Operation Partridge

'Partridge' was a British feint attack by elements of Major General G. W. R. Templer’s 56th Division and No. 9 Commando of Lieutenant General Sir Richard McCreery’s X Corps within Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark’s US 5th Army across the mouth of the Garigliano river, at the western end of the German 'Gustav-Linie' defences, toward Minturno in southern central Italy (29/30 December 1943).

The object of this undertaking was to divert the attention of General Fridolin Ritter und Edler von Senger und Etterlin’s XIV Panzerkorps of Generaloberst Heinrich-Gottfried von Vietinghoff-Scheel’s 10th Army from the Cassino sector of the front farther inland along the Rapido river.

This diversionary undertaking by No. 9 Commando behind the German lines was designed to cover the withdrawal of the X Corps in preparation for its proposed assault across the Garigliano river. No. 9 Commando was landed on the northern shore of the river’s estuary by British ships during the night of 29/30 December but, unfortunately for those concerned, 95 minutes late and 1,000 yards (915 m) away from their correct landing beach. The commando attacked several German positions before withdrawing across the river in DUKWs, apart from Nos 4 and 6 Troops, whose men had to make their crossing some 2,700 yards (2470 m) farther up the river by swimming and the use of ropes.

'Partridge' cost No. 9 Commando nine men killed, but the unit captured 29 prisoners.