By Christopher Mann (auth.)
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Additional info for British Policy and Strategy towards Norway, 1941–45
M. Sladden of the submarine service visited Lunna Voe, the Shetland Island base from which SOE ran its fishing boats to and from Norway. After consultation with Major Leslie Mitchell, who ran Lunna Voe, and Sub-Lieutenant David Howarth, his second in command, they decided upon the Arthur, a small cutter of a type common in the Trondheim area. They chose Leif Larsen as captain of the four-man Norwegian crew57 They would be joined by six British sailors commanded by Sub-Lieutenant Jack Brewster, two two-man Chariot crews and two dressers.
He called a meeting of his staff. 48 The fate of the convoy was sealed and 23 of the 36 ships which set out were sunk over the next two weeks. The decision for the convoy to scatter was the most controversial of Pound’s career. 49 The Tirpitz sailed on 5 July. 50 She turned back later that day when it was clear that the convoy had scattered. The slaughter was left to aircraft and U-boats. The question is whether Pound should have taken the decision over Tovey’s head. Tovey’s argument that the Germans would not risk the Tirpitz against determined torpedo armed escorts was given credence by the Kriegsmarine’s reluctance to engage a determined escort.
47 That evening, Pound asked the Operational Intelligence Centre (OIC) if the German squadron had sailed. Commodore Norman Denning believed it had not. He could not give an absolute assurance however, but reckoned that German signal traffic would give an indication of when and if the ships sailed. This was not enough for Pound who was well aware of the catastrophe that would occur if the Tirpitz, Hipper, Scheer and, for all he knew, Lützow caught the convoy. The four cruiser escorts would have no chance of repelling such a force.
British Policy and Strategy towards Norway, 1941–45 by Christopher Mann (auth.)