Operation Camera

This was a British naval undertaking by elements of Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser’s Home Fleet off the west coast of German-occupied Norway (6/10 July 1943).

The undertaking, which simulated a large-scale combined operation against the southern part of German-occupied Norway, was intended to cause a temporary diversion of German attentions away from the Mediterranean Sea, where the final preparations for the launch of ‘Husky’ (i) against Sicily were being completed.

The Allied naval force was divided into four units 1, and this ‘combined operations’ force approached the coast of Norway on 8/9 July while the main strength of the Home Fleet (battleships Anson, Malaya and US Alabama, US heavy cruisers Augusta and Tuscaloosa, and a number of destroyers) trailed, some 170 miles (275 km) off the Norwegian coast, in the hope that a sizeable German naval force would react and could then be caught and destroyed.

In the event the Germans did not react, although one of their Blohm und Voss Bv 138 reconnaissance flying boats was shot down by a Grumman Wildcat fighter from Furious, but an important positive factor gained from the operation was the British appreciation that the Home Fleet’s carriers could now operate with relative impunity off the Norwegian coast with only a negligible threat of any reaction by German surface warships.

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Fraser’s Battle Fleet (battleships Duke of York and US South Dakota, fleet carrier Furious, light cruiser Glasgow, and destroyers Milne, Mahratta, Meteor, Musketeer and US Ellyson, Emmons, Fitch, Macomb and Rodman), Force ‘Q’ (light cruiser Belfast and destroyers Obdurate and Onslaught), Force ‘R’ simulating an invasion convoy (destroyers Opportune and Obedient, trawlers Bressay, Cape Baracuta, Cape Nyemetzki, Hamlet, Hawthorne, Larch, Macbeth, Oak, Sky and Sycamore, and motor launches ML-466, ML-276, ML-286, ML-345, ML-445 and ML-452), and Force ‘S’ (heavy cruisers Berwick and Norfolk, and destroyer Scorpion)