Operation FC (i)

'FC' (i) was a British naval sweep by Captain A. K. Scott-Moncrieff’s 8th Destroyer Flotilla down the coast of German-occupied Norway (11/13 January 1943).

The force comprised Echo, Faulknor, Inglefield, Onslaught, Queenborough, Vivacious and Free Polish Piorun. The destroyers departed on 11 January, and on the same day RAF aircraft sighted and reported a German force of 'one battleship, one cruiser and one destroyer' (in fact the battle-cruiser Scharnhorst, heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen and destroyers Friedrich Ihn, Paul Jacobi and Z 24 in the 'Fronttheater' operation) heading to the north out of the Belts.

The aeroplane could not maintain contact, and an attack force of Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip Joubert de la Ferté's RAF Coastal Command was also unable to locate and attack the German ships, which had in fact turned back into the Baltic after being spotted. Such was the threat of the German force, however, that the light cruisers Bermuda and Glasgow were despatched from Scapa Flow during the afternoon of 11 January to support the destroyers. The destroyers now encountered a severe south-easterly gale, in which Vivacious's steering gear broke down and the destroyer turned back to Scapa Flow. The weather showed no signs of improving and late in the day Scott-Moncrieff decided to call off the operation and return to Scapa Flow.

During the morning of 12 January Vivacious, still with her steering gear out of action, broke down. Echo and Inglefield were detached to assist, but during the morning Vivacious was able to get under way once more and reached Lerwick, in the Shetland islands group, during the afternoon for temporary repairs. Faulknor, Onslaught, Queenborough and Piorun reached Scapa Flow during the same afternoon, but Echo and Inglefield had to heave to off Lerwick in a severe gale and did not return to Scapa Flow until the following day, during which Bermuda and Glasgow also returned.