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British Commandos
Military Intelligence Service, Special Series No. 1, August 9, 1942
[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from a WWII U.S. War Department Special Series publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


Section I. Vaagso (Norway) Raid

24. General.—The following report of the British raid against Vaagso, Norway (see Map No. 1), on December 27, 1941, was made by the naval and military commanders of the naval force and commandos which carried out the operation. Important paragraphs and appendices of the report, dealing chiefly with signal communications and certain naval operations, have been omitted for reasons of security. Commanders of higher units in the field who may desire to make a more exhaustive study of the Vaagso operation should apply for the omitted material to the Chief, Military Intelligence Service, War Department, Washington, D.C.

Asterisks have been used in some instances to conceal British place names and names of individuals, and other minor editorial revisions have been made. Also for reasons of security, the following system of letters and numerals has been used instead of ships' names, unit designations, and British airfields:

Ships       Commandos      Commando troops      Airfields
Destroyer-A     (B)          (CA)    (D)
Destroyer-B     (BA)          (CB)    (DA)
Destroyer-C     (BB)          (CC)    (DB)
Destroyer-D     (BC)          (CD) 
Infantry Assault Ship-1           (CE) 
Infantry Assault Ship-2   

[Map No. 1: Vaagso (Norway) Raid, Dec. 27, 1941, Great Britain and Norway]

25. Report of Naval and Military Commanders Who Carried Out the Vaagso Raid:


Date  . . 2d January 1942                      No. * * *
              (Copy to: — Commodore, Combined Operations.)

1. The following report, by the Naval and Military Commanders, on Operation * * *,1 which was carried out on Saturday, 27th December 1941, is forwarded herewith.

2. The intention of Operation * * *1 was to carry out a raid on military and economic objectives in the vicinity of Vaagso Island with the object of harassing the coastal defenses of southwest Norway and diverting the attention of the enemy Naval and Air Forces from another operation.


3. The Naval and Military Commanders were appointed on 6th December 1941, which gave three weeks to plan and rehearse the operation. This is considered to be the absolute minimum time required. At least two full rehearsals should take place to allow timing and communications to be perfected. Weather conditions frequently make rehearsals impossible for days on end and this must be allowed for in the program.

4. After the preliminary meeting between the Force Commanders and the Air Advisor to the Commodore, Combined Operations, the plan was drawn up in London. It is strongly recommended that this procedure be followed in the future, as the London facilities for obtaining the latest intelligence and information of all kinds are so much better than those elsewhere.


5. (a) Naval.
         H.M.S. * * * (heavy cruiser) (Rear Admiral Commanding * * * Cruiser Squadron—Naval Commander)
         H.M.S * * * (Destroyer A) (Captain (D), * * * Flotilla).
         H.M.S. * * * (Destroyer B).
         H.M.S. * * * (Destroyer C).
         H.M.S. * * * (Destroyer D).
         H.M.S. * * * (Infantry Assault Ship 1).
         H.M.S. * * * (Infantry Assault Ship 2).

    (b) Military.
         Operational Headquarters, Special Service Brigade.
         Detachment of the Special Service Brigade Signal Section.
         All ranks of No. (B) Commando.
         Two troops (less one Section) of No. (BA) Commando.
         An R.A.M.C.2 detachment from No. (BB) Commando.
         An R.E.3 detachment from No. (BC) Comumando.
         Troops of the Royal Norwegian Army.
         Officers from the War Office (M.I. 9).4
         A Press Unit of correspouidents and photographers.
         TOTAL Military Personnel: 51 Officers. 525 Other Ranks.

    (c) Air Force.
         Ten Hampdens of * * * Squadron (for smoke laying and bombing).
         Blenheims (Fighter).
         Beaufighters (Protection).
         18 Blenheims of Bomber Command (for bombing diversion).

6. The Naval Force, with the exception of Destroyers A and D, assembled at a British naval base by 15th December, when embarkation of the Military was completed.

7. It was immediately arranged for Naval, Military, and Air Force Officers concerned to attend a conference on the cruiser to discuss the first rehearsal, known as Exercise "L" in order to counteract speculation.

8. Exercise "L" was carried out at dawn 17th December, when a landing was made under cover of a dummy bombardment and smoke laid by Hampden aircraft, on a small island of similar size to Maaloy Island, one of our final objectives. Much valuable experience was gained but communications could not be thoroughly exercised, as various equipment and personnel had not arrived in time.

9. On completion of Exercise "L" a conference was held on the cruiser to discuss the lessons learned. As a result of this meeting the Plan was revised and it was decided to carry out a final rehearsal—Exercise "L.2"—on 22nd December, when the revised plan and all communications could be thoroughly tested and exercised.

10. During the intervening period, the cruiser carried out a practice bombardment of a town with Hampden aircraft cooperating. This was a most valuable exercise.

11. Unfortunately, the weather prevented Exercise "L.2" being carried out in full but the cruiser and Hampden aircraft were able to complete their part of the final rehearsal. Other arrangements were made to test and exercise communications.

12. * * *

13. A final conference was held on the cruiser on this date, when outstanding points were settled. By this time, as a result of the conferences and rehearsals held, all concerned were familiar with the plan and general intentions down to the smallest detail.

14. The "Force" proceeded from a British naval base at 2115/24th December, arriving at another British port at 1330/25th December. Heavy weather was encountered on passage, and on arrival the assault ships discovered and reported various defects, including forward compartments flooded to a depth of about 14 feet.

15. The Naval and Military Commanders visited both ships. Pumps and equipment to carry out repairs were sent over from the cruiser, and a destroyer put alongside to assist in the pumping.

16. In order to make the assault ships as seaworthy as possible, and in view of the latest meteorological reports, it was decided at 1615 to postpone the operation for 24 hours.

17. All ships had been fully supplied with fuel and all repairs had been completed by 1400/26th December. The weather forecast was far more promising, and it was therefore decided to sail the "Force" at 1600 that day to carry out the operation at dawn 27th December 1941.


18. The passage across the North Sea commenced in bad weather. The Destroyers formed an A/S5 screen until moonset, after which the "Force" proceeded in single line ahead, in this order:

The cruiser, Destroyer D, the two assault ships, Destroyers A, C, and B.

19. As anticipated, the weather rapidly improved as the "Force" proceeded to the eastward, and conditions were perfect on arrival off the Norwegian coast.

20. On making landfall it was found that our position was exactly as estimated and great credit is due for the skillful navigation of the cruiser.

21. * * *

22. * * *

23. The "Force" entered Vaagso Fiord (see Map No. 2) on time apparently unobserved and it seems possible that the lookout post at the lighthouse was not manned. The cruiser moved over to the southern side of the Fiord while Destroyer D led the assault ships to the bay south of Hollevik as planned. Destroyer A closed on the cruiser's starboard quarter and Destroyer C closed astern the cruiser. Destroyer B remained near the entrance of the Fiord to cover the "Force" from the west.

[Map No. 2: Vaagso (Norway) Raid, Dec. 27, 1941, Port of Vaagso, Military and Industrial Targets]


24. Hampden aircraft timed their arrival in the area perfectly, keeping all the attention well "up" Fiord and drawing the fire of four or five light A.A. guns.

25. At 0842 Assault Ship 1 made the signal indicating that assault landing craft were formed up and moving ahead. The cruiser was moving ahead slowly, and at 0848, just before the line of fire opened, star shells were fired to burst over Maaloy Island when, half a minute later, the line of fire opened and the bombardment commenced.

26. Destroyer A drew ahead on the cruiser's disengaged side and joined in the bombardment when clear of the cruiser. Destroyer C, astern of the cruiser, also joined in the bombardment as her line of fire opened. The shooting of all three ships was of very high order.

27. The battery at Rugsundo, which had already been bombed by Hampden aircraft, opened fire on the cruiser at 0856. It was erratic and the rate of fire was low, but nevertheless it proved a great nuisance throughout our stay. The guns were thought to be smaller than 5.1-inch and were more probably about 4.7-inch. On bursting, the shell gave off a purple smoke, suggesting French origin.

28. At 0857¾ the "cease bombardment" signal was made by the Military in the assault landing craft now rapidly approaching their objectives. The naval bombardment of Maaloy Island thus came to an end and from reports received from the Military who landed on the Island, there is no doubt whatsoever that it had been completely successful.

29. At 0858 the cruiser, having changed over to full charges, opened fire on Rugsundo. After 2½ minutes the enemy guns were silenced. The smoke bombs, dropped by the Hampdens near Rugsundo, were by now effective and gave cover to our ships in the Fiord.

30. At 0858½ seven Hampden aircraft, showing great skill and dash, came in at very low altitudes to drop their smoke bombs. These were placed with great precision on Maaloy Island, and as a result the landing there was unopposed. The bombs were dropped on a front of approximately 250 yards, and, as there was practically no wind, gave a screen of ideal density in which visibility was some 15-20 yards.

31. The smoke bombs dropped at the landing place in South Vaagso were only 50 yards out of the desired position, but one of them most unfortunately struck a landing craft, setting it afire and causing some 20 casualties from burns.

32. Despite this serious accident it is considered that these bombs were of great value, for they enabled the troops to be put ashore with few casualties from the automatic weapons which were bringing fire to bear on the landing place and which might have inflicted even heavier losses had they been given a clear and unimpeded view of their targets.

33. It must here be noted that the aircraft which dropped the bombs at South Vaagso appeared to be on fire and not properly under control. It was almost certainly the Hampden bomber which later fell into the sea near the entrance to Vaagsfiord. If this was so, then the degree of accuracy achieved in placing of the bombs must have been the result of a very gallant attempt on the part of the crew of the aircraft to carry out in full their allotted tasks. Assault Ship 1 proceeded to the rescue, but unfortunately only one of the three members of the crew picked up survived.

34. One Hampden bomber which overshot the target attacked and silenced positions in the area with machine-gun fire.

35. It is regretted that one other Hampden failed to return from this operation.

36. Of the three Hampden bombers detailed to attack the Rugsundo battery, one had to return with engine trouble, but the other two carried out an attack, the results of which could not be observed from the cruiser but which were apparently very successful.


37. For the purpose of the operation, the military forces set out in paragraph 5 (b) were organized into the Operational Headquarters which remained throughout in the Flagship,6 with the Brigade Commander in close touch with the Naval Commander on the bridge, and the troops were put ashore in assault landing craft from the cruiser, the assault ships, and in ship's boats from Destroyer B.

The Forces ashore were divided into five groups for purposes which will become clear in the course of this report.

38. The detailed subdivision of the Military Force is set out in Appendix "A", the positioning within the Flagship of the Military Operational Headquarters is shown in Appendix "B", and the system of Naval, Military, and R.A.F. communications is described in Appendix "C".7

General Tasks of Each Group (see Map No. 2).

39. The purpose of Group 1 was to land near Hollevik and clear the Halnoesvik area where a German gun had been reported. Having accomplished this task, Group 1 was to move along the coastal road to South Vaagso and form a reserve for Group 2 unless given other orders.

Group 2, which was to be put ashore immediately southwest of South Vaagso, was to attack the town itself and carry out a number of military and industrial tasks.

Group 3 was to assault the Island of Maaloy.

Group 4 was retained as a floating reserve in the hands of the Military Commander of the Force.

Group 5 was to be landed from a destroyer on the western shore of Ulvesund in order to cut communications between South and North Vaagso and to send a fighting patrol into the latter village.

The Landings

40. At 08319 the assault ships lowered all landing craft, which moved off in formation about three minutes later. In little more than five minutes No. 1 Group was ashore at Halnoesvik and the landing craft of Nos. 2 and 3 Groups were moving toward the headland just south of Halnoesvik Village.

41. Just before the landing craft came into view of the enemy defences in South Vaagso and Maaloy Island, the cruiser opened fire. The Naval bombardment was extremely accurate and most effective, and Lieutenant Colonel X, Who was in command of Group 2 as well as being the Senior Officer, proceeding ashore, was able to let the landing craft of Groups 2 and 3 approach to within 100 yards of their landing place before sending up the "cease bombardment" signal of 10 RED Very Lights. RED rockets were immediately fired from the cruiser as a signal to the Hampden aircraft, who then came in at very low altitudes to drop their smoke bombs. As a result of these bombs, Group 3 completed their landing unopposed and the volume of fire brought to bear on Group 2 was considerably reduced.

The Operations Ashore

42. Groups Nos. 2 and 3 landed almost simultaneously, and from that time onward the sequence of events was as follows:

43. Group 1 cleared the area and village of Halnoesvik very rapidly and signalled the Headquarters Ship for instructions. They were at once ordered to move along the coastal road and to come into reserve at Lieutenant-Colonel X's Headquarters, which were situated near Group 2's landing place. This signal was made at 0950.

44. Group 3 very quickly gained control of Maaloy Island, where those enemy troops who had not been killed by the Naval bombardment were for the most part demoralized and dazed by its effect and quickly surrendered. At 0920 Major * * * was able to signal that all guns on the Island were in our hands and four minutes later he reported that the whole area was under control. Destroyer B, carrying Group 5 and followed by Destroyer A, moved past Maaloy some 10 minutes later, as soon as the smoke had cleared sufficiently for them to do so, and entered Ulvesund.

45. Group 2, from the start, encountered very stiff opposition, both from German infantry who fought to the last man in the buildings in which they were established, and from snipers, armed often with automatic rifles, who took up positions on the hillside west of the town where they were very difficult to locate owing to the excellent natural cover. It must be emphasized that the opposition in South Vaagso was severe in degree and skillful in quality. It appears from the interrogation of prisoners that the garrison had been augmented by a detachment who had been moved into the town for Christmas, but, however that may be, there is no doubt that the fighting spirit, marksmanship, and efficiency of the enemy in this area was of a high order.

46. At 1020 Group 5 were landed just south of the village of North Vaagso. They cratered the coast road between North and South Vaagso and were able to capture a number of men who had escaped ashore from ships attacked by Destroyers B and A. A fighting patrol, which was sent forward into North Vaagso directly the Group had landed, collected the chief Quisling, took over the telephone exchange, and, before leaving, wrecked the instruments.

47. In the meanwhile, Group 3 had been instructed (0925) to send a party by landing craft to destroy the herring-oil factory at Mortenes, and at 1015 Captain * * * landed with his troop in the area of the factory and completed its destruction without meeting opposition.

48. At 1000 the situation in South Vaagso was not clear at Force Headquarters, since at that time little information had been received from Group 2. The lack of news was due partly to the early destruction of two No. 188 wireless sets, which is referred to later, and to the restrictions on visual signalling in the town. The Brigade Major accordingly spoke to Lieutenant-Colonel X on the wireless and was told that the firing had died down at the southern end of the town, that it was thought that opposition was nearly at an end, and that the more southerly demolition tasks would be started almost immediately. Lieutenant Colonel X said that he was going forward to reconnoiter and would report again in a few minutes.

At 1015 a signal was received from Group 2 saying that they could make use of the reserve troop, if available, to help in the clearing of South Vaagso. One section of Group 4 was therefore sent in at once with instructions to report immediately whether or not the second section was required.

At 1020 a signal was received from Group 2 saying that the situation in the northern end of South Vaagso was not clear and reporting that wireless sets of the forward troops had been destroyed (one, it was later learned, by a bullet and the other by fire when the smoke bomb struck the landing craft). This signal was immediately followed by another reporting "fairly strong opposition being encountered in center and north end of Vaagso" and requesting that the whole of Group 4 should be sent to the Group 2 landing place. The second section of Group 4 was sent at once to follow the first, which by now had almost reached the landing place at South Vaagso.

49. By now (1030) Group 2 were in fact in the midst of very bitter street fighting and were pushing steadily on from house to house. Their casualties were particularly severe in their effect because, in so many cases, it was the officers and senior N.C.O.'s who had been either killed or wounded. For instance, out of the six officers of Nos. (CB) and (CC) Troops, who were the leading troops in the town, two were killed and three wounded, those killed being in each case the Troop Commanders.

50. As soon as Group 4 arrived, the Commander, Captain * * * reported to Lieutenant Colonel X and was ordered to support No. (CB) Troop, who were held up on the left flank, on the northern side of the town. Ten minutes later Group 1 arrived from Halnoesvik (1040) and was sent to support No. (CC) Troop in their drive through the center of the town and along the water front. A signal had in the meanwhile been made from Force Headquarters to Group 3 on Maaloy Island instructing them to find out from Group 2 in what way they could assist the operations in South Vaagso. As a result, Group 2 requested, and was immediately sent, No. (DD) Troop (less one section) under the Command of Captain * * *.

At the same time (1040) a signal was made to No. 5 Group ordering them to move southwards from their position near North Vaagso so as to close on the rear of the enemy in South Vaagso.

At 1100 Lieutenant-Colonel X was asked by Force Headquarters whether he required, or could make use of, support from a destroyer. He replied in the negative to this suggestion.

51. While this situation was developing in South Vaagso, No. (CA) Troop (which, together with Nos. (CB) and (CC) Troops comprised Group 2) had been carrying out its allotted tasks. These were: to supply a detachment for the protection of the landing place, another for the location and destruction of an antiaircraft gun reported at the southwest corner of South Vaagso, and a third which was to undertake the main demolitions. Accordingly, Captain * * * with a small Headquarters party immediately entered the canning factory close to the landing place and discovered the most prominent Quisling of the town hiding in the cellar. Another party under Lieutenant * * * climbed the hill to the west of the town and, from the top, searched the area to the southwest as far as Halnoesvik and to the north as far as the dam which supplies power to the electric light station. The third party, under command of Lieutenant * * *, attacked a light machine gun on the hillock close to the landing place until it withdraw into the town, unloaded the demolition stores from the landing craft, and then joined up with Captain * * * in a search of the buildings in the immediate neighborhood. When this was completed. Lieutenant * * * who was wounded in the elbow soon after disembarking but who continued in charge of his detachment for the remainder of the operation, proceeded to prepare the first factory for demolition. Captain * * * took his Headquarters' detachment forward into the town, where he assumed command of the remnants of No. (CC) Troop, all of whose officers were by then casualties, and reported to Lieutenant-Colonel X.

52. It was now 1100 and the situation in South Vaagso was as follows: The original troops of Group 2 had suffered heavy casualties and were operating in small parties, very determinedly and often under the leadership of junior N.C.O.'s, but making only slow progress against the German infantry posts and snipers from the hillside. Groups 1 and 4 had arrived and had been sent forward into the town as reinforcements, and No. (CD) Troop (less one section) had landed from Maaloy Island. Lieutenant-Colonel X now went forward with Captain * * * the Commander of No. (CD) Troop to Lieutenant * * *, the Commander of No. (CE) Troop, and Captain * * *, the Commander of No. (CA) Troop, and took control of the situation. His two orderlies were both wounded, but with great coolness and complete disregard for personal safety, he reorganized his forces and directed a northward drive through the town until, when he judged the situation to be well in hand, he left Captain * * *, the Commander of No. (CD) Troop, in charge and returned to his Headquarters at 1145 to report progress to the Flagship. Under this Captain the operation continued satisfactorily until all enemy opposition was silenced; until the industrial targets were covered; and until all demolitions were in progress.

53. After reporting to Force Headquarters, Lieutenant-Colonel X returned to the operations in the town and at 1230 was able to make a signal to the effect that resistance was nearly overcome but that he could not forecast the time at which all tasks would be completed. It was known at Force Headquarters by now that the majority of the industrial targets had been destroyed; and it could be seen that landing craft were becoming considerably dispersed in their work of ferrying wounded prisoners and loyalists back to the assault ships. This work was made more difficult by the intermittent air attacks which were taking place and by the necessity of holding off from the ships while they manoeuvred. Thus it was apparent that the organisation of the withdrawal might take a considerable time, and the Military Commander accordingly suggested to the Naval Commander that reembarkation should begin. The Naval Commander was in agreement and signals were then made to all ships and Military Groups at 1250.

54. Lieutenant-Colonel X held a short conference of Troop and Detachment Commanders in the middle of the town and issued orders for the withdrawal. Captain * * * the Commander of No. (CA) Troop, was to endeavor to destroy the Firda Factory, the last industrial target remaining undemolished, by 1310. Captain * * *, the Commander of Group 4, was to withdraw his group at once and was to search for wounded on the way back and to remove all documents from the dead; and Lieutenant * * * with Group 1 and the details of No. (CC) Troop was to follow Group 4.

55. In the meanwhile, Group 5, whose southward move along the coast road had been delayed by the shelling from merchant shipping which had run themselves aground on the western shores of Ulvesund and by the capture of fugitives from the "Normar," were ordered by Headquarters to reembark to the north of South Vaagso in Destroyer B.

56. The withdrawal of all Groups was carried out without opposition, and if any enemy troops were left alive in the neighborhood of South Vaagso, they did not disclose themselves by resuming fire. Captain * * * of No. (CA) Troop, set the Firda Factory ablaze before returning through the town, and at 1330 Lieutenant * * * demolished the Seternes Lighthouse before disposing his detachment to cover the reembarkation of the last remaining parties. Lieutenant-Colonel X returned with the last landing craft, from which at 1408 he made the signal that all troops had left the shore.

57. The reembarkation had been completed and all landing craft hoisted by 1434.

58. In considering the course of the operation particular attention is drawn to the following factors both of which had important bearings on the course of the fighting: in the first place, the hampering effect of the desire to comply strictly with the orders which had been issued to avoid all possible damage to Norwegian property; and in the second place, the conflicting claims of the comparatively short time limit imposed by the whole nature of the operation, and of the restrictions on speed which are inherent in all street fighting conducted against determined opposition.

59. It here requires mention that the opposition was overcome, and all the demolition tasks completed, often under heavy enemy fire, well within the time limits laid down and that such results could not possibly have been obtained had it not been for the personal leadership of Lieutenant-Colonel X, and for the sense of discipline, initiative, and courage that was shown time and again by junior leaders, both officers and N.C.O.'s.

Tasks Completed

60. The lists of prisoners and Quislings captured and loyal Norwegians embarked for transfer to this country is contained in Appendix "D". It is estimated that at least 150 Germans were killed in South Vaagso and Maaloy by Naval, Army, and R.A.F. Forces, in the course of the operations.

Tasks Completed—Continued

61. The tasks executed on shore were as follows:

(i) All German Offices were burnt or demolished.

(ii) The W/T9 Station and mast were destroyed.

(iii) The German car and truck garage was destroyed.

(iv) One German tank of 10 to 15 tons was entirely destroyed.

(v) Four coast-defense guns and one antiaircraft gun on Maaloy Island were blown up.

(vi) The oil tanks on Maaloy Island were cut by explosives.

(vii) The ammunition store on Maaloy Island was demolished.

(viii) The German barracks and Headquarters on Maaloy Island were burnt out by the initial Naval bombardment.

(ix) A searchlight and generator were blown up on Maaloy Island.

(x) A beach-mine store was destroyed.

(xi) A telephone-cable hut was destroyed.

(xii) All huts used as billets by German soldiers, both in South Vaagso and Maaloy, were burnt down.

(xiii) The Ulvesund Hotel, entirely occupied by German soldiers and held as a strong point, was burnt down.

(xiv) The mechanism of Seternes Lighthouse was destroyed.

(xv) The road was cratered between North and South Vaagso.

(xvi) The telephone exchange was taken over and the apparatus smashed.

(xvii) The building and plant of the main canning factory in South Vaagso were entirely destroyed by explosives.

(xviii) The herring oil factory at Mortenes was entirely destroyed by explosives and fire.

(xix) The Firda Factory was set on fire and left blazing.

(xx) A smaller canning factory and herring oil factory were set on fire and the plant damaged by explosives (not yet confirmed).


62. During this period the assault ships and Destroyer D had moved across to the south side of the Fiord to obtain cover in accordance with the pre-arranged plan.

63. The first sortie of Blenheims arrived shortly before 0930 while Destroyers B and A were taking up position to enter Ulvesund, but it was not possible to establish reliable R/T10 communication with them. (Maaloy Island was now in our hands but the smoke was still too thick for the destroyers to pass through Maaloysund.)

64. Two minutes later, at 0932, Rugsundo battery reopened fire on the cruiser, who hotly engaged with "A" and "B" turrets and again silenced the guns, which did not re-open fire until 1308.

65. By 0930 the smoke screen across the Rugsundo line of fire was thinning and Destroyer D was ordered to reinforce with smoke floats and funnel smoke, while moving fast. She did this well and also engaged the battery with a few salvos.

66. At 0945 Maaloysund was sufficiently clear for the destroyers to proceed. Destroyer B followed by Destroyer A entered Ulvesund. Further reference to their activities in this area are to be found in paragraphs 81 to 94.

67. The first enemy aircraft appeared at 1005. when two ME.109's11 came in and immediately engaged two of our Blenheims, one of which was shot down two minutes later. This Blenheim would possibly not have been lost, and the mortality among German aircraft later in the day, would probably have been higher if efficient R/T communication between ship and aircraft could have been established and maintained.

68. Quite apart from the need for efficient communication it was apparent that two R.A.F. Officers should be carried in the Headquarters ship with the sole duties of concentrating on the air situation and directing the fighters. The ideal would be to have officers personally known to the Fighter Pilots and for these officers to have carried out rehearsals from the Headquarters ship.

69. The cruiser fired occasional salvos at Rugsundo battery, to check gun range, and to discourage any attempt to get their guns functioning again.

70. The second sortie (Beaufighters) arrived at 1015 and about 25 minutes later was in pursuit of the first two enemy bombers, JU.88's,12 to put in an appearance. These two aircraft never got within range of the cruiser's guns. Only intermittent R/T communication could be established with the Beaufighters.

71. At 1100 the cruiser opened fire, at long range, on two ME.109's, who quickly turned away and disappeared to the South.

72. During this period the position regarding merchant shipping in Ulvesund had not been clarified, so it was decided to send in the cruiser's motor dingy, with Lieutenant * * *, R.N., in charge, to investigate and report. After entering Maaloysund this boat was heavily fired upon, caught fire, and burnt out. The crew were rescued by a support landing craft. Midshipman * * *, Royal Navy, being slightly wounded in the leg.

73. About noon a small number of enemy bombers were sighted to the northwards, but no attack developed at this stage.

74. During the period since the bombardment of Maaloy Island had been completed, Destroyer C had been protecting the Force from the west, and shortly after noon reported a Merchant Ship and Armed Trawler Escort proceeding to Vaagsfiord from the north. She was ordered to capture them if possible, and Destroyer D ordered to support her. Unfortunately, in spite of all efforts the Merchant Ship—S S. "Anhalt"—beached herself and the Escort Vessel endeavoured to escape.

75. Destroyer C proceeded to chase and engage the Armed Trawler "Donner," securing several hits. The crew abandoned ship but the vessel continued to steam out to sea at 10 knots. Destroyer C, proceeding to get alongside the Trawler, dropped a Carley Float and two rafts when passing near 10 or 15 of the crew who were in the water.

76. On arrival alongside the Trawler a small party was put on board with orders to stop the ship. Owing to a fire in the engine room this was not possible until Destroyer C again closed and played hoses into her engine room. The Trawler was then searched. Two Oerlikon guns and one Maxim gun were transferred to Destroyer C.

77. Insufficient fuel and lack of air to start engines prevented this vessel from being captured. Scuttling charges were fired at 1420 and the vessel left well out to sea and on fire from stem to stern. Search was then made for survivors and five out of a total of 25 were recovered. One of these, however, died later and was buried at sea.

78. During this period Destroyer D had closed the Merchant Ship ("Anhalt") and, using loud hailer, ordered the crew, in German, to bring their boats alongside. They were told that if the order was disobeyed, they would be fired on. The boats disregarded the warning and pulled for the shore, only a few yards distant. Destroyer D immediately opened fire and sank one boat. The other, although hit, succeeded in escaping inshore while Destroyer D was engaged with enemy aircraft.

79. It was at this time, 1236, that all ships became engaged with enemy bombers. Several formations, generally consisting of two or three Heinkels, were driven off and their bombs dropped wide. At about 1245 smoke was seen to pour from the port engine of one aircraft of a formation of three HE.111 bombers13 which were being hotly engaged by the cruiser and Destroyer A. The aircraft then lost height but was not seen to crash.

80. These raids continued until about 1300 and shortly afterwards Rugsundo battery re-opened fire. The cruiser immediateIv replied from "X" and "Y" turrets and with 4-inch. The cruiser was hit by one round on the armor belt and a few minutes later a near miss abreast the Port Torpedo Tubes slightly wounded one rating.14 At 1317 the cruiser received a hit which burst and holed her about 10 ft. aboVe the water line abreast the bridge. Rugsundo battery was then finally silenced.

Destroyers A and B in Ulvesund

81. Having received the signal that Maaloy island was in our hands and Maaloysund clear, the destroyers passed through the narrows and entered Ulvesund at 0941. A good deal of light fire was directed at the ships and Destroyer B sustained three minor casualties.

82. When clear of the smoke, the German S.S. "Regmar Edzard Fritzen," S.S. "Normar," and Armed Trawler "Fohn" were observed proceeding so as to beach themselves in the small bay immediately to the north of Brandhaunnes Point. A sketch showing the approximate position is attached as Appendix "E"15 Shots were fired across their bows and their upper decks were swept with Oerlikon fire but they had gained sufficient time to succeed in their project.

83. Destrover B proceeded up Ulvesund and landed Group 5 at 1007. Two ME.109's were in the vicinity, one of which attacked Destroyer B with cannon fire but obtained no hits.

84. A party from Destroyer A, with Lieutenant Commander * * *, D.S.C., R.N., in charge and assisted by Lieutenant * * *, R.N.V.R., boarded "Fohn" at 1008. Rifle fire from this Armed Trawler was directed at their boat on the way in, but this was effectively stopped by Lewis gunfire from Destroyer A. On boarding the Fohn it was found that the Captain was dead but the crew had escaped onto the road, only 30 yards from the shore. Lieutenant Commander * * * and a party then boarded the S.S. "Regmar Edzard Fritzen," whose crew had also scrambled ashore. Subsequently 17 members of these two crews were captured.

85. Destroyer B who had now moved south, nearer to Destroyer A, boarded S.S. "Normar." This ship was afterwards sunk by Destroyer A.

86. Destroyer A then returned to the town anchorage to support our advancing troops and to board the Dutch ship "Eismeer" which had been abandoned after drifting on a rock in midstream. She was later sunk by gunfire from Destroyers A and B.

87. Destroyer B was ordered to deal with "Regmar Edzard Fritzen" and "Fohn." Both ships were completely destroyed.

88. During this period Boarding Parties came under fire from snipers ashore and it is regretted that the stroke oar of Destroyer A's whaler was killed. The background of snow and black rock enabled the snipers to conceal their positions most successfully. Destroyer A, however, used her main armament, pom-pom and Oerlikons, at intervals to keep down the fire.

89. While Destroyer A was boarding "Eismeer", a Merchant Ship was seen to enter Ulvesund from the northward under her own steam and with a tug in company. The Merchant Ship evidently thinking she was in good company flashed her name "Anita L. M. Russ" to Destroyer B who was lying off North Vaagso re-embarking part of Group 5. Both Merchant Ship and tug proceeded down Ulvesund. It was not possible for Destroyer B to send a Boarding Party as all her boats were inshore and it was not considered practicable to close alongside in view of the very confined waters and the fast speed at which the enemy ships were proceeding. Destroyer B was maneuvered stern on so as to avoid being rammed, should this be attempted. It was obviously a complete surprise and no doubt something of a shock to the crews of these two ships when they saw the White Ensign.

90. Immediately after passing Destroyer B the tug turned hard to port and ran aground on the eastern shore. At the same time the merchantman turned hard to starboard and, proceeding at full speed, ran ashore onto the South Grandhaunnes Point.

91. Destroyer A opened fire on the "Anita L. M. Russ" just as she was beached. She caught fire and sank stern first, a little later. Destroyer B destroyed the tug.

92. Shortly afterwards, at noon, two ME.109's were in the vicinity and passed close over Destroyer B. They were engaged with pom-poms and Oerlikons, and hits were observed on one of them. Destroyer B then rejoined Destroyer A and proceeded to re-embark the remainder of Group 5 with their prisoners, while Destroyer A gave cover with supporting fire.

93. While No. 5 Group were being re-embarked snipers were very troublesome. Their stronghold was bombarded and sprayed with all armaments from both destroyers, and as a result no further trouble was experienced from that quarter.

94. On completion of their tasks, Destroyer A and Destroyer B proceeded southwards through Maaloysund and rejoined the Force in Vaagsfiord at 1356.

95. To cover the re-embarking of troops. Destroyer D was ordered to lay another smoke screen to mask Rugsundo.

96. Destroyer A and Destroyer B having rejoined the Force in Vaagsfiord were detailed to fire a few more salvos to keep Rugsundo quiet while the cruiser was re-embarking her troops.

97. All troops were re-embarked and a Naval Surgeon transferred from the cruiser to Assault Ship 1 to assist with their casualties. The Force then commenced the withdrawal at 1445.


98. At 1202, 13 Blenheims from No. * * * Squadron, each carrying four 250-lb. G.P. bombs16 and some 4-lb. incendiaries attacked from a height of 250 feet the airdrome at Herdla (see map No. 1). Many hits were observed on the timber runways and an enemy fighter was seen to turn over while taxying. P.R.U.17 photographs taken immediately after the attack confirmed that there were at least 20 new bomb craters on the airdrome.

99. It is to be regretted that two Blenheims were lost from this Squadron due to a collision after bombing; both aircraft fell into the sea. It is probable that this happened because one of them was hit by flak.

100. Six Blenheims from No. * * * Squadron, each armed with two 500-lb. bombs, left * * * at 0850 to patrol off the Norwegian Coast southwards from Obrestad. After keeping together to a point 2 miles southwest of Eigeroe the leader and one other aircraft carried out an attack on a single ship of 1,500 tons, while the remaining four proceeded towards a convoy observed 4 miles further south.

101. In the attack on the single ship one of the leader's bombs was observed to burst close to the stern, from which rose a column of black smoke. The second aircraft got caught in the leader's slipstream, one wing touched the sea, and the pilot had to jettison his bombs. Both these aircraft returned safely.

102. None of the four aircraft which turned South to attack the convoy has returned to Base, but a number of explosions were seen round the convoy and one ship was observed to be sinking rapidly with her stern well out of the water. There is no evidence to show how these four aircraft became casualties, but one was seen to make a good landing in the sea with the port engine on fire, while another crashed into the sea after being attacked by a fighter.


103. Fighter protection over the Force was provided from 0928 until 1615 by Blenheim and Beaufighter aircraft * * *. Five sorties were made from two British airfields as follows:
       1st sortie—4 Blenheims;
       2d sortie—4 Beaufighters;
       3d sortie—3 Beaufighters;
       4th sortie—3 Beaufighters;
       5th sortie—4 Beaufighters.
With the exception of the fourth, enemy aircraft were encountered by each sortie and a satisfactory toll taken of them.

104. One section of Blenheims of * * * Squadron of the first sortie was attacked by ME.109F's18 at 1012; one Blenheim was seen to crash in flames near Rugsundo and the other aircraft was damaged and the Observer and Gunner wounded; this aircraft subsequently crash-landed at a British airfield at 1145. The other two Blenheims (* * * Squadron) returned safely to another home field.

105. Four Beaufighters of * * * Squadron made the second sortie; they sighted one ME.109, which made off, and drove off a JU.88. At 1215 one section was attacked by ME.109's; one Beaufighter was seen by the leader to spin; this aircraft failed to return.

106. Three Beaufighters of * * * Squadron formed the third sortie and 58 minutes after relieving the second sortie at 1203 they attacked a formation of HE.111's; our aircraft attacked and claimed as destroyed one HE.111 and another as damaged and on fire. One Beaufighter was seen to break away and wobble; this aircraft did not return to base.

107. Four Beaufighters of * * * Squadron carried out the final sortie. An enemy formation of three HE.111's escorted by two ME.109's, which approached the Force in V formation, broke formation as a result of heavy and accurate gunfire at 1500, and were then attacked by the Beaufighters; two of our aircraft each claimed one HE.111 destroyed. All four Beaufighters returned safely to their home field.


108. The destroyers were ordered to proceed out of the Fiord and form a screen for the assault ships and the cruiser, which left last. The cruiser stopped off the entrance and fired 15 rounds of 6-inch, at point-blank range, at the Merchant Ship "Anhalt", and she was left aground and burning fiercely.

109. A few minutes later, at about 1500, when ships had just cleared the Fiord, a formation of Heinkel bombers came in to attack. The aircraft were hotly engaged by the cruiser and destroyers with the result that the formation broke up and their sticks of bombs fell wide.

110. Destroyer B was detached to search for the crew of the Hampden reported by the Commander in Chief, * * * , to be down in the sea some 50 miles southwest of our position. It is much regretted that this search proved fruitless.

111. The Force was formed up and proceeding at 14½ knots by 1600, when our escort of Beaufighters had to break away and return to their base.

112. During dusk and in bright moonlight, at 1649 a single enemy aircraft was detected by the cruiser closing the Force, and shortly afterward the cruiser fired 6-inch blind barrage on starboard beam and the aircraft drew off.

113. A quarter of an hour later an aircraft was detected approacliing from astern. A blind barrage was again used but a stick of bombs fell close on Assault Ship 1's starboard bow, astern of the cruiser.

114. During the attacks mentioned in paragraphs 112 and 113 the Force executed emergency turns to starboard. When darkness fell, a large alteration of course was made and the Force arrived at * * *,19 without further incident, at 1600, 28th December 1941.


115. Throughout the operation the medical arrangements worked smoothly, though owing to the cruiser's movements in engaging shore batteries and aircraft it was not found possible to embark her proportion of the wounded. A medical Officer was, however, transferred to Assault Ship 1 to assist there.

116. A total of 71 wounded were treated on board H.M. Ships, including prisoners and Norwegians, and it is satisfactory to note that Hospital Ships at the Base who subsequently received the wounded all reported on the high standard of treatment that had been given before discharge to Hospital.


The Weather Factor

117. The successful execution of the plan finally depends on the following:

(i) Precision navigation throughout.

(ii) Exact Pilotage during final run-in.

(iii) Correct timing for ships and aircraft.

Taking in account the vagaries of the weather on and off the Norwegian Coast and the average Winter conditions in the North Sea, it is thought that a Force setting out in what appeared to be favorable weather would, once in every four occasions, fail to find their objective within a reasonable margin of time. Of the remaining three occasions, a snow squall or heavy rainstorm during the final run-in may well upset the timing of the whole operation with serious results.

Exercise "L.2" clearly demonstrated that if the locality was blotted out at any time between Zero -15 and Zero +20 minutes, the chance of the operation proceeding according to plan was remote.

Air Support

118. Conditions may easily arise when Surface Forces can sail while Air Forces are unable to take off. When air support is an integral part of the plan, it is important that notice of cancellation of air support should be given in sufficient time to allow Surface Forces to withdraw unobserved.

119. * * *

Treatment of German Merchant Ships

120. The experience gained with German Merchant Ships confirms that nothing short of complete ruthlessness is likely to be understood, or to achieve its object. In one case when the crew had taken to the boats they were warned in German, by loud hailer, that if they did not proceed alongside the destroyer they would be fired on; whereupon they pulled for the shore. All experience goes to show that German Captains have the strictest orders to render useless or destroy their ships at all costs and to abandon ship. The possibility of capture unless forced to abandon ship in a panic is therefore remote.

Bombardment Charges

121. The success of the bombardment of Maaloy Island was mainly due to the use of Bombardment Charges. In an operation of this nature involving bombardment at close range to cover a Military landing, it is most important that Bombardment Charges should be supplied in adequate quantity and in sufficient time to enable a practice bombardment to be carried out.

Floating Reserve

122. It is considered that the provision of a Floating Reserve is an essential requirement, even in small-scale combined operations. Though the Floating Reserve may only be a comparatively small body, it does at least give the Military Commander a detachment with which he can either send direct assistance to the troops on the shore or send to meet or delay some unexpected threat. Without such a body the Military Commander is at a very serious disadvantage. More often than not the Infantry Assault Ships will be unable to provide the accommodation required, and if this is so, arrangements should be made, if possible, for the Floating Reserve to take passage in a warship. The value of such a reserve was more than proved in this operation.

Value of Smoke

123. The smoke bombs dropped by the R.A.F. were most effective and their use should be carefully considered during the planning of any operation which involves a landing at or after dawn.

Arming of Assault Landing Craft and Support Landing Craft

124. All Assault Landing Craft employed in the operation were ordered to have Bren guns mounted and ready for instant use. In view of the very small proportion of Support Landing Craft which can usually be afforded it is recommended that every Assault Landing Craft should to some extent be regarded as its own Support Landing Craft. If this is accepted, some form of protective shield, and a permanent fixture on which 2-inch or 3-inch mortars could be mounted, should be incorporated in their design. The provisions of such additions would not in any way diminish the value or the need for Support Landing Craft.

Maintenance of Communications

125. The need for good communications, particularly in a combined operation, requires no emphasis. Difficulties may arise, however, in maintaining both visual and wireless touch when Naval considerations require the Headquarters Ship to move to a position which interposes high ground between it and the shore wireless and visual stations. Such a situation arose during the operation while the cruiser was repelling air attack, but was rectified at the first possible moment.

120. The lesson appears to be that it is the duty of the Military Commander to report immediately the fact that communications have been broken, so that the Naval Commander, aware of the Military implications, can move the Ship into a more favorable position as soon as the Naval operations permit.

In addition the Staff must be prepared to pass urgent Military signals through another ship which is in touch with the shore.


127. Each Force Commander will forward a separate report of recommendations for awards, but in the meanwhile they would like to draw particular attention to the conduct of the Press Unit who went ashore. with the Force, and who, so far from hindering the operations. were on several occasions of great assistance in bringing back wounded and in carrying information.

               - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - (Signed) Brigadier.
               - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - (Signed) Rear Admiral.


Appendix "A"—Details of the Military Force

Appendix "B"—Organization of Military Operational Headquarters on board the cruiser.

Appendix "C"—Communications—Part I Naval, Part II Military. (Excerpts only.)

Appendix "D"—List. of Prisoners and Loyalists.

Appendix "E"—Sketch showing approximate position of Merchant Shipping in Ulvesund. (Not available.)

Appendix "F"—Sketch Map showing Military and Industrial targets (Map No. 2).

Appendix "G"—List of German Ships Destroyed.

26. Appendices.—a. Details of military force:



Details of the Military Force

H.M.S. * * * (Cruiser)
Brigade Headquarters:
       Military Commander  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Brigadier * * *
       Brigade Major  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Major * * *
       Intelligence Officer  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Captain * * *
       Other ranks20  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Four
Brigade Signal Section:
       Officer Commanding  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Captain * * *, R. Sigs.
       Other Ranks  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Eleven
No. 4 Group:
       Officer Commanding  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Captain * * *
       Officers  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Two
       Other Ranks  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Sixty-four
H.M.S. * * * (Assault Ship 1)
Group 2:
       Officer Commanding  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Lieutenant-Colonel * * *
       Officers  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Fourteen
       Other Ranks  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  One hundred and ninety
H.M.S. * * * (Assault Ship 2)
Group 1:
       Officer Commanding  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Lieutenant * * *
       Officers  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Two
       Other Ranks  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Forty-three
Group 3:
       Officer Commanding  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Major * * *, M.C.
       Officers  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Seven
       Other Ranks  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  One hundred and thirty-two
H. M. S. * * * (Destroyer B)
Officer Commanding  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Captain * * *
Officers  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  One
Other Ranks  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Thirty-eight


    Officers  Other 
Brigade Headquarters  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   3  4
Brigade Signal Section  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   111
All No. (B) Commando  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   26372
Detachment No. (BA) Commando  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   5102
Detachment R.A.M.C. No. (BB) Commando   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   13
Detachment R.E. No. (BC) Commando  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   16
Royal Norwegian Army  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   627
War Office (M.I. 9)  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   2--
Press and photographers  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   6--
Total     _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   51525

b. Military headquarters on cruiser:

REPORT ON OPERATION * * * (Code name)


Organization of the Military Operational Headquarters on Board H.M.S. * * * (Cruiser)

The Military Operational Headquarters of the Force consist of:

A. The Military Commander of the Force (Brigadier * * *, Commanding Special Service Brigade).
The Brigade Major, Special Service Brigade (Major * * *).
Two orderlies.
Signal Clerk.
Three signal orderlies.
B. The Military Intelligence Officer of the Force (Captain * * *, Staff Captain "A", Special Service Brigade).
The Chief Clerk, Special Service Brigade.
Two orderlies.
C. The Military Signalling Officer of the Force (Captain * * *, R. Sigs. (Royal Signals), Brigade Signal Officer).

2. The Military Headquarters of the Force were in H.M.S. * * * (Cruiser) for the ten days preceding the operation and for the operation itself. In action, it was disposed as follows:

Group A was on the Bridge of H.M.S. * * * (Cruiser), with the Military Commanders in close touch with the Naval Commander throughout the operation.

Group B was situated in the Plot. A large-scale sketch map of the area was prepared, placed on the chart table and marked up as the situation developed. This map could be seen through the eye pieces on the Bridge. The Intelligence Officer kept up the situation from the information passed to him by the Brigade Major down the voice-pipe and from the signals. The signals were passed to him as soon as they had been dealt with; a spare copy of the "out" signal was made for this purpose and "in" signals were passed down as soon as they had been seen on the Bridge.

The signallers were disposed throughout the Bridge superstructure and particularly in the Remote Control Office which was adjacent to the Plot.

The Military Signalling Officer supervised communications generally, dividing his time between the Bridge and the Remote Control Office. The system of communications is described in Appendix "C".21

3. The method described in paragraph 2 above worked well and the Military Commander could be kept completely up to date with regard to the situation ashore insofar as it had been reported by the shore parties. Information, such as the time it would take a certain Group to move a certain distance by a certain means, could be obtained very quickly from the Plot where all distance tables, photographs, plans, and intelligence information were kept ready by the Chief Clerk. In addition, a diary of events ashore, as revealed by the signals and by observations reported from the Bridge, was kept up by the Chief Clerk under the supervision of the Intelligence Officer.

c. Excerpts from Appendix C: Communications:



Part II—Military

General remarks on traffic

Communications by V/S to the Infantry Assault Ships was continuous. To shore stations it was sometimes interrupted by smoke. R/T communication generally was subject to interference and gunfire effects, but was fairly successful on the "Brigadier's Wave" during the whole period.

R/T Communication faded out at the Headquarters ship on one occasion when she moved behind a hill which at the same time cut off V/S communication to the shore.

The chief sources of wireless interference were:

(a) The ships' low frequency W/T transmitter when radiating.

(b) A 10-inch Arc S.P. working only a few feet from the No. 18 sets, in the Headquarters Ship.

(c) R.D.F. transmission in the Headquarters Ship, the effect of which was equally marked on shore.

It was possible for good operators to work through (b) and (c) but traffic was slowed down by the constant repetitions that were necessary. It was practically impossible for officers to conduct useful R/T conversations.

The effects of gunfire and blast from demolitions on the No. 18 sets were twofold; firstly, during transmission, it drowned the operator's voice in the microphone and only the noise of the explosion was transmitted; secondly, it disturbed the tuning adjustment.

Operators on the exposed Flag Deck were also deafened and a good deal fatigued by the noise of the continuous gunfire.

The time taken in transit by messages naturally depended on their length but was usually short; V/A messages averaging six minutes, and R/T messages taking about ten minutes, being slower than V/S owing to the interference and gunfire.

The volume of military traffic wa much higher than it would have been for a similar-sized force engaged in land operations only. It was greatest in the initial stages of the landing parties' operations. The messages flowing through the signal office on the Headquarters Ship averaged 30 per hour, of which about one-third were intership messages of naval significance only. Practically all the traffic between Headquarters Ship and the Infantry Assault Ships was by V/S, but the majority of messages between Headquarters Ship and shore stations went by R/T, the proportion being about two in every three passed.

Details of messages passed at headquarters ship

Total Military messages, in  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   79
Total Military messages, out  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   79
Total Military and Naval messages passed through the Signal Office between 0900 and 1500  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   186
Total Military messages passed by R/T  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   71
Total Military messages passed by W/T (Ships installation)  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   24
Total Military messages passed by V/S  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   42

Conclusion and recommendations


7. Little advantage was gained on the Headquarters Ship by detailing extra wireless sets to "listen in" on commando wireless nets, since it was extremely difficult for the operators to interpret the conversations to which they were listening. On the other hand, these listening sets might be of very great value at a time when other links had broken down (as, for example, with Group 2 at one brief but important period) provided the Military Commander or his Staff "briefed" the listening operators, through the Signal 0ffler, as to the information required. They might, however, prove valuable, and their retention as part of a signal organization for a combined operation is recommended.

8. Spare batteries must always be available for every No. 1 set even during very short operations, owing to the uncertain life of these batteries.

d. Evacuated prisoners and loyalists:



List of Prisoners and and Loyalists

(including wounded)

  Naval     Merchant Navy     Military  
  Officers     Ratings     Officers     Ratings     Officers     Other ranks  
NIL156 36140


Quislings                       Loyalists
4 77


Officers   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   7            Quislings   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _    4
Ratings and other ranks   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   91 Loyalists   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _    77

e. List of German shipping destroyed:



List of German Ships Destroyed

Armed Trawler "FOHN"   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   24 250
S.S. "REMAR EDZARD FRITZEN"   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   24 3,000
S.S. "NORMAR" ex "CALYPSO"   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   24 2,220
Armed Tug   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   200
S.S. "ANITA L. M. RUSS"   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   24 2,800
Small Coaster   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   24 300
S.S. "EISMEER"   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   1,000
S.S. "ANHALT"   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   5,930
Armed Trawler "DONNER"   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   24 250
Total     _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   15,950

27. Notes for Lessons by Boarding Party Commander:


1. Whenever another raid is planned where there is a possibility of merchant shipping being captured, it is essential that boarding parties who have already undergone intensive training should be taken in addition to the ship's complement. Their instruction should include:

(a) The provision of covering fire by the seamen part of the boarding party;

(b) Instruction in searching the various departments of the ship by ratings of the appropriate department, i.e., E.R.A.'s25 for Engine Room, Stokers for Boiler Room. etc.;

(c) Use of demolition charges and particularly thermite bombs (which were overlooked on this operation).

Each party should include one E.R.A. with Diesel experience. Had there been an E.R.A. with Diesel experience in H.M.S. Destroyer A, I have little doubt that we could have brought back the Eismeer.

2. It is considered that where H.M. Ships are likely to enter fords, snipers should be provided on the scale of two per destroyer, who should be marksmen and should be equipped with sniper's rifles (a long Lee-Enfield with telescopic sight is suggested). These ratings should have full authority to open fire without further orders whenever a target presents itself.

3. It is considered that when there is a likelihood of meeting with an armed trawler, or with armed trawlers, one destroyer should be told off to deal solely with the armed trawler and that the Captain of that ship should be fully instructed in the importance of his task. The best method of dealing with these trawlers appears to be that their bridge and upper deck should be "plastered" with light fire, i.e. Oerlikon, machine-gun, and rifle fire, to such an extent that no one could live on the upper deck, and the crew subsequently become panicked and leap over the side. The trawler can then be searched with some possibility of obtaining valuable documents.

1 Secret code name used here.
2 Royal Army Medical Corps.
3 Royal Engineers.
4 That branch of Military Intelligence dealing with prisoners of war.
5 Antisubmarine.
6 Which was the cruiser.
7 Appendix "C" has been omitted, except excerpts: "General Remarks on Traffic, and Conclusion and Recommendations."
8 The Army No. 18 set is a radio telephone unit with a band of 6.0 to 9.0 megacycles. It has a range of 2 to 5 miles with a 6-foot rod antenna, and is customarily used for communication between battalion and company headquarters. It is also used by parachute troops. It is operated with dry batteries that have a life of 8 hours.
9 Wireless (radio) telegraphy.
10 Radio telephone.
11 German pursuit aircraft.
12 German bomber.
13 German long-range bombers.
14 "Enlisted men" in the Royal Navy are called "ratings."
15 This appendix was not received with the original report and therefore will not be available.
16 General-purpose bombs.
17 Photographic reconnaissance unit.
18 The ME.109F is an improved type of the ME.109.
19 A British naval base.
20 "Other ranks" is the British equivalent for "enlisted men."
21 This part of Appendix "C" has been omitted.
22 Code name.
23 Appendix E was not sent with the original report from London. This appendix consisted of a sketch showing the approximate position of merchant shipping in Ulvesund. Ulvesund is shown in Map No. 2 (Appendix F of the original report), a sketch of military and Industrial targets at Vaagso.
24 Approximately.
25 Engine room assistant.

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