Operation Biting: Unabridged edition

By Max Hastings

Operation Biting was one of the most thrilling British commando raids of World War II, and probably the most successful.

In February 1942 RAF intelligence was baffled by a newly-identified radar network on the coast of Nazi-occupied Europe, codenamed Würzburg. The brilliant scientist Dr RV Jones proposed an assault to capture key components. The nearest accessible enemy set stood upon a steep cliff at Bruneval in Normandy. Winston Churchill enthused, as did Lord Louis Mountbatten, chief of Combined Operations. A company of the newly-formed Airborne Forces was committed to the operation, which took place on the night of 27/28 February. Amid heavy snow 120 men landed, some of whom were misdropped almost two miles from their objective. They nonetheless launched the assault, dismantled the German radar, and after three nail-biting hours in France and a fierce battle with Wehrmacht defenders, escaped in the nick of time by landing-craft across stormy seas to Portsmouth.

Max Hastings recounts this cliffhanging tale in a wealth of previously unchronicled detail. He portrays its remarkable personalities: the ‘boffin’ RV Jones; the peacock Mountbatten; the troubled husband of Daphne Du Maurier, Gen. ’Boy’ Browning, who commanded the Airborne Division; ‘Colonel Remy’, the French secret agent whose men reconnoitered Bruneval at mortal risk; Major John Frost, who led the paras into action; Charlie Cox, the little RAF technician who stripped the Würzburg and became an unexpected hero; Wing-Commander Charles Pickard, a legendary bomber pilot who led the drop squadron. Seldom have so many fascinating personalities been brought together to fulfil a mission that became a front-page triumph in a season of British defeats.

Recounted in Hastings’ familiar best-selling blend of top-down and bottom-up action detail, Operation Biting tells a story that has become almost forgotten yet deserves to rank among the epic tales of courage and daring that took place in the greatest conflict in history.

Format: Audio-Book
Release Date: 23 May 2024
Pages: None
ISBN: 978-0-00-864219-8
Detailed Edition: Unabridged edition

PRAISE FOR ABYSS: -

”'Grabs from the get-go… as if this were the very best fiction” - Daily Mail

”'A brilliant, beautifully constructed and thrilling reassessment of the most perilous moment in history” - Daily Telegraph

”'Frightening but hopelessly addictive” - The Times

”'Magisterial… chilling” - Daily Express

”'Brilliantly told… compelling… Hastings has cleverly woven the story together from all sides describing them in dramatic, almost hour by hour detail… this is a scary book. Hastings sees little evidence that today’s leaders understand each other any better than they did in 1962” - Sunday Times

”'Deeply researched, incisively intelligent and compulsively readable. Abyss is as tight and smart account as any account and will earn pride of place even on a shelf already packed with books about the crisis” - TLS

”'A gripping retelling of those weeks of brinkmanship, reckless gambles, gung-ho generals and a thuggish USSR leader bullying a 'weak president’” - Sun

”'Superb… reads like a thriller as the gripping drama of the Cold War power politics plays out behind closed doors in Washington, Moscow and Havana” - Daily Mail

”'Hastings lays bare, with chilling clarity, the ease with which political theatre and bluster could well have escalated into a scenario of mutually assured destruction” - Observer