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On the previous day at noon, after the bombardment by H.M.S. Suffolk (see Minute 2), attacks had been made on Stavanger aerodrome by twelve Blenheims. Direct hits on runways had been reported and also on dispersed aircraft, some of which had been blown up. The pilots had been unable to make close observations, but had reported that the hangars looked as though they had been damaged. Fifty Messerschmitts 110 and some 109s had been encountered over the aerodrome. Two Blenheims had been shot down, whilst a third, which had succeeded in returning to its base, had been hit in fifty-two places.
Eleven Wellingtons had left between 5-30 and 7-30 the previous evening for a further attack on Stavanger. Six aircraft had dropped their bombs on the aerodrome and hits had been observed, but four had been unable to locate the target. One of these machines was missing.
H.M.S. Suffolk had fired 217 rounds at Stavanger Aerodrome between 4-45 and 6-5 A.M. on the 17th April. Observation of the effects of the fire had been difficult owing to the fact that aircraft communication had broken down, but heavy smoke had been observed over the target. During the action a torpedo had been seen to miss astern. When retiring, H.M.S. Suffolk had been bombed persistently and had sustained one hit and several near misses, which had caused considerable damage. Thirty-three divebombing attacks had been made and 82 high-level bombs dropped. The casualties had been 17 killed and 33 wounded. H.M.S. Suffolk was now approaching Scapa, escorted by HALS. Renown and 9 destroyers. During the air attack. Fleet Air Arm aircraft had succeeded in bringing down 1 Heinkel and 1 Dornier and had damaged 3 Heinkels.
Patrols had been undertaken over H.M.S. Suffolk on her return journey during the previous afternoon and enemy bombers engaged in attacking her had been chased off. This patrol had been later relieved by Skuas (see Minute 2).
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The Bristol aircraft used during this period was the Blenheim, not Beaufighter... Had this aircraft been available, the results of the Stavanger Missions may have been quite different!
My Grandfather 40045 William Henry Edwards DFC flew Bristol Blenheim L9041 & P4905 on missions to bomb Stavanger in April 1940. He was awarded the DFC for his actions.
Regards, Ross Edwards
Erik E wrote: ↑13 Feb 2004 20:17Operation Duck:
The British cruiser ”Suffolk” were just finished disembarking a unit at Torshavn on the Faroe islands, when an order to attack Sola airfield outside Stavanger came. The airfield was frequently used by German bomber units as base for their attacks northwards in Norway. The British plan to send a landingforce to Aandalsnes and Namsos could be much more difficult if the Luftwaffe had full air superiority.
In order to try to disable as many planes as possible, the cruiser, which had an rendesvouz with the 4 destroyers, “Kipling”, “Juno”, “Janus” and “Herwark”, should bombard the airfield before sunset on the 17th April.
As airsupport, 12 Beaufighters from 107sqn Bomber command were ready to follow as soon as the cruiser were starting it`s retreat. In addition to “Suffolk`s” two Walrus scoutplanes, it was decided to send 2 Hudson`s from 233Sqn Coastal command carrying navy artillery observers and radio operators. Just after take-off at 01:15 from Lossiemouth, one of the Hudsons suffered a technical problem, and had to return. The last Hudson continued on it`s own.
Pilot : G. Edwards (RAF)
2nd pilot: Tacon (RAF)
Radio/gunner :Purves (RAF)
L.A.C :Middle (RAF)
LT.Cdr Fleming (Royal navy artillery observer)
T.A.G Rine (Royal navy telegraphist)
In order to avoid some reported German destroyers, Suffolk decided to take an northen approach, thus missing the meeting with the destroyers.
The lone Hudson took the German flak batteries totally by surprise. Edwards was able to drop his load of 9 25Lbs Incendiary bombs in the middle of the airport. As they were heading for the observation line, Oberfeldwebel Jescke in his Ju88C (Z./KG30) attacked them. After a 20 minute dogfight between the two aircrafts, the Ju got away with a damaged engine.
The Hudson then noticed rather heavy AA fire, only to find out that it was the cruiser which were shooting at them! They dropped a few “friendly” flares, and the bombardement begun.
Suffolk was completely alone some 20 Km`s from one of the most used German airfields in Norway. The fires started by the Hudson were not easy to differ from the heavy flak barage over the airport. The radiocommunictation between the 3 scoutplanes and Suffolk prooved to be useless, and only a few words came through. Suffolk started the bombardment allmost on pure luck at 05:13. The first 4 grenades hit a hillside south of the airport. Several civilian houses were damaged along with Sola church, causing the death of one civilian. It is unclear how many grenades Suffolk fired, but the number is most likely between 100-150 8” grenades.
Most of the grenades were way too short to damage the airport, but as the ship was starting it`s retreat, their targeting had become more accurate. The last broadside fired, hit the seaplane harbour north of the airport (Sola-See). 5 He59 and a Bv138 from KGzbv 108, 4 He 115 from 106 Kü.Fl.Gr., two fueldrum stores, one truck and the German commanders house was destroyed. The Hudson and the two Walruses all arrived safe in Lossiemouth and Aberdeen.
As Suffolk returned home, the Germans started their retaliation. At 08:25, 10 He111 from I./KG26 bombed the cruiser from high altitude, but without results. Several Dornier 18 recon planes followed the cruiser at safe distance. Ca 10:00, 28 Ju88`s from II./KG30 started a low level attack. At 10:27, one of the planes scored a direct hit. The officersmess was blown to pieces, jammed two of the main turrtes and damaged the engine room. The cruiser partially lost control over the rudder, and had to manouver with her propellers. 33 British sailors were killed, 38 wounded. The ship was taking in rather much water, and the situation became crictical when another 22 He111`s from III./KG26 arrived at the scene. Again, none of the Heinkels were able to hit the ship directly. Additional 22 He 111`s from III/KG4 had left their bases in Germany, but never found their target.
At this stage, the British battleships Renown and Repulse assisted by several destroyers and planes were able to chase away the German planes. Suffolk arrived at Scapa Flow with most of the aft deck under water. She stayed under repair for several months and later participated in the hunt for Bismarck. She had no more AA ammunition onboard!
The 12 Beaufighters from 107sqn continued all the way to Sola to Attack the Germans planes on ground. Several more German planes were destoyed at Sola, but also two Beaufighters were lost (L-9041 and N-6185)
Kampen om Sola
Bomber commad losses of ww2