was a World War II
operation to intercept blockade runners off the west coast of France. It was an effective example of inter-service and inter-national co-operation.
From the start of the war, the Allies had maintained a blockade
against the import by Germany of seaborne goods. Although rich in many basic industrial materials, Germany, like Britain, could not produce some essentials. These included rubber
, tin and tungsten
Until the German invasion of the Soviet Union
in June 1941 (Operation Barbarossa
), the blockade was evaded via the Trans-Siberian Railway
and large quantities of materials were shipped by this route. Once this was closed, German and Italian ships, stranded in Japan
and Occupied Singapore
, were used to bring in these essentials to ports in Occupied France. These were the blockade-runners
Although an organised interdiction against these blockade-runners could not be set up until December 1943, several ships were intercepted and sunk in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans
. Few actually managed successful runs.
The New Zealand cruiser, HMNZS Gambia
, joined the operation in December, 1943, and operated from Horta, in the Azores
, with , patrolling an area north of the islands.
On 23 December, aircraft from the American escort carrier
spotted a suspected runner and there were further reports of a flotilla of destroyers escorting another merchantman west from France. HMS Gambia
, and formed a cordon to... Read More