Operation FB (ii)

'FB' (ii) was the designation of the Allied passage of independently routed eastbound and westbound ships between Iceland and Murmansk on the north-western coast of the USSR (October/December 1942).

As part of this undertaking anti-submarine trawlers operated from the Hvalfjörður in south-western Iceland and Arkhangyel’sk in the USSR to act as rescue ships: four trawlers from Hvalfjörður were on patrol between 29 October and 14 November, and three trawlers from Arkhangyel’sk were on patrol between 1 and 6 November. Between 30 October and 17 November the trawlers were supplemented by two submarines from patrols off the coast of German-occupied Norway.

The ships from Iceland were Richard H. Alvery (arrived 7 November), Empire Galliard (arrived 7 November), John Walker (arrived 8 November), 6,640-ton Empire Gilbert (sunk by Kapitänleutnant Dietrich von der Esch’s U-586 on 2 November), John H. Latrone (returned 2 November), Chumleigh (wrecked near South Cape, Spitsbergen, 6 November), Hugh Williamson (arrived 11 November), 7,455-ton Empire Sky (sunk by Kapitänleutnant Hans Benker’s U-625 on 6 November), Empire Scott (arrived 18 November), 7,176-ton William Clark (sunk by Kapitänleutnant Karl-Heinz Herbschleb’s U-354 on 4 November), Daldorch (returned 6 November), Briarwood (returned 6 November) and Dekabrist (missing, believed sunk).

The ships from the USSR were Mussovich (arrived 7 November), Azerbaijan (arrived 9 November), Chernyshevsky (arrived 11 November), Donbas (missing, believed sunk), Komsomolets (arrived 24 November), Dvina (arrived 5 December), Mironich (arrived 5 December) and Yelnya (arrived 5 December).

After an interval another 15 Soviet ships made successful independent passages from the USSR to Iceland between 25 December 1942 and the end of January 1943). In order of their arrival in Akureyri, these were Shilka, Okhta, Betloga, Nusbass, Ob, Soroka, Msta, Aldan, Uritskiy, Sakko, Kara, Vantsetti, Krasnoye Zyamya, Osmussarr, Sheksna, Leonid Krassin, Ufa and Krasny Partisan.