SAS OP Pistol 1944 capture americans


In the last stages of my father's Operation Pistol patrol during the last leg of its journey he and his men were on the top of Koecking Bois ridge which the Americans below in the valley were planning to take by assault. They were wet through as it had rained for days and they had little shelter. The ridge was thickly wooded with pine trees. As he descended the ridge at night his party bumped into some german cooks who were carrying food to the front line positions. These men turned out to be Serbs. They dropped their containers and put their hands up.

My father recognised he could not shoot them as they were in the middle or very near the German defensive positions. The Serbs pointed the way to the Americans and so he told them to go. Early the following morning my father found himself at the botton of the ridge but the Germans were billetd in the nearbt villages so he realised he had some way to go yet. He approached a farm and stayed the night there. The following day he went out onto the land dressed as a farm worker and pretended to howe the crops. My father came from a rural area in the UK and indeed had married a girl whose family owned a farm so he knew how to look the part. He noticed more german infantry moving into Koecking Bois.That night my father decided to make his break through to the Americans.

In my fathers' patrol was a Polish SAS man called Joseph Lyczak. Lycak confirmed from a Polish immigrant/slave worker which villages were occupied by the Germans. My fathers first task was to get across a canal at night which he did from a remote crossing point used by farmers with their vehicles and cattle. As he pushed foreward he heard german voices in the front line positions. He told me that it was his plan to walk towards the voices as near as possible and then veer off in order to find the gaps. he followed this plan, once tripping a flare. When the first morning light was up my fathers' party spotted a position whose machine gun was tracking them. They dropped down and he decided to send half their small party around the back of it. At a given time my father stood up and shouted to the position which he thought was german but he made the mistake of shouting in English which was just as well as the positon was an American outpost.

The two SAS from the back ran foreward and captured two Americans one of whom was asleep. They were men from the fourth armored division. Dad's party was taken to be interrogated by a Colonel Clarke of 4th Armored.(I would like to hear from Clarkes family if possible-did he recall this small event? My father gave the Americans tank positions, HQ positions and other facts. later the Americans launched an assualt on Koecking Bois and took the ridge after some fierce fighting. (See my fathers written report on wikipedia - look for Operation Pistol and all the other report if you are so interested).Also read the other description I give from his oral story that are listed above in other threads. My father returned to re-join the SAS in the 1960s finally leaving the army in 1966. He had also been the RSM when 3 Para attacked the El Gamil airdrome at Suez in 1956.