It has been said that the Navy may control the seas, the Air Force may batter the enemy, but only the Army can occupy the enemy’s territory and by doing so inflict the ultimate defeat. However the Army would need to be transported across the Channel and would need the support of aircraft overhead. The cooperation of all arms in such an operation is what is meant by Combined Operations. After the evacuation of Dunkirk, plans soon began to be formulated for the eventual return which would be necessary to defeat Germany. At first Combined Operations were small scale raids by Special Service Troops, or as more commonly known, “commandos”, with intelligence gathering or sabotage as an objective.

As developments such as Landing Ships Infantry took place, this allowed larger scale raids to be undertaken. On August 19th 1942, the controversial Dieppe Raid was carried out. For whatever reason this raid was intended, it did show that if a full scale invasion of the Continent was to take place much better Assault tactics would be necessary. Exercise Kruschen was probably one of the first full scale set of trials carried out to investigate methods of driving the Germans out of their Concrete defences on the Atlantic Wall by the cooperation of a combined force of arms.

Top: Location of Exercise Kruschen, Westleton Walks. Bottom: 1945 aerial of the site, the anti-tank
ditch dug for the exercise can clearly be seen.

References for this series of posts:
A Hedgehog on the Heath: The Second War Landscape of Exercise ‘Kruschen’, Dunwich, Suffolk, R Liddiard & D Sims, 2012
Cracking Hitler’s Atlantic Wall, R.C Anderson Jr., Stackpole Books, 2010
The Dieppe Raid, R Neillands, Aurum Press Ltd, 2005
The Story of 79th Armoured Division, July 1945
The Turn of Tide, A Bryant, Collins, 1957
Vanguard of Victory – The 79th Armoured Division, D Fletcher, HMSO, 1984
British Tanks and Fighting Vehicles 1914-1945, B.T.White, Ian Allan, 1970
163 Brigade papers, TNA
591 Field Coy papers, TNA
Princess Louise Fusiliers papers, TNA
168 Field Regt papers, TNA
Exercise Kruschen, Brigadier O.M Wales, Conference on Landing Assaults, 24th May - 23rd June, 1943
German Defensive Doctrine, Lt Col Bell Burton, Conference on Landing Assaults, 24th May - 23rd June, 1943
Exercise Prelude papers, TNA
79th Armoured Div, organization, Equipment, Training – Part I, TNA
77 Assault Engineers papers, TNA
Ministry of Supply – Advisory Council on Scientific and Technical Development: Anti-concrete Committee, TNA
Research Secretariat: Notes on German Obstacles, TNA
We Defended Normandy, Lt.Gen H Speidel, Herbert Jenkins, 1951
German Coastal Defences, US Intelligence service, 1943
German Assault Troops of the First World War, S Bull, Spellmount, 2007
German Field Fortifications, G L Rottman, Osprey, 2008
German Field Works of Word War II, Bellona Publications, 1969

Bundersarchiv (Federal Archives)
UK Grid Reference Finder
Google Earth

I am indebted to Dr R Liddard and D Sims of the University of East Anglia for freely sharing their indepth knowlege of Exercise Kruschen


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