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Oral history interview with Peter Fussell

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1285.38 | RG Number: RG-50.149.0038

Peter Fussell describes joining the army in 1939 when he was 16 years old; joining the Commandos in 1940; his operations as a private with the 4 Commando during the Dieppe Raid in France on August 19, 1942; preparations for the raid, the briefing, and crossing the English Channel; the nature of the target site; the results of the attacks on the German artillery positions; contact with French civilians; landing and his section's task; breaches of security before the raid; the reorganization of commando units after the Dieppe Raid; Exercise Harlequin in September 1943; training for D-Day in Great Britain 1942-1944; training on the Sussex coast; moving to a transit camp in the Southampton area; D-Day briefing; stand down because of weather; his operations as a private with Headquarters, 1st Commando Brigade (Special Service Brigade, 1st) during the landings on Sword Beach, Normandy during D-Day on June 6, 1944; the assembling of an armada in Solent; experiencing seasickness crossing English Channel; the impressions made by ships firing; rumors before landing; landing on Sword Beach; the German opposition; the importance of getting off the beaches quickly; reasons why he did not have a dry landing; the armored support; the first German POWs; linking up with airborne troops on Pegasus bridge; taking up positions at Le Plaine; using code words; German infiltration attempts; the use of German nationals as interpreters and translators; the wounding of Lord Lovat; changes in command of the brigade; the use of captured weapons to deceive Germans; the German use of eastern Europeans; his opinion of German troops; the superiority of Allied air forces; his attitude towards Hitler Youth troops; the character of the static warfare from June 1944 to August 1944; penetration behind German lines; crossing River Seine; the period re-grouping in England September 1944; crossing the River Maas, Netherlands in January 1945; crossing the River Rhine in March 1945 and the nearness of the Allied bombing; the devastation of Wesel, Germany; the killing of a German field marshal; the capture of a V weapon site; the capture of a bridge over the River Aller; a bayonet attack by 6 Commando near Belsen, Germany; the behavior of liberated Russian POWs in the Neustadt area; the story of the breaking of Field Marshal von Milch's baton; the restraining of commandos by Royal Artillery from killing SS troops; and various aspects of withdrawal of the 1st Commando Brigade from Germany in May 1945.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Fussell, Peter
2 sound cassettes (90 min.).
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 20:09:49
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