Operation Archery - the raid on Vaagso
27th December 1941: A Commando raid on a remote Norwegian port stirs up the Wehrmacht and gets a reaction from Hitler
On the 27th December the British mounted their first Tri-Service or Combined Operations raid - Operation Archery - an attack on the small Norwegian town of Vaagso and Maaloy Island. This was very different from previous Commando raids which had been largely unopposed, here it was known that there were significant numbers of German troops resting after service on the Eastern front.
The raid opened with a Naval bombardment, then an attack by RAF bombers, followed by a Commando assault from the sea.
Lieutenant Colonel Durnford-Slater1 was leading the raid:
About a hundred yards from our landing-place, I fired ten red Very light signals. This told the ships to stop firing and the aircraft to come in with their smoke bombs. As I leaped from the leading landing craft three Hampden bombers passed over me at zero feet with a roar. As they did so they loosed their bombs, which seemed to flash and then mushroom like miniature atom explosions. Some of the phosphorus came back in a great flaming sheet.