Part 7: Battleship Tirpitz
Episode 7, Battleship Tirpitz: Youtube, Polsy
First, a story from the grandson of a guy who serviced the boat we just saw.
I have a story from my grandfather, who served in the Kreigsmarine during the war.
Opa was a young soldier, so to speak; when war broke out, he was 17, and he volunteered for service in early 1940. Due to mechanical aptitude, he was trained as a Machinist's mate, which is one of the essential 'never-seen' jobs on a ship; his training was, for the most part, tasked with making sure the engines worked properly and to keep them maintained for battle conditions.
When he graduated from training, His class of 500 was split into roughly 3 sections, via alphabetical order; practically everyone ahead of him were assigned to the U-boats, Fifty people, including himself, were assigned to the escort fleet, (E-boats and such; what most people would call big torpedo boats, or light destroyers) and the rest were assigned to the Bismarck.
For the vast majority of the war, Opa found himself on patrol in the Norwegian Fjords, sometimes with his E-boat on patrol runs, and sometimes acting as 'sheepdog' for the Tirpitz after the Bismarck was destroyed. His only actual action, however, was when, during a dawn patrol, a British destroyer got the jump on his E-boat and got off the first shot, which destroyed the E-boat's superstructure. According to Opa, he only learned the ship was under attack when blood began dripping out of the communication pipes leading from the bridge to the engine room.
Immediately after the two destroyers opened fire on one another, they had turned and sailed back into their respective Fjords; apparently, surviving command crew on both sides figured that nobody would be dumb enough to have a lone destroyer in contested territory, so both ships figured that they were the advance vessels for a larger force. Turns out that both were mistaken, but it wasn't until the third day of poking their noses out, spotting one another and retreating that the British ship left early enough to avoid being shot in the backside.
After the war ended, Opa spent a few years as a minesweeper, I think, in part, because he found that, of his class of 500, none over the age of 19, he was the only survivor. Opa remained very reserved and quiet about his experiences in the war, and it was only a few months before his death that he did open up and tell me this story; He still remembered the names of almost all of his classmates, and asked himself, many a time, why he was the only one spared. I don't know if he found his answer or not, but I hope he did.
Everyone should take notice of the especially well-polished setpeice of boating up to the Tirpitz in the very beginning of the mission. The devs did kind of a weirdly exceptional job of depicting how a boat rocks from side to side and drifts into a different bearing when it's unpowered, considering what an ancillary concern it is in the scope of the game. Their sense of light, during a time where they didn't have much technical backup beyond textures with decent resolution, is also pretty exemplary. Nice work.
Skillness expands on the movie he shouted out during the video
Just to show what I mean, This is the scene in question. I know in the film the target is a dam not a bloody great ship, but the execution would have been very similar to when 617 squadron attacked the Tirpitz at Hakoya.
A Buttery Pastry finds out that the quote chooser in CoD might be gaining sentience
A Buttery Pastry posted:
That Edvard Munch quote, is that specific to this mission or random? It's pretty appropriate since you're in Norway and the guy died the same year the mission takes place. Poor guy got a Nazi-orchestrated funeral, which apparently left the impression among Norwegians that he was a Nazi sympathizer, which does not seem to have been the case at all.
Radintorov points out some more of the Tirpitz's history
As Skillness said, the Tirpitz was the thorn in the Royal Navy's (and the Allies in general) side for their operations in the Northern Sea, despite never doing anything more than sitting between some fjords and occasionally setting sail and turning back immediately.
In Oberleutnant's LP of Silent Hunter 3 someone (who might have been Skillness himself) explained in detail why: to sum it up (since I don't remember the details), the Royal Navy used a very simple system of classifying a ship offensive power by class, without taking into account any essential factors like armor protection, guns and ammo used and the like. So, when the Bismarck (a battleship) and the Prinz Eugen (a heavy cruiser) sunk the Hood (a battlecruiser which was a symbol of England's power on the seas), damaged the Prine of Wales (a battleship) and forced it and the two escorting heavy cruisers to disengage, the British were terrified since the Bismarck won against twice its worth. So, since the Bismarck was this monster ship, it meant that its sister, the Tirpitz, was another equally terrifying foe.
And that's why the Tirpitz was so effective: the Allies were so terrified by it, that whenever it set sail, convoys all over the Northern Sea would scatter (to make them a harder target to be sunk by the Tirpitz), right into the the sights of the waiting U-Boats.