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15 October 2014
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Operation 'Antagonise'

by Vernon Copeland

Contributed by 
Vernon Copeland
Location of story: 
Lusino Island
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
11 September 2004

Dalmatian Islands. December 2nd and 3rd 1944

The object of this operation was to inflict damage and casualties on the enemy garrison and installations on Lusino Island.

The Naval Fore was comprised of four Hunt Class Destroyers, three LCG’s, one LCF, one LCH and a number of MGB’s and ML’s.

It was known that the enemy had a battery of 3 x 6 inch guns in Fort Asing and 3 x 75mm guns on the adjacent hill. The garrison also consisted of about 250 Germans who were concentrated in the area of Lusin Piccolo and the Isthmus. In addition some Fascist Italian troops of low quality were serving in the garrison and also had outposts to the north of the Island.

Occasionally, enemy patrols visited the neighboring Island of Cherso and the port of Lusin, which is south of the latitude of Lusin Grande.

A number of “Human Torpedoes” and/or explosive Motor Boats were based at Cigale or the other coves in the vicinity. German Landing Craft were also occasionally laid up in Sansego in daylight.

D-Day was to be December 3rd 1944, and the method of execution of this Operation was that all Units would sail from Veli Rat, (Isle of Verunica) and before dawn on D-Day.

Units A and B were to be berthed inside Port Colorat and Unit E was to be in a position west of Sansego Island. Unit C would remain to the south east of Trestenico Island at the extreme range of enemy batteries, and would simulate bombarding Destroyers and LCG’s by making dummy gun flashes etc.

As soon as the enemy batteries opened fire, or as ordered, Unit A was to open fire, being controlled by the FOO who was positioned in the Miklosam area.

Our aircraft were expected to attack Lusino shortly after dawn on D-Day and probably again during the approach of Unit E.

When the enemy batteries had been silenced, Unit E was to proceed at full speed towards Cigale Cove and carry out a direct bombardment on the enemy positions on the west side of the Isthmus. On reaching the entrance to Cigale Cove, Unit E was to slow down and carry out a direct bombardment of the coves believed to contain Midget Submarines.

On completion of the whole operation, units were to rendezvous as ordered, and then return to Veli Rat.

The FOO party had been landed by a Partisan ‘I’ Boat, (ex German), which had sailed separately from the Main Force.

It was known that the inhabitants of the village of Punta Kriza were Fascists, and a detachment of Partisans landed with the FOO’s party with orders to isolate the village by cutting all telephone wires.

The Naval Force Commander was Lt. Comm: Morgan Giles RN, he was embarked on LCH 282, and the Deputy Naval Force Commander was Lt. Comm: Gray RN HMS Lamerton.

LCG’s 4, 14, and 8 left Vali Rat anchorage at 21.00 hours on December 2nd 1944, and took up station in line ahead on the port quarter of HMS Wilton. At 23.40 hours on December 3rd, one of the ML’s on our port side, opened fire at an object in the water.

Without any further distractions we entered Porto Colorat at 05.00 hours and waited for the Destroyers to anchor.

LCG 4 anchored in the north west corner of the Bay about 200 yards from HMS Wilton. LCG’s 14 and 8 anchored with their bows on rocky points in the center of the Bay and north of HMS Lamerton.

At 07.34 hours HMS Lamerton opened fire on target and at 08.10 hours the enemy replied with shells of various calibers, from their 6 inch guns to light mortars. Many fell within the vicinity of HMS Lamerton and LCG’s 14 and 8.

At 08.20 hours HMS Lamerton opened fire with her Pom-Poms at a house believed to be the enemy O.P and the surrounding undergrowth. LCG’s 14 and 8 were requested to join in.

The FOO had reported that he was liable to be attacked, and about 08.30 hours confirmed that he had withdrawn.

Enemy shells continued to fall in the Bay and also on land until about 08.45 hours, when our medium bombers and rocket firing Beau fighters attacked the target. After this air attack there was no further shelling experienced from the enemy.

At 09.20 hours, all ships of Unit A and B opened fire on the enemy targets at a range of approximately 12000 yards and continued firing until 10.30 hours.

At 10.30 hours LCG 14 was detailed by HMS Lamerton to fire one gun salvoes, then at 12.15 hours all ships were ordered to open fire and this continued until 12.45 hours, when ‘cease fire’ was ordered.

Up to this time the LCG’s had expanded a total of 1022 rounds,

LCG 4 256 rounds of HE and 46 rounds of SAP
LCG 14 351 rounds of HE and 111 rounds of SAP
LCG 8 224 rounds of HE and 8 rounds of SAP and 26 rounds from their 12 Pdr.

At 13.00 hours the LCG’s were ordered to weigh and follow HMS Lamerton. LCG 14 had taken ML 577 in tow and later handed this over the ML 238. We joined up with the remainder of the convoy and proceeded back to Base at 14.45 hours. Because of the presence of submarines in the vicinity HMS Lamerton dropped depth charges ahead of the convoy. All LCG’s secured in Lucina Cove at 18.30 hours.

Mission Accomplished.

Harry Turley (M28) In writing this account, I would wish to acknowledge the help of notes and reports from Lt. Comm: Morgan Giles RN and Lt Sam Armstrong DSC RNVR.

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