This consisted of seven men under Captain Mike Blackman, SAS Headquarters Intelligence Officer. Lieutenant Hugh Randall, Lieutenant Tiny Kidner, Corporal Brown, Troopers Baker & Harrison plus a Frenchman from 4 SAS to liaise with the Maquis, Corporal De Maison.(Some sources say Andre Lemee)
Unlike many other SAS Operations at the time, the role of Haft was purely reconnaissance and information gathering. It operated in the Mayenne/Le Man's area of northwest France. Originally planned to be much larger, it was realised it would be too close to the front lines for a large sabotage party.
On the third night after landing Captain Blackman and Lieutenant Kidner set off, with a local French guide Andre, to recce the villages in the area towards Le Ham. They walked by night, staying with locals during the day, despite German vehicles driving by the windows. It did mean they could gain their intelligence in comfort. A few days later they repeated the exercise in the direction of St Mars. The population was openly hostile to the Germans and it was not unusual to see Frenchmen openly in uniform.
They worked with SOE agent Scientist and his agents and described their cooperation as invaluable.
They identified over forty targets, many of which were subsequently attacked from the air. Eventually they found fewer and fewer targets and contacted the advancing US Army, crossing the lines to meet up with a Tank Destroyer Battalion.
|John Hereward "Tiny" Kidner|
Fire from the Forest, Roger Ford
SAS War Diary
Learn more about SOE Agent Scientist here