After Action Report
UNIT: Jedburgh team; CORDITE
STRENGTH: 8 Men
C.O, Maj. Noel Richards, British Army
X.O. Capt. John Miller, United States Army.
SUMMARY OF ACTION:
On the night of 30 April, 1944, at 2345hrs, Team CORDITE boarded C47 transport at FULBECK Airfield, ENGLAND. Following an uneventful flight of approximately 35 minutes, Team CORDITE recieved a green light from the loadmaster and parachuted safely onto dropzone X-Ray in the vicinity of the village of Audinghen, PAS DE CALAIS.
Team CORDITE quietly went to ground on the edge of the dropzone, where it encounted an enemy patrol of 4 man strength. Fortunately, the enemy were eliminated quickly and efficiently by the unit’s scout and intelligence pertaining to the enemy’s challenges, counter-signs and partol routes for the night of the 30th were obtained. Seeing an immediate advantage to be gained from possession of this knowledge, Team CORDITE preceeded to infiltrate the Battery GROSSE KURFURST both by foot and captured enemy transport almost immediately.
For this action Team CORDITE divied into three fireteams and began the infiltration.
TEAM ONE consisting of Captains Miller and Smith, Sergeant Borkowski and W.O Shears succeeded in bluffing their way through Audinghen while disguised in uniforms of the enemy. However an unfortunate miscommunication alerted enemy sentries to a possible invasion attempt at this time. While this resulted in the GROSSE KURFURST garrison standing-to and placed the other two teams in peril, it also enabled TEAM ONE to successfully pass within the battery’s defensive perimeter. The action thus began at 0550hrs on the night of 30 APRIL 1944.
TEAM TWO, consisting of Maj. Richards and Capt. Montgomery, were out of contact when the enemy garrison stood to. Faced with a crossing of open ground against alert and prepared sentries with no way of assertaining the cause of the alarm, TEAM TWO withdrew towards the rendevous.
TEAM THREE, consisting of Petty Officer Lawcewicz and the Sioux Master Sergeant, infiltrated the battery perimeter via the shore defenses and were close enough to assault the beach emplacements before the enemy sentries were fully alert. Their strong and determined action, pressed against overwhelming odds, was in the finest tradition of the United States Armed Forces and while Maj. Richards was unable to witness this act of galantry directly, the results and success of the mission can be directly attributed to it.
TEAM ONE preceeded to assault CASEMATE THREE while still wearing the uniform of the enemy, sowing much cofusion among the garrison and triggering several friendly fire incidents. In the further chaos this caused, they were able to place explosives within the shell handling room of CASEMATE THREE. This lead to the casemate’s utter destruction and near total fatalities among the gun crew.
TEAM THREE, having successfully assaulted several TOBRUK resistance nests. Preceeded to assault an enemy barracks situated within a stable block by utilizing equipment seized from the enemy. Following a concetrated firefight, TEAM THREE successully neutralized all enemy resistance within the barracks and proceeded towards CASEMATE ONE. Again unaided, these two gallant soldiers fought their way into CASEMATE ONE and disabled the breach mechanism on the gun.
TEAM ONE, having eliminated CASEMATE THREE began an assault on CASEMATE FOUR. Utilizing a captured AA mount to support their advance, Captain Smith was able to enter CASEMATE FOUR and trigger the detonation of several cordite charges by dropping Mills grenades into the open shell handling arpeture. This resulted in a raging inferno, the sympathetic detonation of the magazine and total destruction of the casemate’s 380mm gun.
At approximately the same time, TEAM TWO sighted an unidentified enemy rotorcraft approaching their position. This craft proved capable of hovering and engaged TEAM TWO in a protracted firefight before moving away to disgorge a four man fire team which attempted to eliminate TEAM TWO. This enemy force proved insuficient for the task and suffered 100% casualties, one wounded prisoner being taken by TEAM TWO. The enemy soldiers were found to be carrying an unidentified automatic weapon stamped as “STURMGEWEHR 1944” (Assault Rifle 1944). (See Technical description appended to this report.)
The enemy rotorcraft moved off again in the direction of the burning CASEMATE FOUR where it engaged TEAM ONE. TEAM ONE employed their captured AA mount to great effect and shot the rotorcraft down, whereupon it crashed into a manned position, inflicting further casuaties upon the enemy.
TEAM THREE now began an assault upon CASEMATE TWO, successfully overrunning enemy positions and reaching the casemate. The Sioux Master Sergeant, showing bravery above and beyond the call of duty and despite grave wounds, single handedly fought his way inside, eliminating the gun crew and enabling Petty Officer Lawcewicz to place thermite charges within the shell handling arperture in a similar fashion to the actions of TEAM ONE.
With the destruction of the final casemate, TEAM ONE and TEAM TREE broke from contact and began a withdrawal to the south-east where they preceeded to the agreed upon rendevous at approximately 0605hrs on the morning of May 1st 1944.
During this action all team members displayed great gallantry and dedication to duty in the most difficult of circumstances, proceeding to complete their mission despite great odds.
As a consequence, it is this officer’s pleasure to recommend the following awards; (individual citations to follow.)
The Sioux Master Sergeant; Medal of Honor (2nd Award)
Petty Officer James Lawcewicz; Navy Cross (2nd Award)
Captain Nicholas Smith; Military Cross (2nd Award)
Captain John Miller, Silver Star
Captain Uriah Montgomery; Bronze Star (Combat)
Sergeant Konstanty Borkowski; Military Cross
Warrant Officer William Shears; Silver Star
Major Noel Richards, Combined Operations, British Army.