Audacious to the extreme, Operation Colossus was a raid in the early, dark days of the Second World War, when Britain stood seemingly alone. After the country's defeats in Western Europe in 1940, Prime Minister Winston Churchill insisted on an aggressive raiding campaign. Staged on February 10, 1941, Colossus was one such raid, meant to steal back the initiative and create as much chaos for Axis powers as possible. However, bad luck stalked the mission, as one mishap after another seemed to foredoom the operation. In the aftermath, there were recriminations as well as accolades. Few military operations have proven as controversial.