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History November 12, 1944

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by Martin Rohmann, Nov 11, 2020.

  1. Martin Rohmann A Fixture

    The End of the Battleship "Tirpitz"...

    On November 12, 1944, at dawn on the Lossiemouth base in Scotland, 32 "Lancaster" bombers of the Royal Air Force took off for a secret commando operation ...:


    Each of the specially converted aircraft only carries a single bomb - but what a bomb:


    A so-called "Tallboy" bomb, which with a weight of 5.4 tons, 2.4 tons of which is highly explosive, as well as a delay or long-term detonator, it was specially designed for use against heavily fortified concrete structures and bunkers.


    Around noon the bombers are over their target:

    They are said to be the largest German battleship "Tirpitz" ...


    ... sink, which is anchored in a specially designed net box for torpedo defense five kilometers from Tromsø between the islands of Håkøya and Store Grindøya ...:




    To this day the "Tirpitz" is the largest battleship that has ever been built in Europe. She had - the irony of history! - not once during her "career" did she come into contact with the enemy surface forces, but was so badly damaged in several air raids that she is practically no longer roadworthy - which the British do not know!

    Since the resources to repair the ship on site are lacking - and all the shipyards in the home country that could do this have long been bombed, the Nazi leadership and naval war command have given her the role of a floating coastal battery in a possible hostile invasion of Norway.

    Nevertheless, the full crew - 2,500 men - is on board ...


    ... when the "Lancaster" appear over the battleship ...:


    ... contrary to their own fears, the bomber crews find ideal conditions:

    There is a completely clear view!

    There are smoke machines in the area to camouflage the "Tirpitz" from the view of the aircraft, but they are not put into operation!

    There is a special Luftwaffe fighter squadron at the nearby Tromsö airfield to protect the ship from bombing raids - but not a single fighter takes off!

    Not even the numerous anti-aircraft guns on the "Tirpitz" fire themselves - only a few anti-aircraft guns on land open fire.

    And so the 32 bomber pilots can fly almost school-like attacks one after the other!


    29 "Tallboy" bombs are released over the ship (three are stuck in their dropping devices or cannot be "armed"), two of which are direct hits!


    They hit the ship on port side at the height of the catapult and from turret C ("Caesar"), penetrate the armored deck and detonate (delay fuse!) Inside the "Tirpitz" ...:


    There are also several close hits in the water around the battleship and their pressure waves severely damage the hull ...:


    A few minutes later, the riot ammunition explodes in the shaft of tower "C" (an effect of the first direct hit!), The gun, which weighs tons, is thrown out of its barette and falls 12 meters further onto the aft deck ...



    At this moment the ship's command recognizes that the "Tirpitz" is lost and the order is given "All hands on board!"

    Many sailors who obey this order and now jump outboard will drown, because because of the proximity to land nobody wears life jackets!

    In addition, the water is ice cold.

    While the "Lancaster" are taking off, "Tirpitz" is slowly lying on its side ...

    An hour later a British "Mosquito" photo scout is over the battleship taking the following picture ...:


    The "Tirpitz" capsized and lies on its side in the shallow water. The British attack was a complete success - and without any loss of its own!

    On the German side, 1,204 men were killed and 890 were rescued. 89 of them are trapped under water in the hull and can also be saved through a hole whitewashed in the hull ...:



    On site on the island of Håkøya, this memorial today commemorates the drama of November 12, 1944 ...:


    And in Wilhelmshaven, the home port of the "Tirpitz", there is this simple memorial stone ...:

  2. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Martin

    A ship woh those guns a a coastal battery ..WOW!!! That's firepower

    A sad end to the pride of the Navy ad terrible loss of life of course

    Interesting to read and see the pictures

    Martin Rohmann likes this.
  3. Airkid PlanetFigure Supporter

    Interesting story Martin. My father ended his war in Kiel (he was a D-Day infantryman). He remembered going on a very large ship, which he thought might be the Admiral Hipper, which he was told had been hit by Tallboys, and sunk alongside the quay.

  4. grasshopper A Fixture

    Thanks Martin..less obscure than some, but well covered all the same and always with a picture or other treat I hadn’t been aware of
  5. Blind Pew A Fixture

    Thank you Martin. Another gem. What a story, with the condition the ship was in, it does seem a terrible loss of life.

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