Grumman TBF-1 Avenger Fagervika, Nordland

Air Group 4 VT-4 "USS Ranger" BuAer.06302 a/c #4 04.10 1943

"OPERATION LEADER". Attack/ reconnaissance on shipping in area Sandnessjøen-Bodø. This Avenger was shot down by AA-fire from the German Coastal Fortress at Fagervika, (HKB 21/974 Fagerviken) north of Sandnessjøen.
Navigator ART 1/c Joseph L. Zalom USN and AMM 1/c Reginald H.(Buddy) Miller USN were KIA. Zalom's parachute got entangled to the aircraft. The pilot, Lt.(jg) John H. Palmer became PoW and ended up at Stalag Luft 3.

21.06 2010 © kjell sørensen

The attack was performed in two waves.
First wave by 20 Dauntless dive bombers escorted by 8 Wildcats. They headed for Bodø/ Myken area.

Second wave by 10 Avenger torpedo bombers and 6 Wildcats to Sandnessjøen/ Myken area.

The Americans lost four air men and three airplanes in this operation:
Douglas Dauntless SBD-5 #19 BuAer.11011
Lt. Clyde A.Tucker USNR (VB 4) KIA Bodø.
ARM 2/c S.D.Bakran USN (VB 4) KIA Bodø.
Douglas Dauntless SBD-5 #15 BuAer.28636
Lt.Sumner R.Davis PoW
AMM 2/c D.M McCarley (VB 4) PoW.

In addition, Avenger #16 (BuAer.11852) ditched during landing on USS Ranger. (pilot Gerald Thomas and his crew: Charles P. Jackson and Shelton E. Garner were saved).

Two ships were sent to the sea bottom, nine badly destroyed. Four Norwegian sailors and 357 Germans lost their lives during Operation Leader.

The fighters also shot down a Ju 88 D-1 of 1.(F)/22 (4N+EH WNr.1682 Otto Blasig- Alfons Fisher- Friedrich Krieger- Johannes Hoss) and a He 115 of 1./406. (WNr.1866).

Operation Leader was the only operation in Scandinavia by US Navy.