German Battleship Tirpitz

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Tirpitz was the second Bismarck class battleship of the German Kriegsmarine, sister ship of Bismarck, named after Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz. She only participated in one combat operation, which was the only time she fired against enemy targets. She never fired at an enemy ship, but spent most of World War II in various bases in German-occupied Norway, where her mere presence was a threat to the Allies, tying up significant naval forces. Due to her role and bases of operations she was dubbed the "Lonely Queen of the North" by the Norwegians. She was the largest battleship ever built in Europe, with dimensions slightly exceeding those of her sister ship. On 12 November 1944 Royal Air Force Avro Lancaster heavy bombers bombed and sank Tirpitz at her moorings. The Lancaster Specials used had had the mid-upper turret and some armor removed to save weight so they would have been highly vulnerable to fighter attack, but the Luftwaffe failed to intercept the bombers. The reasons cited for this failure are contradictory. The bombers approached from Sweden's air space; the route may have suggested an attack on the airfield at Bardufoss; and Luftwaffe responses to Tirpitz's calls for help claimed there were aircraft "overhead". The local air defence systems may have been inadequate and the German pilots had not yet been fully trained on their new Focke-Wulf 190 aircraft. Major Heinrich Ehrler, who both led the defensive sortie in the area of the Tirpitz and was also the commander of Luftwaffe fighter forces in Norway (Jagdgeschwader 5), was charged with negligence of duty following the sinking and sentenced to death, later reduced to three years of fortress imprisonment, loss of his command, and transfer to a fighter unit in Germany. The destruction of Tirpitz removed the last major surface threat to allied control of the north Atlantic. This freed the capital shipsóbattleships and aircraft carriersóthat had been retained in the Home Fleet as a precaution, allowing Britain to reinforce the Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean, establish the British Pacific Fleet, and take a much more aggressive posture against the Japanese in the Far East. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]







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