This article covers a report presented by Captain Martin Evans RN concerning the impoundment and eventual disposal of German U-Boats after their surrender at the end of World War II. Plans were well advanced as far back as July 1944 and the order for ‘Operation Pledge’ was duly issued on 19 April 1945, which resulted in the U-Boats gathering in Loch Eriboll where Evans supervised their surrender, inspection and onward passage for laying up.
The bulk of the post covers Evans’ subsequent memorandum on the operation. Problems were encountered when Force 6 winds resulted in the U-Boats, many of which had anchored or berthed on the RN guardships, breaking free or dragging their escorts. Some U-Boats had arrived with insufficient fuel for further passage and in late May it was decided to move the entire operation to Scapa Flow. Meanwhile, Evans’ escort force was strengthened, making the provision of harbour guards and sea guards more manageable.
Evans concluded what is described as ‘a delightful … and tongue in cheek’ report that, as a reception base, Loch Eriboll had the advantages of accessibility, space yet remoteness but the severe disadvantages of exposure to the fiercest of the elements and a lack of suitable buoyage.
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