Operation Cooney Parties

French resistance during the Battle of Normandy

In order to coordinate the actions of the Breton resistance while disorganizing the arrival of the German reinforcements to Normandy after D-Day, French commandos were parachuted over Brittany. One of these operations, codenamed Cooney Parties, consisted in destroying electrical and communication installations and part of the Breton rail network in different locations.

On the night of the 7th to the 8th of June 1944, transported by Albemarle airplanes, 58 French paratroopers of the 4th battalion of Special Air Service (SAS), divided into 18 sticks from 3 to 5 men, jumped over Brittany. After the sabotage missions were completed, these 18 teams had to rearm themselves in the previously created secret cells (as part of operations Dingson and Samwest) then had to train and to led the local resistance.

Their subsequent missions consisted again of conducting sabotage actions aimed at limiting the progress of the reinforcement convoys to Normandy, while benefiting from reinforcements in arms and ammunition thanks to the allied drops.

But the cell created by Operation Samwest was discovered and destroyed on June 12, 1944 by the Germans, and part of the drops ceased. Resistance actions continued nonetheless, but on a smaller scale, using the cell set up by Operation Dingson. On June 18, 1944, a German attack disorganized the resisters who were severely affected (there were nearly 30 fighters killed on that day). Captain Leblond was instructed to collect the survivors and train new recruits in the operation Grock (led by Captain Deplante), which began on June 13, 1944 .

Of the 450 SAS involved, there were 77 killed and 197 wounded.