APRIL 5, 1945 - British destroyers had a 10 minute battle with an enemy convoy entering Josing Fiord on the coast of Norway and scene of the 1940 "Altmark incident" early yesterday morning. They torpedoed and sank one enemy supply ship and obtained many hits by gunfire on a second, which was left in flames. A third supply ship was probably hit by torpedo.
In addition one of the enemy escort vessels was severely damaged by gunfire. All His Majesty's ships returned safely to harbour having suffered no casualties and only very superficial damage. An Admiralty communiqué says the destroyer force was under the command of Captain H. W. S. Browning, O.B.E., R.N., in H.M.S. Onslow and comprised H.M.S. Zealous Commander R F. Jesse?, D.S.O., D.S.C., R.N.; H.M.S. Zest Lieut.-Commander R. B. N. Hickok D.S.O., R.N.; and H.M.C.S. Iroquois Commander K. F. Adams , R.C.N. The enemy convoy was of four supply ships and three frigate-type escort vessels.
Flare Caused Fire
The Admiralty adds: Shortly before the attack, an enemy aircraft flew over our ships and tried to illuminate them with flares. One flare alighted on the forecastle of H.M.S. Zest, where it continued to burn until smothered with sand. Almost immediately a sea swept over the forecastle, washed away the sand and rekindled the calcium flare which was again smothered, only to to be relit by another big sea washing over the forecastle. The third time, however, was lucky, and the flare extinguished for good.
This enemy aircraft may have been the cause of another diversion for as soon as our ships opened fire on the convoy the escort vessels began to let off their automatic weapons into the sky, evidently under the impression that they were being attacked by aircraft. The sky was soon full of green and red tracers and "flaming onions."
Meanwhile a searchlight from the shore, its beam
questing at sea level, did us useful service by illuminating two lurking
E-boats which night have counter-attacked our destroyers. These craft,
however, were so ineffectually handled that they did not interfere in the
least with our freedom of action. Our ships had worked round between the
convoy and the coast before opening fire, and thus caught the enemy as
they were entering the fiord.