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Article: The Battleship Tirpitz

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    The Battleship Tirpitz

    6 Comments by Brian Probetts (Site Admin) Published on 24th November 2016 12:29 PM
    Tirpitz. Sunk this month in 1942 by the R.A.F.


    The Tirpitz, second and last battleship of the Bismarck class, was the largest warship built in Germany. She was commissioned on February 1941, and afterwards went to the Baltic to conduct sea trials. At the beginning of 1942, she was sent to Trondheim, Norway in order to repel a possible allied invasion, and to attack the Russia-bound Arctic convoys. As part of the "Fleet in being", her mere presence forced the Allies to maintain a considerable force in Scapa Flow that could have been otherwise employed in other theatres of operations. In July 1942, she was indirectly responsible for the destruction of convoy PQ-17 without firing a single shot. In September 1943, while anchored in Kåfjord/Altafjord, she was attacked by British midget submarines and put out of action for the first time. Later subjected to continuous aerial bombings, the Tirpitz was finally sunk off Håkøy Island near Tromsø on 12 November 1944 after being hit by 5.4-ton "Tallboy" bombs
    “Is it really necessary to describe Tirpitz as the ´Admiral von Tirpitz´ in every signal? Surely ´Tirpitz´ is good enough for ´The Beast´!” - Frustrated comments by Sir Winston Churchill in London on January 25, 1942.

    Tirpitz on her way to Norway in January 1942.
    For Churchill nothing was more important than sinking Tirpitz. He ordered daily reports on her movements by British Special Operations (SOE), who relied on Norwegian undercover agents for intelligence gathering. During her time in Norway, the ship was under constant raids by Royal Air Force (RAF) bombers, as well as by midget submarine attacks. Eventually Tirpitz was brought down by RAF forces on November 12, 1944, outside the Norwegian city of Tromsø.
    An enormous ship

    Tirpitz was an enormous battleship in every way. With a length of 251 metres (823 ft), Tirpitz weighed over 50,000 tons when fully loaded. The steel in the hull was 30 cm (12”) thick. Tirpitz had eight 38 cm (15”) guns, some of the biggest naval guns ever built. The vessel had a crew of more than 2,600, including 100 officers. With a speed of 30 knots, Tirpitz was twice as fast as the Hurtigruten coastal express ships, which were faster than any of the Allied warships. All in all, Tirpitz was a formidable weapon.


    Tirpitz, November 12 1944

    Tirpitz, November 12 1944

    On November 12, 1944, the Royal Air Force carried out one of the most successful precision bombing attacks of the Second World War, resulting in the sinking of the German battleship 'Admiral von Tirpitz'. The attack was made by 29 Lancasters of Nos 9 and 617 Squadrons. No fewer than 10 attacks, by RAF and Royal Navy aircraft and by British and Russian submarines, had been made on the Tirpitz since she had been completed in 1941. It was therefore not surprising that the German Navy regarded the ship as unsinkable. When the Secretary of State for Air, Sir Archibald Sinclair, visited the Squadrons at their base the day after the Tirpitz had been sunk, he congratulated them on sinking 'one of the toughest ships in the world'
    Brian Probetts (site admin)
    R760142

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: The Battleship Tirpitz

    She was a beautiful and awesome ship Brian, it also says a lot for the courage and skill of the Lancaster Bomber crews, they
    would have been under very heavy anti aircraft fire and as always "they held their nerve" and did the job. I've seen the
    Tall boy bomb at a museum it was developed by Barns Wallis who also developed the "Dambuster bouncing bomb, he also
    designed the Grand Slam 22,000lb "Earthquake bomb" used along with Tall boy bombs to destroy the Valentin underground
    U boat pens that had a 23' thick concrete roof, the Lancaster's of 617 Squadron equipped with these bombs caused Jerry
    no end of problems. PS the Tall Boy and Grand Slam bombs were at The RAF Museum Hendon North London. Cheers JC
    Last edited by John F Collier; 24th November 2016 at 03:22 PM.

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    Default Re: The Battleship Tirpitz

    With a speed of 30 knots, Tirpitz was twice as fast as the Hurtigruten coastal express ships, which were faster than any of the Allied warships.

    Sorry to say so, but that's a load of rubbish.

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    Default Re: The Battleship Tirpitz

    As a deck cadet on the QE2s first voyage into Trondheim with Commodore William Warwick in command we encountered a wall of fog off the Norwegian coast and had to enter guided by radar. As a rather new cadet I was impressed as the Norwegian pilot turned to starboard and headed for a non visible entrance. When I spoke to him about he said that he had to take the Tripitz in and out of Trondheim during the war. He said the Germans had taken his family hostage and made it clear that they would suffer severe consequences if he grounded the Tripitz so this entrance was very easy for him. He said his son was the pilot of a seaplane operating tours in the fjord. Unfortunately my memory does not stretch to his name?

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    Default Re: The Battleship Tirpitz

    Forget which battleship took Churchill across the Atlantic during WWII but she travelled at 30 knots outwards and homewards, most destroyers and cruisers could do 25/30 knots, who writes this rubbish.

    Norwegian Fjords went through on our way home from Bear Island on trawler during severe weather, you always seem to be heading for a dead end and then another stretch of water appears seemingly out of nowhere, it is a wonderful experience for a seaman

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    Default Re: The Battleship Tirpitz

    Hi Brian.
    One word for the Tirpitz was awesome. She caused the death of hundreds of seamen without moving.
    Cheers Des

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    Default Re: The Battleship Tirpitz

    Been through the fiords a few times going to Murmansk. Cuts out going round the North Cape. Our excuse was though had to land members of crew with Latvian, Polish, and other nationalitys who reckoned they would of been detained in Russia if landed there. Who were we to argue, it cut out that North Cape especially in winter. JWS

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