Wednesday, September 30, 2015

German Battleships in the Operation Rösselsprung

This photo is apparently taken from the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper and is showing the Tirpitz to the right and to the left of the Tirpitz a German destroyer can be seen. The photo is taken in Norway. The combination of the paint scheme used on the Tirpitz and that she is together with Admiral Hipper in Norway indicates that the photo is taken in 1942 and most likely during Operation "Rösselsprung" which took place 2-6 July 1942. Notice the yellow turret top on the main gun of Admiral Hipper. Rösselsprung was the largest operation of its type mounted by the Kriegsmarine during World War II, and arguably the most successful, resulting as it did in the near destruction of arctic convoy PQ-17. Ironically, this success was entirely indirect, as no Rösselsprung ship caught sight of the convoy, or fired a shot at it, all PQ 17s losses being due to U-boat and aircraft attacks. Also, a number of the Rösselsprung ships were damaged in the course of the operation, while only five aircraft were shot down, and no U-boats lost or damaged in the attack on PQ 17. Despite indirectly causing the catastrophic losses to PQ-17, the Rösselsprung operation was a disappointing performance by the German capital ships. Also, Tirpitz, Lutzow and the three destroyers spent a considerable time in dock for repairs. Following this, the Kriegsmarine were unable to mount such an extensive operation again in the Arctic campaign, and never saw a comparable naval success.

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