St. Nazaire raid (World War II) war movies
St. Nazaire raid (World War II) war movies

St. Nazaire raid 28 March 1942

World War II

Also known as Operation Chariot. British raid that aimed to put dry dock in St. Nazaire out of action so Germans could not repair their battleship like Tirpitz, Scharnhorst or Gneisenau (since it was only Nazi-occupied dry dock on Atlantic coasts big enough for Tirpitz) if they were operating on Atlantic. Tirpitz from the moment it entered service in 1941 was target of many attacks from Royal Navy and RAF. The twin-brother of Bismarck was serious threat to Royal Navy and the Allied convoys on North Atlantic, but even 8 air raids against him failed to damage it. The Allied needed to make sure that if worst scenario would become reality and Tirpitz would move from North Sea to Atlantic the only base that would be able to repair it, St. Nazaire on western coast of France, would be out of action.

The plan to knock the dock out of action and destroy some of the installations in the port needed a new approach. Old American destroyer HMS Campbeltown (received as part of Lend-Lease program) was filled with explosives and rammed into the dock gates, while groups of commandos from smaller ships attacked the port installations. The ramming of the dock gates seemed like not enough to do the trick, but the British prepared a surprise for Germans. The timer attached to explosives was set for few hours delay, so when the fights in the port have stopped Germans started to search the destroyer. Over 300 of them were killed aboard the ship during the explosion.

The Allied losses were high - out of 600 men involved in the operation 170 were killed and 215 were taken prisoners. The German lost the only dry dock on Atlantic coast to repair Tirpitz, 360 men and 4 ships in the harbour.

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Equipment used during St. Nazaire raid

War movies about St. Nazaire raid

Attack on the Iron Coast 1968 war movie

Attack on the Iron Coast (1968)

Canadian major is determined to carry out the special operation against German dry dock in St Nazaire. Loosely based on real events.

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