SMS Scharnhorst

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Kieron Hill, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. Kieron Hill

    Kieron Hill Senior Member

    Hi people just got round to watching a documentry I recorded on SMS Scharnhorst, have not really got an interest in the German navy it was just that my Granddad served with the Royal Navy as a Royal Marine Gunner and was interested in seeing if any of his ships were envolved in the sinking, so this caught my eye, below is a link a BBC website which is an interesting read

    BBC - History - The Sinking of the 'Scharnhorst'

    and also a link to U tube which is part of the documentry of which I recorded

    YouTube - Death Of The Scharnhorst :poppy:

    This was one hell of a sea battle, out of interest I did a search for more information and came across this little treasure chest on ebay, I know I have put a few links on this thread but it will be interesting to see how much this little lot go for, there are some great pictures in this album, a real piece of history.

    WWII-Photo-Album-German-Battle ship-ScharnhorstTop-Nice on eBay, also Original Period Items, WW II 1939-45, Militaria, Collectibles (end time 11-Jan-09 19:00:00 GMT)

    I hope you enjoy
  2. militarycross

    militarycross Very Senior Member

    I interviewed a Vet who was part of this show. I will see if I can find what he said and post it.
  3. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

  4. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    That looks like a fantastic photo album , but more than I can go to at this moment in time - if the remainder of the photos are of similar quality it is good, but how do you place a value on it - how often do you see one like it , how much do you want it ?
    ( Perhaps these define value ).

    Scharnhorst was the most "lucky" of Germany's capital ships and in the end her luck ran out , a mere 36 survivors from her crew.
    My own "piece of her" , posted home by a crew member - photos and tally I had reframed in the same style .

    AS a design she was not really such a success , her seakeepiong qualities were not very good - her decks were almost always awash and even in moderate seas she rolled quite a bit.
    The "Atlantic Bow" never really rsloved her wet "bow" and her guns at 11 inch never really allowed her to take on her on kind and the rearmament of the ship never happened.
    Lacking guns and armour speed was her great asset and at North Cape blind forward she was caught by a ship with superior fire power and was damaged - just as she was getting away one of her turbines failed due to damage and as her speed fell away the slower Duke of York caught her up .
  5. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Theres some interesting images of the "Schleswig-Holstein" as well in that album, it would appear that it isnt just about the Scharnhorst.
  6. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Yes , the owner would seem to have been on her when war was "declared" ( or not ) , a number of photos taken in danzig post German take over.

    From Scharnhorst By Alf Jacobsen (Sutton- 2003).

    "He was right .The Scharnhorst had broken in two just forward of the bridge.The formost 60 metres of the ship were simply not there. In fact, the entire foreship had been destroyed and lay like a heap of scrap iron in an angle of 90 degrees to the rest of the hull. Again I remembered what Backhaus and Boekhoff had said about when they were in the water.They had felt two or three powerful explosions like an underwater earthquake.They had felt enormous pressure on the lower part of their bodies. Barkhaus thought it was the boilers exploding. But it wasn't , it was the whole of the foreship. A salvbo of torpedos must have struck forward of the bridge and set of a chain reaction. Perhaps it was the magazine of A Turret that had caused the expolsion that had sent the Scharnhorst to the bottom. She had been a lucky ship , but even a lucky ship could not suevive an explosion of that magnitude.
    It was a terribel sight. The hull was gashed and mangled as though it were tin, its 32cm thick armour steel reduced to fragments. Of the bow only bits of the anchor chain were to be seen , together with the foremost part of the keelson.The destruction was horrifying.It was like watching a silent film of Armageddon."

    "We saw no trace of human remains. There was nothing to indicate that the ship had once been a home to two thousand men. Bey , Hintze, Wibbelhof and all the others were still encased in their steel sarcophagus.Those who had been helped overboard by Hintze and Dominik had been swept away by the wind and wave; they too were now at rest in an Arctic Ocean , together with the thousands of others who had been engulfed by that unrelenting sea."

    "Reverently we continued to explore the wreck , awed by what we saw. We touched nothing . The Scharnhorst was a war grave. Most of those who had served and died on board were young men : victims of the ineluctable logic of the war, they had done their duty and in doing , died."

    "Let's leave it now" I said."Let's leave it and get back home".
    Below from the same source - the high speed propellors so typical of those found on German capital ships , the initial scan of the wreck showing the foreship section at right angles.


    The torpedos in their tubes and the secondary armament upside down on the bottom of the Arctic sea.

    Attached Files:

  7. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I super thread to read, full of information on the subject.

  8. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    In a recent programme on the Kriegsmarine,the responsibility for the loss of the Scharnhorst was laid square at the feet of Karl Doenitz which the BBC confirmed

    Many years ago I read an account of the action and was impressed by the engineering performance of the ship's engine room personnel.If I remember right, the Scharnhorst engine room was running in a common configuration,that is both its boiler ranges supplying its steam turbines were running common which gives maximum flexibility in that any boiler can supply any turbine.The ship was at 29 knots when it was first hit and damage was sustained to her engine room.Losing steam,her speed dropped to 22 knots for 20 minutes and then was restored to 29 knots as the engine room personnel isolated the damaged boilers,feed and steam systems.

    In the end to no avail.
  9. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    I recall see in one documentery recently made - in which the Norwegian Navy ( author of the book I mentioned being amongest them) located the wreck of the Schanrhorst.
    One British officer interviewed realted how Fraser had closed to what was point blank range before illuminating the surprised Scharnhorst with star shell , this was the first she knew of a superior British unit being on her - at 12,000 yds a full broadside went out on her as Scharnhorst went hard to starboard.
    Damaged she headaway and as the range increased the British guns fell silent.
    The officer said that they thought they had missed their chance and that as the range incresed "on the counter" it seemed she would slipaway in the snow showers and would be lost.
    He went on to dscribe how the "counter slowed and steadied , before counting down" as they again closed on Scharnhorst.

    What must it have been like on Scharnhorst when they realised that their speed had been reduced , just when they needed it most.
    Against the heavier Duke of York and the cruisers she was outranged , outgunned and outnumbered.
    A battle / confrontation which she could neither run from nor hope to win.
  10. militarycross

    militarycross Very Senior Member

    I found the write-up from AB Alf Rose, a Navigator's Yeoman aboard HMCS Iroquois who told me:

    "My worst experience was in 1943. We had spent Christmas Day at sea taking a convoy of 18 Merchant ships toward Murmansk. The German Battlecruiser Scharnhorst, who was playing havoc with our convoys to Russia, was spotted early the next morning. Our convoy was joined by the 10th Cruiser Squadron. We began exchanging gunfire with the enemy at about 6 miles distance. There were German subs in the area as well and we got off depth charges. This went on all day long. At 2012 hours, we received the message, "Scharnhorst Sunk." You never once thought that you weren’t coming back. You came to port, went out and had your fun. It just never occurred to me that you wouldn’t survive. You just went and did your job. If you had thought about it you’d have gone nuts. Three days later, we arrived in Kola Inlet."

    This was his piece of that puzzle.
  11. Kieron Hill

    Kieron Hill Senior Member

  12. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Scharnhorst - the lucky ship.




  13. cally

    cally Picture Prince.

    To anybody interested in the Scharnhorst it is well worth looking at this fine rendering...
    [thank you alex]

    Attached Files:

    James S likes this.
  14. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Link now dead.

    Replacement here. The Life and Death of the Scharnhorst (BBC: 1971)

    canuck likes this.

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