XD Operations

Secret British Missions Denying Oil to the Nazis

C.C.H. Brazier

Publication date:
September 2005
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
No associated books available.


X D Operations is the first account of the thrilling operations by the Kent Fortress Royal Engineers, a small Territorial Army Unit given the largest demolition program ever undertaken by the Royal Engineers. These took place in May 1940 with the object of destroying all the oil reserves stored in refineries in the ports along the Continental coastline from Holland to the Bay of Biscay, thus denying the Nazis vital stocks.

The operations were mounted at very short notice and in extreme secrecy. Such was the importance attached to them that no plans existed for the unit's evacuation.

The destruction of some two million tons of oil was a serious blow to the German war machine. Churchill was delighted with their success especially at a time of military setbacks. Although for security reasons there was no publicity at the time, they earned a generous allocation of decorations.

The book describes the trip over in destroyers, frequently under air attack, the chaotic conditions ahead of the advancing Germans, the difficulties faced in carrying out the tasks and the drama of getting back to England.

The unit went on to undertake further unusual expeditions from Spitzbergen to the Middle East over the next two and a half years of the Second World War.