Operation Oiled

'Oiled' was the British first attempt to bomb the German battleship Tirpitz in Norwegian waters (30 January 1942).

At 00.30 on 30 January seven Short Stirling heavy bombers of Nos 15 and 149 Squadrons of Air Vice Marshal J. E. A. Baldwin’s RAF Bomber Command took off from Lossiemouth in north-eastern Scotland, and at 02.05 nine Handley Page Halifax heavy bombers (four and five from Nos 10 and 76 Squadrons respectively) took off from the same base to bomb Tirpitz in the Fottenfjord.

Weather conditions were not good, and there was cloud between sea level and 20,000 ft (6095 m). One of the Stirling bombers reported having seen Tirpitz's mastheads, but was unable to gain sufficient height to drop its bomb load. All the Stirling bombers returned safely to base. All four of No. 10 Squadrons Halifax bombers had to turn back to base before reaching the target for lack of fuel. The five aircraft of No. 76 Squadron reached the target area, but weather conditions prevented them from locating the target. Four of No. 76 Squadron’s aircraft returned to base, the other ditching in the North Sea just off the coast near Aberdeen. The crew were uninjured and rescued by the Aberdeen lifeboat.