Scharnhorst Senior Officer Paperwork

Discussion in 'WW2 Militaria' started by hucks216, Feb 13, 2019.

  1. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    Among my collection of German award citations is this small set to an officer who joined the German Navy in 1924 and during the war years he would purely serve on the Scharnhorst right up to his death in The Battle of the North Cape in December 1943. At the start of the war he was the Flak Officer aboard the ship and would go on to be the Chief Artillery Officer so would of been in charge of the main armament between April 1941 & April 1943 but by the time of Scharnhorst's sinking he was the Second in Command - the Executive, or First, Officer. In the Royal Navy he would of been known as the XO.
    Here he is with the rank of Korvettenkapitän. Taking into account the awards seen and that he was promoted to Fregattenkapitän in April 1943 the photo would of been taken at some point between October 1941 & April 1943:
    Ernst Dominik.jpg

    The first piece of paperwork relates to his pre-war years and is a yearly planner for a marine artillery school and is dated for 1934/35:
    5Dominik (2).jpg

    The next piece is a large citation and is for his promotion from Kapitänleutnant to Korvettenkapitän, with his promotion dated for August 1939. The AH signature is a commonly seen printed version and the hand signed signature seen on the lower right portion is that of the Kriegsmarine Commander-in-Chief Grand Admiral Erich Raeder:
    1RA signed by Großadmiral Raeder.jpg

    The first of his combat awards was bestowed very early in the war and considering it was awarded just days after the the event and after the ship had returned to Germany, the Iron Cross Second Class (EK II) must of been awarded for the action that saw the armed merchant cruiser HMS Rawalpindi bravely take on not only Scharnhorst but also her sister ship Gneisenau on the 23rd November 1939. Hopelessly outclassed and outgunned Rawalpindi was sunk with the loss of 238 men. The citation is signed by Vizeadmiral Wilhelm Marschall:
    2MA signed by Vizeadmiral Marschall.jpg

    The next award is for the Iron Cross 1st Class (EK I) and is another early war example, dated for July 1940. Fortunately, we know why he was awarded the EK I as he sent a letter home telling his family and is quoted in the book 'Scharnhorst' by Alf R Jacobsen and tells how for a number of hours on the 21st June 1940 Scharnhorst battled against numerous British air attacks. It isn't common to know exactly why such awards as the EK II & I Klasse were awarded and a lot of it is based on assumption (as for the EK II already seen) so to have the details is a definite bonus. The citation is signed by Vizeadmiral Günther Lütjens, he of future Bismarck 'fame':
    3LU signed by Vizeadmiral Lutjens.jpg
    Dominik EK I 001.jpg

    Another little bonus of this set is that someone made up a little sleeve to keep the award citations in with a sketch of the Scharnhorst on the cover. Whether it was a member of the ships company, family or someone postwar I have no idea but it is a nice addition:
    4Dominik 003.jpg Dominik 004.jpg

    His participation in the last battle of Scharnhorst and his death came down to one of those little quirks of fate. In October 1943 he had been assigned to Naval Headquarters in Berlin but as his replacement had yet to reach northern Norway to take over, he had stayed aboard and so would sail with the ship for her final war cruise in December.
    After the sinking of Scharnhorst he was seen in the water by the Captain of HMS Scorpion, Lt-Cdr Clouston, who stated that he was badly wounded and had actually managed to grasp one of the lines thrown to him but it slipped out of his hands and drifted away, never to be seen again.

    There are two main award citations missing from this set. The first is the citation for the High Seas Fleet Badge (Flottenkriegsabzeichen) and this award can be seen on the photo of him above, directly below the Iron Cross 1st Class. The second missing citation is for the German Cross in Gold (Deutsche Kreuz in Gold - DKiG) which was awarded posthumously. Both of these citations reside in another private collection.

    His son would go on to serve in the postwar Bundesmarine as a Fregattenkapitän.
    Lindele, AB64 and timuk like this.
  2. Vintage Wargaming

    Vintage Wargaming Well-Known Member

    Did the Royal Navy have XOs?
  3. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    I believe it originates with the USN but in the modern RN they are also referred to as XO's as well as The First Lieutenant.
  4. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    RN Ships had XOs, basically the second in command. Further explanation of the complications of RN terminology would deviate from this thread.

  5. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    A very nice and meaningful collection of papers, well worth having.
  6. Gibbo

    Gibbo Senior Member

    In The Cruiser, a novel about the fictional Leander Class light cruiser HMS Antigone in WWII .Warren Tute calls the second in command the Executive Officer in his cast of characters.. However, other members of the crew generally refer to him as 'the Commander.'

    The ship also has a First Lieutenant, normally referred to as 'Number One,' who is actually a Lieutenant Commander.

    Tute served in the RN from 1932-46, including on HMS Ajax, an actual Leander class cruiser. As well as fiction he wrote history books about the RN.

    I think that on a smaller ship, the First Lieutenant would be the second in command.
    James S likes this.

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