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 Combined Operations - 160 webpages, 2,000 photos, 250,000 visits and 7 million hits each year. The definitive Combined Ops website.

   Visit our Facebook page to see a selection of the best photos of the memorial under construction and the dedication ceremony on July 4th 2013, plus other posts. News and Information at the bottom of this and every webpage.


As a result of an unfortunate incident on the island of Sark, a number of German soldiers were shot with their hands tied behind their backs. This apparent execution, by a Commando raiding party, incensed Hitler, who, shortly afterwards, issued his infamous Commando Order.

The Commando Order

Hitler's infamous Commando Order and the covering minute from German Army HQ are reproduced below. The order was a death sentence for any Commando participating in a raid who fell into the hands of German forces. There were strict controls over copying and retaining the order on file and above all the order was under "no circumstances to fall into enemy hands."

To understand the incident that instigated Hitler's order read the page on the Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF) page.

The Fuhrer                                                                                                                                     SECRET

No. 003830/42g.Kdos.OWK/Wst                                                                              F.H. Qu 18.10.1942

                                                                                                                                                     12 copies

                                                                                                                                               Copy No.12.

1. For a long time now our opponents have been employing in their conduct of the war, methods which contravene the International Convention of Geneva. The members of the so-called Commandos behave in a particularly brutal and underhand manner; and it has been established that those units recruit criminals not only from their own country but even former convicts set free in enemy territories. From captured orders it emerges that they are instructed not only to tie up prisoners, but also to kill out-of-hand unarmed captives who they think might prove an encumbrance to them, or hinder them in successfully carrying out their aims. Orders have indeed been found in which the killing of prisoners has positively been demanded of them.

2. In this connection it has already been notified in an Appendix to Army Orders of 7.10.1942. that in future, Germany will adopt the same methods against these Sabotage units of the British and their Allies; i.e. that, whenever they appear, they shall be ruthlessly destroyed by the German troops.

3. I order, therefore:-

From now on all men operating against German troops in so-called Commando raids in Europe or in Africa, are to be annihilated to the last man. This is to be carried out whether they be soldiers in uniform, or saboteurs, with or without arms; and whether fighting or seeking to escape; and it is equally immaterial whether they come into action from Ships and Aircraft, or whether they land by parachute. Even if these individuals on discovery make obvious their intention of giving themselves up as prisoners, no pardon is on any account to be given. On this matter a report is to be made on each case to Headquarters for the information of Higher Command.

4. Should individual members of these Commandos, such as agents, saboteurs etc., fall into the hands of the Armed Forces through any means - as, for example, through the Police in one of the Occupied Territories - they are to be instantly handed over to the S.D.

To hold them in military custody - for example in P.O.W. Camps, etc., - even if only as a temporary measure, is strictly forbidden.

5. This order does not apply to the treatment of those enemy soldiers who are taken prisoner or give themselves up in open battle, in the course of normal operations, large scale attacks; or in major assault landings or airborne operations. Neither does it apply to those who fall into our hands after a sea fight, nor to those enemy soldiers who, after air battle, seek to save their lives by parachute.

6. I will hold all Commanders and Officers responsible under Military Law for any omission to carry out this order, whether by failure in their duty to instruct their units accordingly, or if they themselves act contrary to it.

(Sgd) A Hitler


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY                                                                                            SECRET

No. 551781/42G.K. Chefs W.F.St/Qu. F.H. Qu. 19/10/42

                                                                                                                               22 Copies

                                                                                                                                   Copy No.21.

The enclosed Order from the Fuhrer is forwarded in connection with destruction of enemy Terror and Sabotage-troops.

This order is intended for Commanders only and is in no circumstances to fall into Enemy hands.

Further distribution by receiving Headquarters is to be most strictly limited.

The Headquarters mentioned in the Distribution list are responsible that all parts of the Order, or extracts taken from it, which are issued are again withdrawn and, together with this copy, destroyed.

Chief of Staff of the Army

(Sgd) JODL

Reading Material

Nuremburg Trials consideration of Hitler's Commando Order (Session 28 in 10 parts).

There are over 200 books listed on our 'Combined Operations Books' page which can be purchased on-line via the Advanced Book Exchange (ABE) search banner which checks the shelves of thousands of book shops world-wide. Type in or copy and paste the title of your choice or use the keyword box for book suggestions. There's no obligation to buy, no registration and no passwords. Just click on the book icon opposite to take you to the ABE banner.

Combined Operations Facebook page with 'slide show' photos and descriptions of the dedication ceremony and the construction of the memorial. Just click on the icon opposite.
The Gazelle Squadron Display Team. The Gazelle Squadron is a unique team of ex-British Military Gazelle helicopters in their original military colours and with their original military registrations. The core team includes four Gazelles, one from each service; The Royal Navy, The Royal Marines, The Army Air Corps and The Royal Air Force. A fifth Gazelle in Royal Marines colours will provide intimate support for the Team. Their crest, opposite, (click to enlarge), includes the Combined Operations badge. The last, and possibly, only time the badge was seen on an aircraft was in the early mid 40s. A photo of the Hurricane concerned is included in the 516 Squadron webpage.
Thames River Cruiser FARMAR. Do you know what this craft did in WW2? More background information on our Notice Board. (uppermost entry).
Video of Dedication Ceremony. We'd like to make video sequences available to website and Facebook visitors. If you have any video you're happy to share with the wider world please contact us. Thank you.
Newsletter. The latest occasional newsletter can now be read here.
Print too small or large? Easy solution when browsing. I) PC. To increase hold down Ctrl and shift and press +. To decrease hold down Ctrl and press -. 2) MAC. To increase Command + and to decrease Command -.
Combined Ops Memorial Dedication Ceremony was held on July 4th 2013. The memorial sub web has links to the dedication ceremony as well as the history of the project, archive photos, limited edition prints, the memorial fund raising wall, donations to the memorial fund and more.
Follow in the footsteps of the Commandos. Exclusive guided tour of the places in Tunisia with advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Steve Hamilton of Western Desert Battlefield Tours.
New to Combined Ops? Visit Combined Operations Explained for an easy introduction to the subject.
Normandy 2014 - 70th Anniversary of D-Day. Book accommodation early to avoid disappointment. See "Forthcoming Events."
Legasee Film Archive. As part of an exciting social history project, the film company Legasee is looking for veterans from any conflict who would like to have their stories filmed for posterity. Films are now available on line.
Remember a Veteran. Add names to our Roll of Honour and They Also Served pages and read the Combined Operations prayer.
Find Books of Interest.  Search for Books direct from our Books page. Don't have the name of a book in mind? Just type in a keyword to get a list of possibilities... and if you want to purchase you can do so on line through the Advanced Book Exchange (ABE). 5% commission goes into the memorial fund.

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