REFERENCE DOCUMENTS & RESOURCES - OFFICIAL ADMIRALTY DOCUMENTS
ADM 239/261: THE FIGHTING INSTRUCTIONS, 1939 (C.B.04027)
Updated 31-Mar-2007

This document is a modern transcription of a portion of Admiralty record ADM 239/261. This lengthy document contains the Admiralty's official fighting instructions. The original file is held at the The National Archives at Kew, London. This Crown Copyrighted material is reproduced here by kind permission of The National Archives.

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- Pages 100-101 -

SECTION XVI.-PARTICULAR OPERATIONS (6)
COUNTER-ATTACKING AN ENEMY DAYLIGHT RAID

CONTENTS

Clause Subject

580
581
582
583
584
585-589

General.
Action by patrol forces when attacked.
Counter-attack.
Concentration of counter-attacking forces.
Aircraft.


SECTION XVI.-PARTICULAR OPERATIONS (6)

COUNTER-ATTACKING AN ENEMY DAYLIGHT RAID

GENERAL
580.
When information of an impending enemy raid has been received from intelligence sources before a raid takes place, operation orders will be issued to counter-attack the raiders. The instructions below are only of general application in these conditions ; they are framed, primarily, to deal with countering an enemy raid that has surprised forces on patrol.

ACTION BY PATROL FORCES WHEN ATTACKED
581.
As soon as the enemy attacks, an enemy report should be signalled immediately. This information is of vital importance to the Admiral. The position, composition and movements of the enemy should be reported subsequently if possible. Against a greatly superior force, offensive action will be playing into the hands of the attackers and is unsound tactically, unless escape is impossible or some particular consideration demands desperate measures.

COUNTER-ATTACK
582.
In the early stages of a raid, the enemy will have the initiative and may be able to surprise units on patrol, if attacking at dawn or if extended air patrols are not in operation. The immediate object, therefore, will be to regain the initiative and drive off or destroy the enemy raiding force. This can be done by despatching air striking forces armed with torpedoes and by supporting the force at sea with counter-attacking units. Provided adequate surface forces can reach the area quickly, it is preferable to reduce the speed of as many enemy ships as possible and destroy them later, rather than concentrate on the rapid sinking of a few, whilst the remainder escape.

CONCENTRATION OF COUNTER-ATTACKING FORCES
583.
It may often occur that individual ships detailed to counter-attack will be at a different notice for steam, and thus would be able to proceed to the area of operations one by one. The correct action in these circumstances, is for a unit of the necessary strength to be concentrated before it proceeds to the scene of action. It is unsound for ships to sail singly as the raiding force can concentrate on and destroy each in turn.

AIRCRAFT
584.
If not already on patrol, aircraft will be required for locating and shadowing the enemy as well as for air attacks. The latter should only concentrate on sinking enemy ships, if surface forces are not available for sinking those which have been damaged and reduced in speed. Catapult aircraft, if available in this form of action, may be invaluable for spotting, in particular if the enemy retires under cover of smoke.

585-589. (Blank)

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