Black Friday (1945) 1
This article is about the air battle fought over Norway on 9 February 1945. For other uses, see Black Friday.
"Black Friday" raid on Førde Fjord
Part of World War II
Two ships close to the shore of a body of water near steep snow-covered hills. Much of the body of water is covered by sheets of ice.
Z33 under attack by Allied aircraft on 9 February 1945
Date 9 February 1945
Location Førde Fjord, Norway
Result German victory
United Kingdom Germany
Commanders and leaders
Australia Colin Milson
31 or 32 Beaufighters
10 or 12 P-51 Mustangs
2 Warwicks 12 Fw 190s
3 to 9 escort warships
Casualties and losses
1 P-51 Mustang
14 aircrew KIA
4 POW 4 or 5 Fw 190s
2 pilots, 7 sailors KIA
On 9 February 1945 a force of Allied Bristol Beaufighter aircraft suffered heavy casualties during an unsuccessful attack on German destroyer Z33 and escorting vessels; the operation was labelled "Black Friday" by the surviving Allied aircrew. The German ships were sheltering in a strong defensive position in Førde Fjord, Norway, forcing the Allied aircraft to attack through heavy anti-aircraft fire. The Beaufighters and their escort of North American P-51 Mustang fighters were also surprised by twelve German Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighters of the Luftwaffe fighter wing Jagdgeschwader 5. In the resulting attack the Allies damaged at least two of the German ships for the loss of seven Beaufighters shot down by flak guns. Another two Beaufighters and one Mustang were shot down by the Fw 190s. Four or five German fighters were shot down by the Allied aircraft, including one flown by an ace.
The decision to attack Z33 and her escorts rather than a nearby group of merchant ships was in accordance with RAF Coastal Command's orders from the British Admiralty. The heavy casualties sustained in the raid led to merchant ships being prioritised over destroyers and small warships in subsequent operations. In addition, another squadron of P-51 Mustangs was assigned to protect Allied aircraft operating near Norway from German fighters.
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