Core: The Allies were able to sink this battle cruiser. However, his crew fought well despite his poor condition.
Because the victorious Allies destroyed the fleet of the German Empire after World War I, Adolf Hitler had no choice but to build a new navy after he came to power. This worked for profit in part because, even though Britain’s large fleet far outnumbered Nazi Germany, its ships were generally older, slower and thinner armored than the sleek and sophisticated New German Navy ships, or Kriegsmarine.
New warships, warships, pocket warships, and light and heavy cruisers were built during the 1930s. Among these are battlecruisers Scharnhorst, one of Nazi Germany’s new generation warships that was too fast to be stored in the North Sea like their Imperial predecessors 25 years before. German capital ships were free in the Atlantic during wartime, and the Royal Navy was hard pressed to bring it to the ship while simultaneously dealing with threatening U-ship packages that constantly raided merchandise shipments.
However, in many cases, these warships failed to live up to expectations, mainly because they were very few in number. Rear Admiral Erich Raeder, head of Kriegsmarine, started the Z-Plan to build a German surface fleet during the 1930s. However, the development effort was almost complete with the outbreak of hostilities in 1939. Other factors were also involved.
Captain Hans Langsdorff hurried over Graf Spee outside Montevideo, the port of Uruguay on December 12, 1939, rather than facing a weak British fleet, he believed it was far stronger than it really was. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill went by carrying out almost the entire North Atlantic fleet to hunt for warships Bismarck without losing a merchant ship. While many of the Royal Navy’s resources went hunting and sinking it Bismarck, another free German looting trade somehow failed to find a convoy of unprotected timber. ScharnhorstA bad luck career is the most amazing of all.
That Scharnhorst: A Damned Ship
With 31,800 tons, Scharnhorst lighter and much faster than British warships or older battlecruisers. Although the 11-inch rifle is smaller than the 15-inch Royal Navy battlecruisers hijab, Repelling, and Fame, He has a much thicker armor. He is also equipped with a newfangled device called a radar, allowing the shooter to accurately fire on targets that are above the horizon. Anything, all ScharnhorstThreatening weapons and the latest system, some believe, are more than balanced by the elements that are rumored to have followed him even before the construction was finished. He is damned.
While the ship was being built in drydock, the supporting wood suddenly surrendered, and a large hull rolled to the side, destroying up to 61 skilled workers and injuring 110 others. Anxious work crews must be conscripted for three months to repair the ship, and when the delayed launch date arrives, Hitler, Luftwaffe chief Herman Göring, Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess, and Admiral Karl Donitz, commander of the Navy’s U-sail boat, all want to witnessing the deadly miracle of the New Germany plunge into its original element.
He stood them. The night before Scharnhorst had flicked its mooring rope and slid itself into the crowded port of Kiel, destroying two barges anchored in its premature lane. Even so, it was a kind of victory. He was finally finished and operating, which was more than many had hoped.
After months of intense international debate, the free city of Danzig was only a remote area from ground fighting when the Polish campaign began. The garrison was reduced by offshore bombing. The German Navy fleet sent to the scene suffered a negligible backlash, for all the good it did Scharnhorst. During the shooting of one of his large weapons exploded, killing nine people. Shorted ventilation system in another tower, strangling a crew of 12 people.
After the damage he suffered himself was repaired, Scharnhorst, accompanied by an identical sister ship Gneisenau, started his first war patrol. This surprise attack was not very successful, with only one merchant sinking, and this ship, Rawalpindi, dropped from a radio message that reminded Britain of the existence of robbers. However, the Germans carried out a blinding escape, hiding near the Arctic Circle until the arrival of bad weather and then steaming undetected through the middle of a large task force (the Royal Navy did not have radar) sent to intercept them, arriving safely at Wilhelmshaven on November 27, 1939.
There Is No Luck In Norway
The following spring Hitler was forced to carry out almost his entire surface fleet in the invasion of Norway due to the lack of the same land border. Between enemy action and bad weather, the navy contingent suffered enormous casualties, losing 10 destroyers in the attack Narvik alone.
Meanwhile, Scharnhorst was off Oslo participating in the city beach battery bombing, which turned out to be far tougher than Danzig. He came out of a paralyzed battle. Gneisenau pulled him out of the battlefield, and his engineers patched it enough to allow him to limp home at night and hide from the Royal Air Force during the day. Entering the Elbe River at the last leg of the journey home, he collided with darkness Bremen, Germany’s largest passenger ship. ScharnhorstThe armored bow is hardly dented, but Bremen locked up hard and left in shallow water as a bombardment duck for British bombers who immediately pounded it into the wreckage.
After extensive repairs, Scharnhorst back on patrol in the Atlantic, and on June 9, 1940, he and Gneisenau happened to the fleet that evacuated the last Allied forces to leave Nazi-occupied Norway. British and Norwegian troops are being transported to England with a number of old Gloster Gladiator biplants aboard the aircraft carrier Noble. The planes are used primarily for reconnaissance but can launch torpedoes. However, before anyone took off in the opposite wind, the heavy weapons of the German ships had reduced their fleets and escorts to floating debris. The destroyer Acasta catch fire and take water when the captain has a good idea.
The Germans were 10 miles south of their target and fired their main weapons straight away Acasta suddenly turn east and then turn 180 degrees at full speed. Unnoticed by its distant assailants, the British destroyer had fired many torpedoes during the brief moments in his change of direction when he faced Germany. Everyone in the German battlecruiser was confused by strange maneuvers, but they kept firing and adjusting the direction to the harbor to keep facing their mines heading west.
Nine minutes later ScharnhorstThe right hull was torn open just below the water line by torpedoes fired from Acasta. The ensuing explosion and flood killed 47 sailors. Gneisenau drove his broken sister to the Norwegian port of Trondheim for emergency repairs and then to Kiel for repairs.
On February 8, 1941, twin warships sneaked through the Danish Strait and re-entered the Atlantic to participate in the highly successful Kriegsmarine offensive around the world against Allied shipping in the first half of the year. Ordered by Admiral Gunther Lutjens (who would soon be killed in action as a warship commander) Bismarck), the two dreadnoughts sank 21 supply ships and traders with a total of 115,622 tons and captured one. Every time the Royal Navy pointed to the location of the robbers, the Germans used their superior speed to defeat their frustrated enemies. On March 23, they docked at the port of Brest, which is occupied by France, where Scharnhorst has been unemployed for several months to repair the main engine.
Among ScharnhorstMotorcycle sick and damage due to a bomb Gneisenau by the Royal Air Force when he was moored, it was autumn before the German battlecruiser re-operated, and even then the bombers fired on them in the harbor until the night of February 11, 1942, when, acting on direct orders from Hitler they slipped out of Brest in thick fog and headed towards north at full speed along with heavy explorers Prinz Eugen in a desperate attempt to reach Norway.
The Kriegsmarine high command strongly opposed the plan because it was too risky, but Hitler was convinced that the Allies were preparing to invade Norway and, as he had predicted, they had never dreamed of sending their valuable surface robbers to the heavily fortified English Channel. The movement was given the code name Operation Cerberus.
A skilled and experienced naval commander, Deputy Admiral Otto Ciliax leads the Brest squadron in the northern sprint. Luftwaffe General Adolf Galland gathered an army of 250 Messerschmitt Me-109 and Focke Wulf FW-190 fighters for important air cover duties, and Luftwaffe Communications Director General Wolfgang Martini was assigned to disrupt the British radar system.
Hugging the French coastline, warships will remain outside the reach of British coast batteries while their own beach shooters can support them against unfriendly warships that might attack. The ship left Brest at nightfall.
Royal Navy Warfare
After traveling 240 miles from Brest to Cherbourg in the shadow of darkness, German troops entered the Strait at dawn so that the fighters could provide them with vital protection throughout the day’s journey. During the night without months, three capital ships have joined six destroyers and a number of mine sweepers, warships and other small vessels whose crew are determined to see them safely through their relationship with the rest of the fleet on the Norwegian fjord.
Scharnhorst at the front, and over the bridge Ciliax noted with slight surprise the absence of hostile aircraft in the gray winter sky. The weather was not ideal for air patrols, and Martini did an excellent job of disrupting British citizens’ radar, so that operators did not realize that their empty aircraft were the result of deliberate disruption. They connect them with bad weather.
The run went smoothly until 10:42, when two British Supermarine Spitfire fighters happened to pass overhead. Along the coast of England, the warning rang, but the surprised Allied reacted with disbelief and hesitation. As Hitler had predicted, they were truly shocked. Dover’s beach batteries are wide open at distant targets, but their 9-inch shells fall a full mile. After spending 33 rounds, the artillery fell silent.
Attacked by Water
During the day, the task force crossed the narrowest point of the Channel, between Dover and Calais, and was only 200 miles from its destination. It was there that he met his first hostile ships. A squadron of torpedo boats churned from the port of Dover and attacked at a speed of 35 knots through a large wave. Scharnhorst and the destroyers drove them away with a bullet storm. Torpedo ships successfully launched several missiles, but all failed.
At this point, six Fairey Swordfish torpedo planes glide down in the squadron. Eight months earlier, Swordfish was the only British aircraft capable of disabling it Bismarck so he could not escape from his pursuers, but Bismarck did not have air protection. On this gloomy day, Galland’s Me-109s and FW-190s confronted Swordfish. Lowering their landing gear so they could fly slow enough to stay on the slow tail of the biplane, the Germans quickly shot each one down, ending an impotent blow on the convoy.
The main danger for the German naval squadron turned out to be thousands of mines planted by both sides of the Strait. The German mine sweeper has worked hard for days to clear the road through the fields, but only had time to complete a narrow opening half a mile wide in several places. Shortly after the torpedo plane attacked, a large explosion under water occurred Scharnhorst when he came out of the safe corridor. When he shuddered to a complete stop, the admiral quickly left him. Ciliax ordered the Z-29 destroyer together and jumped from his ship that was attacked to a smaller ship. Assuming repairs to the flagship would be long, Ciliax left it in the care of its engineers and rushed to catch up with the main body of the fleet.
At this point German ships were attacked by a group of Bristol Beaufort light bombers and the Lockheed Hudson medium bomber. This attack was also in vain because all the bombs were missed. This is extraordinary luck Scharnhorst because the English were so preoccupied with the main body of the fleet, they failed to notice the stationary battlecruiser at the rear long enough for the engineers to patch enough to continue the dangerous journey.
German ships had reached the widest part of the Strait, from Belgium, when the Allies made their last attempt to inflict serious damage. Six World War I era destroyers which were usually only used for coastal patrols that came out of the mouth of the River Thames in an attempt to intercept but were mistakenly bombed by the double engine bomber RAF Handley Page Hampden. Amazingly, all the bombs were answered, and at 3:17 pm, the destroyers Campbell, Worcester and Vivacious, in a brave suicide show, continued Gneisenau while the other three chase Prinz Eugen. When the little attackers turn wide so they can launch torpedoes, Gneisenau opening at them from a distance of 3,000 yards, destroying Worcester with three rescue while five other destroyers carefully ducked into the mist bank.
When lunch fades on a cold afternoon, GneisenauAnd Prinz EugenAnti-aircraft batteries and cover the Luftwaffe fighter repeatedly turned to attack the bombers. Night weather and bad weather immediately stopped all air operations. Right before 8 p.m. Gneisenau was passing through the Frisian Islands when a mine seriously hid it. ScharnhorstMeanwhile, crashing into the second mine, suffered enough damage to the new hull to dry it for another long round of repairs.
Two weeks after the bold sprint they embarrassed England, temporarily Scharnhorst while the gaping wound was closed, the RAF bomber was badly damaged Gneisenau while he docked at Kiel. Gneisenau pulled to the Gotenhafen port in the Baltic, where naval engineers tried to patch it up, but the effort had to be abandoned due to lack of important materials. He never left the port. Three years later he was silenced to prevent it from falling into the hands of the advancing Soviet Red Army.
To fix Scharnhorst time consuming because of the scarcity of so many important ingredients. Allied air raids on German manufacturing and industrial facilities began to be told, and the return of the battlecruiser to the sea was worth a delay of six months. For most of 1943 he and 50,000 tons of warships Tirpitz riding an anchor in Altenfjord, Norway, where their presence solely encourages restless Britons to set aside a large portion of the House Fleet for the purpose of watching over potentially deadly robbers. The Royal Navy will soon have more work than just in case.
On December 19, 1943, a Luftwaffe reconnaissance pilot discovered a 20-ship convoy escorted by 14 or 15 destroyers and explorers. The German high command suspected poor visibility had caused pilots to mistake the cargo ships as warships and their bodyguards to be smaller than reported.
On Christmas Scharnhorst sent alone for the first time in his career, and bad luck returned. Its commander is Admiral Erich Bey, who has never led such a large ship. Furthermore, because Christmas was gone, the ship was not decorated.
Is there enough fuel available for Tirpitz to come, it was sad to consider the catastrophe that was likely to be inflicted on the Allied shipping lanes, but Kriegsmarine only had enough fuel for smaller warships and escorts from five destroyers.
“The Fight Is Not Half-Finished!”
Bey is uncomfortable with bad weather. The destroyer was deployed wildly in the open sea, which would make aiming their weapons with a very difficult degree of accuracy. Furthermore, their rudders and propellers spend almost the same time on water between large waves as in them, making the rudder a full-time and imprecise job.
In a covert request to cancel the mission, Bey called Narvik: “The use of destructive weapons is very damaged.” It is ignored. The task force must sail. Admiral Dönitz promised Hitler a great victory at sea, and the Führer pressed his navy’s chieftain to produce. Dönitz’s answer is clear and uncompromising: “The battle is not over!” However, the operation has broken down.
By breaking the silence on the radio, Bey had warned the Royal Navy that something was happening in Far North, and the British Navy was determined that there would be no repetition of the previous year’s gloomy appearance during the Channel dashboard. The British response was immediate, strong and effective.
The German target was the JW55B convoy, whose bodyguards were indeed too high. Concerned by providing anti-submarine sails, Britain only assigned 10 destroyers and no cruisers to herd the transporters of goods. However, unknown to hunters, news of their general presence spread rapidly across the cold North Atlantic.
Strength of Vice Admiral R.L. Burnett, including cruisers Belfast, Sheffield, and Norfolk, was escorting a convoy that returned empty from Murmansk. Leaving these ships in the Barents Sea, Burnett created a problem spot at high speed. Also, squadrons of four destroyers Admiral Bruce Fraser, the Jamaican cruiser, and the Duke of York warship made the highest speed off the coast of southern Iceland.
Worried about betraying his position, Bey sailed blind, after turning off his surface search radar. Just before 8 am on December 26, he was confused by the convoy that was not where he had hoped and ordered his destroyer to turn southwest to look for their quarry. That was a wrong step in the stormy weather and protracted polar darkness, because the Bey quickly lost contact with small ships. From that point Scharnhorst and the skeleton crew is completely alone.
Britain has noted this fact. The implication is clear. If Hitler was desperate enough to send a battleship alone, Germany would have been in worse trouble than they had imagined. If they could eliminate this important and active Nazi surface robber, this complete control of the Atlantic would be theirs and the end of the war would be seen. Meanwhile, there is a Wagnerian drama to portray.
Setting the Trap For Scharnhorst
At 8:40 a.m., BelfastRadar detected a large ship 17 miles ahead. Forty minutes later identified as Scharnhorst.
Bey frantically searched for the elusive convoy. He could not possibly know that Fraser had sent him north to a safer position. Suddenly, a flare exploded overhead. Six minutes later, at 9:30, rain shells 8 inches off Norfolk, firing from 13,000 yards, trapped his ship.
On the bridge, Captain Fritz Hintze had just turned on the front radar to repair the attacker when a shell hit the front, destroying the air and leaving it with only the rear radar. Belfast and Sheffield also closed, so the Bey reversed his ship and fled southeast at full speed, easily defeating his enemies. If the ship is badly damaged and still manages to escape, there will be little hope for repairs in depressed Germany.
Burnett suspected that Bey would try to lure him away from the convoy, circling in a large bow, and with ScharnhorstThe superior speed returned double to the wood supply ship which would then only be protected by destroyers. In addition, Burnett realized that German robbers would be almost impossible to track without air support, which was ruled out by the weather.
Returning to JW55B, Burnett sent four destroyers to assist explorers in setting traps Scharnhorst. Steaming 10 miles in front of the convoy, they began zigzagging in front of merchant ships.
“We Will Fight to the Last Shell!”
As Burnett suspected, the Bey approached them from the front, just as the brief Arctic winter day arrived around noon. After seeing hostile ships, Bey returned to the southeast at high speed, this time firing at England. The destroyer tried to get into position for a torpedo attack but ran faster.
Norfolk badly damaged in the exchange, but Germany is not advised to make further efforts to attack the convoy. They spin to the southeast with a speed of 31 knots.
Some confusion surrounds the final stage of the battle. Because there isn’t ScharnhorstThe officers survived, there was no way to know why his crew failed to react to the threat of the Fraser warship approaching from the west with 24 knots, because they had been overshadowed by the Luftwaffe night warriors for several hours. German radio might be destroyed in the same exchange that destroyed radar. Regardless, the Bey continued straight ahead until he made a direct mistake to the heavy Fraser warship.
Right before 5 pm, Belfast shells of stars scattered in the sky above inked Scharnhorst, and 13 miles away the Duke of York opened fire with a 14-inch weapon. Unlike his sister ship, the Duke of York is new and sophisticated, but his heavier weaponry gives his opponent a four knot advantage in speed. When the Germans destroyed the Duke of York’s radar, Nazi battleships had a very good chance of escaping, but Fraser, noting how Bey swung his ship from one side to the other to fire the other side of the road, asking the Duke of York to fire leaflets in the direction that he wants. guess the target will turn forward. Predictably, the German ship swung directly into the storm storm line.
His Bey was paralyzed by a barrage, Bey called Berlin, “We will fight to the last shell!” German sailors moved the 11-inch heavy shell by hand from the damaged front tower to the stern weapon and desperately continued to defend themselves, but at 19:12, Belfast knocked down the last stern tower, leaving Germany with only two 5.9 inch cannons. It continued to fire until before 8 pm, when the ship that was hit was suddenly turned and looked down first. This ended the last traditional surface battle that took place in the Atlantic.
Only 36 sailors from the last gray woman Hitler survived to be plucked from ice water by the British, however Scharnhorst don’t bring hex with it.
Two crew managed to pedal a raft to a nearby island, for all the good they did. A few months later their frozen bodies were found there. Immediately after landing, they were killed by the explosion of their broken oil heater. Surviving the cold allies and the Atlantic is a long shot, but no one can escape the curse Scharnhorst.
This article first appearance on the War History Network.
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