Capture of Veslekari on a special mission

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Platon Alexiades
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Capture of Veslekari on a special mission

Post by Platon Alexiades » Mon Feb 07, 2022 11:55 pm

Hello,

According to British sources (Naval Intelligence file ADM223/464, TNA), Veslekari (ex-Norwegian seal catcher) operated in German service and was sailed on a mission to supply clandestine weather stations in Greenland. The signals concerning her movements were deciphered by Bletchley Park and the Norwegian patrol vessel Fridtjof Nansen was sent to intercept and captured her on 18 August 1940.

Curiously, there is no mention of this action in the Norwegian Official History, only that Fridtjof Nansen reached Reykjavik on 12 August 1940 (Norges Sjøkrig 1940-1945 by E.A. Steen, vol. 5, page 33).

It was also learned that the trawlers Ringsaal and Furenak had sailed from Aalesund on similar missions for Greenland and Jan Mayen on 12 August. They had managed to land parties and stores and returned to Norway safely in September. However, thanks to BP intercepts the exact locations of the weather stations were known and Fridtjof Nansen managed to eliminate them.

I cannot find any "Ringsaal" but a trawler Furenak (140 GRT, built 1918) was indeed based on Aalesund. There is only a brief reference to Veslekari on this site. Neither can I find any reference to these vessels in German records.

Can anyone supply more details?

Many thanks,

Platon
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crolick
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Re: Capture of Veslekari on a special mission

Post by crolick » Wed Feb 09, 2022 8:20 am

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Platon Alexiades
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Re: Capture of Veslekari on a special mission

Post by Platon Alexiades » Wed Feb 09, 2022 1:22 pm

Hello Andrzej,

Many thanks for the link. I have since learned that Norwegian captain Axel Coll was arrested on Veslekari as he was working for the Abwehr and was bringing a couple of German wireless operators. Books by Nigel West and Sophie Jackson mention the case. However, I am curious to know from where the ship had been sailing and where exactly she was intercepted.

German naval records make no mention of these three vessels and the only vessels known to be weather reporting at the time are Adolf Vinnen, Hinrich Freese and Homan.

Best regards,

Platon
davidships
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Re: Capture of Veslekari on a special mission

Post by davidships » Wed Feb 09, 2022 7:58 pm

The Norwegian Wikipedia page https://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS_%C2%AB ... %BB_(1918) also omits any mention of German service or capture (and, at least in Mr Google's translation, seems rather confusing about these years). However, it may be that two of the sources cited have something fuller:

https://www.nb.no/items/URN:NBN:no-nb_d ... 0021104020
https://www.nb.no/items/3aaf2771d71f48d ... d8ad887387

and another, about VESLEKARI in particular:
https://www.nb.no/items/757228da54a8326 ... 476aab791c
Platon Alexiades
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Re: Capture of Veslekari on a special mission

Post by Platon Alexiades » Wed Feb 09, 2022 10:17 pm

Hello David,

Many thanks for the additional links. I assume that those arrested on Veslekari were Quisling followers and that Veslekari sailed from the UK when she was intercepted.

Best regards,

Platon
warships
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Re: Capture of Veslekari on a special mission

Post by warships » Mon Apr 11, 2022 5:44 am

"Norges Svalbard- og Ishavsråd" sent 2 expeditions from occupied Norway to East-Greenland in the summer of 1940. VESLEKARI and RINGSÆL left Tromsø during the night 1-2 August 1940. The purpose was to land supplies to Norwegian meteorological stations. FRIDTJOF NANSEN picked up the 2 landed telegraphers from Myggbukta 16.8 and captured VESLEKARI in Arcticsund 18.8. RINGSÆL arrived Torgilsby with supplies, landed 2 telegraphers, and returned to Norway.

FURENAK left Ålesund 15.8 and landed 4 (Danish) men with 4 radio stations and supplies at Fleminsfjord, the station was captured by VESTELKARI 7.9. FURENAK returned to Norway.

Norges sjøkrig 7
https://www.nb.no/items/6b16cfb9ab22aae ... 2%20arktis
Last edited by warships on Wed May 11, 2022 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Platon Alexiades
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Re: Capture of Veslekari on a special mission

Post by Platon Alexiades » Mon Apr 11, 2022 1:43 pm

Many thanks for your reply. However, I am a bit confused by the translation. Any indication how Veslekari was captured? Where is Arcticsund? I assume she was captured by Fridtjof. Nansen which later destroyed the weather station at Myggbukta.

Platon
warships
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Re: Capture of Veslekari on a special mission

Post by warships » Wed May 11, 2022 5:56 pm

Yes, my text was confusing. VESLEKARI was captured by FRIDTJOF NANSEN in Arcticsund. I have corrected my text.
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