Operation Cartoon (ii)

This was a British special forces raid on the pyrites mine in the area of Leirvik in German-occupied Norway (23/24 January 1943).

The object of the operation was to destroy the pyrites mine on the island of Stord near Leirvik in the Bergenfjord area of western Norway, and was undertaken by 53 men of No. 12 Commando accompanied by 10 men of the Norwegian troop of No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando under the command Captain Harald Risnes. Seven motor torpedo boats of the 30th (Royal Norwegian Navy) Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla were used to deliver and extract the party.

Half of the force was landed on the quay at Sagvåg and engaged the defending German positions there while the rest of the force was landed on the other side of the bay. The target mine, which was 2 miles (3.2 km) distant, was reached in 25 minutes by the men, each of whom carried a 50-lb (27-kg) explosive charge. The resulting explosion put the mine out of action for a year.

Meanwhile three of the motor torpedo boats went on to Leirvik in search of shipping but found none. On the way back, however, the motor torpedo boats attacked a ship and left it in sinking condition, and also laid mines. The raid also netted three German prisoners as well as a quantity of papers and equipment, while the attacking forces’ casualties were one commando killed and 10 men wounded (two commandos and eight sailors).

‘Cartoon’ (ii) was also co-ordinated with attacks by aircraft of Air Vice Marshal A. Durston’s No. 18 Group of Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip Joubert de la Ferté’s RAF Coastal Command.