This was a Soviet combined air and sea operation against the German convoy routes round the extreme north of German-occupied Norway (15 January/3 February 1944).
Under the overall control of Vitse Admiral Arseny G. Golovko’s Northern Fleet, General Leytenant Aleksandr Kh. Andreyev’s Northern Fleet Air Forces made reconnaissance flights as far as Lopphavet in the north-west of German-occupied Norway. Another reconnaissance was undertaken to this area by the submarine L-22, and on 25 January this boat laid a minefield off Rolfsřy.
From 16 January, in the area to the north of the German flanking mine barrages from the North Cape to Longsword, the submarines S-103, S-102, S-15, S-56, S-104, M-201 and M-119 patrolled, and on 17 January a torpedo bomber, while flying an armed reconnaissance, reported an eastbound German convoy off Tanafjord and delivered an unsuccessful attack. Four torpedo craft were then deployed from Pummanki, but again gained no success.
On 19 January M-201 twice missed the stranded wreck of the cargo vessel Natal off Tanafjord. On 20 January S-56 attacked the W.103 convoy off Sletnes and S-102 also attacked unsuccessfully. Similarly, the deployment of the destroyers Razyaryonnyi, Razumnyi, Gremyashchiy and Groznyi on 20/22 January and of the reserve submarines S-14, S-15 and M-105 yielded no useful results.
On 23 January S-56 missed a convoy of three freighters, the submarine chaser UJ 1206 and the harbour patrol vessel NKi 11, which also drove off S-102.
On 28 January S-56 sank the 5,056-ton Henriette Schulte of a westbound convoy consisting of eight freighters escorted by K 1, M 273, V 5912, V 5914, V 5913, V 5916, V 6111, UJ 1208, UJ 1206, UJ 1209 and UJ 1212.
On the same day, off Vardo, M-105 and M-108 missed some German ships, and M-105 again missed the stranded Natal, as did M-108 on 3 February.