Remembering the Telegraphist Air Gunners
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Wartime Heritage ASSOCIATION
The Destruction of a Battleship - The Tirpitz On the night of September, 19-20, 1943 Tirpitz was attacked by midget submarines or X Craft, Four of them were survivors of the six towed across the North Sea by Fleet submarines. X-10 aborted her operation and was never heard of again, X-6 and X- 7 were successful, through the crews were taken prisoner. Their explosions seriously damaged Tirpitz, unseating her main engines. She was immobilized for several months. Operation Tunsten was another attempt to sink the Tirpitz in April, 1944. Specially trained Fleet Air Arm pilots and crews from the Carriers Victorious (72 aircraft), Furious (20 aircraft), and the three escort carriers, Pursuer (18 aircraft), Searcher (24 aircraft) and Emperor (24 aircraft). They also gave coordinated and extra cover to a Russian convoy. Victorious and Furious carried bombers and the other carriers provided fighter cover. The planes attacked in two waves, scoring fifteen hits but the battleship was saved by the 8” thickness of her armoured main deck. She never served as a battleship again and was moved to Tromso were she acted as a floating battery. Tromso lay within RAF bomber range and on the 12 November 1944 Lancasters attacked her with six ton bombs. The leviathan capsized and Tirpitz was destroyed. (Original article by David Brown; TAGA Newsletter January 2004; Photo Credit Arthur Wells TAG) Tirpitz was the second of two Bismarck-class battleships built for the German Navy during World War II. Tirpitz was the heaviest battleship ever built by a European Navy and served as the centrepiece of the Baltic Fleet. In 1942, the ship sailed to Norway forcing the British Royal Navy to retain significant naval forces in the area . In September 1943, Tirpitz, along with the battleship Scharnhorst, bombarded Allied positions on the island of Spitzbergen, the only time the ship used her main battery in combat. Shortly thereafter, the ship was damaged in an attack by British mini-submarines and subsequently subjected to a series of large-scale air raids. On 12 November 1944, British Lancaster bombers destroyed the ship. Two direct hits and a near miss caused the ship to capsize rapidly. A deck fire spread to the ammunition magazine for one of the main battery turrets, which caused a large explosion. Figures for the number of men killed in the attack range from 950 to 1,204.
The TAGs aboard HMS Furious following the Tirpitz raid