By Christopher Mann (auth.)
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Extra resources for British Policy and Strategy towards Norway, 1941–45
The incident had repercussions on both sides. 22 In Germany, Raeder placed further restrictions on German surface operations. There were to be no sorties until air reconnaissance had fully determined the strength of the enemy. 23 However, the carrier, launched in 1938, was never completed. The Tirpitz remained a potent threat. The battleship was well protected in her berth in Åsenfjord (Aasfjord), near Trondheim, by both natural features The Problem of the German Fleet and Norway 19 and anti-torpedo booms.
Thirteen merchant vessels were sunk, 10 by aircraft and three by U-boats. The Germans lost 41 aircraft and three submarines. PQ 18 was an Allied victory, if a somewhat expensive one. It marked a turning point in the Arctic as the Germans would never again be able to muster such numbers of aircraft in the area. They had suffered serious losses among their highly trained torpedo bomber crews. The Luftwaffe was drained in the area by the requirements in North Africa in the wake of the Allied invasion (Operation Torch) and the shortages in Russia.
Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, commander-in-chief of the German Kriegsmarine, hoped to disperse the Royal Navy’s superior strength and, with the aid of his U-boat fleet, attack and cut Britain’s vital Atlantic supply lines. The U-boats would force the Royal Navy to convoy, and the German surface ships would then destroy the convoys. The pocket battleship Admiral Scheer broke into the Atlantic in October 1940 and sunk 99,000 tons of Allied shipping during her five-month cruise. She was followed by the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper which soon turned for Brest after an unsuccessful brush with a convoy.