2 – Operation Green Room: December 1941
There is some doubt as to the official name of this mission but it was to be the polar opposite of what happened during Operation Squatter as the SAS enjoyed its first success. Perhaps the most audacious aspect of this mission was the fact that they came back into the fold so soon after the first calamitous mission.
It came in the month after Squatter and once again, the mission was to destroy as many aircraft as they could. This time, four Libyan airfields near the coast were targeted. This time, the troops were transported by trucks from the Long Range Desert Group. The men sneaked onto the runways and planted time-delayed explosives on the planes before getting out as fast as possible.
A total of 61 planes were destroyed and this time, the SAS didn’t suffer a single casualty. Bob Bennett was an SAS sergeant on the mission and he spoke of what happened. One of his memories was witnessing a fellow soldier ripping open a door and firing his Tommy gun at the enemies inside. From that point onwards, the mission was easy as they quickly planted their bombs and left. When it came to the last plane, they realized that they had no more bombs left. One of the men simply smashed the cockpit with his bare hands!
By the end of the African campaign, the SAS had destroyed more than 400 enemy planes on the ground. Even Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was impressed by the efficiency of the SAS during the North African campaign and Hitler demanded that captured SAS officers be interrogated by the Gestapo. Eventually, he issued a Commando Order which meant that SAS operatives were to be summarily executed when captured.