Commandoraid Checkmate on Karmøy

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Commandoraid Checkmate on Karmøy

Post  Cutstone on Wed 9 Mar 2011 - 15:35

Does anyone have information about the commandoraid to Karmøy in May 1943? Its name was operation Checkmate.
7 soldiers were dropped of by MTB's (Probably from Shetland) and were suposed to be picked up the same way.
I only have two references to this raid and it seems to be schrouded in mystery. All 7 men supposedly a part of No. 14 (artic) commando were caught, with the help of norwegians. 6 if them were executed, while the last died of typhus. In the book "The secret history og SOE" i found that "No. 14 Commando in the Shetlands had been disbanded in March 1943,..." What is correct?
I have lived just outside Stavanger all my life and been interested in military history for many, many years, but never heard of this operation before. Anyone with facts and information. There should be someone on Karmøy that remember this?
I have information from Commando Veterans pages and english Wikipedia (sceptical to some of the things written on Wiki....)
These 7 men definetly deserves their place in history!

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Re: Commandoraid Checkmate on Karmøy

Post  AltforNorge on Wed 9 Mar 2011 - 19:33

From the trial against Generaloberst von Falkenhorst:

6th Charge

Committing a War Crime in that he in the Kingdom of Norway, in or about the month of May, 1943, in violation of the laws and usages of war, was responsible as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Norway (Wehrmachtbefehlshaber Norwegen), for the handing over by forces under his command to the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) of one officer, one Non-Commissioned Officer and five Naval Ratings, British Prisoners of War, who had taken part in Commando Operations, with the result that the said Prisoners were killed.


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Re: Commandoraid Checkmate on Karmøy

Post  AltforNorge on Wed 9 Mar 2011 - 19:37

Try this link:

http://www.arquebus.no/hovedsider/hoved.htm


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Op Checkmate

Post  Bob Pearson on Wed 9 Mar 2011 - 20:16

Hello there,

There are a number of files in the National Archives to have a look at - type in Op Checkmate and you will see what's available. The NA will copy files and post to you, but of course this is an expensive process.

Hope the above helps a little

Mvh

Bob

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Re: Commandoraid Checkmate on Karmøy

Post  Cutstone on Thu 10 Mar 2011 - 2:52

Thank you for the trial reference! Did'nt know of that. Amazing that it became one of all the charges against von Falkenhorst. As I could not find anything on the Arquebus pages, I have sendt them an e-mail. I have also contacted knowledgable persons on Karmøy about this operation.
I knew of the archive material at Kew, but still thanks. Allready planned a new visit there, where this operation will be a piece of what I will researche. So much interesting stuff there. tongue
Again thanks.
These guys deserve their name in the history books!


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Re: Commandoraid Checkmate on Karmøy

Post  Black Hornet on Sat 12 Mar 2011 - 5:02

Let us know what you turn up.

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Operation Checkmate "The story"

Post  Cutstone on Fri 18 Mar 2011 - 18:51

After I put out my shout for help here and on other forums I have received a lot of information, documents and tips from friends and strangers alike. I would especially like to thank Erik Ettrup, Brian Sims and Tor Ødemotland for their great help. One thing I’ve learned long time ago is that there are usually a lot of wrong information in circulation about operation like this. That was also the case here. They never landed on Karmøy for one.
Her are some of the documeted facts I’ve put together:

In the beginning of May 1943 the german navy issued a special warning. Everyone had to be on the lookout for enemy MTB’s and smaller vessels that were suspected of operating in the northern part of Rogaland.

Late at night April 19. 1943 the norwegian MTB 626 had moved slowly towards the norwegian coast, just northwest of Stavanger. It had a LCP (M) – Landing Craft Personell (Medium) in tow. Around 4 nautical miles west of the southern tip of Karmøy they stopped dead in the water. The towed vessel continued on, under own power, with 7 men onboard together with two collapsable twoseater kayaks. Just south of Skudenes the engine of their LCP stopped, but after some work they managed to carry on. It was therefor almost light when they finally reached the southern tip of Bokn, around 7 in the morning. Here they hid not far from the huge cannons on the big german battery.


1 - The dropoff point
2 - Firs hidingplace
3 - Observationpoint by Kopervik
4 - Place where the boat was found
5 - Place where the tree british soldiers were caught
6 - First daystop on the escape of the kayak team
7 - Second stop on escape
8 - The island Urter

The next night four of them left in the two kayaks. Lieutenant Godwin and Able Seaman Burgess manned one kayak and the Able Seamen Mayor and West the other. After paddeling north om the east side of the island Bokn they stayed on the northern tip of Bokn the next day. At night they then proceeded on up to a small island on the other side of Karmsund from Kopervik. All day the lay here observing ships come and go. That night Lieutenant Godwin and probably Able Seaman Burgess manned one kayak, crossed the Karmsund and placed four limpet mines on the german minesweeper M 5207. When leaving the harbour at around 6:00 in the morning a guard saw their boat, but didn’t ring the alarm. At 06:25AM the first mine exploded, the next 06:36, the third at 06:41 and the last at 07:09. The ship started taking in water after the first mine blew and in the end it lay by the pier with it’s aft part on the bottom of the harbour.

The cayakteams returned to the placed where they left the LCP, but found no boat or men. After waiting for a while they crossed Karmsundet westboud and stayed one day hidden right west of Skudenes. They continued northbound on the western side of Karmøy and stayed one day just outside Veavåg. The night of 6. to 7. May they paddled northwest to the remote island of Urter. This is where the MTB were supposed to pick them up. Due to bad weather in the North Sea, the MTB tried three times to reach Norway. The british soldiers were discovered by norwegian fishermen who helped them with food and news, but rumors of them reached the germans and they were caught by a superior german force on May 15.


The LCP (M) used by the commadoes during operation Checkmate, here in german hands.

The LCP and the last three soldiers had also been discovered by norwegian fishermen. These told them to move the boat to a safer location further east. Here the boat was very well hidden, but also here rumors had spread about the british soldiers on the island. The mayor was nazy-friendly and reported to the germans. After a new escape the boat was found on May 12. and the soldiers on May 14. A norwegian that helped the british, and also hid them for a while was also caught, and sendt to Sachenshausen. Her was lucky enought to return after the war alive, but died a few years later.

I also have information told by one of the norwegian medics in Sachsenhausen. Alfred John Roe was sick and in the hospital barrac. He heard about the killing of his friends. The story goes that just before being executed the britsh soldiers fought back and managed to kill one of the germans before they were shot themself. The norwegian doctor heard what had happened and changed the file of Roe by puting a N for norwegian in his file. The same day he was therefor sendt west with other sick norwegian prisoners to the Bergen Belsen camp. Sadly he died of Thyphoid before he arrived.

Just a few days after the capture of the british soldiers, norwegian fishermen fishing outsiden Urter were contacted by the norwegian MTB who was looking for the soldiers. When they got the new they returned to Lerwick.

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Op Checkmate

Post  Bob Pearson on Fri 18 Mar 2011 - 20:28

Dear Cutstone,

Can you please contact me at bakerstreetrebel@yahoo.co.uk reference the operation?

Cheers

Bob

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Re: Commandoraid Checkmate on Karmøy

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