Operation Chariot

The St Nazaire Raid, 1942

Jean-Charles Stasi

A highly illustrated overview of Operation Chariot, the famous St Nazaire raid, in 1942.
Date Published :
November 2019
Publisher :
Series :
Casemate Illustrated
Illustration :
125 integrated photographs and images
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781612007298
Pages : 128
Dimensions : 10 X 7 inches
Stock Status : In stock
Also available digitally:
Buy From Amazon Amazon
Buy From Apple Apple
Buy From Barnes and Noble Barnes & Noble
Buy From Google Google
Buy From Kobo Kobo

Casemate will earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking a link here


A highly illustrated overview of Operation Chariot, the famous St Nazaire raid, in 1942.

At the beginning of 1942, the Tirpitz, the heaviest battleship ever built by a European navy and sister ship of the Bismarck, was on the cusp of breaking out into the north Atlantic. The prospect of the huge German battleship patrolling the Atlantic posed a huge threat to the convoys that were the lifeline for an embattled Britain. Determined efforts were made to damage the ship through bombing raids: these failed. An altogether more daring and radical plan was conceived: destroy the dry-dock facility at St Nazaire on the French Atlantic coast, and without the use of the only suitable base for the ship, the threat would be neutralized.

The plan was to ram the entrance gates with a ship packed with explosives on a delayed fuse to give the men on board time to take shelter before the ship exploded. A motor boat armed with torpedoes would fire at the inner gate causing further damage to submarine pens. The troops and crew would then destroy as many dockyard targets as they could and withdraw in fast motor launches which had followed them in. All this was to be achieved under cover of an air raid. HMS Campbeltown, a US lend-lease destroyer was chosen for the task.

On the night of 27th March the raid commenced; heavy shelling killed or wounded over half of the motor boat crews in the approach but the Campbeltown succeeded in lodging its bows in the outer gates. On shore fighting was ferocious and close-quartered. The delayed action fuses detonated the high explosives in the Campbeltown's hold at noon on the 28th, killing over 400 German officers and men. The dock gates were destroyed and were not repaired until after the war. The cost to the Allies was high, of the 241 Commandos who took part, 168 were either killed or captured. But the Tirpitz was never able to leave Norwegian waters: the raid was an overwhelming success.

This volume in the Casemate Illustrated series gives a clear overview of the planning and execution of the raid and its aftermath, accompanied by 125 photographs and images, including color profiles and maps.

About The Author

Jean-Charles Stasi is the author of twenty books including several devoted to World War II.


"The translation is quite good and the prose moves the action along."

- Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

"...a useful addition to any bookshelf, especially for those who ponder how properly conceived and coordinated combined operations can influence overall military success."

- Naval Historical Foundation

“I do not hesitate to recommend this excellent reference work to all with an interest in military history.''

- Scale Military Modelling International Magazine

"Details all the plans as well as a good selection of archive images from the time [and] there are also some excellent colour profile artworks... An excellent and interesting book."

- Military Model Scene

“Handy for naval modellers… plenty of colour profiles and 4 by 4 images … the main feature of the illustrated series [are the] unpublished and completely new images.”

- Detailscaleview.com

‘’The author uses the Casemate Illustrated format of well-written informative text supported with good sized photos, maps and diagrams to tell the full story. I do not hesitate to recommend this excellent reference work to all with an interest in military history.’’


"The photographs used, on which the Casemate Illustrated series is focused, is a bonus that can’t be underestimated. An excellent book…"

- Old Barbed Wire

More from this publisher