Most sucessful sabotage missions?

Oct 2015
I'm asking for the most sucessful sabotage missions. By sucessful I mean the effect of the sabotge is important. The saboteaurs getting away is also an indicator of sucess, if not an absolute requirement for success. I found a definition of sabotage online: any underhand interference with production, work, etc., in a plant, factory, etc., as by enemy agents during wartime or by employees during a trade dispute.
I think we can forget the part about trade disputes in this thread, we're talking about sabotage in a military context. I also think we have to limit it to one mission. I'm sure the attacks on trains and other communication in Northern France before the D-day were helpful, but I don't count it as one mission. There can be more than one explosion, but they have to be limited in time and space. An attack by a group who met and planned attacks happening on the same day is a good limitation. I think deciding on a few limitations is necessary in this thread to avoid anarchy. But the question can apply to any place and time in history, and the method can be explosives, fire, smashing something and many other methods. We still should limit it to sabotage by destruction of property. Sit-down strikes and other "soft" methods are for another thread

My candidate is the heavy water plant sabotage in Vemork in Norway on 16. February 1943. Norwegian heavy water sabotage - Wikipedia
The mission significantly delayed German nuclear capability during WWII. By nuclear I'm mainly thinking of electric power from nuclear power plants, but the Western powers couldn't at the time ignore the posibility of the Germans developing an atomic bomb either. It's also imprtant that all nine Special Operations Executive agents survived the mission (and the war).

Do you have any suggestions/candidates?
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Forum Staff
Aug 2016
My candidate is the heavy water plant sabotage in Vemork in Norway on 16. February 1943.
That's a good one - probably the most famous sabotage mission of the war, especially if we don't count the French resistance attacks on D-Day.

Oskar Schindler of "Schindler's List" fame, supposedly made very few artillery shells during the last year of the war, even though he was contracted to do so and had been given slave laborers for that purpose. I'm not sure if I believe that claim or not. The claim sounds fishy to me, but all I have are suspicions.


Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
From the Chronographia of Theophanes Confessor, referring to events in A.D. 653/4 (trans. Mango, Scott, Greatrex, 481-2):
"In this year Mauias [=the caliph Mu'awiya] commanded that a great naval armament should be made with a view to his fleet's sailing against Constantinople. The entire preparation was being made at Tripolis in Phoenicia. On seeing this, two Christ-loving brothers, the sons of a trumpeter,' who lived at Tripolis, were fired with a divine zeal and rushed to the city prison, where there was a multitude of Roman captives. They broke down the gates and, after liberating the captives, rushed to the emir of the city, whom they slew together with his suite and, having burnt all the equipment, sailed off to the Roman state."
Oct 2015
The low production of artillery shells by Oskar Schindler is and intelligent way of limiting German war production and probabably more efficient than many bombings in WWII, but it's not within the definintion of sabotage in this thread. Thanks for the suggestions so far. I think Stuxnet is an interestign modern example of sabotage. I get the feeling that "traditional" sabotage is getting rare, probably becaise of presicion bombing.