Raid on The Lofoten Islands 4 March 1941
The Lofoten Islands lie off the Norwegian coast about 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle . In appearance and size they resemble the Outer Hebrides. They were targeted by British planners, not only because they met Churchill's directive to harass German forces along the length of the North Sea and Atlantic coasts of mainland Europe, but also because they contributed to the German war effort. It was known that several factories processed herring oil into glycerine for munitions. HMS Queen Emma, Princess Beatrix and a naval escort of 5 destroyers + No 3 & 4 Commandos took part. The primary targets were Norwegian fish oil factories. Their destruction would be a blow to German Glycerine production. 11 factories and 5 ships were destroyed, 225 Germans & 60 Quislings taken prisoner and 314 volunteers given passage to UK based Norwegian forces. There were no losses. The only casualty was a British officer who accidentally shot himself in the thigh.
A Sub Lieutenant went into the local post office and despatched the following telegram to Hitler - "You said in your last speech that German troops would meet the English wherever they landed (Stop) where are your troops?"
Perhaps the most significant outcome of the raid, however, was the capture of a set of rotor wheels for an Enigma cipher machine and its code books from the German armed trawler Krebs. This enabled German naval codes to be read at Bletchley Park, providing the intelligence needed to allow allied convoys to avoid U-boat concentrations.
References, not sources