Arctic Interlude: Independent to North Russia

by Harry C. Hutson

Merriam Press World War II History

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Paperback - ISBN 978-1481006682 - $6.36

Hardcover not available

Arctic Interlude is the full account of a disastrous Allied Arctic operation to send merchant ships independently to North Russia from Iceland. This book tells the true story of Operation FB and in doing so fills a neglected gap in the published history of the Arctic sea war. There is a strong human element throughout, from personal recollections of those involved.

The story concerns the fortunes and misfortunes of thirteen merchant ships and their crews attempting to reach North Russia in late October/early November 1942. The ships were spaced some 200 miles apart and no escort was provided. Seven of these ships were British, five American and one was Russian. Five reached Russia safely—two British and three American. Five were sunk or lost en route—three British, one American and the Russian vessel. Three were forced to return to Iceland—two British and one American.

Four Royal Navy anti-submarine trawlers were stationed along the proposed route between the North Cape of Iceland and the South Cape of Spitzbergen. Two Allied submarines, one British and the other Dutch, were stationed near the South Cape of Spitzbergen. Four other anti-submarine trawlers, two British and two Russian were sailed from North Russian ports to cover the Barents Sea area. Two Russian submarines were deployed to the east of Spitzbergen as part of this operation.

The decision to attempt such an operation was due to the fact that after the heavy losses sustained by the previous two convoys to North Russia, PQ-17 and PQ-18, further convoy sailings were to be stopped for three months. Stalin did not accept that these were good enough reasons to stop sending him supplies. This operation—code-named Operation FB—was an effort to placate him.

Material for the book has been gathered from sources in the United Kingdom, the United States, the USSR, Norway and Germany.

354 6x9-inch pages
103 photos, 43 illustrations,
6 maps,
numerous tables, 12 appendices

Arctic Interlude: Independent to North Russia

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