Bill Smith Aug. 1, 2016, 1:01 p.m.

The military comradeship is stronger than sanctions


August of the current year will be marked by anniversary  – 75 years from the moment of escorting the first Arctic convoy (operation «Dervish»), which left the port of Liverpool on August 12, 1941 and having avoided any losses arrived to the ports of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk on August 31. The convoy delivered the first 10 thousand tons of rubber, which was so essential for the Soviet industry, 3800 depth and limpet bombs and 15 «Hurricane» fighters.

Allied Arctic convoys which carried military freights from the UK to the ports of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk became one of the brightest symbols of the Second World War.

Direct military cooperation between the USSR and Great Britain in the Far North began during the hard summer of 1941 when on July 30 the British planes bombed Kirkenes and Linakhamari (this military operation was started belatedly, one month later after the enemy had already attacked the USSR and had been stopped by the Soviet troops in the north). In early August of the same year the British Admiralty sent «Tigris» and «Trident» submarines to the Arctic waters of the USSR. These submarines were located in Polyarny. On September 7, 1941 the next batch of the «Hurricane» fighters, being a part of a military operation codenamed "Force Benedict", was delivered to Murmansk, as well as the British pilots of No. 151 Wing Royal Air Force who started fulfilling their combat missions a few days after arrival. During October the British had already gradually carried out the transfer of aircraft to the Soviet Air Force. I cannot but mention the transfer of the former British battleship "Royal Sovereign" (subsequently renamed into "Arkhangelsk") together with the regular convoy to the Soviet Union in August, 1944.

Certainly, against the background of large-scale battles on the Soviet-German front during the Second World War and the enormous human losses of the Soviet Union such assistance was insignificant in its size. However, the heroism and valor shown by the Royal Air Force pilots deserves respect since they, without being afraid to give their lives, bravely fought side by side with the Soviet pilots against the fascist aggressors.

It is wery important to remembr in details each example of military comradeship between two states and tell about numerous jointly performed Soviet-British operations, including Winston Churchill’s favourite one codenamed «Jupiter» – setting free the North of Norway from Nazi invaders.

Despite all the distinctions and contradictions concerning the interpretation of the Soviet-British cooperation during the Second World War, its characteristic feature has always been the fact that the cooperation of two states in the Arctic region was close and direct, demonstrating visible manifestation of the allied relations.

Despite the tense geopolitical situation and disagreements on certain international issues, the leadership of Great Britain keeps on paying attention to perpetuation of memory of those events and honoring these symbolic pages of military cooperation history between the two nations.