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 COMBINED OPERATIONS

Around 1,000 is needed to maintain the Combined Ops memorial in perpetuity through an agreement with the National Memorial Arboretum. Please help us do this with a donation, big or small. Donate here. Thank you

Combined Operations Jigsaw Challenge

Learn while you play - online jigsaws of website photos!

You can change the number of pieces from around 200 to suit all ages and you can view the image whenever you want... or not at all. To help you get started, the edge pieces only can be displayed. Good luck.

41 - 26/10/21   Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. It's not by accident that the No 1 Combined Training Centre in Inveraray was named HMS Quebec and its equivalent in the Middle East named HMS Saunders... and why is the year 1759 significant? Find out more here.

40 - 19/10/21   Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. A dramatic sketch of a rescue at sea of an American pilot shot down during the ill fated Combined Operations assault on Dieppe in August 1942. More Information here and here.

39 - 12/10/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. Who would have imagined Sherman tanks, weighing around 33 tons, making their own way to the landing beaches from several miles offshore. This photo shows how they did it. More information here.

38 - 05/10/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. This silver Combined Ops badge was purchased at a military fair in Belfast but its provenance is unknown, as is its purpose. It may have been a sweetheart broach or pendant from around 1943, which is supported by wear marks of a neck chain or cord. More information here.

37 - 28/09/21  JIgsaw   Story behind the picture. The land based Royal Observer Corps traditionally identified over-flying aircraft as "friend or foe" to alert Fighter Command and anti-aircraft batteries. However, during the Normandy landings in June 1944, volunteers from the Corps joined the invasion fleet as seaborne observers. This photo shows what happened to the vital information they provided. More information here.

36 - 21/09/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. The Combined Operations Command's shore establishments included HMS Saunders in Egypt, which serviced amphibious training and operations in the Mediterranean. Most shore establishments were built of bricks and concrete, but not HMS Saunders as this early sketch attests. More Information here.

35 - 14/09/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. There are monuments, memorials and plaques around the world in remembrance of the contribution of Combined Operations in WW2. One of the more exotic can be found in this beach scene in Australia. More Information here.

34 - 07/09/21  Jigsaw    Story behind the picture. This tranquil beach was used to practice large scale beach landings prior to D Day. One such, Operation Tiger, was a disaster for the Americans and was hushed up for decades after the war. More Information here.

33 - 31/08/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. The only LST (Landing Ship Tank) preserved for future generations spent several years on the bottom of a dock in Liverpool. This 'before restoration' image shows the magnitude of the multi million pound task that lay ahead. More Information here.

32 - 24/08/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. The Combined Operations community have raised in excess of 25,000 over the past 21 years in support of the website and memorial. The unique subject of this frustratingly difficult jigsaw raised 200! More Information here.

31 - 17/08/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. This impressive town hall building witnessed the German Occupation of Middelburg on the Dutch island of Walcheren at the mouth of the River Scheldt. Six year old Jan Wigard also witnessed the occupation, which lasted over 4 years. More information here.

30 - 10/08/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. Royal Navy Commando shoulder title on a JWH (Jersey Wool Heavy standard issue pullover) of a serving RN Commando Chief Medic - one of only six still serving in November 2014. Click here and scroll down to item 13 for more information.

29 - 03/08/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. Deceiving and confusing the enemy over the Allies' true intentions was an integral part of amphibious raids and landings undertaken by Combined Operations. This extended to a large scale bogus raid involving 350 vessels with air support. More information here.

28 - 27/07/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture The crew of LCT 979 proudly raised their brand new white ensign flag as they approached the heavily defended island of Walcheren at the head of the River Scheldt in the Netherlands. The gunfire from the enemy's strong, well established defensive positions was intense as the white ensign attests. More information here.

27 - 20/07/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. Eight years ago, this month, the Combined Operations Memorial was dedicated, belatedly recognising the hugely significant contributions and sacrifices of all who served in the Command. The day is remembered in this jigsaw. More information here.

26 - 13/07/21  Jigsaw  Story behind the picture. As part of the original fund raising campaign, for the construction of the Combined Ops memorial, military artist David A Thorp generously gifted a painting of a Normandy beach landing from which prints were made. More information here.

25 - 06/07/21  Jigsaw  Story behind the picture. HMS Copra was a shore establishment in Largs on the Clyde estuary in Scotland. Local accommodation for Wrens included this impressive structure, while overspill accommodation included Jimmy the One huts within its grounds! More information here.

24 - 29/06/21  Jigsaw  Story behind the picture. There were 5 landing beaches on D Day; 2 British (Sword and Gold), 2 American (Omaha and Utah) and 1 Canadian (Juno). This image promotes a book about Commando operations on one of them.... but which one? More information here.   

23 - 22/06/21  Jigsaw  Story behind the picture. There are many ways to protect and preserve our Combined Operations history and heritage, but this story is very different. The son of a veteran killed in action on the craft, helped sail her to the Netherlands from the Mediterranean to complete her restoration. In a very real sense, he stood in his late father's footsteps. More Information here.

22 - 15/06/21  Jigsaw    Story behind the picture. The remoteness of the rugged, mountainous terrain and challenging weather of the Scottish Highlands provided ideal training conditions for regular army servicemen who volunteered for unspecified hazardous duties. Their bravery and achievements are legendary. Who were they and how are they remembered? The answers are in this jigsaw image. More Information here.

21 - 08/06/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. How did some primary school children imagine what D Day was like? Their artistic efforts were displayed in the National Memorial Arboretum reception marquee on the occasion of the Combined Operations Memorial dedication ceremony in July 2013. Find out more here.

20 - 01/06/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. Able seaman Harold French served in the Royal Navy from 1925 to 1949. During the war, he was attached to Combined Operations serving as crew on HMS Misoa. Complete this jigsaw to see the proud record his family have of his wartime service. More information about HMS Misoa here.

19 - 25/05/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. We recently learned of a Combined Ops veteran about to celebrate his 100th birthday. Covid prevented any significant social gathering and he had no family. Through our Facebook page, we appealed for birthday cards and greetings. The astonishing result can be seen in this jigsaw! Find out more here.

18 - 18/05/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. As an integral part of Combined Operations, the RAF provided air support on Commando raids and major landings including D Day. However, Combined Operations had their own RAF Squadron for a special purpose as this jigsaw attests.Find out more here.

17 - 11/05/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. What did the crew of Landing Barge Emergency Repair No 29 (LBE 29) do with their French spending money off the Normandy coast on D Day? Solve this puzzle to find out! Find out more here.

16 - 04/05/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. Hundreds of thousands of service personnel, from the Army, Navy and Air Force, required to train together in a new kind of amphibious warfare... but where could they do this in complete secrecy? The answer was a small, remote Scottish village with its own castle and resident Duke. Find out more here.

15 - 27/04/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. For the D Day landings and immediate aftermath, land based radar, along the coastline of southern England, was unable to provide sufficient advance warning of enemy air attacks against the Allied land, sea and air forces. The solution was innovative and at the cutting edge of science and technology. Find out more here.

14 - 22/04/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. Their mission in November 1941was to capture one of Hitler's top Generals, Erwin Rommel from his remote North African HQ. When elements of  No 11 Scottish Commando failed to gain entry one dark night, they knocked on door and, in perfect German, demanded entry. The door was unlocked and entry gained. Find out more here.

13 - 15/04/21  Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. Landing Craft Assault (LCA) typically carried around 36 armed soldiers from troop carrying mother ships a few miles offshore to landing beaches. Over 2000 were manufactured at many engineering yards around the UK and then delivered to their new owners. How they did this in some cases might surprise you. Find out more here.

12 - 08/04/21 Jigsaw   Story behind the picture. Over 75 years ago, the Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF) was the precursor of the larger, better trained and equipped Commando Units that followed. The men of SSRF were pioneers in their field of clandestine amphibious raids on enemy occupied territory and lessons learned strongly influenced the formation of the Commando Units. Find out more here.

11 - 01/04/21 Jigsaw  Story behind the picture. The subject of today's jigsaw is HMS Monch, but, inspired by the proximity of 'April Fools Day', all is not as it seems! Find out more here.

10 - 25/03/21 Jigsaw Story behind the picture. How were the crews of smaller landing craft, with no space for a kitchen, provided with hot meals off the Normandy beaches in WW2? By the nautical equivalent of a drive in / carry out service a few miles offshore with unlimited 'parking'. The Landing Barge Kitchens were a lifeline for thousands. Find out more here.

9 - 18/03/21 Jigsaw Story behind the picture. The story goes that Churchill wanted to visit the Normandy beaches before it was safe to do so. He finally relented when King George told him he would go with him! Whatever the case, Churchill and his military advisers made the journey on D Day + 6. Find out more here.

8 - 11/03/21 Jigsaw Story behind the picture. A rusty relic from the Mulberry Harbours - a long abandoned  "Beetle" on the beach at Aldwick near Bognor Regis on the south coast of England. Beetles were concrete and steel floats or pontoons that supported the Mulberry roadways. Each was capable of carrying 56 tons + 25 tons - the weight of a tank. Find out more about the amazing Mulberry Harbours story here.

7 - 04/03/21 Jigsaw Story behind the picture. All coastlines of countries occupied by the enemy were defended and there were no friendly ports and harbours. All troops, tanks, armaments, vehicles, supplies, medical care and ancillary equipment together with inshore gun, rocket and mortar support, were provided from about 40 different kinds of landing craft which totalled over 4000 on D Day alone. The LCA was one of the smallest with a capacity of about 35 armed troops. Find out more about the deployment of Landing Craft Assault (LCA) here.

6 - 25/02/21 Jigsaw  Story behind the picture. PLUTO was more than a planet in WW2. It was an acronym for a top secret, large scale engineering project to pump fuel, for tanks and other vehicles, hundreds of miles from England, under the English Channel, to front-line troops as they advanced towards Germany - Pipe Line Under The Ocean x 21. Pumping stations on beaches were disguised as houses, cafes etc. Find out more about the design, development and construction of the pipeline here.

5 - 18/02/21 Jigsaw  Story behind the picture. Following major landings on enemy occupied territory, the advancing invading force needed air support from the RAF & USAF. This could only be provided from captured air fields or hastily improvised landing strips close to front lines. The Royal Air Servicing Commando Units serviced, maintained, repaired and re-armed aircraft under hazardous conditions and were trained to defend their air strips if attacked..  Find out more about the brave men who volunteered for unknown hazardous duties  here.

4 - 11/02/21 Jigsaw  Story behind the picture. This beautiful tranquil scene of a Norwegian fjord belies the drama, bravery and boldness of a small group of Commandos and two Norwegian corporals, working for the Special Operations Executive, in destroying aluminium production in the coastal town of Glomfjord. Shockingly, those captured were transported to Colditz and then to Berlin where they were executed. Find out more here.

3 - 04/02/21. Approx 100 pieces  Approx 200 pieces  Story behind the picture. There were many special units established in WW2 whose work was absolutely vital to the success of landings onto unimproved beaches in enemy occupied territory. Even their name was designed to deceive the enemy by concealing their real purpose - the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties.  Find out more here.

2 - 28/01/21. Approx 125 pieces  Approx 200 pieces Story behind the picture. The D Day Landings changed the course of the WW2. This map gives a visual representation of Operation Neptune, the amphibious phase of the D Day landings. Thousands of landing craft of many types put boots on the landing beaches, provided fire power on beach targets and anti aircraft cover for the fleet followed by the delivery of vehicles, tanks, supplies, medical provisions, armaments and follow on troops thereafter... all with Royal Navy heavy gun and RAF air support. Find out more here.

1 - 21/01/21.  Approx 100 pieces Story behind the picture. In late 2012, work began on the construction of the Combined Operations Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The larger rocks, transported from Loch Fyne in Scotland, where training in landing craft operations was concentrated, weighed several tons and required lifting gear. Find out more here.

 


News & Information

About Us

Background to the website and memorial project and a look to the future; plus other small print stuff and website accounts etc. Click here for information.

Featured Links; Combined Ops Heritage; 40 D Day Stories & Combined Operations Jigsaw Challenge
 

 

Remember a Veteran

Pay a personal tribute to veterans who served in, or alongside, the Combined Operations Command in WW2 by adding their details and optional photo to our Roll of Honour or They Also Served pages on this website, which include the Combined Operations prayer.

Facebook

Visit our Facebook page about the Combined Operations Command in appreciation of our WW2 veterans. You are welcome to add information, photos and comment or reply to messages posted by others.

Events and Places to Visit

Organisers: Reach the people who will be interested to know about your Combined Operations or war related event by adding it to our  webpage free of charge. Everyone else: Visit our webpage for information on events and places to visit. If you know of an event or place of interest, that is not listed, please let us know. To notify an event or place of interest, click here. To visit the webpage click here.

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).

Combined Operations Handbook (Far East)

The handbook was prepared for Combined Operations in the Far East. It illustrates the depth and complexity of the planning process necessary to ensure that the 3 services worked together as a unified force.

New to Combined Ops?

Visit Combined Operations Explained for an easy introduction to this complex subject.

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