This was a British special forces operation by the 2nd Special Air Service to cut rail lines in the region of Bailly le France in German-occupied France (4 August/10 September 1944).
The operation was originally to have been implemented shortly after D-Day on 6 June to hamper the Germans’ ability to move reinforcements toward the Normandy area after the launch of ‘Overlord’, but was postponed at the insistence of the Special Operations Executive to avoid comprising this organisation’s existing operation in the area between Reims, Verdun and Metz.
The first stage of the operation was launched on 23 July, but the aircraft carrying the 58 men and their equipment crashed, killing all on board. The main force was nonetheless parachuted into its operational area on 4 August, and was supplemented on 20 and 24 August by reinforcement parties, the latter under the command of Major Rooney.
By this time, however, Lieutenant General George S. Patton’s US 3rd Army had reached the edge of the Special Air Service’s operational area and there was little of value that the operation could now achieve.