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|Size||810,000 peak in 1944 |
1,500,000 (total who served 1939-45)
|Engagements|| Spanish Civil War (1936–1939)|
World War II (1939–1945)
|Oberkommando der Marine||See list|
| Erich Raeder |
|War ensign (1938–1945)|
|War ensign (1935–1938)|
|Bomber||Junkers Ju 87|
|Fighter||Messerschmitt Bf 109|
|Reconnaissance||Fieseler Fi 167|
|List of German WWII planes|
The Kriegsmarine (German pronunciation: [ˈkʁiːksmaˌʁiːnə] , lit. "War Navy") was the navy of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It superseded the Imperial German Navy of the German Empire (1871–1918) and the inter-war Reichsmarine (1919–1935) of the Weimar Republic. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches, along with the Heer (Army) and the Luftwaffe (Air Force) of the Wehrmacht, the German armed forces from 1933 to 1945.
A navy or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, riverine, littoral, or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions. It includes anything conducted by surface ships, amphibious ships, submarines, and seaborne aviation, as well as ancillary support, communications, training, and other fields. The strategic offensive role of a navy is projection of force into areas beyond a country's shores. The strategic defensive purpose of a navy is to frustrate seaborne projection-of-force by enemies. The strategic task of the navy also may incorporate nuclear deterrence by use of submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Naval operations can be broadly divided between riverine and littoral applications, open-ocean applications, and something in between, although these distinctions are more about strategic scope than tactical or operational division.
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.
The Imperial German Navy was the navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy, which primarily had the mission of coastal defence. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded the navy, and enlarged its mission. The key leader was Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, who greatly expanded the size and quality of the navy, while adopting the sea power theories of American strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan. The result was a naval arms race with Britain as the German navy grew to become one of the greatest maritime forces in the world, second only to the Royal Navy. The German surface navy proved ineffective during World War I; its only major engagement, the Battle of Jutland, was indecisive. However, the submarine fleet was greatly expanded and posed a major threat to the British supply system. The Imperial Navy's main ships were turned over to the Allies, but were sunk at Scapa Flow in 1919 by German crews.
In violation of the Treaty of Versailles, the Kriegsmarine grew rapidly during German naval rearmament in the 1930s. The 1919 treaty had limited the size of the German navy previously, and prohibited the building of submarines.
The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919 in Versailles, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had directly led to World War I. The other Central Powers on the German side of World War I signed separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919.
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability. It is also sometimes used historically or colloquially to refer to remotely operated vehicles and robots, as well as medium-sized or smaller vessels, such as the midget submarine and the wet sub.
Kriegsmarine ships were deployed to the waters around Spain during the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) under the guise of enforcing non-intervention, but in reality supported the Nationalist side against the Spanish Republicans.
The Spanish Civil War took place from 1936 to 1939. Republicans loyal to the left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with the Anarchists and Communists, fought against the Nationalists, an alliance of Falangists, Monarchists, and Catholics, led by General Francisco Franco. Due to the international political climate at the time, the war had many facets, and different views saw it as class struggle, a war of religion, a struggle between dictatorship and republican democracy, between revolution and counterrevolution, between fascism and communism. The Nationalists won the war in early 1939 and ruled Spain until Franco's death in November 1975.
Francoist Spain, known in Spain as the Francoist dictatorship, officially known as the Spanish State from 1936 to 1947 and the Kingdom of Spain from 1947 to 1975, is the period of Spanish history between 1936 and 1975, when Francisco Franco ruled Spain as dictator with the title Caudillo.
The Spanish Republic, commonly known as the Second Spanish Republic, was the democratic government that existed in Spain from 1931 to 1939. The Republic was proclaimed on 14 April 1931, after the deposition of Alfonso XIII, and it lost the Spanish Civil War on 1 April 1939 to the rebel faction, that would establish a military dictatorship under the rule of Francisco Franco.
In January 1939, Plan Z was ordered, calling for surface naval parity with the British Royal Navy by 1944. When World War II broke out in September 1939, Plan Z was shelved in favour of a crash building program for submarines (U-boats) instead of capital surface warships and land and air forces were given priority of strategic resources.
Plan Z was the name given to the planned re-equipment and expansion of the Kriegsmarine ordered by Adolf Hitler in early 1939. The fleet was meant to challenge the naval power of the United Kingdom, and was to be completed by 1948. Development of the plan began in 1938, but it reflected the evolution of the strategic thinking of the Oberkommando der Marine over the two decades following World War I. The plan called for a fleet centered on ten battleships and four aircraft carriers which were intended to battle the Royal Navy. This force would be supplemented with numerous long-range cruisers that would attack British shipping. A relatively small force of U-boats was also stipulated.
The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine (as for all branches of armed forces during the period of absolute Nazi power) was the "Führer" Adolf Hitler, who exercised his authority through the Oberkommando der Marine .
Adolf Hitler was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party. He rose to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and later Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland in September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.
The Oberkommando der Marine (OKM), translated as High Command of the Navy or Upper Command of the Navy, was the high command and the highest administrative and command authority of the Kriegsmarine. It was officially formed from the Marineleitung of the Reichswehr on 11 January 1936. In 1937 it was combined with the newly formed Seekriegsleitung (SKL). There were two major re-organisations, in November 1939 and May 1944.
The Kriegsmarine's most significant ships were the U-boats, most of which were constructed after Plan Z was abandoned at the beginning of World War II. Wolfpacks were rapidly assembled groups of submarines which attacked British convoys during the first half of the Battle of the Atlantic but this tactic was largely abandoned by May 1943 when U-boat losses mounted. Along with the U-boats, surface commerce raiders (including auxiliary cruisers) were used to disrupt Allied shipping in the early years of the war, the most famous of these being the heavy cruisers Admiral Graf Spee and Admiral Scheer and the battleship Bismarck . However, the adoption of convoy escorts, especially in the Atlantic, greatly reduced the effectiveness of surface commerce raiders against convoys.
The wolfpack was a mass-attack tactic against convoys used by German U-boats of the Kriegsmarine during the Battle of the Atlantic.
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, running from 1939 to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, and was a major part of the Naval history of World War II. At its core was the Allied naval blockade of Germany, announced the day after the declaration of war, and Germany's subsequent counter-blockade. It was at its height from mid-1940 through to the end of 1943.
Black May refers to a period in the Battle of the Atlantic campaign during World War II, when the German U-boat arm (U-Bootwaffe) suffered high casualties with fewer Allied ships sunk; it is considered a turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic.
After the Second World War in 1945, the Kriegsmarine's remaining ships were divided up among the Allied powers and were used for various purposes including minesweeping.
Under the terms of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, Germany was only allowed a minimal navy of 15,000 personnel, six capital ships of no more than 10,000 tons, six cruisers, twelve destroyers, twelve torpedo boats and no submarines or aircraft carriers. Military aircraft were also banned, so Germany could have no naval aviation. Under the treaty Germany could only build new ships to replace old ones. All the ships allowed and personnel were taken over from the Kaiserliche Marine, renamed Reichsmarine .
From the outset, Germany worked to circumvent the military restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles. Through German-owned front companies, the Germans continued to develop U-boats through a submarine design office in the Netherlands (NV Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw) and a torpedo research program in Sweden where the G7e torpedo was developed.
Even before the Nazi seizure of power on 30 January 1933 the German government decided on 15 November 1932 to launch a prohibited naval re-armament program that included U-boats, airplanes and an aircraft carrier.
The launching of the first pocket battleship, Deutschland in 1931 (as a replacement for the old pre-dreadnought battleship Preussen ) was a step in the formation of a modern German fleet. The building of the Deutschland caused consternation among the French and the British as they had expected that the restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles would limit the replacement of the pre-dreadnought battleships to coastal defence ships, suitable only for defensive warfare. By using innovative construction techniques, the Germans had built a heavy ship suitable for offensive warfare on the high seas while still abiding by the letter of the treaty.
When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Adolf Hitler soon began to more brazenly ignore many of the Treaty restrictions and accelerated German naval rearmament. The Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 18 June 1935 allowed Germany to build a navy equivalent to 35% of the British surface ship tonnage and 45% of British submarine tonnage; battleships were to be limited to no more than 35,000 tons. That same year the Reichsmarine was renamed as the Kriegsmarine. In April 1939, as tensions escalated between the United Kingdom and Germany over Poland, Hitler unilaterally rescinded the restrictions of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement.
The building-up of the German fleet in the time period of 1935–1939 was slowed by problems with marshaling enough manpower and material for ship building. This was because of the simultaneous and rapid build-up of the German army and air force which demanded substantial effort and resources. Some projects, like the D-class cruisers and the P-class cruisers, had to be cancelled.
The first military action of the Kriegsmarine came during the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). Following the outbreak of hostilities in July 1936 several large warships of the German fleet were sent to the region. The heavy cruisers Deutschland and Admiral Scheer, and the light cruiser Köln were the first to be sent in July 1936. These large ships were accompanied by the 2nd Torpedo-boat Flotilla. The German presence was used to covertly support Franco's Nationalists although the immediate involvement of the Deutschland was humanitarian relief operations and evacuating 9,300 refugees, including 4,550 German citizens. Following the brokering of the International Non-Intervention Patrol to enforce an international arms embargo the Kriegsmarine was allotted the patrol area between Cabo de Gata (Almeria) and Cabo de Oropesa. Numerous vessels served as part of these duties including Admiral Graf Spee. On 29 May 1937 the Deutschland was attacked off Ibiza by two bombers from the Republican Air Force. Total casualties from the Republican attack were 31 dead and 110 wounded, 71 seriously, mostly burn victims. In retaliation the Admiral Scheer shelled Almeria on 31 May killing 19-20 civilians, wounding 50 and destroying 35 buildings.Following further attacks by Republican submarines against the Leipzig off the port of Oran between 15–18 June 1937 Germany withdrew from the Non-Intervention Patrol.
U-Boats also participated in covert action against Republican shipping as part of Operation Ursula. At least eight U-Boats engaged a small number of targets in the area throughout the conflict. (By comparison the Italian Regia Marina operated 58 submarines in the area as part of the Sottomarini Legionari.)
The Kriegsmarine saw as her main tasks the controlling of the Baltic Sea and winning a war against France in connection with the German army, because France was seen as the most likely enemy in the event of war. But in 1938 Hitler wanted to have the possibility of winning a war against Great Britain at sea in the coming years. Therefore he ordered plans for such a fleet from the Kriegsmarine. From the three proposed plans (X, Y and Z) he approved Plan Z in January 1939. This blueprint for the new German naval construction program envisaged building a navy of approximately 800 ships during the period 1939–1947. Hitler demanded that the program was to be completed by 1945. The main force of Plan Z were six H-class battleships. In the version of Plan Z drawn up in August 1939 the German fleet was planned to consist of the following ships by 1945:
Personnel strength was planned to rise to over 200,000.
The planned naval program was not very far advanced by the time World War II began. In 1939 two M-classcruisers and two H-class battleships were laid down and parts for two further H-class battleships and three O-classbattlecruisers were in production. The strength of the German fleet at the beginning of the war was not even 20% of Plan Z. On 1 September 1939, the navy still had a total personnel strength of only 78,000, and it was not at all ready for a major role in the war. Because of the long time it would take to get the Plan Z fleet ready for action and shortage in workers and material in wartime, Plan Z was essentially shelved in September 1939 and the resources allocated for its realization were largely redirected to the construction of U-boats, which would be ready for war against the United Kingdom quicker.
The Kriegsmarine participated in the Battle of Westerplatte and the Battle of the Danzig Bay during the Invasion of Poland. In 1939, major events for the Kriegsmarine were the sinking of the British aircraft carrier HMS Courageous and the British battleship HMS Royal Oak and the loss of the Admiral Graf Spee at the Battle of the River Plate. Submarine attacks on Britain's vital maritime supply routes (Battle of the Atlantic) started immediately at the outbreak of war, although they were hampered by the lack of well placed ports from which to operate. Throughout the war the Kriegsmarine was responsible for coastal artillery protecting major ports and important coastal areas. It also operated anti-aircraft batteries protecting major ports.
In April 1940, the German Navy was heavily involved in the invasion of Norway, where it suffered significant losses, which included the heavy cruiser Blücher sunk by artillery and torpedoes from Norwegian shore batteries at the Oscarsborg Fortress in the Oslofjord. Ten destroyers were lost in the Battles of Narvik (half of German destroyer strength at the time), and two light cruisers, the Königsberg which was bombed and sunk by Royal Navy aircraft in Bergen, and the Karlsruhe which was sunk off the coast of Kristiansand by a British submarine. The Kriegsmarine did in return sink some British warships during this campaign, including the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious.
The losses in the Norwegian Campaign left only a handful of undamaged heavy ships available for the planned, but never executed, invasion of the United Kingdom (Operation Sea Lion) in the summer of 1940. There were serious doubts that the invasion sea routes could have been protected against British naval interference. The Fall of France and the conquest of Norway gave German submarines greatly improved access to British shipping routes in the Atlantic. At first, British convoys lacked escorts that were adequate either in numbers or equipment and, as a result, the submarines had much success for few losses (this period was dubbed the First Happy Time by the Germans).
Italy entered the war in June 1940, and the Battle of the Mediterranean began: from September 1941 to May 1944 some 62 German submarines were transferred there, sneaking past the British naval base at Gibraltar. The Mediterranean submarines sank 24 major Allied warships (including 12 destroyers, 4 cruisers, 2 aircraft carriers and 1 battleship) and 94 merchant ships (449,206 tons of shipping). None of the Mediterranean submarines made it back to their home bases, as they were all either sunk in battle or scuttled by their crews at the end of the war
In 1941 one of the four modern German battleships, Bismarck sank HMS Hood while breaking out into the Atlantic for commerce raiding. Bismarck was in turn hunted down by much superior British forces after being crippled by an air-launched torpedo. She was subsequently scuttled after being rendered a burning wreck by two British battleships.
During 1941, the Kriegsmarine and the United States Navy became de facto belligerents, although war was not formally declared, leading to the sinking of the USS Reuben James. This course of events were the result of the American decision to support Britain with its Lend-Lease program and the subsequent decision to escort Lend-Lease convoys with American war ships through the western part of the Atlantic.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent German declaration of war against the United States in December 1941 led to another phase of the Battle of the Atlantic. In Operation Drumbeat and subsequent operations until August 1942, a large number of Allied merchant ships were sunk by submarines off the American coast as the Americans had not prepared for submarine warfare, despite clear warnings (this was the so-called Second happy time for the German navy). The situation became so serious that military leaders feared for the whole Allied strategy. The vast American ship building capabilities and naval forces were however now brought into the war and soon more than offset any losses inflicted by the German submariners. In 1942, the submarine warfare continued on all fronts, and when German forces in the Soviet Union reached the Black Sea, a few submarines were eventually transferred there.
In February 1942, the three large warships stationed on the Atlantic coast at Brest were evacuated back to German ports for deployment to Norway. The ships had been repeatedly damaged by air attacks by the RAF, the supply ships to support Atlantic sorties had been destroyed by the Royal Navy, and Hitler now felt that Norway was the "zone of destiny" for these ships. The two battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen passed through the English Channel (Channel Dash) on their way to Norway despite British efforts to stop them.Not since the Spanish Armada in 1588 had any warships in wartime done this. It was a tactical victory for the Kriegsmarine and a blow to British morale, but the withdrawal removed the possibility of attacking allied convoys in the Atlantic with heavy surface ships.
With the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941 Britain started to send Arctic convoys with military goods around Norway to support their new ally. In 1942 German forces began heavily attacking these convoys, mostly with bombers and U-boats. The big ships of the Kriegsmarine in Norway were seldom involved in these attacks, because of the inferiority of German radar technology,and because Hitler and the leadership of the Kriegsmarine feared losses of these precious ships. The most effective of these attacks was the near destruction of Convoy PQ 17 in July 1942. Later in the war German attacks on these convoys were mostly reduced to U-boat activities and the mass of the allied freighters reached their destination in Soviet ports.
The Battle of the Barents Sea in December 1942 was an attempt by a German naval surface force to attack an Allied Arctic convoy. However, the advantage was not pressed home and they returned to base. There were serious implications: this failure infuriated Hitler, who nearly enforced a decision to scrap the surface fleet. Instead, resources were diverted to new U-boats, and the surface fleet became a lesser threat to the Allies.
After December 1943 when Scharnhorst had been sunk in an attack on an Arctic convoy in the Battle of North Cape by HMS Duke of York, most German surface ships in bases at the Atlantic were blockaded in, or close to, their ports as a fleet in being , for fear of losing them in action and to tie up British naval forces. The largest of these ships, the battleship Tirpitz, was stationed in Norway as a threat to Allied shipping and also as a defence against a potential Allied invasion. When she was sunk, after several attempts, by British bombers in November 1944 (Operation Catechism), several British capital ships could be moved to the Far East.
From late 1944 until the end of the war, the surviving surface fleet of the Kriegsmarine (heavy cruisers: Admiral Scheer, Lützow, Admiral Hipper, Prinz Eugen, light cruisers: Nürnberg, Köln, Emden) was heavily engaged in providing artillery support to the retreating German land forces along the Baltic coast and in ferrying civilian refugees to the western Baltic Sea parts of Germany (Mecklenburg, Schleswig-Holstein) in large rescue operations. Large parts of the population of eastern Germany fled the approaching Red Army out of fear for Soviet retaliation (mass rapes, killings and looting by Soviet troops did occur). The Kriegsmarine evacuated two million civilians and troops in the evacuation of East Prussia and Danzig from January to May 1945. It was during this activity that the catastrophic sinking of several large passenger ships occurred: Wilhelm Gustloff and Goya were sunk by Soviet submarines, while Cap Arcona was sunk by British bombers, each sinking claiming thousands of civilian lives. The Kriegsmarine also provided important assistance in the evacuation of the fleeing German civilians of Pomerania and Stettin in March and April 1945.
A desperate measure of the Kriegsmarine to fight the superior strength of the Western Allies from 1944 was the formation of the Kleinkampfverbände (Small Battle Units). These were special naval units with frogmen, manned torpedoes, motorboats laden with explosives and so on. The more effective of these weapons and units were the development and deployment of midget submarines like the Molch and Seehund . In the last stage of the war, the Kriegsmarine also organized a number of divisions of infantry from its personnel.
Between 1943 and 1945, a group of U-boats known as the Monsun Boats (Monsun Gruppe) operated in the Indian Ocean from Japanese bases in the occupied Dutch East Indies and Malaya. Allied convoys had not yet been organized in those waters, so initially many ships were sunk. However, this situation was soon remedied.During the later war years, the "Monsun Boats" were also used as a means of exchanging vital war supplies with Japan.
During 1943 and 1944, due to Allied anti-submarine tactics and better equipment the U-boat fleet started to suffer heavy losses. The turning point of the Battle of the Atlantic was during Black May in 1943, when the U-boat fleet started suffering heavy losses and the number of Allied ships sunk started to decrease. Radar, longer range air cover, sonar, improved tactics and new weapons all contributed. German technical developments, such as the Schnorchel, attempted to counter these. Near the end of the war a small number of the new Elektroboot U-boats (XXI and XXIII) became operational, the first submarines designed to operate submerged at all times. The Elektroboote had the potential to negate the Allied technological and tactical advantage, although they were deployed too late to see combat in the war.
After the German conquest on 29 June 1941, the naval base at Liepāja, Latvia came under the command of the Kriegsmarine. On 1 July 1941, town commandant Korvettenkapitän Stein ordered that ten hostages be shot for every act of sabotage, and further put civilians in the zone of targeting by declaring that Red Army soldiers were hiding among them in civilian attire.
On 5 July 1941 Korvettenkapitän Brückner, who had taken over for Stein, issued a set of anti-Jewish regulationsin the local newspaper, Kurzemes Vārds . Summarized these were as follows:
On 16 July 1941, Fregattenkapitän Dr. Hans Kawelmacher was appointed the German naval commandant in Liepāja.On 22 July, Kawelmacher sent a telegram to the German Navy's Baltic Command in Kiel, which stated that he wanted 100 SS and fifty Schutzpolizei ("protective police") men sent to Liepāja for "quick implementation Jewish problem". Kawelmacher hoped to accelerate killings complaining: "Here about 8,000 Jews... with present SS-personnel, this would take one year, which is untenable for [the] pacification of Liepāja." Kawelmacher on 27 July 1941: "Jewish problem Libau largely solved by execution of about 1,100 male Jews by Riga SS commando on 24 and 25.7."
In post-war 1945, U-boat Commander Heinz-Wilhelm Eck of U-852 was tried and executed with two of his crewmen for shooting at survivors; likewise U-247 was also involved in shooting at sunken ship survivors-although they were not tried as they were lost at sea.
After the war, the German surface ships that remained afloat (only the cruisers Prinz Eugen and Nürnberg, and a dozen destroyers were operational) were divided among the victors by the Tripartite Naval Commission . The US used the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen in nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll in 1946 as target ship. Some (like the unfinished aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin) were used for target practice with conventional weapons, while others (mostly destroyers and torpedo boats) were put into the service of Allied navies that lacked surface ships after the war. The training barque SSS Horst Wessel was recommissioned USCGC Eagle and remains in active service, assigned to the United States Coast Guard Academy. The British, French and Soviet navies received the destroyers, and some torpedo boats went to the Danish and Norwegian navies. For the purpose of mine clearing, the Royal Navy employed German crews and minesweepers from June 1945 to January 1948,organized in the German Mine Sweeping Administration, the GMSA, which consisted of 27,000 members of the former Kriegsmarine and 300 vessels.
The destroyers and the Soviet share light cruiser Nürnberg were all retired by the end of the 1950s, but five escort destroyers were returned from the French to the new West German navy in the 1950s and three 1945 scuttled type XXI and XXIII U-boats were raised by West Germany and integrated into their new navy. In 1956, with West Germany's accession to NATO, a new navy was established and was referred to as the Bundesmarine (Federal Navy). Some Kriegsmarine commanders like Erich Topp and Otto Kretschmer went on to serve in the Bundesmarine. In East Germany the Volksmarine (People's Navy) was established in 1956. With the reunification of Germany in 1990, it was decided to use the name Deutsche Marine (German Navy).
By the start of World War II, much of the Kriegsmarine were modern ships: fast, well-armed and well-armoured. This had been achieved by concealment but also by deliberately flouting World War I peace terms and those of various naval treaties. However, the war started with the German Navy still at a distinct disadvantage in terms of sheer size with what were expected to be its primary adversaries – the navies of France and Great Britain. Although a major re-armament of the navy (Plan Z) was planned, and initially begun, the start of the war in 1939 meant that the vast amounts of material required for the project were diverted to other areas. The sheer disparity in size when compared to the other European powers navies prompted German naval commander in chief Grand Admiral Erich Raeder to write of his own navy once the war began "The surface forces can do no more than show that they know how to die gallantly." A number of captured ships from occupied countries were added to the German fleet as the war progressed.Though six major units of the Kriegsmarine were sunk during the war (both Bismarck-class battleships and both Scharnhorst-class battleships, as well as two heavy cruisers), there were still many ships afloat (including four heavy cruisers and four light cruisers) as late as March 1945.
Some ship types do not fit clearly into the commonly used ship classifications. Where there is argument, this has been noted.
The main combat ships of the Kriegsmarine (excluding U-boats):
Construction of the Graf Zeppelin was started in 1936 and construction of an unnamed sister ship was started two years later in 1938, but neither ship was completed. In 1942 conversion of three German passenger ships (Europa, Potsdam, Gneisenau) and two unfinished cruisers, the captured French light cruiser De Grasse and the German heavy cruiser Seydlitz, to auxiliary carriers was begun. In November 1942 the conversion of the passenger ships was stopped because these ships were now seen as too slow for operations with the fleet. But conversion of one of these ships, the Potsdam, to a training carrier was begun instead. In February 1943 all the work on carriers was halted because of the German failure during the Battle of the Barents Sea which convinced Hitler that big warships were useless.
All engineering of the aircraft carriers like catapults, arresting gears and so on were tested and developed at the Erprobungsstelle See Travemünde (Experimental Place Sea in Travemünde) including the airplanes for the aircraft carriers, the Fieseler Fi 167 ship-borne biplane torpedo and reconnaissance bomber and the navalized versions of two key early war Luftwaffe aircraft: the Messerschmitt Bf 109T fighter and Junkers Ju 87C Stuka dive bomber.
The Kriegsmarine completed four battleships during its existence. The first pair were the 11-inch gun Scharnhorstclass, consisting of the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, which participated in the invasion of Norway (Operation Weserübung) in 1940, and then in commerce raiding until the Gneisenau was heavily damaged by a British air raid in 1942 and the Scharnhorst was sunk in the Battle of the North Cape in late 1943. The second pair were the 15-inch gun Bismarckclass, consisting of the Bismarck and Tirpitz. The Bismarck was sunk on her first sortie into the Atlantic in 1941 (Operation Rheinübung) although she did sink the battlecruiser Hood and severely damage the battleship Prince of Wales, while the Tirpitz was based in Norwegian ports during most of the war as a fleet in being, tying up Allied naval forces, and subject to a number of attacks by British aircraft and submarines. More battleships were planned (the H-class), but construction was abandoned in September 1939.
The "Pocket battleships" were the Deutschland (renamed Lützow), Admiral Scheer, and Admiral Graf Spee. Modern commentators favour classifying these as "heavy cruisers" and the Kriegsmarine itself reclassified these ships as such (Schwere Kreuzer) in 1940.In German language usage these three ships were designed and built as "armoured ships" (Panzerschiffe) – "pocket battleship" is an English label.
The Graf Spee was scuttled by her own crew in the Battle of the River Plate, in the Rio de la Plata estuary in December 1939. Admiral Scheer was bombed on 9 April 1945 in port at Kiel and badly damaged, essentially beyond repair, and rolled over at her moorings. After the war that part of the harbor was filled in with rubble and the hulk buried. Lützow (ex-Deutschland) was bombed 16 April 1945 in the Baltic off Schwinemünde just west of Stettin, and settled on the shallow bottom. With the Soviet Army advancing across the Oder, the ship was destroyed in place to prevent the Soviets capturing anything useful. The wreck was dismantled and scrapped in 1948–1949.
The World War I era Pre-dreadnought battleships Schlesien and Schleswig-Holstein were used mainly as training ships, although they also participated in several military operations, with the latter bearing the distinction of firing the opening shots of WWII. Zähringen and Hessen were converted into radio-guided target ships in 1928 and 1930 respectively. Hannover was decommissioned in 1931 and struck from the naval register in 1936. Plans to convert her into a radio-controlled target ship for aircraft was canceled because of the outbreak of war in 1939.
Three O-classbattlecruisers were ordered in 1939, but with the start of the war the same year there were not enough resources to build the ships.
Admiral Hipper, Blücher, and Prinz Eugen
Never completed: Seydlitz, Lützow
The term "light cruiser" is a shortening of the phrase "light armoured cruiser." Light cruisers were defined under the Washington Naval Treaty by gun caliber. Light cruiser describes a small ship that was armoured in the same way as an armoured cruiser. In other words, like standard cruisers, light cruisers possessed a protective belt and a protective deck. Prior to this, smaller cruisers tended to be of the protected cruiser model and possessed only an armoured deck. The Kriegsmarine light cruisers were as follows:
Never completed: three M-classcruisers
Never Completed: KH-1 and KH-2 (Kreuzer (cruiser) Holland 1 and 2). Captured in the Netherlands 1940. Both being on the stocks and building continued for the Kriegsmarine.
In addition, the former Kaiserliche Marine light cruiser Niobe was captured by Germans on 11 September 1943 after the capitulation of Italy. She was pressed into Kriegsmarine service for a brief time before being destroyed by British MTBs.
During the war, some merchant ships were converted into "auxiliary cruisers" and nine were used as commerce raiders sailing under false flags to avoid detection, and operated in all oceans with considerable effect. The German designation for the ships was 'Handelstörkreuzer' thus the HSK serial assigned. Each had as well an administrative label more commonly used, e.g. Schiff 16 = Atlantis, Schiff 41 = Kormoran, etc. The auxiliary cruisers were:
Although the German World War II destroyer (Zerstörer) fleet was modern and the ships were larger than conventional destroyers of other navies, they had problems. Early classes were unstable, wet in heavy weather, suffered from engine problems and had short range. Some problems were solved with the evolution of later designs, but further developments were curtailed by the war and, ultimately, by Germany's defeat. In the first year of World War II, they were used mainly to sow offensive minefields in shipping lanes close to the British coast.[ citation needed ]
These vessels evolved through the 1930s from small vessels, relying almost entirely on torpedoes, to what were effectively small destroyers with mines, torpedoes and guns. Two classes of fleet torpedo boats were planned, but not built, in the 1940s.
The E-boats were fast attack craft with torpedo tubes. Over 200 boats of this type were built for the Kriegsmarine.
Cap Arcona, Goya, General von Steuben, Monte Rosa, Wilhelm Gustloff.
Thousands of smaller warships and auxiliaries served in the Kriegsmarine, including minelayers, minesweepers, mine transports, netlayers, floating AA and torpedo batteries, command ships, decoy ships (small merchantmen with hidden weaponry), gunboats, monitors, escorts, patrol boats, sub-chasers, landing craft, landing support ships, training ships, test ships, torpedo recovery boats, dispatch boats, aviso, fishery protection ships, survey ships, harbor defense boats, target ships and their radio control vessels, motor explosive boats, weather ships, tankers, colliers, tenders, supply ships, tugs, barges, icebreakers, hospital and accommodation ships, floating cranes and docks, and many others. The Kriegsmarine employed hundreds of auxiliary Vorpostenboote during the war, mostly civilian ships that were drafted and fitted with military equipment, for use in coastal operations.
At the outbreak of war, the Kriegsmarine had a relatively small fleet of 57 submarines (U-boats).This was increased steadily until mid-1943, when losses from Allied counter-measures matched the new vessels launched.
The principal types were the Type IX, a long range type used in the western and southern Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans; and the Type VII, the most numerous type, used principally in the north Atlantic. Type X was a small class of minelayers and Type XIV was a specialized type used to support distant U-boat operations – the "Milchkuh" (Milkcow).
Types XXI and XXIII, the " Elektroboot ", would have negated much of the Allied anti-submarine tactics and technology, but only a few of this new type of U-boat became ready for combat at the end of the war. Post-war, they became the prototypes for modern submarines, in particular, the Soviet Whiskeyclass.
During World War II, about 60% of all U-boats commissioned were lost in action; 28,000 of the 40,000 U-boat crewmen were killed during the war and 8,000 were captured. The remaining U-boats were either surrendered to the Allies or scuttled by their own crews at the end of the war.
|274,333 tons (47 ships sunk)||Otto Kretschmer|
|225,712 tons (43 ships)||Wolfgang Lüth|
|193,684 tons (34 ships)||Erich Topp|
|186,064 tons (29 ships)||Karl-Friedrich Merten|
|171,164 tons (34 ships)||Victor Schütze|
|171,122 tons (26 ships)||Herbert Schultze|
|167,601 tons (28 ships)||Georg Lassen|
|166,596 tons (22 ships)||Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock|
|162,333 tons (30 ships)||Heinrich Liebe|
|160,939 tons (28 ships), |
plus the British battleship HMS Royal Oak inside Scapa Flow
The military campaigns in Europe yielded a large number of captured vessels, many of which were under construction. Nations represented included Austria (riverine craft), Czechoslovakia (riverine craft), Poland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Yugoslavia, Greece, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, United States (several landing craft) and Italy (after the armistice). Few of the incomplete ships of destroyer size or above were completed, but many smaller warships and auxiliaries were completed and commissioned into Kriegsmarine during the war. Additionally many captured or confisticated foreign civilian ships (merchantmen, fishing boats, tugboats etc.) were converted into auxiliary warships or support ships.
The first warship sunk in World War II was the destroyer ORP Wicher of the Polish Navy by Junkers Ju 87 dive bombers of the carrier air group of aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin on 3 September 1939. This carrier air group (Trägergeschwader 186) was part of the Luftwaffe but at that time under command of the Kriegsmarine.
|HMS Courageous (Royal Navy)||Fleet aircraft carrier||17 September 1939||Torpedoed by submarine U-29|
|HMS Royal Oak (Royal Navy)||Battleship||14 October 1939||Torpedoed at anchor by submarine U-47|
|HNoMS Eidsvold (Royal Norwegian Navy)||Coastal defence ship||9 April 1940||Torpedoed in Narvik harbor by destroyer Z21 Wilhelm Heidkamp|
|HNoMS Norge (Royal Norwegian Navy)||Coastal defence ship||9 April 1940||Torpedoed in Narvik harbor by destroyer Z11 Bernd von Arnim|
|Jaguar (French Navy)||Large destroyer||23 May 1940||Torpedoed by torpedo boats (E-boats) S21 and S23|
|HMS Glorious (Royal Navy)||Fleet aircraft carrier||8 June 1940||Sunk by battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst|
|HMS Hood (Royal Navy)||Battlecruiser||24 May 1941||Sunk by the battleship Bismarck|
|HMS Ark Royal (Royal Navy)||Fleet aircraft carrier||14 November 1941||Torpedoed by submarine U-81 on 13 November, sank while under tow to Gibraltar|
|HMAS Sydney (Royal Australian Navy)||Light cruiser||19 November 1941||Sunk by Kormoran. The Kormoran was also sunk in the battle.|
|HMS Dunedin (Royal Navy)||Light cruiser||24 November 1941||Torpedoed by submarine U-124|
|HMS Barham (Royal Navy)||Battleship||25 November 1941||Torpedoed by submarine U-331. While the attack on the ship was recorded, the Kriegsmarine were unaware that it had been sunk until 27 January 1942 when the British Admiralty admitted Barham's loss.|
|HMS Galatea (Royal Navy)||Light Cruiser||14 December 1941||Torpedoed by submarine U-557|
|HMS Audacity (Royal Navy)||Escort Carrier||21 December 1941||Torpedoed by submarine U-751|
|HMS Naiad (Royal Navy)||Light Cruiser||11 March 1942||Torpedoed by submarine U-565|
|HMS Edinburgh (Royal Navy)||Light Cruiser||2 May 1942||Torpedoed by U-456 and destroyers Z7 Hermann Schoemann, Z24 and Z25, abandoned and scuttled|
|HMS Hermione (Royal Navy)||Light Cruiser||16 June 1942||Torpedoed by submarine U-205|
|HMS Eagle (Royal Navy)||Aircraft Carrier||11 August 1942||Torpedoed by submarine U-73|
|HMS Avenger (Royal Navy)||Escort Carrier||15 November 1942||Torpedoed by submarine U-155|
|HMS Welshman (Royal Navy)||Minelaying cruiser||1 February 1943||Torpedoed by U-617|
|HMS Abdiel (Royal Navy)||Minelaying cruiser||10 September 1943||Sunk by mines in Taranto harbor while operating as a transport. The mines laid by torpedo boats (E-boats) S54 and S61|
|HMS Charybdis (Royal Navy)||Light cruiser||23 October 1943||Torpedoed by torpedo boats T23 and T27|
|HMS Penelope (Royal Navy)||Light cruiser||18 February 1944||Torpedoed by submarine U-410|
|USS Block Island (U.S. Navy)||Escort Carrier||29 May 1944||Torpedoed by submarine U-549|
|HMS Scylla (Royal Navy)||Light cruiser||23 June 1944||Mine hit, declared a constructive total loss|
|ORP Dragon (Polish Navy)||Light cruiser||7 July 1944||Torpedoed by a Neger manned torpedo, abandoned and scuttled|
|HMS Nabob (Royal Navy)||Escort carrier||22 August 1944||Torpedoed by U-354, judged not worth repairing, beached and abandoned|
|HMS Thane (Royal Navy)||Escort carrier||15 January 1945||Torpedoed by U-1172, declared a constructive total loss|
Adolf Hitler was the Commander-in-Chief of all German armed forces, including the Kriegsmarine. His authority was exercised through the Oberkommando der Marine , or OKM, with a Commander-in-Chief (Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine), a Chief of Naval General Staff (Chef des Stabes der Seekriegsleitung) and a Chief of Naval Operations (Chef der Operationsabteilung).The first Commander-in-Chief of the OKM was Erich Raeder who was the Commander-in-Chief of the Reichsmarine when it was renamed and reorganized in 1935. Raeder held the post until falling out with Hitler after the German failure in the Battle of the Barents Sea. He was replaced by Karl Dönitz on 30 January 1943 who held the command until he was appointed President of Germany upon Hitler's suicide in April 1945. Hans-Georg von Friedeburg was then Commander-in-Chief of the OKM for the short period of time until Germany surrendered in May 1945.
Subordinate to these were regional, squadron and temporary flotilla commands. Regional commands covered significant naval regions and were themselves sub-divided, as necessary. They were commanded by a Generaladmiral or an Admiral. There was a Marineoberkommando for the Baltic Fleet, Nord, Nordsee, Norwegen, Ost/Ostsee (formerly Baltic), Süd and West. The Kriegsmarine used a form of encoding called Gradnetzmeldeverfahren to denote regions on a map.
Each squadron (organized by type of ship) also had a command structure with its own Flag Officer. The commands were Battleships, Cruisers, Destroyers, Submarines ( Führer der Unterseeboote ), Torpedo Boats, Minesweepers, Reconnaissance Forces, Naval Security Forces, Big Guns and Hand Guns, and Midget Weapons.
Major naval operations were commanded by a Flottenchef. The Flottenchef controlled a flotilla and organized its actions during the operation. The commands were, by their nature, temporary.
The Kriegsmarine's ship design bureau, known as the Marineamt, was administered by officers with experience in sea duty but not in ship design, while the naval architects who did the actual design work had only a theoretical understanding of design requirements. As a result the German surface fleet was plagued by design flaws throughout the war.
Communication was undertaken using an eight-rotor system of Enigma encoding.
The Luftwaffe had a near-complete monopoly on all German military aviation, including naval aviation, a major source of ongoing interservice rivalry with the Kriegsmarine. Catapult-launched spotter planes like Arado Ar 196 twin-float seaplanes were manned by the so-called Bordfliegergruppen ("shipboard flying group").In addition, Trägergeschwader 186 (Carrier Air Wing 186) operated two Gruppen (Trägergruppe I/186 and Trägergruppe II/186) equipped with navalized Messerschmitt Bf 109T and Junkers Ju 87C Stuka; these units were intended to serve aboard the aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin which was never completed, yet provided the Kriegsmarine with some air-power from bases on land. Furthermore, five coastal groups (Küstenfliegergruppen) with reconnaissance aircraft, torpedo bombers, Minensuch aerial minesweepers and air-sea rescue seaplanes supported the Kriegsmarine, although with lesser resources as the war progressed.
The coastal batteries of the Kriegsmarine were stationed on the German coasts. With the conquering and occupation of other countries coastal artillery was stationed along the coasts of these countries, especially in France and Norway as part of the Atlantic Wall.Naval bases were protected by Flak-batteries of the Kriegsmarine against enemy air raids. The Kriegsmarine also manned the Seetakt sea radars on the coasts.
At the beginning of World War II, on 1 September 1939, the Marine Stoßtrupp Kompanie (Marine Attack Troop Company) landed in Danzig from the old battleship Schleswig-Holstein for conquering a Polish bastion at Westerplatte. A reinforced platoon of the Marine Stoßtrupp Kompanie landed with soldiers of the German Army from destroyers on 9 April 1940 in Narvik. In June 1940 the Marine Stoßtrupp Abteilung (Marine Attack Troop Battalion) was flown in from France to the Channel Islands to occupy this British territory.
In September 1944 amphibious units unsuccessfully tried to capture the strategic island Suursaari in the Gulf of Finland from Germany's former ally Finland (Operation Tanne Ost).
With the Invasion of Normandy in June 1944 and the Soviet advance from the summer of 1944 the Kriegsmarine started to form regiments and divisions for the battles on land with superfluous personnel. With the loss of naval bases because of the Allied advance more and more navy personnel were available for the ground troops of the Kriegsmarine. About 40 regiments were raised and from January 1945 on six divisions. Half of the regiments were absorbed by the divisions.
|Petty officers and seamen||613,000|
Many different types of uniforms were worn by the Kriegsmarine; here is a list of the main ones:
A cruiser is a type of warship. Modern cruisers are generally the largest ships in a fleet after aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, and can usually perform several roles.
A convoy is a group of vehicles, typically motor vehicles or ships, traveling together for mutual support and protection. Often, a convoy is organized with armed defensive support. It may also be used in a non-military sense, for example when driving through remote areas. Arriving at the scene of a major emergency with a well-ordered unit and intact command structure can be another motivation.
PQ 17 was the code name for an Allied Arctic convoy during the Second World War. On 27 June 1942, the ships sailed from Hvalfjord, Iceland for the port of Arkhangelsk in the Soviet Union. The convoy was located by German forces on 1 July, after which it was shadowed continuously and attacked. The First Sea Lord Admiral Dudley Pound, acting on information that German surface units, including the German battleship Tirpitz, were moving to intercept, ordered the covering force away from the convoy and told the convoy to scatter. Due to vacillation by Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, the Tirpitz raid never materialised. The convoy was the first large joint Anglo-American naval operation under British command; in Churchill's view this encouraged a more careful approach to fleet movements.
A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare. Usually they belong to the armed forces of a state. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faster and more manoeuvrable than merchant ships. Unlike a merchant ship, which carries cargo, a warship typically carries only weapons, ammunition and supplies for its crew. Warships usually belong to a navy, though they have also been operated by individuals, cooperatives and corporations.
Operation Rheinübung was the sortie into the Atlantic by the new German battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen on 18–27 May 1941, during World War II. This operation to block Allied shipping to the United Kingdom culminated with the sinking of Bismarck.
HMS Hasty was an H-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy during the mid-1930s. She was assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet until the beginning of World War II. The ship transferred to Freetown, Sierra Leone, in October 1939 to hunt for German commerce raiders in the South Atlantic with Force K. Hasty returned to the British Isles in early 1940 and covered the evacuation of Allied troops from Namsos in early May 1940 during the Norwegian Campaign. She was transferred back to the Mediterranean Fleet shortly afterwards and participated in the Battle of Calabria and the Battle of Cape Spada in July 1940. The ship took part in the Battle of Cape Matapan in March and evacuated British and Australian troops from both Greece and Crete in April and May. In June, Hasty participated in the Syria-Lebanon Campaign and was escorting convoys and the larger ships of the Mediterranean Fleet for the next year. During the Second Battle of Sirte in March 1942 she defended a convoy from an Italian battleship and several cruisers. While covering another convoy from Alexandria to Malta in June 1942 during Operation Vigorous, Hasty was torpedoed by a German motor torpedo boat and was so badly damaged that she had to be scuttled.
The first USS Twiggs (DD–127) was a Wickes-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War I. She was named for Major Levi Twiggs. She was later transferred to the Royal Navy, as HMS Leamington and to the Soviet Navy as Zhguchi, before returning to Britain to star in the film The Gift Horse, which depicts the St. Nazaire Raid.
The Regia Marina was the navy of the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 to 1946. In 1946, with the birth of the Italian Republic, the Regia Marina changed its name to Marina Militare.
Admiral Hipper, the first of five ships of her class, was the lead ship of the Admiral Hipper class of heavy cruisers which served with Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1935 and launched February 1937; Admiral Hipper entered service shortly before the outbreak of war, in April 1939. The ship was named after Admiral Franz von Hipper, commander of the German battlecruiser squadron during the Battle of Jutland in 1916 and later commander-in-chief of the German High Seas Fleet. She was armed with a main battery of eight 20.3 cm (8.0 in) guns and, although nominally under the 10,000-long-ton (10,000 t) limit set by the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, actually displaced over 16,000 long tons (16,000 t).
The Battle of the Mediterranean was the name given to the naval campaign fought in the Mediterranean Sea during World War II, from 10 June 1940 to 2 May 1945.
The Malta convoys were Allied supply convoys of the Second World War. The convoys took place during the Siege of Malta in the Mediterranean Theatre. Malta was a base from which British sea and air forces could attack ships carrying supplies from Europe to Italian Libya. Britain fought the Western Desert Campaign against Axis armies in North Africa to keep the Suez Canal and to control Middle Eastern oil. The strategic value of Malta was so great the British risked many merchant vessels and warships to supply the island and the Axis made determined efforts to neutralise the island as an offensive base.
There was sporadic naval warfare in the Mediterranean during World War I between the Central Powers' navies of Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire and the Allied navies of Italy, France, Greece, Japan, America and the British Empire.
The Adriatic Campaign of World War I was a naval campaign fought between the Central Powers and the Mediterranean squadrons of Great Britain, France, the Kingdom of Italy, Australia and the United States.
Rösselsprung was a plan by the German Kriegsmarine to intercept an arctic convoy in mid-1942. It was the German navy's largest operation of its type, and arguably the most successful, resulting as it did in the near destruction of Convoy PQ 17. Ironically, this success was entirely indirect, as no Rösselsprung ship caught sight of the convoy or fired a shot at it. PQ 17's losses were instead due to U-boat and aircraft attacks. Despite not making contact with the convoy a number of the Rösselsprung ships were damaged in the course of the operation, notably the heavy cruiser Lützow, which ran aground in thick fog, necessitating three months of repairs.
HMS Opportune was an O-class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was ordered from John I. Thornycroft & Company, Woolston on 3 September 1939 for the 1st Emergency Flotilla. She was commissioned on 14 August 1942. She was the second Royal Navy ship borne Opportune.
The Atlantic U-boat campaign of World War I was the prolonged naval conflict between German submarines and the Allied navies in Atlantic waters—the seas around the British Isles, the North Sea and the coast of France.
The Arctic Circle defining the "midnight sun" encompasses the Atlantic Ocean from the northern edge of Iceland to the Bering Strait. The area is often considered part of the Battle of the Atlantic or the European Theatre of World War II. Pre-war navigation focused on fishing and the international ore trade from Narvik and Petsamo. Soviet settlements along the coast and rivers of the Barents Sea and Kara Sea relied upon summer coastal shipping for supplies from railheads at Arkhangelsk and Murmansk. The Soviet Union extended the Northern Sea Route past the Taymyr Peninsula to the Bering Strait in 1935.
A type commander in the Kriegsmarine was a permanently assigned administrative officer in the organization of the Kriegsmarine which oversaw the development, deployment, and in some cases operational activities of the various classes of German naval vessels. Due to cross jurisdiction with the Navy group commanders, who tactically commanded all vessels at sea, some type commanders were little more than ceremonial officers who held a title with little authority. Others, such as Karl Dönitz who commanded the German U-boat force, exercised near total independence and held enormous authority, both operationally and administrative.