Preface:

After the sortie of the TIRPITZ against the Allied convoy PQ12 in March 1942 had failed, the German Kriegsmarine desperately needed a successful deployment of their surface units in order to justify the existence of their heaviest units. Because besides Hitler’s fears of an Allied invasion of Norway, resulting in endangering the northern flank, it was the main goal to destroy or at least to impair the massive Allied support to the Soviet Union via support lines to the Eastern Front. These convoys loaded with war material exclusively sailed through the Norwegian sea, and therefore even the Kriegsmarine should do its share to relieve the Eastern Front. In contrast to the many enemy cargo ships sunk by the German submarines in 1942, success of the surface units against the Allied support lines had failed to materialize, not to mention the own losses, such as the two destroyers Z26 (on March 29, 1942) and Z7 (on May 2nd, 1942). Consequently, in early July 1942 the TIRPITZ as the flagship of a strike force commanded by the fleet commander himself, Adm. Otto Schniewind, departed Trondheim in order to trace and eliminate the Allied convoy PQ17 (British codename “Competent”).

The disaster that followed for the Allies, namely the loss of most of the convoy, caused Winston Churchill, who from that point on referred to the TIRPITZ as “Beast”, to make his Admiralty relentlessly hunt down the German battleship. The destruction of the TIRPITZ became one of the main British war objectives, because the ship´s mere presence caused anxiety and forced the Admiralty to hold back heavy task forces. Even with the possibilities of the Germans being progressively limited by chronic fuel shortage and the deciphering of the Enigma codes by the British, Churchill on a daily basis asked his staff what has been done to sink the TIRPITZ. This rendered the largest German battleship, at least from a strategic point of view, to the most important ship of the Second World War. Therefore the common misconception of the history of the TIRPITZ in comparison to her famous sistership BISMARCK being relatively unspectacular, is only partly true. The ship did not uselessly lay in some Norwegian fjords, but presented a constant danger to the Allied supply lines, until it was put out of action in September 1944 in Kaafjord.

In historic documentation of this kind, it is inevitable that symbols and symbolism typical of the time are made visible. However, it would be an absolute misconception to deduce from this that the authors have any sympathy for Nazi ideology. The presentation of such symbols in no way detracts from the fact that these sea-going steel giants as a means of power still hold a certain fascination, despite the inhuman and political system behind them.

 

Index:

1942 – July 02/03; op. “Musik”, from Faetten- to Kaafjord
1942 – July 03, afternoon; anchoring at Gimsøystraumen
1942 – July 03/04; transit to Kaafjord
1942 – July 04/05; assembling the task force, Kaafjord
1942 – July 05; departing for Norwegian Sea against PQ17
1942 – July 06; after cancellation the operation, back to Kaafjord
1942 – July 06; anchoring of the task force in Kaa- and Langfjord
1942 – July 06; sailing south, stopover near Arnøya island
1942 – July 06/07; night-time anchoring in Langfjord (Arnøya island)
1942 – July 07/08; sailing to Bogen Bay off Narvik
1942 – July 08 to 27; 1st stay in Bogen Bay
1942 – July 27 to 31; exercises in Vest- and Herjangsfjord
1942 – July 31 to Aug. 17; 2nd stay in Bogen Bay
1942 – Aug. 17 to 21; exercises in Vestfjorden, stay in Raftsund
1942 – Aug. 21 to Sept. 14; 3rd stay in Bogen Bay
1942 – Sept. 14/15; exercises in Ofotfjorden, stay in Skjomenfjord
1942 – Sept. 15 to 28; 4th stay in Bogen Bay
1942 – Sept. 28 to 30; exercises in Ofotfjord, stay in Skjomenfjord
1942 – Sept. 30 to Oct. 19; 5th stay in Bogen Bay
1942 – Oct. 19 to 22; exercises and gun practice in Ofotfjord
1942 – Oct. 23; op. “Globus I”, from Bogen Bay to Ranafjord
1942 – Oct. 23/24; entering Ranafjord and anchoring
1942 – Oct. 24; transit from Ranafjord to Faettenfjord
1942 – Oct. 24 to Nov. 18; mooring place in Faettenfjord
1942 – Nov. 18 to 1943 – March 11; Lo-, Faetten-, Åsen-, Strindfjord
1943 – March 11 to 13; from Trondheimfjord to Bogen Bay
1943 – March 13 to 22; Bogen Bay, exercises in Ofot- and Vestfjord

 

Additional features:

Bogen Bay, »past and present«
Vest- and Ofotfjord, »past and present«
Skjomenfjord, »past and present«
Digermulen / Raftsund, »past and present«
Battery Dietl and Gimsøystraumen, »past and present«
Kaafjord and Alta area, »past and present«
Norwegian coast, »past and present«
Ranafjord and Trondheim area, »past and present«

 

Maps:

1942 – July 02/03; route map Faettenfjord to Gimsøystraumen
1942 – July 03; the task force in Gimsøystraumen
1942 – July 03/04; route map Gimsøystraumen to Kaafjord
1942 – July 04/05; anchorages of the task force in Kaafjord
1942 – July 05; route map from Altafjord to the Norwegian Sea
1942 – July 05/06; course line of task force in the Norwegian Sea
1942 – July 06; route map from Norwegian Sea to Kaafjord
1942 – July 06 to 08; route map from Kaafjord to Bogen Bay
1942 – July 06/07; anchorages of the task force near Arnøya island
1942 – Overview Narvik area
1942 – Overview Bogen Bay with AA and smoke screen posts
1942 – July; berthing places of SCHEER and Z30 in Skjomenfjord
1942 – Oct. 23; route map Bogen Bay to Ranfjord
1942 – Oct. 23/24; entering Ranafjord and anchoring
1942 – Oct. 24; route map from Rana- to Faettenfjord
1942 – Oct. 24; submarine warning in Vegafjord near Ylfingen
1942 – late Oct.; operation “Title”, British Chariot attack
1943 – 11 to 13; route map Trondheim to Bogen Bay
1942 – late Sept.; mooring place of TIRPITZ in Skjomenfjord

 

Graphics:

1942 – July; “Rösselsprung”, fitting-out status / camouflage TIRPITZ
1942 – July; “Rösselsprung”, fitting-out status / camouflage HIPPER
1942 – July; “Rösselsprung”, fitting-out status / camouflage SCHEER
1942 – July 05; before noon, formation of the task force
1942 – July 05; afternoon, formation of the task force
1942 – July 06; in the morning, formation of the task force
1942 – July 06; in the evening, formation of the task force
1942 – July 07; at noon, formation of the task force
1942 – July 07; afternoon, formation of the task force
1942 – Oct. 23/24; formation of the task force
1943 – March; after refit, fitting-out status / camouflage TIRPITZ
1943 – March 12; before noon, formation of the task force