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December 1941

Special Forces Operations in December 1941

December 26th, 1941 – December 28th, 1941
Operation Anklet
Commandos, Norwegian Independent Company 1
Three hundred men from No. 12 Commando and the Norwegian Independent Company 1. Their mission is to capture prisoners and destroy radio stations around Florø in Norway.

The men land unopposed on the western side of the island of Moskenesøya. They occupy the villages of Reine and Moskenes, they also capture the small German garrison and a number of Norwegian Quislings at the radio station at Glåpen. The raiding force was attacked on December 27th, 1941, by a German seaplane that bombed the cruiser H.M.S. Arethusa. Although the ship is not hit, it is damaged by the shockwave. Besides the captured Germans and Quislings on the Island, the raiders also destroy two radio transmitters, and they capture or sink several small German boats. The most valuable prise of the raid is the capture of an Enigma coding machine, with its associated wheels and settings, from one of the patrol ships they had sunk.

With no air support of their own, the commander of the raid, Admiral Hamilton, decides to pull out and head back on December 28th, 1941. Over two hundred Norwegians volunteer to serve in the Free Norwegian Forces and leave with the force. The raiding force suffers no casualties.

December 27th, 1941
Operation Archery
Commandos, Norwegian Independent Company 1.

Diversion for Operation Anklet. Eight hundred men from No. 2 Commando, No. 3 Commando, a medical detachment of No. 4 Commando a demolition party from 101 Troop (canoe) No. 6 Commando and Norwegian Independent Company 1. Their mission is the destruction of the German shipping, German personnel, and Norwegian harbour installations in Vågsøy in Norway.

Five raiding groups attack the area after a Naval bombardment. In the raid they destroy four fish oil factories and storage buildings. They kill at least 120 German military personnel and take ninety-eight Germans and four Norwegian Quislings prisoner. They also capture a complete copy of the most recent version of the German naval code book. When they embark, seventy-seven Norwegian volunteers return with them to Great Britain. The raiding force suffers seventeen killed troops and fifty-three wounded. The Royal Navy suffers four killed men and another four wounded. The Royal Air Force Coastal Command lose thirty-one men killed and two Handley Page Hampden, seven Bristol Blenheim and two Bristol Beaufighters.