review-jedburghs
The Jedburghs: The secret history of the Allied Special Forces, France 1944
Will Irwin
review-3


The author and the former Lieutenant Colonel in the US Special Forces Will Irwin, has been in the SF for almost 30 years. This make the author familiar with special operations and well suited to write what the Jedburghs did during World War 2.

Already in June 1940 Winston Churchill gave orders to start the French Resistant Movement. In July 1940 Special Operations Executive (SOE) was created and the SOE was the origin of the British Special Forces.

In May 1942 there was a Special Forces unit dedicated to operations in France created. The name that was suggested was the Jumpers but due safety reasons the name was never accepted. Instead the name that was given to the new SF unit was the Jedburghs. In the book the author is explaining different versions why the name the Jedburghs was selected. The answer is not so strange but I will not tell it here.
The Jedburghs where organized in three man teams and at least one of the members should be French. The book describes how Americans where recruited and selected for duty within the US Special Forces, how the training was conducted and finally they had to do a new training in England because the Englishmen didn’t trust their earlier training back in US.

The main mission for The Jedburghs during 1943 was to train, organize and equip the French Resistance. During 1944 the purpose of the French Resistance was to support Operation Overlord and the Allied advance across Europe. If the Allied landing was to succeed in Normandy it was very important that the German reinforcements would not reach the beachhead. Supported by The Jedburghs the French Resistance solved their mission and did their part in stopping or delaying the German reinforcements bound to the beaches of Normandy.  By destroying bridges and railroads as well as conducting ambushes the French Resistance managed to create a lot of problems for the Germans.

When the Allies where expanding the bridgehead in Normandy, the Jedburghs changed their mission from attacking German troop movements to give support to the Allies with intelligence reports.

The book describes a number of Jedburghs-teams that where doing missions in France and the book gives an interesting point a view which that I was not aware of.
Same parts of the book are relatively detailed, as an example when the author describes each ship that transported the Jedburghs over the Atlantic. The level of detail is even almost too high.
The book gives many ideas about further reading especially about the American and British Special Forces. The book would have been even better if the author had added more maps since now it is sometimes hard to follow the activities of the different Jedburgh teams.

(Reviewed by Mats D.)
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

Buy the book using the links below and you help support the site:

Do you have any corrections or additions to the material presented on the site?
Please help us improve the site by sending them to us.