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Frequent fuel shortages curtailed training and kept the battleship and her escorts moored behind their protective netting. The crew was primarily occupied with maintaining the ship and continuously manning antiaircraft defenses. Sports activities were organized to keep the crew occupied and physically fit. Several factors served to restrain Tirpitz ' s freedom of operation in Norway. The most pressing were shortages of fuel and the withdrawal of the German destroyer forces to support Operation Cerberus , the movement of the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen up through the English Channel.

These caused a planned attack against the outbound convoy PQ 8 at the end of January to be abandoned.

Pagination

These included steaming out of the fjord and activities that indicated preparations for a sortie into the North Sea. The two torpedo boats were also released from the operation. Unknown to the Germans, Admiral Tovey provided distant support to the convoys with the battleship King George V , the aircraft carrier Victorious , the heavy cruiser Berwick , and six destroyers. Enigma intercepts again forewarned the British of Tirpitz ' s attack, which allowed them to reroute the convoys.

Admiral Tovey attempted to pursue Tirpitz on 9 March, [ 21 ] but Admiral Otto Ciliax , the commander of the German squadron, had decided to return to port the previous evening. An air attack was launched early on the 9th; twelve Fairey Albacore torpedo bombers attacked the ship in three groups, though Tirpitz successfully evaded the torpedoes. Only three men were wounded in the attack. The actions of Tirpitz and her escorting destroyers in March used up some 8, metric tons 8, long tons; 9, short tons of fuel oil, which greatly reduced the available fuel supply.

It took the Germans three months to replenish the fuel spent in the attempt to intercept the two Allied convoys. Shortly after Tirpitz left Norway, the Soviet submarine K fired a pair of torpedoes at the ship, both of which missed. Swedish intelligence had meanwhile reported the German departures to the British Admiralty , which ordered the convoy to disperse. Aware that they had been detected, the Germans aborted the operation and turned over the attack to U-boats and the Luftwaffe. The scattered vessels could no longer be protected by the convoy escorts, and the Germans sank 21 of the 34 isolated transports.

Tirpitz returned to Altafjord via the Lofoten Islands. By this time, the ship needed a major overhaul. Hitler had forbidden the ship to make the dangerous return to Germany, and so the overhaul was conducted in Trondheim. The defenses of the anchorage were further strengthened; additional antiaircraft guns were installed and double anti-torpedo nets were erected around the vessel. The repairs were conducted in limited phases, such that Tirpitz would remain partially operational for the majority of the overhaul. A caisson was built around the stern to allow the replacement of the ship's rudders.

By 28 December, the overhaul had been completed, and Tirpitz began sea trials. She conducted gunnery trials on 4 January in the Trondheimfjord. Vice Admiral Oskar Kummetz was given command of the warships stationed in Norway. He therefore ordered an attack on the island of Spitzbergen, which housed a British weather station and refuelling base. The British were determined to neutralize Tirpitz and remove the threat it posed to Allied lines of communication in the Arctic. Following the repeated, ineffectual bombing attacks and the failed Chariot attack in October , the British turned to the newly designed X Craft midget submarines.

Ten vessels were assigned to the operation, scheduled for 20—25 September Only eight of the vessels reached Norway for the attack, which began early on 22 September. The mines caused extensive damage to the ship; the first exploded abreast of turret Caesar and the second detonated 45 to 55 m to ft off the port bow. The flooding damaged all of the turbo-generators in generator room No. Turret Dora was thrown from its bearings and could not be trained; this was particularly significant, as there were no heavy-lift cranes in Norway powerful enough to lift the turret and place it back on its bearings.

Repairs were conducted by the repair ship Tirpitz under attack by British carrier aircraft on 3 April The British were aware that Neumark and the repair crews left in March, which intimated Tirpitz was nearly operational. Enigma decrypts revealed to the British that Tirpitz was scheduled to depart at on 3 April for sea trials; the British therefore moved the attack forward to 3 April. This was due to the surprise achieved by the carrier aircraft; it took twelve to fourteen minutes for all of Tirpitz ' s antiaircraft batteries to be fully manned.

The first wave struck at , as tugs were preparing to assist the ship out of her mooring. The second wave arrived over the target an hour later, shortly after Despite the alertness of the German antiaircraft gunners, only one other bomber was shot down.

The air strike caused significant damage to the ship and inflicted serious casualties. Several of the bomb hits caused serious fires aboard the ship. Concussive shock disabled the starboard turbine engine and saltwater used to fight the fires reached the boilers and contaminated the feed water. Water used to fight the fires also contributed to the flooding.

Repair work began in early May; destroyers ferried important equipment and workers from Kiel to Altafjord over the span of three days. By 2 June, the ship was again able to steam under her own power, and by the end of the month gunnery trials were possible. A series of carrier strikes were planned over the next three months, though bad weather forced their cancellation. Operation Brawn , which was to have been carried out by 27 bombers and 36 fighters from Victorious and Furious , was to have taken place on 15 May, and Operation Tiger Claw was intended for 28 May.

Victorious and Furious were joined by Indefatigable for Operation Mascot , which was to have been carried out on 17 July by 62 bombers and 30 fighters. The weather finally broke in late August, which saw the Goodwood series of attacks.


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Operations Goodwood I and II were launched on 22 August; a carrier force consisting of the fleet carriers Furious , Indefatigable , Formidable and the escort carriers Nabob , and Trumpeter launched a total of 38 bombers and 43 escort fighters between the two raids. The attacks failed to inflict any damage on Tirpitz , [ 44 ] and three of the attacking aircraft were shot down. Forty-eight bombers and 29 fighters attacked the ship and scored two hits which caused minor damage.

Translations

Six planes were shot down in the attack. The ineffectiveness of the vast majority of the strikes launched by the Fleet Air Arm in mid led to the task of Tirpitz ' s destruction being transferred to the RAF 's No. It was determined that four-engined Lancaster bombers were required to carry bombs powerful enough to penetrate the ship's heavy armour.

by Alphonse Daudet

Some to 1, t to long tons; to 1, short tons of water flooded the bow and caused a serious increase in trim forward. Concussive shock caused severe damage to fire-control equipment. The heavy damage persuaded the naval command to repair the ship for use only as a floating gun battery. Thirty-two Lancasters attacked the ship with Tallboys during Operation Obviate. A large sand bank was constructed under and around the ship to prevent her from capsizing and anti-torpedo nets were installed.

Tirpitz retained a one-degree list to port from earlier damage, and this was not corrected by counter-flooding to retain as much reserve buoyancy as possible. The ship was also prepared for her role as a floating artillery platform: fuel was limited to only what was necessary to power the turbo-generators and the crew was reduced to 1, officers and enlisted men.

Operation Catechism , the final British attack on Tirpitz , took place on 12 November One bomb penetrated the ship's deck between turrets Anton and Bruno but failed to explode. A second hit amidships between the aircraft catapult and the funnel and caused severe damage. A very large hole was blown into the ship's side and bottom; the entire section of belt armour abreast of the bomb hit was completely destroyed. A third bomb may have struck the ship on the port side of turret Caesar.

Information

Eight minutes later, a massive explosion rocked turret Caesar. Tirpitz then rapidly rolled over and buried her superstructure in the sea floor. In the aftermath of the attack, rescue operations attempted to reach men trapped in the hull. Workers managed to rescue 82 men by cutting through the bottom hull plates.

Work lasted from until ; [ 2 ] fragments of the ship are still sold by a Norwegian company. The performance of the Luftwaffe in the defence of Tirpitz was highly criticised after her loss. Many veterans of his unit regard him as having been a convenient scapegoat for his superiors' failures. He was subsequently court-martialled in Oslo and threatened with the death penalty. He was instead sentenced to three years in prison, though he was released after a month, demoted, and reassigned to an Me fighter squadron in Germany. On 4 April , he was shot down over Berlin, though according to anecdotal evidence, he reportedly told a comrade that he intended to ram a bomber after running out of ammunition, stating "We'll meet again in Valhalla.

Ludovic Kennedy wrote in his history of the vessel that she "lived an invalid's life and died a cripple's death". Tirpitz was referenced three times in the Wehrmachtbericht , an information bulletin issued by the headquarters of the Wehrmacht.

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To be singled out in the Wehrmachtbericht was an honor. First Edition. Hard Cover. Florence: G. Lungamo Series, no.

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