Since in recent years, there's been a lot more focus on the idea of Bond being an assassin, and since a lot is spoken about his 'license to kill' in general, I was curious to take a count of how many times, in the Fleming canon, was Bond actually sent out by M with explicit orders to kill someone i.e. how many 'assassination missions' did Bond actually undertake (or was said to undertake) in the Fleming canon?
Here's what I've come up with, based on my memory of all the stories.
-The first two assassination jobs Bond undertook (presumably during WW2) which earned him his 00 number, as recounted in Casino Royale. The first was a Japanese cipher clerk whom Bond killed with a sniper rifle in New York; the second was a Norwegian double agent in Stockholm whom Bond stabbed to death in his sleep.
-This is rather ambiguous, but in Live and Let Die, we are told that Bond was ordered by M to destroy Mr; Big's organization and possibly 'Mr. Big himself'. Are we to assume that M ordered Bond to kill Mr. Big? Or was he referring to simply destroying Mr. Big's organization and thus neutralizing (i.e. 'destroying') him as a threat?
-For Your Eyes Only of course. Granted, its an unofficial mission, but verbal subterfuge aside, its pretty unambiguous to everyone concerned that this is an assassination mission.
-The Living Daylights, possibly the most notable example, where Bond is ordered to kill 'Trigger'. Also probably the only time in the canon (that we know off) that Bond ends up NOT executing the target.
-Not sure if You Only Live Twice counts, since M didn't order Bond to kill anyone (Bond in fact, wasn't even a 00 at that point of time). However, Tiger Tanaka instead orders Bond to kill Shatterhand (alias Blofeld) and in agreeing to do so, Bond was technically fulfilling the mission M gave him.
-The Man with the Golden Gun of course, where Bond is reinstated into the Service pretty much so that he could take down Scaramanga.
Any other examples that elude me?