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43 Commando - Landing at Dubrovnik

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

Unit/ Formation: 43 Cdo RM

Location: Yugoslavia

Period/ Conflict: World War II

Year: 1944

Date/s: 29th October 1944

Floydforce was the name given to the British Army intervention unit in Yugoslavia in October 1944, during the Second World War. Its main objective was to aid Yugoslav Partisans, lead by Marshall Tito, in preventing German withdrawal from Greece and Albania via Montenegro, and "to give the greatest possible artillery support to the Yugoslav National Army of Liberation". It was a continuation of the British Government policy of support and supply that started with the Maclean Mission and culminated in Tito's meeting with Winston Churchill in Naples in August 1943.

43 Commando landed at Dubrovnik in October in the campaign to drive the Germans from Yugoslavia.

The force consisted of batteries from the 111 Field Regiment, No. 43 Commando Unit and a field unit of Royal Engineers. Commanded by Brigadier J P O'Brien-Twohig, it sailed in four Tank Landing Craft (LCT) and three Infantry Landing Craft (LCI) from Bari to Dubrovnik on 27 October 1944 and arrived the following day.

Their first target was to block the German breakout at Risan, along the coastal route of the Bay of Kotor. Dedicated group, named Finney Force was assembled for the task. It consisted of 211 Field Battery with eight field-guns and 'C' Troop of the No. 43 Commando. The Battery Commander Major Pat Turner was in overall command, while the 'C' Troop was led by Captain Robert Loundoun.

The two commanders travelled via Trebinje, Bileća i Vilusi, to reach Podhan - a strategic location from which they could see and shell the German troops in the town of Risan, Ledenice barracks and in five old Imperial Austrian forts nearby. They arrived on 29 October, preparing for the first battle the following morning.

Inspection held in the Timber Yard, Port Gruz on 28 Dec.'44 by the Commander of Land Forces Adriatic Brigadier Davy. In this photo Brig. Davy is inspecting rear detail of Floydforce having just finished inspecting a Royal Engineers Detachment. He is about to inspect 43 RM Cdo. (Commando Veterans .Archive)

For three months they fought the crack German XXI (Mountain) Corps in inhospitable terrain. However, as Hitler, suspecting an eventual Allied landing in the northern Adriatic, diverted reinforcements to the Dalmatian coast, the campaign faltered.

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