Operation Hawthorn

'Hawthorn' was a British series of special forces raids on the Italian island of Sardinia by L Detachment of the Special Boat Squadron under the command of Captain John Verney (30 June/early July 1943).

The three raiding parties, which were landed by submarine on the west coast of Sardinia on the nights of 30 June, 1 July and 2 July, each comprised two officers and 12 men, were to divide after landing to operate as six parties each of one officer and six men. A fourth party was to be landed on the island’s east coast to establish a rendezvous point to which the other parties would make their way for subsequent extraction by submarine.

The six main groups were intended to attack airfields and destroy the aircraft based on them. Most of the SBS men were captured or killed, and the losses were so severe that the unit had to be reconstituted.