Combined Operations Headquarters
was a department of the British War Office
set up during World War II
to harass the Germans on the European continent by means of raids carried out by use of combined naval and army forces. Admiral of the Fleet Roger Keyes
was the first director, from 17 July 1940
to 27 October 1941
, replaced first by Lord Louis Mountbatten
and then Major General Robert Laycock
(October 1943-1947). The main forces used by Combined Operations were the Commandos
It comprised background staff whose job was to plan operations and to develop ideas and equipment to harass the enemy in any way possible. It also covered all those who worked with landing craft up to and including the Landing ships that were used in the various amphibious operations.
The badge of Combined Operations was an Eagle over a submachine gun over an anchor, reflecting the three service arms; the Royal Air Force, the British Army and the Royal Navy.
Among the projects undertaken by Combined Operations was the surveying of landing sites for invasions, including those of Sicily and Normandy
. These were carried out by Combined Operations Pilotage Parties
made up of members of the Royal Marines
and Special Boat Service