Operation Weserübung was the code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign. The name comes from the German for "Operation Weser-Exercise". In the early morning of 9 April 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway, ostensibly as a preventive manoeuvre against a planned, discussed, Franco-British occupation of Norway known as Plan R 4. After the invasions, envoys of the Germans informed the governments of Denmark and Norway that the Wehrmacht had come to protect the countries' neutrality against Franco-British aggression. Significant differences in geography and climate between the two nations made the actual military operations dissimilar; the invasion fleet's nominal landing time, was set to 05:15. Starting in the spring of 1939, the British Admiralty began to view Scandinavia as a potential theatre of war in a future conflict with Germany; the British government was reluctant to engage in another land conflict on the continent that it believed would be a repetition of the First World War.
Therefore, it began considering a blockade strategy in an attempt to weaken Germany indirectly. German industry was dependent on the import of iron ore from the northern Swedish mining district, much of this ore was shipped through the northern Norwegian port of Narvik during the winter months. Control of the Norwegian coast would serve to tighten a blockade against Germany. In October 1939, the chief of the German Kriegsmarine, Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, discussed with Adolf Hitler the danger posed by the risk of having potential British bases in Norway and the possibility of Germany seizing these bases before the United Kingdom could; the navy argued that possession of Norway would allow control of the nearby seas and serve as a staging base for future submarine operations against the United Kingdom. However, the other branches of the Wehrmacht were not interested, Hitler had just issued a directive stating that the main effort would be a land offensive through the Low Countries. Toward the end of November, Winston Churchill, as a new member of the British War Cabinet, proposed the mining of Norwegian waters in Operation Wilfred.
That would force the ore transports to travel through the open waters of the North Sea, where the Royal Navy could intercept them. Churchill assumed that Wilfred would provoke a German response in Norway, the Allies would implement Plan R 4 and occupy Norway. Though implemented, Operation Wilfred was rejected by Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax for fear of an adverse reaction among neutral nations like the United States. After the start of the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland in November had changed the strategic situation, Churchill again proposed his mining scheme but once again was denied. In December, the United Kingdom and France began serious planning for sending aid to Finland, their plan called for a force to land in Narvik, in northern Norway, the main port for Swedish iron ore exports and to take control of the Malmbanan railway line from Narvik to Luleå in Sweden on the shore of the Gulf of Bothnia. Conveniently, that would allow the Allied forces to occupy the Swedish iron ore mining district.
The plan received the support of both Halifax. They were counting on the co-operation of Norway, which would alleviate some of the legal issues, but stern warnings issued to both Norway and Sweden by Germany resulted in negative reactions in both countries. Planning for the expedition continued, but the justification for it was removed when Finland sued for peace with the Soviet Union in March 1940. Following a meeting with Vidkun Quisling from Norway on 14 December, Hitler turned his attention to Scandinavia. Convinced of the threat posed by the Allies to the iron ore supply, Hitler ordered Oberkommando der Wehrmacht to begin preliminary planning for an invasion of Norway; the preliminary plan was called for only one army division. Between 14 and 19 January, the Kriegsmarine developed an expanded version of this plan, they decided upon two key factors: that surprise was essential to reduce the threat of Norwegian resistance. That would allow all targets to be occupied, impossible if transport ships were used, which travelled only slowly.
The new plan called for a full army corps, including a mountain division, an airborne division, a motorized rifle brigade, two infantry divisions. The target objectives of the force were the Norwegian capital Oslo and nearby population centres, Narvik, Tromsø, Trondheim and Stavanger; the plan called for the rapid capture of the kings of Denmark and Norway in the hope that would trigger a rapid surrender. On 21 February 1940, command of the operation was given to General Nikolaus von Falkenhorst, he had fought in Finland during the First World War and was familiar with Arctic warfare, but he was to have command only of the ground forces, despite Hitler's desire to have a unified command. The final plan was code-named Operation Weserübung on 27 January 1940; the ground forces would be the XXI Army Corps, including the 3rd Mountain Division and five infantry divisions, none of the latter having yet been tested in battle. The first echelon would consist of three divisions for the assault, with the remainder to follow in the next wave.
Three companies of paratroopers would be used to seize airfields. The decision to send the 2nd M
Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Situated north of mainland Europe, it is about midway between the North Pole; the islands of the group range from 74° to 81° north latitude, from 10° to 35° east longitude. The largest island is Spitsbergen, followed by Edgeøya. Administratively, the archipelago is not part of any Norwegian county, but forms an unincorporated area administered by a governor appointed by the Norwegian government. Since 2002, Svalbard's main settlement, has had an elected local government, somewhat similar to mainland municipalities. Other settlements include the Russian mining community of Barentsburg, the research station of Ny-Ålesund, the mining outpost of Sveagruva. Ny-Ålesund is the northernmost settlement in the world with a permanent civilian population. Other settlements are populated only by rotating groups of researchers; the islands were first taken into use as a whaling base for the Danish Empire as Dano-Norwegians travelled north in hunt of whale fat in the 17th and 18th centuries, after which they were abandoned.
Coal mining started at the beginning of the 20th century, several permanent communities were established. The Svalbard Treaty of 1920 recognizes Norwegian sovereignty, the 1925 Svalbard Act made Svalbard a full part of the Kingdom of Norway, they established Svalbard as a free economic zone and a demilitarized zone. The Norwegian Store Norske and the Russian Arktikugol remain the only mining companies in place. Research and tourism have become important supplementary industries, with the University Centre in Svalbard and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault playing critical roles. No roads connect the settlements. Svalbard Airport, Longyear serves as the main gateway; the archipelago features an Arctic climate, although with higher temperatures than other areas at the same latitude. The flora take advantage of the long period of midnight sun to compensate for the polar night. Svalbard is a breeding ground for many seabirds, features polar bears, the Arctic fox, certain marine mammals. Seven national parks and twenty-three nature reserves cover two-thirds of the archipelago, protecting the untouched, yet fragile, natural environment.
60% of the archipelago is covered with glaciers, the islands feature many mountains and fjords. Svalbard and Jan Mayen are collectively assigned the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code "SJ". Both areas are administered by Norway, though they are separated by a distance of over 950 kilometres and have different administrative structures; the Svalbard Treaty of 1920 defines Svalbard as all islands and skerries from 74° to 81° north latitude, from 10° to 35° east longitude. The land area is 61,022 km2, dominated by the island of Spitsbergen, which constitutes more than half the archipelago, followed by Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya. All settlements are located on Spitsbergen, except the meteorological outposts on Bjørnøya and Hopen; the Norwegian state took possession of all unclaimed land, or 95.2% of the archipelago, at the time the Svalbard Treaty entered into force. Since Svalbard is located north of the Arctic Circle it experiences midnight sun in summer and polar night in winter. At 74° north, the midnight sun lasts 99 days and polar night 84 days, while the respective figures at 81° are 141 and 128 days.
In Longyearbyen, midnight sun lasts from 20 April until 23 August, polar night lasts from 26 October to 15 February. In winter, the combination of full moon and reflective snow can give additional light. Glacial ice covers 60 % of Svalbard; the largest glacier is Austfonna on Nordaustlandet, followed by Vestfonna. During summer, it is possible to ski from Sørkapp in the south to the north of Spitsbergen, with only a short distance not being covered by snow or glacier. Kvitøya is 99.3% covered by glacier. The landforms of Svalbard were created through repeated ice ages, when glaciers cut the former plateau into fjords and mountains; the tallest peak is Newtontoppen, followed by Perriertoppen, Ceresfjellet and Galileotoppen. The longest fjord is Wijdefjorden, followed by Isfjorden, Van Mijenfjorden and Wahlenbergfjorden. Svalbard is part of the High Arctic Large Igneous Province, experienced Norway's strongest earthquake on 6 March 2009, which hit a magnitude of 6.5. Norsemen discovered Svalbard as early as the 12th century.
There are traditional Norse accounts of a land known as Svalbarð—literally "cold shores"—although this might have referred to Jan Mayen, or a part of eastern Greenland. It was thought both Greenland were connected to Continental Europe; the archipelago might in that period have been used for hunting. The Dutchman Willem Barentsz made the first discovery of the archipelago in 1596, when he sighted its coast while searching for the Northern Sea Route; the name Spitsbergen originated with Barentsz, who described the "pointed mountains" he saw on the west coast of the main island, Spitsbergen although his 1599 map of the Arctic labels the island as Het Nieuwe Land. Barentsz did not recognize that he had discovered an archipelago, an
Operation Judgement (1945)
Operation Judgement was an operation carried out at the end of World War II by the Home Fleet of the British Royal Navy in North Norway on 4 May 1945, when 44 aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm attacked a U-boat base 5 miles south of the town and port of Harstad. The attack was directed at vessels in the natural harbour at Kilbotn, it left two ships and a U-boat sunk. No Norwegians in the village of Kilbotn were injured during or after the attack. Operation Judgement was the last air raid of World War II in Europe. From 1939 to 1945 the German war effort made extensive use of the U-boat as a strategic weapon. From bases in Northern Norway U-boats sailed against the Allied convoys making for Russian ports in the Arctic Ocean. In autumn 1944, when German forces retreated from the extreme north, the U-boat base at Hammerfest was moved south to Kilbotn; the base consisted of the 5000-ton depot-ship Black Watch, a former North-Sea passenger ferry, supported by a Norwegian cruiser converted by the Germans into a flak-ship, two barges fitted with anti-aircraft guns, numerous gun emplacements on the land round the harbour.
Several other ships were employed in ferrying supplies and ammunition to the base at Kilbotn, including the 950-ton Norwegian cargo ship Senja. The attack destroyed Black Watch and Senja and U-711, moored alongside Black Watch. Two British aircraft with four aircrew were lost, an estimated 150 German personnel were either wounded or lost their lives; the attack was carried out by the First Cruiser Squadron under the command of Vice Admiral Rhoderick McGrigor, second-in-command of the Home Fleet, in his flagship Norfolk. The force included the cruiser Diadem, three escort carriers, eight destroyers and other vessels. In the carriers three Naval Air Squadrons were embarked: 846 Squadron in Trumpeter contributed eight Avenger torpedo-bombers and four Wildcat fighters to the attack, 853 Squadron in Queen contributed eight Avengers and four Wildcats, while 882 Squadron in Searcher contributed twenty Wildcats; the force sailed from Scapa Flow on 1 May. The force was aware of the strength of the defences at Kilbotn and of the presence of a German fighter base at Bardufoss, 50 miles to the east.
Four Wildcats were assigned to provide top-cover against the arrival of enemy aircraft, while the majority of the other Wildcats were to arrive at Kilbotn at the start of the operation, to attack the gun emplacements on land and in the harbour. Eight of the Wildcats were in addition each armed with a single 250-lb bomb to attack the flak-ship Thetis Harald Haarfagre; the Avengers would arrive, each armed with four 500-lb bombs, carry out their glide-bombing runs in quick succession, 846 Squadron attacking Black Watch and 853 Senja. Bombs were launched from a height of 2,000 feet after a glide from 6,000–8,000 feet; the Germans' early-warning systems in the islands – radar, gun emplacements and spotters – could not have failed to observe and identify the aircraft passing over, but by great good luck for the attackers, the headquarters staff at Harstad failed to circulate a warning. As a result, the airborne force, under the command of Lt. Cdr. C. L. F. Webb RN, arriving from the west over Kilbotn at 17.00 on a sunny afternoon, achieved complete surprise.
In the initial attack a Wildcat of 882 Squadron was hit and entered the water with the loss of the pilot. In the next minutes as the attack developed several aircraft received flak damage but the attack went according to plan. One Avenger of 846 Squadron made a forced landing. In Kilbotn village, 1 mile from the main target Black Watch, one bomb fell near some houses after a fault in the launching mechanism of one of the Avengers. With its time-delayed fuse it exploded after entering soft ground, which absorbed most of the splinters. Two houses suffered some damaged woodwork; the remaining 42 aircraft returned to the carriers. On board U-711 the harbour crew of eight including the captain, Hans-Günther Lange, survived by moving the boat away from the vessels under attack, it was damaged and sank some hours but those eight were picked up. Lange was interviewed in 2008 at the age of 92 for a book published in Norway which contains information from Norwegian and British eyewitnesses. A summary of the Operation is given on a Norwegian website for divers, background information is given in the Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet's War Diary for 1945.
The First Cruiser Squadron sailed south to provide air-cover for the passage of ships in the Skagerrak and arrived back at Scapa Flow on 10 May. Allied ships continued to be sunk by U-boats based in Norway until 7 May though it was discovered that Germany's leader Dönitz had ordered the immediate cessation of all U-boat attacks on allied shipping on 4 May, a few hours before the Kilbotn attack took place. Captain Lange confirmed in 2008 that this signal had been received on board U-711 in the early afternoon and therefore his crew believed their war was over before the Fleet Air Arm attack arrived. Of the four British aircrew lost in Operation Judgement, one, Lt. Hugh Morrison from Wairarapa, New Zealand, Senior Pilot of 882 Squadron, is buried in Narvik New Cemetery; the other three were buried by the Germans, assisted by a Norwegian priest with local Norwegians present, in Sandtorg churchyard in the nearby village of Sørvik. Photographs of the area and some aircraft parts, photographs of the graves of Lt. Francis Gahan, Sub-Lt.
Alasdair Elder and L/A Peter Mansfield of 846 Squadron can be seen on the web. Decorations to personnel taking part in Operation Judgement were awarded in the King's Birthday Honours of June 14 and listed in the London Gazette. At the
Operation Gearbox II
Operation Gearbox II was a Norwegian and British operation during the Second World War on the Arctic island of Spitzbergen in the Svalbard Archipelago. Operation Fritham, the first attempt to establish a base had been defeated when the two ships carrying the force were sunk by Luftwaffe bombers on 14 May. In Operation Gearbox, 57 Norwegian reinforcements with 116 long tons of supplies had arrived by cruiser on 2 July; the reinforcements consolidated the Barentsburg defences and made preparations for Gearbox II, another reinforcement of the Norwegians and part of the plan for Convoy PQ 18, to prevent a repeat of Convoy PQ 17 in which 24 of the 35 freighters had been sunk. The fleet oilers RFA Blue Ranger and RFA Oligarch and four destroyer escorts, Force P sailed from Scapa Flow on 3 September and anchored in Lowe Sound several days later. From 9 to 13 September, relays of destroyers were detached from PQ 18 to refuel, before the convoy passed Bear Island, into range of the Luftwaffe bombers and torpedo-bombers based in north Norway.
After another German weather party was chased off the island in June 1943 by the Norwegians, a German flotilla, including Tirpitz raided Spitzbergen in Operation Zitronella on 7 September, took 31 prisoners and destroyed much of the infrastructure and equipment of Gearbox II. On 19 October, the cruiser USS Tuscaloosa and four destroyers delivered more Norwegian troops; the Svalbard Archipelago is in the Arctic Ocean 650 mi from the North Pole. The islands are mountainous, with permanently snow-covered peaks, some glaciated. In winter, the islands are covered in the bays ice over. Spitzbergen Island has several large fiords along its west coast and Isfjorden is up to 10 mi wide; the Gulf Stream warms the sea is ice-free during the summer. Settlements were established at Longyearbyen and Barentsburg in inlets along the south shore of Isfjorden, in Kings Bay further north along the coast and in Van Mijenfiord to the south; the settlements attracted colonists of different nationalities and the treaty of 1920 neutralised the islands and recognised the mineral and fishing rights of the participating countries.
Before 1939, the population consisted of about 3,000 Norwegian and Russian people, who worked in the mining industry. Drift mines were linked to the shore by overhead cable tracks or rails and coal dumped over the winter was collected by ship after the summer thaw. By 1939 production was about 500,000 long tons a year, split between Russia; the British Government Code and Cypher School based at Bletchley Park housed a small industry of code-breakers and traffic analysts. By June 1941, the German Enigma machine Home Waters settings used by surface ships and U-boats could be read. On 1 February 1942, the Enigma machines used in U-boats in the Atlantic and Mediterranean were changed but German ships and the U-boats in Arctic waters continued with the older Heimish. By mid-1941, British Y-stations were able to receive and read Luftwaffe W/T transmissions and give advance warning of Luftwaffe operations. In 1941, interception parties code-named Headaches were embarked on warships and from May 1942, computers sailed with the cruiser admirals in command of convoy escorts, to read Luftwaffe W/T signals which could not be intercepted by land stations in Britain.
The Admiralty sent details of Luftwaffe wireless frequencies, call signs and the daily local codes to the computers. Combined with their knowledge of Luftwaffe procedures, the computers could give accurate details of German reconnaissance sorties and sometimes predicted attacks twenty minutes before they were detected by radar. In February 1942, the German Beobachtungsdienst of the Kriegsmarine Marinenachrichtendienst broke Naval Cypher No 3 and was able to read it until January 1943; the Germans left the Svalbard islands alone during the invasion of Norway in 1940 and apart from a few Norwegians taking passage on Allied ships, little changed. From 25 July to 9 August 1940, the Admiral Hipper sailed from Trondheim to search the area from Tromsø to Bear Island and Svalbard, to intercept British ships returning from Petsamo but found only a Finnish freighter. On 12 July 1941, the Admiralty was ordered to assemble a force of ships, to operate in the Arctic in co-operation with the USSR, despite objections from Admiral John Tovey, commander of the Home Fleet, who preferred to operate further south where there were more targets and better air cover.
Rear-Admirals Philip Vian and Geoffrey Miles flew to Polyarnoe and Miles established a British military mission in Moscow. Vian reported that Murmansk was close to German held territory, that its air defences were inadequate and that the prospects of offensive operations on German shipping were poor. Vian was sent to look at the west coast of Spitzbergen, the main island of Svalbard, ice-free and 450 mi from northern Norway, to assess its potential as a base; the cruisers HMS Nigeria, HMS Aurora and two destroyers departed Iceland on 27 July but Vian judged the apparent advantages of Spitzbergen as a base to be mistaken. The force closed on the Norwegian coast twice and each time was discovered by Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft; as Operation Dervish, the first Arctic convoy, was assembling in Iceland, Vian sailed with Force A for Svalbard on 19 August 1942 in Operation Gauntle
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Operation Cartoon was a British Commando raid on the island of Stord near Leirvik in Hordaland, Norway on the night of 23/24 January 1943. The operation was carried out by 53 men of No. 12 Commando supported by ten men from the Norwegian 10 Commando. RAF Coastal Command co-operated with aircraft from 18 Group; the raiders were transported to Stord by seven Royal Norwegian Navy motor torpedo boats of the 30th MTB Flotila. Their objective was the destruction of the Pyrite mine on the island. On arrival, half the commandos were landed at Sagvåg quay and engaged German defensive positions, while the remainder were landed on the other side of the bay; the commandos carrying 50 lb of explosives reached the Pyrite mine, 2 mi away after twenty-five minutes. The explosive charges put the Stordø Kisgruber mine out of action for a year; as they departed, the torpedo boats attacked a German steamer. The commandos took three German prisoners and equipment, for the loss of one commando killed, two commandos and eight sailors injured.
Admiral John Tovey said afterwards that...the whole operation was as creditable as it was enjoyable to the Norwegians who carried it out. And that month the Norwegians sailed in a whaler to ambush a convoy at Lister light and bring it to Britain; the plan failed and the Norwegians stayed in Norway and at the end of February, hijacked some small vessels and fishing boats to Scotland. The Norwegian MTBs sank two ships in the Norwegian Leads in the middle of March
Operation Source was a series of attacks to neutralise the heavy German warships – Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Lützow – based in northern Norway, using X-class midget submarines. The attacks took place in September 1943 at Kaa Fiord and succeeded in keeping Tirpitz out of action for at least six months; the concept for the attack was developed by Commander Cromwell-Varley, with support of Max Horton, Flag Officer Submarines, Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The operation was directed from HMS Varbel, located in Port Bannatyne on the Isle of Bute. Varbel was the on-shore headquarters for the 12th Submarine Flotilla, it had been a luxury 88-bedroom hotel requisitioned by the Admiralty to serve as the Flotilla’s headquarters. All X-craft training, preparation for X-craft attacks, was co-ordinated from Varbel. Intelligence contributing to the attack on Tirpitz was collected and sent to the RN by the Norwegian resistance brothers Torbjørn Johansen and Einar Johansen. Six X-craft were used. X5, X6 and X7 were allocated the battleship Tirpitz, in Kåfjord.
X9 and X10 were to attack the battleship Scharnhorst in Kåfjord. X8 was to attack the heavy cruiser Lützow in Langfjord; the submersibles were towed to the area by conventional submarines and manned by passage crews on the way. Close to the target, the operation crews would take over. X9, while commanded by S-Lt E Kearon of the passage crew and trimmed by the bow in the heavy sea for the tow, was lost with all hands on the passage when her tow parted and she suffered an abrupt plunge due to her bow-down trim. X8 developed serious leaks in her side-mounted demolition charges; the remaining X-craft began their run in on 20 September and the attacks took place on 22 September 1943. Scharnhorst was engaged in exercises at the time, hence was not at her normal mooring, X10's attack was abandoned, although this was due to mechanical and navigation problems, the submarine returned to rendezvous with her'tug' submarine and was taken back to Scotland. X5, commanded by Lieutenant Henty-Creer, disappeared with her crew during Source.
She is believed to have been sunk by a direct hit from one of Tirpitz's 105 mm guns before placing demolition charges. There was a possibility X5 had successfully planted side charges before being destroyed, but this was never conclusively proven. An expedition jointly run by the late Carl Spencer and Bill Smith and the Royal Navy using the mine hunters HMS Quorn and HMS Blyth in 2006 mapped the north and south anchorages used by Tirpitz and proved charge was well inside the net enclosure of the north anchorage and therefore most from X6. X6 and X7 managed to drop their charges under Tirpitz, but were unable to escape as they were observed and attacked. Both were abandoned and six crewmen captured. Tirpitz was damaged. While not in danger of sinking, she took on over 1,400 tons of water and suffered significant mechanical damage; the first mine exploded abreast of turret Caesar, the second mine detonated 45 to 55 m off the port bow. A fuel oil tank was ruptured, shell plating was torn, a large indentation was made in the bottom of the ship, bulkheads in the double bottom buckled.
Some 1,430 t of water flooded the ship in fuel tanks and void spaces in the double bottom of the port side, which caused a list of one to two degrees, balanced by counter-flooding on the starboard side. The flooding damaged all of the turbo-generators in generator room No. 2, all apart from one generator in generator room No. 1 were disabled by broken steam lines or severed power cables. Turret Dora could not be rotated; the ship's two Arado Ar 196 floatplanes were thrown by the explosive concussion and destroyed. Repairs were conducted by the repair ship Neumark. Repairs lasted until 2 April 1944. On 12 November 1944, the ship was destroyed by Avro Lancaster bombers. For this action, the commanders of the craft, Lieutenant Donald Cameron and Lieutenant Basil Place, were awarded the Victoria Cross, whilst Robert Aitken, Richard Haddon Kendall, John Thornton Lorimer received the Distinguished Service Order and Edmund Goddard the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal; the commander of X8, John Elliott Smart, was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire.
Henty-Creer of X5 was mentioned in dispatches. X-5: unofficially named Platypus, commanded by Lt. Henty Henty-Creer, crew S-Lt Nelson, Midshipman Malcolm, ERA Mortiboys. Henty-Creer, Nelson and Mortiboys were killed in the attack, though X-5's exact fate is unknown. X-6: named Piker II, commanded by Lt Donald Cameron, crew Lt J. T. Lorimer, S-Lt. R. Kendall, ERA Goddard. Cameron earned a Victoria Cross and Kendall the Distinguished Service Order, Goddard a Conspicuous Gallantry Medal. X-7: unofficially named P