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 300 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 audio 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.
Ian Fleming born into a rich and well connected Scottish banking family was recruited in 1939 into the Royal Navy intelligence division as a personal assistant to NID’s head, Admiral John Godfrey. Fleming had the rank of Commander. He played a key role in the secret world of spies during World War II. He suggested schemes and ideas some of which were taken up and proved notable covert success.
I was surprised to learn a fact about Winston Churchill I had not come across or if I did the fact did not stay with me. Rankin stated that after the disaster at Dunkirk Churchill suggested creating commando units. The commando units were created by all the services and are still a key part of the military forces today. Rankin states that the most remarkable and lasting ideas by Fleming was his suggestion that a special group of Royal Marine Commandos be set up. This small group of intelligence gathering raiders who would attack and plunder targeted German establishments---radar stations, Kriegsmarine offices, naval installation, stealing anything useful such as code books, movement orders and so on. It was called 30 Assault Unit. The Unit proved invaluable in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Rhodes, Yugoslavia and the invasion of France. It was most effective in Germany during the last days of the Third Reich. It stole the entire archives of the German Navy over 500 tons of material.
Rankin tells the stories of the unit’s raids, describing the men and their exploits. After the war Fleming wrote the James Bond novels. Rankin tells a bit about Fleming’s personal life and problems after the war to his death. The 30 Assault Unit of the Royal Marines is still in existence and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The book could have benefited from the services of a good editor. Napoleon Ryan with his base voice narrated the book. Only give this book 3 stars overall because of the poor editing the information was most interesting.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful
It told me things about Ian Fleming and James Bond too. That I did not know..