Infamous French frogman says I’m sorry

In 1955, the humble 131-foot fishing trawler Sir William Hardy was launched in Scotland and soon found herself in the service of the UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food board for twenty years until she was no longer economically viable. Then she was sold to a group of peacenik save the whales types for $57,000 in 1978 (about $250,000 in today’s money), probably more than what she was worth.

Rechristened Rainbow Warrior, she went on to cause seven years of heartburn for the Spanish, Japanese and the French (more on this later).

Well, the latter held a grudge for the group protesting their nuclear tests at Moruroa in French Polynesia in 1985 and launched Opération Satanique (talk about sweet op names). This amounted to two DGSE agents visiting the ship in New Zealand undercover as peaceniks for the purpose of intel which another two agents (Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart), trained combat swimmers, placing two limpet mines on the hull of the trawler over the engine room that they were reasonably sure would be unmanned at 11:30 at night.

Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour after bombing by French secret service agents. (Annual review 1993-1994 page 2) Accession #:

Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour after bombing by French secret service agents. (Annual review 1993-1994 page 2) Accession #:

Tragically, the ship took photographer Fernando Pereira down with her and the French were soon figured out when Kiwi investigators picked up Prieur and Mafart almost red-handed while ten of their support team made good their getaway.


rainbow warrior

The pair served two years in jail and while France has never issued an apology, the leader of the op, Lt. Col. Jean Luc Kister, now retired, did this weekend, calling the strike overkill.

“For us it was just like using boxing gloves in order to crush a mosquito,” he said,” it was a disproportionate operation, but we had to obey the order, we were soldiers.”

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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