Cockleshell Heroes on Tour

Men of “L” Squadron SBS (Special Boat Squadron) investigate the ruins of the Acropolis in Athens, 13-14 October 1944. Note that three of the operators carry M1 Carbines while the fourth seems to have a more British BREN gun.

Offical caption, “Once inside the Acropolis, the troops take time off to examine these famous ruins of a former civilization. Photo by Johnson, Sergeant, No. 2 Army Film and Photo Section, Army Film and Photographic Unit. IWM Photo NA 19483.

When it comes to the fact that the Marines above are using American carbines, other British elite units in Greece at the time did the same thing, as referenced by this image of Paras from 5th (Scots) Parachute Battalion, 2nd Parachute Brigade, taking cover on a street corner in Athens during operations against members of ELAS, 6 December 1944.

IWM NA 20515

A good primer on the SBS in Greece, as well as other such units in the Med during WWII, is Brook Richard’s excellent “Secret Flotillas Vol II: Clandestine Sea Operations in the Western Mediterranean, North African & the Adriatic 1940-1944.” 

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