Operation Biting, also known as the Bruneval Raid, was the codename given to a British Combined Operations raid on a German radar installation in Bruneval, France that occurred between 27â€“28 February 1942 during World War II. A number of these installations had been identified from Royal Air Force aerial reconnaissance during 1941, but their exact purpose and the nature of the equipment that they possessed was not known. However, a number of British scientists believed that these stations had something to do with the heavy losses being experienced by RAF bombers conducting bombing raids against targets in Occupied Europe. A request was therefore made by these scientists that one of these installations be raided and the technology it possessed be studied and, if possible, extracted and taken back to Britain for further study. Due to the extensive coastal defences erected by the Germans to protect the installation from a sea-borne raid, it was believed that a commando raid from the sea would only incur heavy losses on the part of the attackers, and give sufficient time for the garrison at the installation to destroy the WÃ¼rzburg radar set. It was therefore decided that an airborne assault, followed by sea-borne evacuation would be the ideal way to surprise the garrison of the installation and seize the technology intact, as well as minimise casualties inflicted on the raiding force.
On the night of 27 February, after a period of intense training and several delays due to poor weather, a small detachment of airborne troops under the command of Major John Frost parachuted into France a few miles from the installation. The force then proceeded to assault the villa in which the radar equipment was kept, killing several members of the German garrison and capturing the installation after a brief fire-fight. A technician that had come with the force proceeded to dismantle the WÃ¼rzburg radar array and remove several key pieces to take back to Britain, and the raiding force then retreated to the evacuation beach. The detachment assigned to clear the beach had failed to do so, however, and another brief fire-fight was required to eliminate the Germans guarding the beach. The raiding force was then picked up by a small number of landing craft and transferred to several Motor Gun Boats which took them back to Britain. The raid was entirely successful. The airborne troops suffered only a few casualties, and the pieces of the radar they brought back, along with a German radar technician, allowed British scientists to understand German advances in radar and to create counter-measures to neutralise those advances.