Operation Ascot (i)

'Ascot' (i) was a British unrealised plan for the seizure of the BodÝ peninsula, on the western coast of German-occupied Norway, as a base for light naval forces to operate against German maritime communications (November 1941).

On 4 November Admiral Sir Dudley Pound, the First Sea Lord, outlined a series of operations which could be carried out against targets in German-occupied Europe late in the same year and early in 1942. Pound’s plans included a series of small-scale raids along the coast of Norway and, as its major element, 'Ascot' (i) to take and hold the BodÝ peninsula in an amphibious assault by a force of 9,000 men. With the small port of BodÝ in British hands, Pound believed that this provided the opportunity for the basing of light naval forces which could harry and sever Germany’s north/south coastal communications. Pound’s scheme also involved the 'Stumper' attack on Tarven island as a diversionary measure.

The Admiralty was sceptical of Pound’s concept as its target areas were well within the range of German aircraft, and instead opted for the Lofoten islands group as the target, for these lay beyond the easy reach of any German air response. Admiral Sir John Tovey, the commander-in-chief of the Home Fleet, was therefore instructed to develop a plan along these lines for the establishment of a temporary defended base from which light naval forces could operate against German sea communications with Narvik and other ports in the northern part of Norway. This was the genesis of the scheme which comprised 'Anklet' as its first phase to reconnoitre and then take the Kirke and Skjel fjords, and 'Bracelet' (i) as its second phase to establish ground and anti-aircraft defences to protect the seized base area.