On this day 11 April 1940
On this day 11 April 1940 First operational torpedo attack in WW2
18 Swordfish from 816 NAS, led by Lt.Cdr. H. Gardner and 818 NAS led by Lt.Cdr. P. Sydney-Turner, launch from the carrier HMS FURIOUS against German cruiser Admiral Hipper, operating in Trondheim Fjord, Norway; spotted by RAF on 10 April. This was the first air strike of the war by carrier-borne aircraft.
18 Swordfish from 816 NAS, led by Lt Cdr H Gardner and 818 NAS led by Lt Cdr P Sydney-Turner, launch from the carrier HMS FURIOUS against German cruiser Admiral Hipper, operating in Trondheim Fjord, Norway; spotted by RAF on 10 April. This was the first air strike of the war by carrier-borne aircraft.
Take-off commenced at 0400, with the entire force taking its departure at 0419, the squadrons proceeding independently to attack from different directions. Climbing to 8,000 feet en-route, the 816 Squadron sighted Trondheim Fjord at 0514, the roads being entirely obscured in cloud. Hoping to surprise the foe, the formation commenced a diving attack at 0519. Emerging from the clouds at 3,000 feet, the cruiser was nowhere to be seen, having left the previous evening. Flying towards Skjoren Fjord, the Squadron sighted a destroyer at anchor an opted for her, the attack commencing at 0522. All nine aircraft made good drops, about 500 yards from the target, all the torpedo tracks ended, four of the nine exploding as the target was protected by shoals.
Meanwhile, 818 Squadron sighted a Maas-class destroyer in Trondheim fjord heading towards the harbour. Opting for her, eight of the nine attackers were able to release their torpedoes. Two exploded prematurely, the other six being avoided.
Later that morning, Furious dispatched two Swordfish of 816 Squadron on an armed reconnaissance over Trondheim harbour. After completing the main task, they opted to dive bomb the German destroyer still anchored in Skjoren Fjord at 1220. Unfortunately, all the six bombs dropped fell wide of the mark. Both aircraft returned safely at 1345.