Operation Tarbrush

Operation Tarbrush was the name given to a series of British Commando raids during the Second World War in 1944. the raids were carried out by members of No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando. It was for the purpose of for the purpose of bringing back photographs and examples of mines and obstacles that had been laid.[1]

  • Tarbrush 3 was a raid over the night of 16/17 May at Bray Dunes near the French Belgian border.
  • Tarbrush 5 was a raid over the night of 15/16 May at Dunkirk.
  • Tarbrush 8 was a raid over the night of 15/16 May at Quend.
  • Tarbrush 10 was a raid over the night of 17/18 May at Onival.[2]

Three of the missions were commanded by George Lane, whose mission was to examine mines on the French coast near Ault.[3] During the lead-up to D-Day, an RAF fighter had strafed a pillbox on the French coast. The aircraft carried a camera, and the scientists who examined the film were puzzled that the plane's rockets, which fell short, appeared to have set off underwater explosions.[4] The Allies wanted to know if the Germans were using a new kind of mine on the beaches. Lane led a hazardous reconnaissance mission that required a two-mile approach to a heavily defended coastline.[4] Lane's reconnaissance expedition discovered that the Germans had attached Teller mines to stakes in the water. These would be submerged when the tide was high and would explode on impact with a landing craft. However, the mines had no waterproofing and had corroded. They had only exploded when the rockets from the RAF fighter had hit nearby. Lane concluded that the Teller mines were only a crude improvisation, not an advanced type of mine.[5]

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