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German Battleship Scharnhorst

Discussion in 'Germany at Sea!' started by Jim, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    After a 12-hour chase in the Arctic gloom the 26,000 ton German Battle Ship Scharnhorst, enticed from her lair in Altenfjord, Northern Norway, by the sight of a Russia bound convoy, was trapped and encircled by Home Fleet units and sunk off the North Cape on December 26th 1943. Launched in 1936 she bore the name of the founder of the Prussian Army and of a cruiser sunk at the Battle of the Falklands, December 8th 1914. Like her sister ship the Gneisenau, Scharnhorst carried a complement of 1,461; her length at the water line was 741-ft 6-ins, draught 28-ft 8-ins. Armament consisted of nine 11-in guns, twelve 5.9-in, fourteen 4.1-in, and sixteen 37-mm AA guns, four aircraft and two launching catapults. Details in the drawing show (A) main armament of 11-in guns; (B) secondary armament of 5.9-in guns; (C) 4.1-in AA guns; (D) catapults; (E) reconnaissance aircraft and (F) aircraft hangar; (G) cranes; (H) range-finding towers; (J) fighting tower; (K) ship’s boats; (L) 12-in belt of armour amidships.

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    Interception of the Scharnhorst by Vice-Adm. R L Burnett, commanding the 10th Cruiser Squadron, opened the action. Engaged by the cruisers Norfolk, Belfast (in which Adm. Burnett flew his flag) and Sheffield, she was forced under the guns of Duke of York, which scored an underwater hit. This slowed her up and enabled a destroyer force under Cmdr. M. D. C. Meyrick, R.N., in the Savage, to reach a position in which they could attack. Shortly afterwards Musketeer, Matchless, Opportune and Virago attacked. Damage inflicted enabled the Duke of York to close the range. “I was able to observe definite hits, which showed dull red glows,” said Paymaster Lieut. T. B. Homan, R.N., later. “The enemy appeared to be slowly circling, and a cloud of thick smoke was hanging over her” The Cruiser Jamaica delivered her torpedoes, and then “it only remained to carry out a search for survivors” said, Adm. Sir Bruce Fraser, C-in-C. Home Fleet, “and this resulted in Matchless picking up six and Scorpion 30 from the sea.” To the C-in-C Winston Churchill sent the message; “Heartiest congratulations to you and Home Fleet on your brilliant action. All comes to him who knows how to wait.” Awards in connection with the action included the K.B.E. for Adm. Burnett; and the D.S.O. for Cmdr. Meyrick.
     
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  2. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Blindfolded survivors of the Scharnhorst, sunk in the action off North Cape on Dec. 26,1943, were landed at a British port on their way to internment, H.M. Destroyers Scorpion and Matchless picked up 36 German seamen and transferred them to the Duke of York whose broadsides crippled the German vessel, Majority of the survivors were aged between 19 and 21, and for some it was their first sea trip.

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  3. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Before her great triumph in the Scharnhorst battle, Dec. 26, 1943 H.M.S. Duke of York refits in dry dock. Prior to smashing the German battleship, she carried Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, C-in-C Home Fleet, on a good will visit to Vice Admiral Golovko, C-in-C Soviet Northern Fleet. It was the first occasion on which a Home Fleet flagship had entered a Russian harbour. The Vice Admiral and his officers were profoundly impressed during their tour of inspection of this colossal ship of war.

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  4. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    The battleship Scharnhorst shells Allied positions on Spltzburgen during Operation Sizilien (Sicily) on 6-9 September 1943. She also landed German troops on the Norwegian Island located In the Barents Sea. Scharnhorst returned to Altafjord, Norway after the mission.

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  5. Cabel1960

    Cabel1960 recruit

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    Without doubt a great looking ship, it must have sent many a heart racing knowing that she was afloat. :eek:i:
     
  6. amzee90

    amzee90 New Member

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    yah it's very intresting
     
  7. James Stewart

    James Stewart Active Member

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    Scharnhorst ( and the by 1942 disabled Gneisenau), were certainly very graceful and extremely attractive ships with fine lines, classed by the germans as battleships, the British regarded them as battlecruisers but all in all a rather academic point.
    The 11inch guns were what was available at the time of their design and launching so that was what they had, speed-wise superior to anything they might come up against, armour wise very good, but they lacked the guns to take on a ship armed with 15 or 16-inch guns, so any convoy which had a battleship escort had to be left alone.
    The remodelled "Atlantic Bow" failed to resolve the " wet bow" the ships did roll quite a bit and they often had their decks awash as merchant raiders they acquitted themselves quite well and enjoyed success in the early years of the war. ( Their cruise with Gunther Lutjens was their finest moment), the "Channel Dash" ("Operation Cerberus") caught the RN and RAF very wrong-footed .
    In Norway lack of fuel, lack of opportunity, the quality of the opposition and the restrictions placed on the use of capital ships combined to create periods of inactivity on the big ships.
    The ambush at North Cape was a trap well-laid weather, good and bad luck all playing their part to deliver Scharnhorst into the hands of Admiral Frasier and Burnett's cruisers & destroyers.
    Scharnhorst having headed for home her forward radar out of action going at full speed for Norway must have been shocked and astounded to find starshell bursting over them and followed instantly by a broadside from Duke of York. A royal navy officer on the bridge of DOY described how when the star shells burst over her at ( what was for capital ships almost point-blank range) and how they saw her "like a beautiful silver salmon" swing her turrets round to face this unknown threat., " as our broadside thundered out and fell across her".
    Certainly, one of the most graceful ships to put to sea. DSCF2766.JPG IMG_9890.JPG IMG_0836.JPG IMG_6747.JPG 1477428_10202411624113975_2069024839_n.jpg
     
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  8. James Stewart

    James Stewart Active Member

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    Researched and written by Ludovic Kennedy back in 1971, a damned sight better than anything made since. Excellent.
    Escort to the Scharnhorst by Simon Atack | Ltd Edition Military Art
    A fine painting of Scharnhorst by British artist Mr. Simon Atack, I bought one from him a few weeks ago - it will be remargued with a pencil drawing of one of Pumphrey's MTBs.
     

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