Operation Landmark (i)

This was a British naval undertaking in the Mediterranean as a diversion to support the ‘Crusader’ (i) land operation in the Western Desert (20/22 November 1941).

Elements of Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham’s Mediterranean Fleet 1 departed Alexandria on 20 November in 'ME7' and shaped a course suggesting an attack on Tripoli, thereby hoping to persuade the Germans and Italians to divert some of their air strength away from the land battlefield in the area of Halfaya and Bardia.

At 12.00 the light cruisers Ajax, Neptune and Australian Hobart joined the fleet before detaching once again at the fall of night. At daylight on 22 November the fleet returned to Alexandria.

Over the same period Captain W. G. Agnew’s Malta-based Force ‘K’ sortied to cover the supposed passage to the east of the 9,776-ton commissioned transport Breconshire as well as three merchant vessels in the form of the 7,540-ton Ajax, 7,347-ton Clan Ferguson and 11,095-ton Sydney Star. The convoy was escorted by the corvette Gloxinia, and after initially heading to the south-east turned back during the hours of darkness to regain Valetta at 03.00 on 22 November.

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These were the battleships Barham, Queen Elizabeth and Valiant, light cruiser Galatea, light anti-aircraft cruisers Euryalus and Naiad, destroyers Decoy, Hasty, Hotspur, Jackal, Jervis, Kandahar, Kimberley, Kingston, Kipling and Australian Napier and Nizam, and escort destroyers Avon Vale and Eridge.