Raid on Kirkenes and Petsamo

The Raid on Kirkenes and Petsamo was a British raid during World War II that took place on July 30, 1941. The raid was conducted by the Fleet Air Arm (the branch of the Royal Navy responsible for the deployment of aircraft on their ships) to Kirkenes in Norway and Petsamo (then) in Finland, both in possession of a port.

The intention was to (Finland was temporarily allied with Germany against Russia) to damage German and Finnish and also to pay tribute to the Soviet Union support


During the Russian Civil War (1917 – 1921) Finland declared (then the Grand Duchy of Finland) independently of the Soviet Union and gave thanks to the Peace of Tartu include the ice-free port of Petsamo assigned to the Barents Sea. During the Winter War (1939 – 1940), between the Soviet Union and Finland, Russian troops occupied Petsamo. Thanks to the Peace of Moscow in 1940 the Soviet Union only retained the Finnish part of the peninsula Rybachiy, and got back Petsamo Finland.

During the Continuation War Petsamo was used by Nazi Germany as a gathering place for the troops, for the attack on Murmansk.

Kirkenes is a town in Norway, which was neutral at the beginning of the war, but was nevertheless invaded and occupied by Germany.

From September 3, 1939 were Germany and the United Kingdom officially at war. Joseph Stalin decided in December of that year to fall. Within Finland Although Finland initially held out had to, go enter some areas of truce. Following the agreement Not long after, in April 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway and was also defeated France in May. From the main Finnish allies stood alone the UK still standing, after the Battle of Britain also less pressure came to be. Germany began to focus more on the east and fell on June 22, 1941 in the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa), with the Finns as allies. This is known as the Continuation War.

Finland already knew the land they were hit after conquering the Soviets. Winter War back lost The British, who feared that the Soviet Union would get to Germany, Ukraine lost thought that an attack on the ports on the Barents Sea that had been occupied by the Axis powers was the best way to show their support. To the Soviet Union The method of attack, with aircraft were ships coming had already shown its effectiveness in the Battle of Taranto and the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck.

The attack

The British force, consisting of two aircraft carriers and six destroyer s left on July 23, 1941 Scapa Flow (Scotland) and headed for Seyðisfjörður in Iceland, where they arrived two days later. After being refueled, they left the next day to Norway. The intention was to carry out a surprise attack, but because it was 24 hours light at that time of the year, this was virtually impossible and the military was just before the start of the attack therefore noticed by German planes.

For the attack on the port of Petsamo were nine Fairey Albacore s (817e squadron), 9 Fairey Swordfish es (812e squadron) and six Fairey Fulmar s (800th Squadron) deployed from the British aircraft carrier HMS Furious.

The harbor was almost empty, and the attackers knew only sinking a small steamer and destroy some piers here was the loss of one Albacore and two Fulmars opposite.

The raid on Kirkenes was even less successful. The Luftwaffe was alarmed and had several Bf 109s (fighter) and Bf 110′s (fighter-bomber) in the air. The other British aircraft carrier HMS Victorious sent its aircraft in the air in two groups. In total there rose from the Victorious 20 Alba Cores (827e and 828e squadron) and 9 Fulmars (809E squadron) on.

The British aircraft could not attack from the sea and were forced to fly. Across the mountains and the fjord. In the harbor were ultimately only four freighters. The aircraft quickly left their torpedoes fall to escape the German anti-aircraft and aircraft. This they knew only one freighter sinking and damaging. Another there was little damage to the port itself. Furthermore, there would be one Bf 109 and two Bf 110′s were shot, against a loss of 11 Alba Cores and 2 Fulmars. In addition, there was further damage Alba 8 Cores.


The attack had failed. The raid was in contrast to the Battle of Taranto, no influence on the course of the war and there were several aircraft and, lost in most cases, the more difficult to replace crew.

Operation during WWII

World War II in Norway

Second World War in Finland

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