Operation Record Books

'Record Books' was a British air offensive against German shipping concentrations in the western Baltic and also on the 60 or so U-boats heading for bases in German-occupied Norway (2/6 May 1945).

On 2 May, off Lübeck, Hawker Typhoon fighter-bombers of Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham’s British 2nd Tactical Air Force sank the 5,542-ton Florida and U-1007, and in the Kattegat 33 de Havilland Mosquito fighter-bombers of Nos 143, 248, 235, 404 and 333 Squadrons of Air Vice Marshal S. P. Simpson’s No. 18 Group of Air Chief Marshal Sir William Sholto Douglas’s RAF Coastal Command sank the minesweeper M 293 and U-2359 off Göteborg.

On 3 May in the same general area, Typhoon warplanes of the 2nd TAF’s Nos 83 and 84 Squadrons sank the 27,561-ton Cap Arcona (carrying about 4,405 concentration camp prisoners of whom some 4,000 died) and 2,815-ton Thielbek (carrying 5,595 concentration camp prisoners of whom 2,414 died), as well as the 21,046-ton Deutschland, 552-ton Dwarssee and 400-ton Erna Gaulke; off the Bay of Kiel the 4,713-ton Inster, 2,814-ton Irmtraud Cords and 164-ton Wolgast; and south of the Belt entrances the escort boat F 3, U-1210, U-3012 and U-3032; U-746 was damaged. In the Belts, Bristol Beaufighter heavy fighters of Air Vice Marshal F. L. Hoops’s No. 16 Group of RAF Coastal Command (13 from No. 236 Squadron and 17 from No. 254 Squadron) sank the 627-ton Pallas and U-2524 with rocket and cannon fire. Mosquito warplanes of No. 18 Group sank the minesweeper M 301 in the Kattegat. U-3505 was sunk at Kiel.

On 4 May, in the southern Baltic, Typhoon warplanes of the 2nd TAF sank the steamship Ostwind, S 103 and U-2521, and damaged U-733 and U-876. In the Belts, Beaufighters of No. 16 Group (12 from No. 236 Squadron and 10 from No. 254 Squadron, with a North American Mustang fighter escort) sank the minesweeper M 36, damaged U-236 (scuttled on 5 May), U-2338 off Fredericia and U-2503 in the Great Belt. U-393 was damaged and beached, and in the Kattegat Mosquito warplanes of No. 18 Group sank the 3,291-ton Else Hugo Stinnes and 3,295-ton Ernst Hugo Stinnes as well as the gunboat K 1.

On 5/6 May Consolidated Liberator bombers of No. 18 Group attacked U-boats in the Kattegat making their way to Norway: the U-boats losses on 5 May were U-3523, U-3503, U-579 and U-534; and on 6 May U-3503 was slightly damaged, U-2534 was scuttled to the east of Fehmarn, and U-1008 was sunk.