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During World War II, Operation Gaff was a six-man patrol of Special Air Service commandos, who parachuted into German-occupied France on 18 July 1944, with the aim of killing or kidnapping German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.[1][2]

From March 1943, Allied Intelligence had been undertaking research on the whereabouts, bases and travel arrangements of Field Marshal Rommel. Part of the research asked the question of how easy it would be to kill Rommel. After D-Day, the Allies were meeting fierce resistance, marshalled by Rommel with Hitler's orders to stand firm at all costs. With losses mounting, Field Marshal Montgomery agreed with a plan to take Rommel out of the battle plan.[3]

After SAS Lieutenant-Colonel William Fraser was told the location of Rommel's headquarters, a chateau home of the Dukes de La Rochefoucauld in the village of La Roche-Guyon, Brigadier R.W. McLeod assigned six specially-trained assassins led by French SAS Captain Jack William Raymond Lee.[4]

On July 18, Lee and his team parachuted into Orléans; they found that Rommel had been severely injured the previous day after his staff car had been overturned in an attack by RAF Hawker Typhoons and replaced by Günther von Kluge.[3] With their plan redundant, they moved toward advancing US Army lines on foot, while ambushing trains and attacking German units along their route. They reached safety on 12 August.[5]

See also


  1. Marshall, Charles F. (2002). Discovering the Rommel Murder: The Life and Death of the Desert Fox. Stackpole Books. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-8117-2472-2. 
  2. Brown, Anthony Cave (1975). Bodyguard of lies, Volume 2. Harper & Row. p. 717. ISBN 978-0-06-010551-8. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 William B. Breuer, Daring missions of World War II, pp.131-133, John Wiley & Sons, 2002 ISBN 0471150878.
  4. "Couraud, Raymond", World War Retrieved and archived 25 May 2012.
  5. "Le Captain Lee-Couraud & le 'French Squadron' du DU 2nd S.A.S Regiment", Association SAS, retrieved and archived 25 May 2012 (in French).

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