• Schlachtschiff Tirpitz, Vol. 2: Ready for combat. Erster Kriegs- einsatz in der Ostsee (1941/Mai – 1942/Januar)

    The second volume presented particular challenges with regard to specifying dates and locations, since the nearly four months between April 01 and July 20 of 1941 needed to be reconstructed without the help of the TIRPITZ war diary almost seventy years after the events. Therefore extensive archival work was necessary, and with the documents still in existence, such as war diaries from ships and other naval bodies, it became possible to complete missing links and to shed some light onto the life of the TIRPITZ.
    A further complication arose from the fact that the battleship was often located repeatedly at the same positions, which rendered it difficult to place the photos in correct chronological order. The lengthy stay at the shipyard in Kiel had to be ordered, as well as the numerous photos showing the ship at sea for which reference points allowing immediate conclusions were lacking. In such tricky situations it became essential to pay attention to minute details on the ship, such as damage or paint irregularities on the hull, specific elevations of AA guns or striking equipment details, such as the garbage chutes that were attached to the railing in different combinations and locations. Such details made it possible to draw a link to photographic material for which the date had already been confirmed, thus allowing unfamiliar photo to be placed in correct chronological order. In some cases even this was not feasible, and there was no alternative but to provide an approximate time frame – e.g. a particular month – for one or other photo.
    Every now and then, the weather log in the war diary was helpful in terms of wind direction, the state of the sea and weather conditions. Since entries in the diary took place in the morning, they were only partly useful for the dating process, because the weather could have changed during the day. Only lengthy periods under the influence of areas of low or high pressure were a fairly reliable means for rendering datings likely or unlikely. But the sun also provided assistance in fixing the date of photos – sometimes even accurate to a specific hour or minute. With the aid of the ephemerides almanac (sun’s position in relation to season and the degrees of longitude/latitude) it was possible to determine the height and azimuth angles needed to deduce the time of day. In theory, this appears fairly simple, but in reality the calculations were difficult, since the dimensions of structural details were seldom known, and the lengths of shadows could only be defined when they crossed the caulking lines of the wooden deck planks at right angles. Furthermore, external influences such as ship’s movements due to swell or the trim of the ship or changes in course caused the ship to list, thus altering its alignment parallel to the horizon. For these reasons, calculations such as these involved considerable effort and were only applied in cases in which a relatively authentic and sound statement needed to be made with respect to the time of day determined.
    In historic documentation of this kind, it is inevitable that symbols and symbolism typical of the time are made visible. However, it would be an absolute misconception to deduce from this that the authors have any sympathy for Nazi ideology. The presentation of such symbols in no way detracts from the fact that these sea-going steel giants as a means of power still hold a certain fascination, despite the inhuman and political system behind them.
    1941 – April 18 to May 11: Gotenhafen, Seebahnhof
    1941 – May 11 to 20: 2nd training phase, eastern Baltic
    1941 – May 21 and 22: transit from eastern Baltic to Kiel
    1941 – May 23 to June 02: floating dock C and berth 16
    1941 – June 03 to 13: 3rd training phase, central Baltic
    1941 – June 13: inner Firth of Kiel, mooring buoy A12
    1941 – June 14 to July 12: prep. for shipyard, Scheer-Hafen
    1941 – July 12 to Aug. 02: 2nd stay in floating dock C
    1941 – Aug. 02 to 27: shipyard, DWK, berth 2
    1941 – Aug. 27 to Sept. 01: Kiel, Scheer-Hafen
    1941 – Sept. 01 to 03: trials in Bay and Firth of Kiel
    1941 – Sept. 04 to 10: shipyard, berth 2 and Scheer-Hafen
    1941 – Sept. 11 to 17: western Baltic and Scheer-Hafen
    1941 – Sept. 17 to 22: exercises in central Baltic
    1941 – Sept. 23 to 24: Baltenflotte”, first wartime deployment
    1941 – Sept. 24 to 25: anchoring at Firth of Föglö, Finland
    1941 – Sept. 26 to Oct. 06: Gotenhafen and Bay of Puck
    1941 – Oct. 06 to 31: gunnery formation exercises, cent. Baltic
    1941 – Oct. 31 to Dec. 01: 3rd shipyard period
    1941 – Dec. 02 to 19: combat training in central Baltic
    1941 – Dec. 20 to 1942 – Jan. 11: Ghf Gulf of Danzig
    1942 – Jan. 11 to 14: Operation Melone”, from Ghf to Schillig
    Additional features:
    Specifications, 15in main gun turrets Spedifications, 5.9in secondary gun turrets
    Gun loading trainers
    Specifications, 4.1in AA guns
    Specifications, 3,7cm and 2cm AA guns
    Specifications, 2cm AA quadruple guns
    Specifications, G7A torpedo
    General information on ship
    Kiel, past and present”
    Gotenhafen Gdynia, past and present”
    1941 – Map of Firth of Kiel Scheer-Hafen DWK
    1941 – Sept. 11 to 16: trials dispersion firing, west. Baltic
    1941 – Sept. 23: route map Baltenflotte” (southern section)
    1941 – Sept. 24: route map Baltenflotte” (northern section)
    1941 – Sept. 24 to 25: anchorages at Firth of Föglö, Finland
    1941 – Oct. 06 to 31: movements in central Baltic
    1942 – Jan. 11 to 13: Operation Melone”, from Ghf to Kiel
    1942 – Jan. 13 to 14: westbound to Schillig via Kiel Canal
    1942 – Jan. 14, afternoon: anchorages off Schillig
    The interior of 15in main gun turrets
    1941 – June: fitting-out status, Kiel and central Baltic
    1941 – late Aug. to early Sept.: fitting-out status, Kiel
    1941 – Sept.: fitting-out status during Baltenflotte”
    1941 – Sept.: camouflage of Baltenflotte” (northern group)
    1941 – Sept. 23: anti-submarine protection of the task force
    1941 – Sept. 25: anti-submarine protection of the task force
    1941 – early Dec.: fitting-out status and camouflage, Kiel
    Drawings of hull details