Operation Hardy (ii)

This was a British naval operation to lay mines in the Lepsøyrev and Harrhamsfjord, and to make air attacks on German shipping in Norwegian coastal waters (23/27 October 1944).

A detachment of Admiral Sir Henry Moore’s Home Fleet, the British force was centred on the escort carriers Campania and Trumpeter, heavy cruiser Devonshire, and destroyers Saumarez, Savage, Scorpion, Serapis, Zambezi and Zephyr of the 23rd Destroyer Flotilla.

Minelaying was carried out by Grumman Avenger aircraft in the Lepsøyrev and Harrhamsfjord near Ålesund and, as the weather precluded attacks on shipping (although two small Norwegian vessels were forced to beach themselves), Grumman Wildcat fighters attacked shore targets such as the radio installations on Vigra and Hanøy.

Under Moore’s command, a force centred on the fleet carrier Implacable also ranged along the coast of Norway and sank three German supply ships (3,145 tons) and also three small warships, as well as damaging a large number of smaller vessels.

On 27 October aircraft from Implacable sighted and attacked Oberleutnant Herbert Brammer’s large transport submarine U-1060, complete with the crew of U-957, which had been damaged in a collision and was being transported back to Germany. Caught on the surface off central Norway, the U-boat was badly damaged by depth charges and rockets in an attack by two Fairey Firefly and two Fairey Barracuda aircraft, and an escorting minesweeper was sunk. The U-boat was forced ashore with many dead and wounded on board. U-1060 was destroyed two days later by two Consolidated Liberator and two Handley Page Halifax aircraft of Nos 311 and 502 Squadrons of Air Chief Marshal Sir William Sholto Douglas’s RAF Coastal Command. The German casualties were 12 dead, and there were 43 survivors.