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Thread: Attacks on Tirpitz Jan-Apr 1942

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    Default Attacks on Tirpitz Jan-Apr 1942

    Now Linzee has solved my Freshman query I'd appreciate some help with the attacks on the Tirpitz whilst it was moored in Faettenfjord (30/31 Jan, 30/31 Mar, 27/28 Apr and 28/29 Apr 1942). I don't know which squadrons were involved on the Jan operation, but they were 10, 37 and 76 Sqns on the March op. The two April raids involved 10, 35, 44,76 and 97 Squadrons.

    The aircraft were not operating from their normal bases (where met would have come from their Group HQs), but airfields in northeast Scotland, so once again I'm seeking details of the met arrangements from the Op Order.

    Brian

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    Hello Brian,

    For general information about the squadrons that participated etc go to this page and follow the links for each of the operations in March and April http://www.archieraf.co.uk/archie/raidsontirpitzspring1942.html

    On the January Op the participating squadrons were 15, 149, 10 and 76. I don't have the Ops order in my file for this one.

    March 30/31 the ops order I have makes no mention of met arrangements. I'll check some other files tomorrow in case there is any mention in them.

    April 27/28 & 28/29 I have an ops order no.11 from 4 Group dated 11th April 1942 and there is a brief mention under TARGET & METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION item 27.
    "It is requested that the AOC No.18 Group will make suitable arrangements as on the previous attack on the Tirpitz for the provision of PRU aircraft. The Station Commander Lossiemouth is also requested to make available to Group Captain Graham the meteorological facilities at his station."

    If you are looking for something in particular let me know and I'll have a look through my files, I've got quite a bit of gen on these attacks as my grandfather was killed on the March op.

    Regards
    Linzee

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    Brian, I have found another note that might be of interest to you. I don't have any paperwork to support this as the information comes from a letter written to me by the son of a Norwegian airman, Stenwig, flying in the RAF during WWII.

    Stenwig was a Navigator and had family connections on a small island in Trondheimsfjord so would have been familiar with the area. It's believed that he, along with several other Norwegians went to Lossiemouth immediately prior to the April attacks to assist with local information about the target area.

    The other person he can remember having been with them was (2.Lieutenant/Pilot Officer) J. Anda he was a meteorologist!

    One other name mentioned was Finn Lambrechts who had been an airline pilot pre-war and knew the coast of Norway first hand so may have been able to give useful information to the crews flying.

    Sorry that's all a bit sketchy Brian but perhaps it fits in with other information you have gathered and will be of use.

    Regards
    Linzee

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    Good morning Linzee. I realised after I'd started this thread that it was your website from which I'd obtained the information about the raids.

    Basically I'm interested in the same man as in the Freshman thread - Sverre Petterssen. He was a Norwegian meteorologist/academic who had been working in the US when war was declared. After the invasion of Norway he offered his services to the British and became an officer in the Norwegian Air Force in 1941, and from there was attached to the Met Office.

    In an American book I'm reading there is a footnote as follows:

    "Petterssen also issued the forecast for a successful attack against the giant German battleship, Tirpitz, at Lofjord, Norway, in 1942."

    I wasn't aware of all the details of the operation(s), but since the aircraft came from Bomber Command I assumed the forecast would have originated from the relevant Group HQ. You've solved part of my query in stating that Lossiemouth provided the forecast - but as an airfield met office it is unlikely it would have had the facilities to do that. As it was a Bomber Command airfield at which 20 OTU was based, the forecast would most likely have come from the Group HQ - but which one?

    Which brings me back to Petterssen; he couldn't have been in the UK very long for any of the raids (none of which seem to have been "successful"), so I'm surprised that he would have played a major role at this time.

    I don't recall reading about this in his autobiography so I'm having to obtain it from my library again - unfortunately it's an inter-library loan and it's yet to arrive.

    Brian

    Edit

    You beat me to it as I was composing this Linzee, but you will have realised I'm after someone else. There were a number of Norwegians attached to the Met Office durig the war, in fact a good quarter of the team that produced the forecast winds at Met HQ from Jan 1943 were Norwegians, including the boss - Sverre Petterssen.
    B
    Last edited by Lyffe; 4th December 2009 at 12:15.

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    Hello again Brian,

    Sorry I've not been able to find your man Petterssen. I just noticed another name L°ytnant Offerdal who was a pilot. All the Norwegians I have mentioned in this post were part of a Norwegian Detachment at Woodhaven under 210 Sqdn. They flew routine Coastal Command sorties and special duty operations on the Norwegian coast in Catalinas in case that is of help.

    Will keep looking - have so many files and papers, letters and mails covering these ops and this period that I might find something yet.

    Regards
    Linzee

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    Thank you Linzee. As Petterssen was on the Met Office's strength I doubt you will find his name with any squadron as such. It may be his autobiography does refer to this incident and it's my lack of grey cells that's not helping matters - as it could be a small part of your story I'll keep in touch.

    Brian

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    Default Attacks on Tirpitz Jan-Apr 1942

    Hello Brian and Linzee,

    I've noticed the spelling Petterssen. An extra s is not usual in the Nordic "sen" names.

    He is found under Pettersen, where a treasure of details can be found.

    http://nn.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sverre_Pettersen

    http://retro.met.no/aktuelt/nyhetsarkiv/2004/d_dag.html

    Suppose his correct name is Sverre Petterssen as mentioned. He wrote a book.

    Sverre Petterssen: "Kuling fra nord".

    Regards

    Finn Buch

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    Thank you Finn.

    Although the original book was in Norwegian an English (read American) version appeared in 2001 - "Weathering the storm: Sverre Petterssen, the D-day forecast, and the rise of modern meteorology" - it's his autobiography.

    I wasn't aware of the Norwegian link so that is useful.

    My recall is that he didn't arrive in the UK until very late in 1941 but, as I say, I need to have another look at his book to refresh my memory of what he was doing in 1941/42.

    Brian

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    Linzee,

    I've at long last received Petterssen's autobiography - it makes interesting reading and implies he did all the forecasting himself from a 'tiny shack far out in the airfield' (Lossiemouth). Which rather surprises me as he would have needed teleprinters, plotting staff etc, and no way would additional facilities been approved when there was already a fully equipped met office at the airfield. If Anda was there (your post 3) I've no doubt Petterssen would have confided in him as he was a very experienced Norwegian meteorologist and he (Petterssen) claims to have been responsible for getting Anda sent there in the first place.

    No matter, I digress.

    Do the Ops Orders that you have identify just two nights for the raids (27/28 April and 28/29 April), or had the original plans called for raids on 25/26 and 26/27 April? Also, did the Ops Orders call for regular aerial reconnaissance of the area? (According to Petterssen that was his idea!)

    Brian

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