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The Life And Death Of Germany's Last Super Battleship

by Niklas Zetterling & Michael Tamelander

Casemate Publishing

 S u m m a r y

Title and Author, Price and Publisher:

The Life And Death Of Germany's Last Super Battleship.
by Niklas Zetterling & Michael Tamelander
Casemate Publishing

£19.99 available online from Casemate UK


Hard Cover;
228 x 152 mm
256 pages pages
Illustrated throughout, 6 maps
ISBN: 978-1-93514-918-7

Review Type:

First Read


Very readable, not so much about the ship as Britains efforts to destroy it.




This is not a picture book but anyone interested in naval history will find this title intriguing.


Reviewed by Glen Porter

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When you buy a book titled Tirpitz, you could be forgiven for thinking it will be about the ship itself, how and why it was designed and built and how it differed from its sister Bismarck. That's not what this one's about. Indeed, there are many already published on the ships, their specifications, histories and even the reasons they were lost.

No, this one is about the perceived threat posed by the ship to the British and how they tried to eliminate it.

The disastrous break-out by the Bismark, the loss of the Hood and the threat to Allied shipping that that caused, meant that when Tirpitz was moved from the Baultic to a Norwegian Fjord they again took this threat seriously, especially as they had started convoys to Russia. They were probably unaware of Hitler’s disillusionment with the German Navy’s heavy units.

The belief in this threat by the British was increased by the Tirpitz's planned attack on Russian convoys PQ12 and QP8 which never eventuated due to faulty intelligence on both sides even though the British were aware of the German plans and had sent a covering force north but none of the combatants met.

The British then begin to make plans to eliminate this threat by offensive action rather than just trying to catch Tirpitz at sea and the first operation is code named Chariot, the destruction of the Normandy Dock at St Nazaire, the only dry dock out side of Germany capable of holding the Tirpitz. This Operation is described in detail and sets the tone for the rest of the book.

A number of operations follow with various weapons and levels of success, human torpedos (Chariots), carrier bourn air attack, midget submarines (X-craft) and finally, RAF Bomber Command with very big bombs.

From the German side, there was the attack on Russian convoys PQ-16 and QP-13 by Luftwaffe aircraft and the tragedy of PQ-17 when the convoy was ordered to scatter because the authorities believed in error that a strong German naval force had sailed to intercept. The attack on convoy JB-15B by Lotzow and Admiral Hipper where the commander of HMS Onslow won a VC and finally the tragedy of Operation Ostfront when Scharnhorst was lost.

It may be more accurate to describe this book as the war in the Arctic Ocean and Tirpitz's part in it rather than just a book about the ship. Either way, it makes for very good reading indeed.

Thanks to Casemate UK for the samples.

Review Copyright 2010 by Glen Porter
This Page Created on 6 May, 2010
Last updated 6 May, 2010

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