Operation Nordwind (i)

north wind

'Nordwind' (i) was a German and Finnish joint naval operation in the Baltic Sea in tandem with 'Westwind' (i) and 'Südwind' (ii) (13/14 September 1941).

The operation itself was designed as a demonstration against the north coast of the island of Saaremaa (Ösel in German) in order to distract the Soviet forces in the Baltic states so that another German force could occupy the Soviet-occupied Estonian islands of Hiiumaa and Saaremaa (Dagö and Ösel in German) in 'Beowulf' without the interference of the Soviet navy.

The operation suffered a major setback when the 3,900-ton Finnish coast-defence ship Ilmarinen, flagship of Kommodori Rahola’s Taistelulaiva Divisioona (battleship division), comprising Ilmarinen and her sister-ship Väinämöinen, escorted by the motor launches VMV 1, VMV 14, VMV 15 and VMV 16, and the icebreakers Jääkarhu und Tarmo, struck a mine and sank with the loss of 271 men; the motor launches rescued 132 men.

The German vessels involved in this undertaking, which may not even have been detected by the Soviets as they did not respond, were the minelayer Brummer, five patrol boats of Korvettenkapitän Drenckham’s 3rd Vorposten-Flottille, two ocean-going tugs and eight landing craft.