Operation Leader Strike on German Shipping along the Coast of Norway





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Published on Aug 12, 2012

http://www.amazon.com/Torpedo-Squadro... In this 2005 interview, LCDR Gerald W. Thomas describes his participation in OPERATION LEADER, the first US carrier-based attack on Nazi-held Norway during World War II. Flying an TBF Avenger carrying four 500-pound bombs, Thomas' plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire while attacking a freight barge carrying 40 tons of ammunition.

OPERATION LEADER was carried out by aircraft from the USS RANGER, on October 4, 1943. Prior to this operation, German news releases stated that the RANGER had been torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine. The captain of the sub U-404, Lt Otto Von Bulow, was decorated by Hitler with Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross for the sinking. Thus, the Norway strike was an embarrassment to both Hitler and Von Bulow.

At the time of the Norway strike, the RANGER was operating as a part of the British Home Fleet under the overall command of Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser.

For an extensive description of OPERATION LEADER, including the composition of the strike groups, the damage inflicted by the attack, and the pilots and crew lost or captured in the operation, see Torpedo Squadron Four -- A Cockpit View of World War II:


Thomas was awarded 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 2 Air Medals, and 2 Presidential Unit Citations for his combat actions in WWII. More details about LCDR Gerald W. Thomas are available here:




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