Ian Fleming's Commandos : The Story of 30 Assault Unit in the Second World War
The true story of Ian Fleming’s Second World War unit, the real-life inspiration for James Bond.
In 1942, Lieutenant-Commander Ian Fleming RNVR was personal assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence - the dynamic figure behind James Bond’s fictional chief, ‘M’. In the Admiralty, Fleming had a brilliant idea: why not set up a unit of authorised looters, men who would go in with front-line troops to steal enemy intelligence?
Known as ‘30 Assault Unit’, they took part in the landings in North Africa, Sicily and Normandy and helped liberate Paris. But 30AU really came into their own in Germany in 1945 and their final amazing coup was to seize the entire archives of the German Navy - over 300 tons of documents. Ian Fleming flew out in person to bring the loot back to Britain, where it was combed for evidence to use in the Nuremberg trials.
In this gripping and highly enjoyable book, Nicholas Rankin, author of the bestselling Churchill’s Wizards, puts 30 Assault Unit’s fascinating story in a strategic and intelligence context. He also argues that Ian Fleming’s Second World War service was one of the most significant periods of his life - without this, the most popular spy fiction of the twentieth century would not have been written.