This was a British naval undertaking by elements of Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser’s Home Fleet to transport relief personnel and supplies to Spitsbergen island off the north coast of German-occupied Norway (12/25 October 1943).
The operation, which was also tasked with the evacuation of the Norwegians who had survived ‘Zitronella’, went entirely to plan. The undertaking was carried out by Force 1 (US heavy cruiser Tuscaloosa and destroyers Onslaught, Oribi, Orwell and US Fitch), to which the greatest danger was U-boat attack as the cruiser was unloading in the Adventfjorden. U-boats had been seen on several occasion in the Isfjorden, and in fact one boat was rammed but not sunk by Onslaught, which suffered some damage, in the course of an anti-submarine sweep in the Adventfjorden.
Force 1 was covered by Force 2, which was operating from Akureyri in Iceland and comprised the battleship Anson, US light fleet carrier Ranger, heavy cruiser Norfolk, and destroyers Hardy, Janus, Vigilant, Canadian Haida and Iroquois, and US Corry.
All of the ships returned to Scapa Flow, those of Force 1 via the Seyđisfjörđur in eastern Iceland, with the exception of Tuscaloosa, which made straight to the Clyde river to disembark personnel from Spitsbergen.