OPERATION SOURCE was a series of attacks to neutralise the heavy
German warships – Tirpitz , Scharnhorst and Lützow – based in
The attacks took place in September 1943 and succeeded in keeping Tirpitz out of action for at least six months.
The attack was masterminded and directed from
HMS Varbel , located in
Port Bannatyne on the
Isle of Bute
Intelligence contributing to the attack on Tirpitz was collected and sent to the RN by the Norwegian resistance, especially brothers Torbjørn Johansen and Einar Johansen .
* 1 Attack * 2 X-craft and crews * 3 In popular culture * 4 See also * 5 Footnotes
Lt Henty-Creer and the crew of X5
Six X-craft were used. X5, X6 and X7 were allocated the battleship Tirpitz, in Kåfjord . X9 and X10 were to attack the battleship Scharnhorst, also in Kåfjord. X8 was to attack the heavy cruiser Lützow in Langfjord .
The craft were towed to the area by conventional submarines (HMS Truculent (X6) Syrtis (X9), Sea Nymph (X8), Thrasher (X5), Stubborn (X7), and Sceptre (X10) ) and manned by passage crews on the way. Close to the target, the operation crews would take over. X9, while commanded by S-Lt E Kearon of the passage crew and probably trimmed heavily by the bow in the heavy sea for the tow, was lost with all hands on the passage when her tow parted and she suffered an abrupt plunge due to her bow-down trim. X8 (passage crew commanded by Lt. Jack Smart ) developed serious leaks in her side-mounted demolition charges, which had to be jettisoned; these exploded, leaving her so damaged she had to be scuttled . The remaining X-craft began their run in on 20 September and the attacks took place on 22 September 1943.
Scharnhorst was engaged in exercises at the time, and hence was not at her normal mooring, X10's attack was abandoned, although this was due to mechanical and navigation problems, and the submarine returned to rendezvous with her 'tug' submarine and was taken back to Scotland.
X5, commanded by
X6 and X7 managed to drop their charges underneath Tirpitz, but were unable to make good their escape as they were observed and attacked. Both craft were abandoned and six crew survived to be captured.
Tirpitz was heavily damaged. While not in danger of sinking, she took
on over 1,400 tons of water and suffered significant mechanical
damage. The first mine exploded abreast of turret Caesar, and the
second mine detonated 45 to 55 m (148 to 180 ft) off the port bow. A
fuel oil tank was ruptured, shell plating was torn, a large
indentation was formed in the bottom of the ship, and bulkheads in the
double bottom buckled. Some 1,430 t (1,410 long tons) of water flooded
the ship in fuel tanks and void spaces in the double bottom of the
port side, which caused a list of one to two degrees, which was
balanced by counter-flooding on the starboard side. The flooding
damaged all of the turbo-generators in generator room No. 2, and all
apart from one generator in generator room No. 1 were disabled by
broken steam lines or severed power cables. Turret Dora was thrown
from its bearings and could not be rotated; this was particularly
significant, as there were no heavy-lift cranes in
For this action, the commanders of the craft,
X-CRAFT AND CREWS
* X-5 — unofficially named Platypus, commanded by Henty-Creer,
crew S-Lt Nelson, Midshipman Malcolm, and ERA Mortiboys; passage crew
Lt Terry-Lloyd (commanding), LS Element, Stoker Garrity. Henty-Creer,
Nelson, Malcolm, and Mortiboys were killed in the attack, though X-5's
exact fate is unknown.
* X-6 — named Piker II, commanded by Lt Donald Cameron , crew Lt
J. T. Lorimer, S-Lt. R. Kendall, and ERA Goddard; passage crew Lt
Wilson (commanding), LS McGregor, Stoker Oxley. Cameron earned a
IN POPULAR CULTURE
* The operation was later portrayed in the 1955 war film Above Us the Waves , featuring John Mills , which was based on both Operation "Source" and the earlier "Chariot " human torpedo attacks on Tirpitz. * The 1969 war film Submarine X-1 is loosely based on Operation "Source". * The Operation is featured in the 2003 video game Hidden -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">
* ^ The CO of X5, Henty Henty-Creer was an Australian commissioned
in the RNVR and five members of the
Royal Australian Navy
* t * e
Australian Commando raids of the Second World War
* Battle of Timor (1942–43) * Operation Lancer (1942) * Operation Lizard (1942–43) * Operation Lagarto (1943) * Operation Cobra (1943) * Operation Adder (1944) * Operation Sunlag (1945) * Operation Sunable (1945) * Operation Suncob (1945) * Operation Sunfish * Operation Suncharlie (April 1945) * Operation Sunbaker (May 1945) * Operation Sun Dog
* Townsville raid (1943) * Operation Opossum (1945) * Operation Apple (1945) * Operation Flounder * Operation Firtree * Operation Turnip * Operation Salmon * Operation Mackerel * Operation Poppy * Operation Potato * Operation Goldfish * Operation Pine Needle * Operation Trout * Operation Shark * Operation Carrot * Operation Radish * Operation Asparagus * Operation Bream * Operation Binatang * Operation Carpenter * Operation Crane * Operation Crocodile * Operation Giraffe * Operation Magpie * Operation Menzies * Operation Politician * Operation Raven * Operation Robin * Operation Shrill * Operation Squirrel * Operation Stallion * Operation Starfish * Operation Swallow * Operation Swift
* Operation Scorpion (1943) * Operation Hornbill (1944) * Operation Kingfisher (1944–45)
NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES
* Operation Lion (1942) * Operation Walnut (1943) * Operation Prawn (1944) * Operation Apricot (1945) * Operation Firetree (1945) * Operation Poppy (1945) * Operation Tiger (Java) * Operation Finch * Operation Parsnip (1945) * Operation Inco I (1945)
DUTCH EAST INDIES
* Operation Crayfish (1944)