Black Friday (1945) 4
During the first weeks of 1945 the Allied strike wings flew few operations due to severe weather. On 15 January, the Banff Wing was intercepted by 30 Fw 190 fighters from the III. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 5 (III./JG 5) during a raid on the town of Leirvik. In the resulting fighting five Mosquitos and five Fw 190s were shot down. By 9 February, the Ninth and Twelfth Squadrons of JG5 were based at Herdla near Bergen, about 65 miles (105 km) to the south of Førde Fjord. These units were equipped with Fw 190s and the Twelfth Squadron was commanded by Leutnant Rudi Linz, a 28-year-old flying ace with 69 'kills' to his credit.
The German Narvik-class destroyer Z33 entered service in February 1943. She served in Norwegian waters from July of that year and saw combat on several occasions. She was the last German destroyer to leave northern Norway, and sailed for Germany on 5 February 1945. It was intended that Z31, which had completed initial repairs at Bergen after being heavily damaged in the Action of 28 January 1945, would join her to make a joint passage to the Baltic. However, Z33 ran aground in Brufjord on 7 February, damaging her port shaft and propeller and causing both engines to fail. She was subsequently taken under tow to be repaired in Trondheim. Z33 and the two tugboats that were towing her chose to shelter in Førde Fjord during the daylight hours of 9 February while en-route to Trondheim.
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