Force 399 (SOE) in Albania, WW2

Discussion in 'SOE & OSS' started by Bob Monkhouse, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. Bob Monkhouse

    Bob Monkhouse Junior Member

    Hi Guys,

    Can anyone shed any light on "Force 399", which from what I can tell was part of the SOE and headquatered in Bari, Italy, towards the end of WW2. Their name came up in conjunction with SBS operations in Albania (see WO 170/4012) and it is just that I have never heard of them before.


  2. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Have you looked at AIR20/8866 Albania : Operations Instructions There is also HS5/34 Bari H.Q. Military Mission Force 399 Personnel

    With HS5 Being an S.O.E. File I think your probably right.
  3. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    SOE sub unit Force 399 was set up after a meeting by "SOE London" in January 1944.At the meeting it was agreed that a HQ Special Operations Mediterranean (SOM) or SO (Med) be formed in Italy. Force 399 (Torment) and Force 399 would be sub units set up from this organisation. SOM [SO (Med)] was commanded by Major General W A M Stawell who had previously seen operations in Cairo when he succeeded Lord Glenconner during a crisis in September/October 1943.

    The forming of SOM [SO (Med)] was delayed until March 1944 due to the resistance of the C in C Middle East,who wished to retain control of the only active operations still within his spere,namely Greece,Bulgaria and Roumania.Throughout 1944,there was a series of reorganisations and arrangements which were subject to change repeatedly and in the end there were two Force 399 sub units namely;

    Force 399 (formerly 266) sub unit,responsible for Yugoslavia,Albania and Hungary and controlled by HQ Balkan Air Force.

    Force 399 (Torment ) sub unit responsible for Czeckoslovakia and Poland and controlled from SOE London.

    I would think that Force 399 (formerly 266) is the SOM [SO (Med)] sub unit you are searching for as it was controlled by HQ Balkans Air Force who I believe, had its HQ at Bari in Southern Italy.

    It is recorded that SOM [SO (Med)] had limited control over its sub units who looked to various commanders for operational directives but on the administrative side were well accustomed to to looking after themselves.

    Both SOE and OSS personnel were involved in SOM [SO (Med)] sub units and it is interesting to note that one sub unit,ISSU6 (Massingham) had responsibily for Southern France and was controlled by SHAEF (partly through the "Operation Anvil" force).

    Source.The Secret History of SOE
  4. Bob Monkhouse

    Bob Monkhouse Junior Member

    Excellent feedback, thanks a lot chaps.

  5. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

  6. ianmckenna

    ianmckenna Junior Member

    i've been trying to find out more about my father - maj wae mckenna, 2sas and soe. his soe file refers to him being assigned to force 399 as gso2 but then shortly after to force 133. i think he was involved in a lot of the planning of adriatic operations but the 133 appointment meant being in the 'field' in charge of 4000 italian partisans. that may have been called operation clarinola but it doesnt appear on the list of code names for that period. i have photos of him and his 4 man team that others may identify. sas association couldnt help. help
  7. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    I checked out operation Clarinola on the web and hit an SOE site which you have to join to view.

    Perhaps it will be worthwhile joining and signing up.

    Special Forces Roll Of Honour - Access denied.

    I wish you well on your investigations.


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