By Christopher Mann (auth.)
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Extra info for British Policy and Strategy towards Norway, 1941–45
Tovey was convinced the convoy’s escort had to be strong enough to fight off a surface attack, although he remained unwilling to commit his battleships to the Barents Sea. Therefore he formed what he termed a Fighting Destroyer Escort (FDE) of 16 destroyers to augment the close escort of corvettes, trawlers and minesweepers. The escort also included the antiaircraft cruiser HMS Scylla. Three cruisers would provide protection west of Spitzbergen and two battleships, plus cruiser and destroyers under Vice Admiral Bruce Fraser were distant cover.
These were ideal for launching raids on British maritime communications, and made the imposition of a naval blockade on Germany more difficult. Naval losses on both sides in the Norwegian campaign were high, yet those to the large Royal Navy were relatively insignificant. The loss of a heavy cruiser, two light cruisers and ten destroyers, plus serious damage to the battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau could not be so comfortably absorbed by the German Navy. Indeed the Kriegsmarine’s surface strength was effectively crippled for the rest of the war.
By the summer, Operation Source, as the plan was called, was taking shape. The intention was to use six X-Craft towed to the target area by two ‘T’ and four ‘S’ Class submarines, plus two as back up from the Home Flotillas. 85 In April, 24 officers and 18 naval ratings were assembled for the operation, under the command of Captain W. E. Banks, and they underwent rigorous training throughout the summer. 86 Provision of intelligence was something of a problem. The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) as yet had no one in the Altenfjord area.