Times of Israel:
Declassifying records, author Leah Garrett uncovers amazing story of X Troop, a unit of German-speaking refugee volunteers determined to outwit and outfight the Nazis at all costs
X Troop is the fiercest British World War II commando force you have likely never heard of.
Formally known as “No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando, 3 Troop,” its 87 members were mainly Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria who were hell-bent on exacting revenge on the Nazis who had destroyed their families and home communities. Some commandos were themselves survivors of incarceration in Nazi concentration camps.
Sworn to secrecy about their true identities for their own safety, these brave young men assumed English noms de guerre. Only one person, a secretary at MI5, who worked in the casualty division, had access to the list of the men’s original names and places of origin.
After a year and a half of intensive training in Wales and Scotland, the X Troopers were assigned to the spearhead of Allied forces that invaded Europe and fought into the heart of the Third Reich. Utilizing advanced combat and counterintelligence techniques, and their native German language abilities, they undertook dangerous missions to infiltrate behind enemy lines. In battle, they captured and immediately interrogated the enemy, providing invaluable information to the advancing Allied armies.
The X Troopers never fought as a joint force. They were seconded individually or in small groups to various Allied troops and divisions. Over half of them were killed, wounded or went missing in action.
“Nothing was going to stop them,” said Leah Garrett, author of a new book about this highly selective and motivated unit, whose exploits have largely been lost to history due to their clandestine nature.
Published May 25, “X Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II” brings readers along on every step of these men’s journey from Central European teenagers to crack British commandos. The page-turning account is replete with heretofore unknown astounding feats thanks to the author’s success in declassifying long-sealed, top-secret British military records.