Cornwall to partake in a daring raid on the port of St. Nazaire, France. Their mission – to sail undetected up the estuary to St. Nazaire disguised as German warships and destroy the largest dry dock in Europe. This vitally important mission would ensure the German’s flagship – the Tirpitz – would be unable to take part in the battle for the Atlantic.

‘Operation Chariot’ as the mission was named, is still widely considered to be ‘The Greatest Raid of All Time’.
‘The story is one of the most amazing but least known of World War II.

A True Story

The St Nazaire Raid or Operation Chariot was a successful British amphibious attack on the heavily defended Normandies dry dock at St. Nazaire in German occupied France during the Second World War. The operation was undertaken by the Royal Navy and British Commandos under the auspices of Combined Operations Headquarters on 28 March 1942.

St Nazaire was targeted because the loss of its dry dock would force the intrepid German warship in need of repairs, the infamous Tirpitz, to return to home waters via either the English Channel or the GIUK gap, both routes of which were heavily defended by British units including the Royal Navy’s Home Fleet, rather than having a safe haven available on the Atlantic coast.
The disguised destroyer HMS Campbeltown, accompanied by 18 smaller Motor Launchers crossed the English Channel to the Atlantic coast of France and was rammed into the Normandie dock gates. The ship had been packed with delayed-action explosives, well hidden within a steel and concrete case, that detonated later that day, putting the dock out of service for the remainder of the war and up to five years after.

A force of commandos landed to destroy machinery and other structures. Heavy German gunfire sank, set ablaze or immobilised all the small craft intended to transport the commandos back to England; the commandos had to fight their way out through the town to try to escape overland. They were forced to surrender when their ammunition was expended and they were surrounded.
After the raid 228 men of the force of 622 returned to Britain; 169 were killed and 215 became prisoners of war. German casualties were over 360 dead, some killed after the raid when Campbeltown exploded.

To recognise their bravery, 89 decorations were awarded to members of the raiding party, including five Victoria Crosses. After the war St Nazaire was one of 38 battle honours awarded to the Commandos; the operation has since become known as The Greatest Raid of All within military circles.

The Men Involved

Just a few of the men that took part in this audacious raid.

Colonel Charles Newman VC

Lt Col Augustus Charles Newman VC, OBE, TD, DL

Cdr Robert Edward Dudley Ryder, VC, RN

Cdr Robert Edward Dudley Ryder, VC, RN

Lt Cdr Stephen Halden Beattie, VC, RN

Sgt Thomas Frank Durrant, VC

Lt Col Stuart Chant-Sempill, OBE, MC

Able Seaman ‘Bill’ Savage, VC

Able Seaman William Alfred ‘Bill’ Savage, VC

Port 20 Productions

Port 20 Productions Ltd is an independent private company set up to pursue a motion picture dramatisation of the 1942 commando raid on St Nazaire “Operation Chariot”.

A key commitment made by stakeholders is to make a film accessible and entertaining to general audiences but one which is also realistic and which does not change substantially material historical facts.

“Port 20” was the last command issued to HMS Campbeltown, as it was ordered to slam into the dry dock gates which it had been sent to destroy.

Team

Maj.Gen. Corran Purdon CBE MC CPM

Patron

Andrew J Scott

Executive Producer

James G Dorrian

Historical & Story Consultant

Robert Lyman

Executive Producer

Natalie Finnigan

Project Manager

Richard Teideman

Consultant

Ruth Powell

Military Liaison

Investment Opportunity

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Contact Us

Port 20 Productions Ltd
Unit 2, 62-68 Rosebery Avenue, LONDON, EC1R 4RR

Complete the form below or email us direct.

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