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Operation Archery - The First Tri Services Raid

Unit/ Formation: Combined Ops


Location: Norway


Period/ Conflict: World War II


Year: 1941


Date/s: 27 December 1941



Operation Archery, also known as the Måløy Raid, was a British Combined Operations raid during World War II against German positions on the island of Vågsøy, Norway, on 27 December 1941.


The raid was the First Tri-Service Operation and broke new ground for combined operations.


This was the first time all three services combined in support of an amphibious raid against a defended coast, and the first time air support was integrated into the raiding plans from the outset.

As Mountbatten said at the outset "... nobody knows quite what is going to happen and you are the ones who are going to find out." The RAF provided air cover for over 7 hours and undertook diversionary raids elsewhere. None of the British ships was hit by enemy bombs but a phosphorous bomb from a disabled British plane hit one of the landing craft, resulting in some casualties.


The raid was conducted by British Commandos of No. 3 Commando, two troops of No.2 Commando, a medical detachment of No.4 Commando, a demolition party from 101 Troop (canoe) of No. 6 Commando and a dozen Norwegians from Norwegian Independent Company 1.


The action was supported by Royal Navy gunfire, led by the light cruiser HMS Kenya, with the destroyers HMS Onslow, Oribi, Offa and Chiddingfold. The submarine HMS Tuna was in support as the force navigational check.


For troop transport the Prince Charles and Prince Leopold were used. Also in support were Royal Air Force bombers and fighter-bombers.

The assault began with a naval barrage from the HMS Kenya, which bombarded the town until the commandos gave the signal that they had landed.


The commandos stormed into Måløy, but encountered bitter opposition immediately.

As these German forces proved more resistant than had been initially expected, Durnford-Slater utilised the floating reserve and called in troops raiding elsewhere on Vågsoy island.

A number of local citizens assisted the commandos by helping them move ammunition, grenades and explosives around as well as carrying the wounded to safety.

The fighting was fierce. Much of the commando leadership was killed or injured in attempting to breach one German strongpoint, the Ulvesund Hotel. The British attempted to storm the building several times, losing several of their officers in the process.

Captain Algy Forester was shot at the entrance, with a cocked grenade in hand, which exploded as he fell onto it.


Captain Martin Linge was also killed storming the Hotel. Linge was a Norwegian commando who had been a prominent actor before the war, appearing in notable classics such as Den nye lensmanden (1926) and Det drønner gjennom dalen (1938).


Ultimately the Commandos were able to breach the hotel with the aid of mortar that Captain Bill Bradley had resourcefully procured.


The commandos destroyed four factories, much of the stores of Norwegian fish-oil, several military installations with stocks of ammunition and fuel, and a telephone exchange.

The commandos lost 20 men with 53 more wounded, whilst the Germans lost 120 defenders and had 98 more men taken prisoner. Captain O’Flaherty lost an eye to sniper fire, and took to wearing an eye-patch later in the war.

Several Quislings, the Norwegian term for Nazi collaborator after the leader of Nazi Norway, Vidkun Quisling, were also captured. 70 Norwegians were also brought back to fight for the Free Norwegian forces.


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Operation Archery
































































Unit/ Formation: Combined Ops
































































































































































































































































































































































































Location: Norway
































































































































































































































































































































































































Period/ Conflict: World War II
































































































































































































































































































































































































Year: 1941
































































































































































































































































































































































































Date/s: 27 December 1941