Operation Claymore: Lofoten Island Raid 1941

Operation Claymore: Lofoten Island Raid 1941

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Operation Claymore was the code name for a British commando raid on the Lofoten Islands in Norway during the Second World War. The Lofoten Islands were an important centre for the production of fish oil and glycerine, used in the German war economy. The landings were carried out on 4 March 1941, by the men of No. 3 Commando, No. 4 Commando, a Royal Engineers Section and 52 men from the Royal Norwegian Navy. Supported by the 6th Destroyer Flotilla and two troop transports of the Royal Navy, the force made an unopposed landing and generally continued to meet no opposition. The original plan was to avoid contact with German forces and inflict the maximum of damage to German-controlled industry. They achieved their objective of destroying fish oil factories and some 3,600 t (3,500 long tons) of oil and glycerine. The British experienced only one accident; an officer injuring himself with his own revolver and returned with some 228 German prisoners, 314 loyal Norwegian volunteers and a number of Quisling regime collaborators. Through naval gunfire and demolition parties, 18,000 tons of shipping were sunk. Perhaps the most significant outcome of the raid was the capture of a set of rotor wheels for an Enigma cypher machine and its code books from the German armed trawlerKrebs. German naval codes could be read at Bletchley Park, providing the intelligence needed to allow Allied convoys to avoid U-boat concentrations.

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