It’s not exactly a spoiler to say that the operation that took place on January 14, 1942, was ultimately a thorough success. All told, the entire mission spanned a total of 30 minutes, inspired no direct combat response from Axis forces in the immediate area, and resulted in no loss of lives whatsoever (all of which are contrary to the events as depicted in the film). The raid went off without any significant hitches and, as a result, proved beyond a doubt that Britain was willing and able to do whatever it takes to defeat the Nazis — even risking the wrath of the Spanish government. For their part, they denounced the theft of the ships as an attack on their sovereignty, but could never actually prove any British ties to the raid.

As for the participants, “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” similarly regales viewers with the results of their feats. March-Phillipps, Captain Graham Hayes (perhaps a loose inspiration for Henry Hayes in the movie), Appleyard, and Lassen all received commendations for their heroism, while numerous members of this division went on to perform multiple missions for the SOE throughout the rest of the war. Certain individuals were ultimately killed in action, others were captured and tortured for months, and still others mysteriously went missing, but it’s indisputable that the actions of those involved in Operation Postmaster may have shifted the balance of the entire war in the Allies’ favor. Be sure to keep that in mind while watching Guy Ritchie, his ensemble cast of A-listers, and the rest of the creative team do their thing on the big screen.

“The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” is now playing in theaters.

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