Second Battle of Narvik, 13 April 1940 - German destroyer forced aground

Second Battle of Narvik, 13 April 1940 - German destroyer forced aground

Second Battle of Narvik, 13 April 1940 - German destroyer forced aground

One of a series of nine pictures of the battle at Narvik on 13 April 1940, taken from the Swordfish attached to the British flagship, HMS Warspite

The original caption reads: In the inner recesse of Rombak's Fiord, the remaining four enemy destroyers were trapped. She was later bombed by the Swordfish.

Taken from Fleet Air Arm, HMSO, published 1943, p.50


Contents

Erich Koellner had an overall length of 119 meters (390 ft 5 in) and was 114 meters (374 ft 0 in) long at the waterline. The ship had a beam of 11.3 meters (37 ft 1 in), and a maximum draft of 4.23 meters (13 ft 11 in). She displaced 2,171 metric tons (2,137 long tons) at standard and 3,190 metric tons (3,140 long tons) at deep load. The Wagner geared steam turbines were designed to produce 70,000 shaft horsepower (52,199 kW) which would propel the ship at 36 knots (67 km/h 41 mph). Steam was provided to the turbines by six high-pressure Benson boilers Ώ] with superheaters. Erich Koellner carried a maximum of 752 metric tons (740 long tons) of fuel oil which was intended to give a range of 4,400 nautical miles (8,100 km 5,100 mi) at 19 knots (35 km/h 22 mph), but the ship proved top-heavy in service and 30% of the fuel had to be retained as ballast low in the ship. ΐ] The effective range proved to be only 1,530 nmi (2,830 km 1,760 mi) at 19 knots (35 km/h 22 mph). Α] The ship's crew consisted of 10 officers and 315 sailors. Ώ]

Erich Koellner carried five 12.7 cm SK C/34 guns in single mounts with gun shields, two each superimposed, fore and aft. The fifth gun was carried on top of the rear deckhouse. Her anti-aircraft armament consisted of four 3.7 cm SK C/30 guns in two twin mounts abreast the rear funnel and six 2 cm C/30 guns in single mounts. The ship carried eight above-water 53.3-centimeter (21.0 in) torpedo tubes in two power-operated mounts. Ώ] ΐ] Four depth charge throwers were mounted on the sides of the rear deckhouse and they were supplemented by six racks for individual depth charges on the sides of the stern. Enough depth charges were carried for either two or four patterns of 16 charges each. Β] Mine rails could be fitted on the rear deck that had a maximum capacity of 60 mines. Ώ] 'GHG' (Gruppenhorchgerät) passive hydrophones were fitted to detect submarines. Γ]


Contents

The municipality of Narvik was established on 1 January 1902 when the village of Narvik received status as a proper town and was separated from the large municipality of Ankenes. Initially, the town-municipality of Narvik had 3,705 residents. On 1 January 1974, the municipality of Ankenes was merged with the town-municipality of Narvik, forming a new, larger municipality of Narvik. After the merger, the new municipality of Narvik had 19,780 residents. On 1 January 1999, a small area of Narvik Municipality (population: 9) was transferred to the neighboring Evenes Municipality. [6] [7]

On 1 January 2020, the municipality of Narvik was merged with the neighboring Ballangen Municipality and the eastern half of Tysfjord Municipality to form a new, larger municipality of Narvik. This occurred because in 2017, the municipal government agreed to the merger and the Parliament of Norway required Tysfjord to be split up. [8]

Coat of arms Edit

The coat of arms was adopted on 20 June 2019 for use starting in 2020. The arms are blue with a white image of the mountain Stetind. The arms were designed by Eirik Djupvik. [9]

The old arms were granted on 1 June 1951. The arms showed a gold-coloured anchor on a red background. The anchor symbolises Narvik's status as an important port (the largest harbour in North Norway). [10]

Name Edit

Narvik is named after the old Narvik farm ("Narduigh" – 1567), since the town is built on its ground. [11]

The Old Norse form of the port was probably *Knarravík, The first element is the genitive pluralis of knarr 'merchant ship' – the last element is vík 'inlet'. The name Knarravík (modern forms Knarvik or Narvik) is found several places along the Norwegian coast (and three places in the old Norwegian province of Bohuslän), and it refers to good, natural ports.

The port was once called Victoriahavn after Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, however Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria was also honoured. [12]

The history of Narvik as a settlement began in the Bronze Age. Not very much is known about these people, but the Vikings lived in this area.

Narvik was developed as an all-year ice free port for the Swedish Kiruna and Gällivare iron mines. The history of modern Narvik begins in the 1870s, when the Swedish government began to understand the potential of the iron ore mines in Kiruna, Sweden. Obtaining iron ore from Kiruna had one significant problem in that there was no suitable Swedish port. The nearest Swedish port, Luleå, had limitations. It was covered with ice all winter, it is far from Kiruna, and it allows only medium-sized bulk freight vessels. Narvik offered a port which is ice-free thanks to the warm Gulf Stream, and is naturally large, allowing boats of virtually any size to anchor, up to 208 metres (682 ft) long and 27 metres (89 ft) deep. [12] [13] The Swedish company (Gällivarre Aktiebolag) built the Iron Ore Line (Malmbanan) to Riksgränsen on the Norway–Sweden border. The Norwegian Ofotbanen railway line connects Narvik to the Swedish border.

Swedish mining corporation LKAB still ships the majority of its ore from Narvik (a total 25 million tons a year). The corporation is still important in the area, both as an employer and landowner, although its influence is not as prominent now as it has been in previous years. [13]

World War II Edit

The port of Narvik proved to be strategically valuable in the early years of World War II and the town became a focal point of the Norwegian Campaign. In 1939, Germany's war industry depended upon iron ore mined in Kiruna and Malmberget in Sweden. During the summer season, this ore could be sent by cargo ship to Germany through the Baltic Sea via the Swedish port of Luleå on the Gulf of Bothnia. However, when the Gulf of Bothnia froze during the winter, more shipments of the ore needed to be transported through Narvik and, from there, down the west coast of Norway to Germany. The town of Narvik is linked by rail to Sweden, but not to any other towns in Norway. As a result, Narvik serves as a gateway to the ore fields of Sweden that cannot be easily reached from southern Norway via land. Winston Churchill realized that the control of Narvik meant stopping most German imports of iron ore during the winter of 1940. This would be advantageous to the Allies, and it might help shorten the war. Equally as important, later in the war, German submarines and warships based there threatened the allied supply line to the Soviet Union. [14]

Churchill proposed laying a naval minefield in Norwegian territorial waters around Narvik (referred to as "the Leads"), [14] or else occupying the town with Allied troops. The Allies hoped that they might be able to use an occupied Narvik as a base from which to secure the Swedish ore fields and/or to send supplies and reinforcements to Finland, then fighting the Finnish Winter War with the Soviet Union. Plans to lay a minefield around Narvik or to seize the town met with debate within the British government – since both plans would mean a violation of Norway's neutrality and sovereignty. [14]

Finally, on 8 April 1940, the British Admiralty launched Operation Wilfred, an attempt to lay anti-shipping minefields around Narvik in Norwegian territorial waters. Coincidentally, Germany launched its invasion of Norway (Operation Weserübung) on the next day. During this invasion, ten German destroyers, each carrying 200 mountain infantry soldiers, were sent to Narvik. The outdated Norwegian coastal defence ships HNoMS Eidsvold and HNoMS Norge attempted to resist the invasion, but both Norwegian warships were sunk after a short and uneven battle. The Royal Navy quickly dispatched several ships to Narvik, including the battleship HMS Warspite, and during the Battles of Narvik, the British took control of the coast, destroying the German destroyers that had brought the invasion force to Narvik, as well as other German ships in the area.

On 12 April 1940, the first convoys of Allied soldiers were sent under Major-General Pierse Joseph Mackesy to Narvik. The Admiralty urged Mackesy to conduct an assault on Narvik from the sea as soon as possible. However, Mackesy believed that the German harbour defences were too strong for such an invasion to take place. The Admiralty argued that a naval bombardment of Norway would enable the troops to land safely, but General Mackesy refused to subject Norwegian citizens to such a bombardment, and instead he chose to land his troops near Narvik and wait until the snow melted to take over the town. [14]

Coordinated by the Norwegian General Carl Gustav Fleischer, Norwegian, French, Polish, and British forces recaptured Narvik on 28 May 1940. This is also considered the first Allied infantry victory in World War II. However, by that time, the Allies were losing the Battle of France and the evacuation from Dunkirk was underway. Since the Nazi German invasion of France had made Scandinavia largely irrelevant, and since the valuable troops assigned to Narvik were badly needed elsewhere, the Allies withdrew from Narvik on 8 June 1940 in Operation Alphabet. The same day, while operating in the Narvik area, the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sank the British aircraft carrier HMS Glorious during the withdrawal from this battle. [15] Without support from the Allied naval task force, the Norwegians were outnumbered, and they had to lay down their arms in Norway on 10 June 1940. This was not a complete capitulation, since the Norwegians kept on fighting guerrilla operations inland.

Possession of the Ofotfjord was also important to the German Kriegsmarine (navy) since it provided a refuge for warships like the "pocket battleship" Lützow and the battleship Tirpitz outside the range (at the time) of air attacks from Scotland. Also, possibly U-boats could be based at Narvik.

The municipality is governed by a municipal council of elected representatives, which in turn elect a mayor. [16] The municipality falls under the Ofoten District Court and the Hålogaland Court of Appeal.

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Narvik is made up of 41 representatives that are elected to four year terms. The party breakdown of the council is as follows:

Narvik Kommunestyre 2020–2023 [17]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)15
Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)4
Green Party (Miljøpartiet De Grønne)2
Conservative Party (Høyre)5
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
Red Party (Rødt)1
Centre Party (Senterpartiet)9
Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)4
Total number of members:41
Narvik Kommunestyre 2016–2019 [18]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)13
Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)4
Green Party (Miljøpartiet De Grønne)2
Conservative Party (Høyre)12
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
Red Party (Rødt)2
Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)6
Liberal Party (Venstre)1
Total number of members:41
Narvik Kommunestyre 2012–2015 [19]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)15
Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)9
Conservative Party (Høyre)10
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
Red Party (Rødt)2
Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)2
Liberal Party (Venstre)2
Total number of members:41
Narvik Kommunestyre 2008–2011 [18]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)14
Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)13
Conservative Party (Høyre)5
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)2
Centre Party (Senterpartiet)1
Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)5
Liberal Party (Venstre)1
Total number of members:41
Narvik Kommunestyre 2004–2007 [18]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)14
Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)9
Conservative Party (Høyre)6
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)2
Centre Party (Senterpartiet)1
Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)8
Liberal Party (Venstre)1
Total number of members:41
Narvik Kommunestyre 2000–2003 [18]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)16
Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)5
Conservative Party (Høyre)9
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)3
Centre Party (Senterpartiet)2
Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)5
Liberal Party (Venstre)1
Total number of members:41
Narvik Kommunestyre 1996–1999 [20]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)23
Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)5
Conservative Party (Høyre)9
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)3
Centre Party (Senterpartiet)5
Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)5
Liberal Party (Venstre)1
Left/Socialists Electoral Union and Communist Party (Venstresosialistenes Valgforbund og Kommunistiske Parti)2
Total number of members:53
Narvik Kommunestyre 1992–1995 [21]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)25
Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)2
Conservative Party (Høyre)9
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)2
Centre Party (Senterpartiet)4
Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)9
Liberal Party (Venstre)1
Left/Socialists Electoral Union (Venstresosialistenes Valgforbun)1
Total number of members:53
Narvik Kommunestyre 1988–1991 [22]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)26
Conservative Party (Høyre)14
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)2
Centre Party (Senterpartiet)2
Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)6
Liberal Party (Venstre)2
Left/Socialists Electoral Union and Communist Party (Venstresosialistenes Valgforbund og Kommunistiske Parti)1
Total number of members:53
Narvik Kommunestyre 1984–1987 [23]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)31
Conservative Party (Høyre)17
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)2
Centre Party (Senterpartiet)3
Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)5
Liberal Party (Venstre)2
Left/Socialists Electoral Union and Communist Party (Venstresosialistenes Valgforbund og Kommunistiske Parti)1
Total number of members:61
Narvik Kommunestyre 1980–1983 [24]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)28
Conservative Party (Høyre)19
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)3
Centre Party (Senterpartiet)3
Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)3
Liberal Party (Venstre)4
Independent socialists and Communist Party (Uavhengige sosialister og Norges Kommunistiske Part)1
Total number of members:61
Narvik Kommunestyre 1976–1979 [25]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)31
Conservative Party (Høyre)12
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)4
New People's Party (Nye Folkepartiet)2
Centre Party (Senterpartiet)4
Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)6
Liberal Party (Venstre)2
Total number of members:61
Narvik Bystyre 1972–1975 [26]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)29
Conservative Party (Høyre)10
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)2
Centre Party (Senterpartiet)2
Socialist People's Party (Sosialistisk Folkeparti)3
Liberal Party (Venstre)3
Socialist common list
(Venstresosialistiske felleslister)
4
Total number of members:53
Narvik Bystyre 1968–1971 [27]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)28
Conservative Party (Høyre)11
Communist Party (Kommunistiske Parti)2
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
Socialist People's Party (Sosialistisk Folkeparti)5
Liberal Party (Venstre)6
Total number of members:53
Narvik Bystyre 1964–1967 [28]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)28
Conservative Party (Høyre)12
Communist Party (Kommunistiske Parti)2
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
Socialist People's Party (Sosialistisk Folkeparti)5
Liberal Party (Venstre)5
Total number of members:53
Narvik Bystyre 1960–1963 [29]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)28
Conservative Party (Høyre)12
Communist Party (Kommunistiske Parti)4
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)4
Liberal Party (Venstre)5
Total number of members:53
Narvik Bystyre 1956–1959 [30]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)30
Conservative Party (Høyre)9
Communist Party (Kommunistiske Parti)6
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)4
Liberal Party (Venstre)4
Total number of members:53
Narvik Bystyre 1952–1955 [31]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)26
Conservative Party (Høyre)11
Communist Party (Kommunistiske Parti)8
Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)3
Liberal Party (Venstre)4
Total number of members:52
Narvik Bystyre 1948–1951 [32]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)19
Conservative Party (Høyre)10
Communist Party (Kommunistiske Parti)10
Liberal Party (Venstre)5
Total number of members:44
Narvik Bystyre 1945–1947 [33]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)17
Conservative Party (Høyre)9
Communist Party (Kommunistiske Parti)13
Liberal Party (Venstre)5
Total number of members:44
Narvik Bystyre 1938–1941* [34]
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
representatives
Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)23
Conservative Party (Høyre)11
Liberal Party (Venstre)3
List of workers, fishermen, and small farmholders
(Arbeidere, fiskere, småbrukere liste)
6
Local List(s) (Lokale lister)1
Total number of members:44

The municipality of Narvik covers large areas outside the town itself. Some of the other settlements in the municipality are Bjerkvik (located at the head of the Herjangsfjord), Håkvik, Beisfjord (along the Beisfjorden) and Skjomen. The eastern part, towards the border with Sweden, is dominated by mountains, and Storsteinfjellet reaches 1,894 metres (6,214 ft). There are also valleys and lakes, including the lakes Gautelisvatnet, Hartvikvatnet, Indre Sildvikvatnet, Iptojávri, Kjårdavatnet, Lossivatnet, Sealggajávri and Unna Guovdelisjávri.

The town itself is situated near the innermost part of the deep Ofotfjorden, but even here the mountains, going almost straight up from the blue fjord, reach as high as 1,700 metres (5,600 ft) in Skjomen, where the glacier Frostisen can be seen. Other fjords in Narvik include Skjomen, Beisfjorden, Herjangsfjorden, and Rombaken.

Forests cover the lower parts of the mountains (below 500 metres), but near the summits, the snow can stay most of the summer. Narvik has well prepared slopes for alpine skiing, some of which end almost in the town centre.

Climate Edit

Narvik features a boreal climate (Köppen climate classification: Dfc) but with mild winters for this climate type, or a subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc), depending on winter threshold (0C or -3C). It is also close to a humid continental climate due to a mild September. As Narvik is situated 220 kilometres (140 mi) inside the arctic circle, the climate is extremely mild for the high latitude. The mountains surrounding the town give shelter from some of the strong winds typical for coastal areas, but the easterlies can be strong with especially strong wind gusts.

The light varies considerably in Narvik since the sun is below the horizon from late November until mid-January when there is only a bluish light for a few hours around noon. [35] The mountains surrounding the town in reality extend this period from early November until the end of January. The light is often intense in March and April, with long daylight hours and snow cover since the snow melts in lowland areas in April, but stays in the mountains for several months. The "midnight sun" is above the horizon from 25 May to 20 July (57 days), and the period with continuous daylight lasts a bit longer, from approximately 10 May to the end of July, polar night from 5 December to 6 January (33 days). There is also a transitional period with twilight in the night, so it is not possible to see any stars at night from the last days of April until early August. The all-time high was set July 9 2014, and the all-time low was recorded on 1 February 1980.

Climate data for Narvik Airport 1991-2020 (31 m, precipitation Narvik III, extremes 1954-2020 includes earlier stations)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 11.5
(52.7)
9
(48)
12.5
(54.5)
20.4
(68.7)
29.9
(85.8)
30
(86)
32.5
(90.5)
28.6
(83.5)
27.2
(81.0)
19.6
(67.3)
15.8
(60.4)
11.4
(52.5)
32.5
(90.5)
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.3
(27.9)
−2.7
(27.1)
−0.8
(30.6)
2.9
(37.2)
7.4
(45.3)
11.4
(52.5)
14.5
(58.1)
13.5
(56.3)
9.4
(48.9)
4.5
(40.1)
1.2
(34.2)
−0.8
(30.6)
4.9
(40.7)
Record low °C (°F) −20
(−4)
−22.3
(−8.1)
−15.7
(3.7)
−11.8
(10.8)
−5
(23)
−1
(30)
4.5
(40.1)
0.5
(32.9)
−3.5
(25.7)
−11.1
(12.0)
−13.6
(7.5)
−19
(−2)
−22.3
(−8.1)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 108
(4.3)
98
(3.9)
82
(3.2)
44
(1.7)
56
(2.2)
57
(2.2)
88
(3.5)
91
(3.6)
107
(4.2)
107
(4.2)
99
(3.9)
97
(3.8)
1,034
(40.7)
Source: Norwegian Meteorological Institute [36]
Climate data for Narvik (1961-90)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −2
(28)
−2
(28)
1
(34)
5
(41)
9
(48)
14
(57)
18
(64)
16
(61)
12
(54)
6
(43)
3
(37)
−1
(30)
7
(44)
Daily mean °C (°F) −4.1
(24.6)
−3.9
(25.0)
−2
(28)
1.8
(35.2)
6.9
(44.4)
10.9
(51.6)
13.4
(56.1)
12.5
(54.5)
8.4
(47.1)
4.2
(39.6)
−0.2
(31.6)
−2.7
(27.1)
3.8
(38.8)
Average low °C (°F) −7
(19)
−7
(19)
−5
(23)
−2
(28)
3
(37)
7
(45)
11
(52)
10
(50)
6
(43)
2
(36)
−2
(28)
−5
(23)
1
(34)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 69
(2.7)
64
(2.5)
49
(1.9)
44
(1.7)
40
(1.6)
53
(2.1)
74
(2.9)
82
(3.2)
92
(3.6)
110
(4.3)
75
(3.0)
78
(3.1)
830
(32.7)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1mm) 10.6 10.2 8.8 9.1 9.2 12.4 14.7 14.0 15.1 14.5 11.1 12.2 141.9
Source: Norwegian Meteorological Institute – eKlima portal [37]

The town of Narvik is a commercial centre for some of the neighbouring municipalities. Narvik University College has approximately 1,200 students. There are some high-tech businesses in Narvik (among them Natech ) and the largest research institute in Northern Norway, Norut Narvik.

Narvik was one of the first areas in the world to be affected by the financial crisis of 2007–2008. It lost the equivalent of $18 million in August 2007 after it invested in Citigroup securities. As the Norwegian government refused to bail them out, Narvik was forced to implement severe budget cuts. [38]

Recreation and tourism Edit

Narvik has access to numerous outdoor activities. This is the best known location in northern Norway for alpine skiing. [39]

There are lifts, and several of the slopes are floodlit. There is also a cable car to Fagernesfjellet, with a view and the possibility to walk even higher up in the mountains. Narvik Winter Festival (Norwegian: Vinterfestuka) takes place in early March. Mountain hiking is very popular in the area, and the mountain area near the Swedish border has several places of accommodation. A signed mountain bike route is also available. Wreck diving attracts divers to Narvik, as there are a lot of wrecks in or near the harbour, and more spread out in the fjord. Fishing in the fjord or in lakes and streams is a popular leisure activity. There are salmon rivers in Skjomen, Beisfjord and Bjerkvik.

The port of Narvik is ice-free and well protected from the weather. The port consists of three waterfront sections: LKAB bulk port, central port area with piers and deep-water harbor at Fagernes with intermodal facilities. Approximately 16,000,000 tonnes (16,000,000 long tons 18,000,000 short tons) of cargo are annually shipped from the ports of Narvik. By 2015, the port had handled 1.1 billion tonnes of ore. Most of this iron ore. In 2015 the port installed a pier with 18 suction cups to moor ships, expected to save 40 minutes of mooring time. Each cup is 2x2 meters. [40]

Port Authorities have initiated an expansion of the container area of approximately 45,000 square metres (11 acres), which is more than twice what Norways largest terminal in Oslo today handles. In 2005, the port of Narvik got status as Motorways of the Sea in the EU-system. In Norway, Oslo is the only city which has this status in addition to the town of Narvik.

A present and historical key to land transportation to Narvik is the Ofoten Line railway from northern Sweden across the mountains to this port town. Goods like iron ore shipped via this railroad make Narvik an important seaport. The railway has stops at Bjørnfjell Station, Katterat Station, Søsterbekk Station, and Narvik Station.

Because of the extreme terrain there, there are no railways northwards from Narvik or south to Bodø, Norway, which is at the northern end of the rest of Norway's rail network. However, it is possible to reach Narvik by way of an approximately twenty-hour 1,540-kilometre (960 mi) train journey through the Swedish rail system from Stockholm using the Iron Ore Line.

The activity related to the railway and large port facilities are still important in Narvik, and goods to and from North Norway, Sweden, and Finland are often distributed via Narvik. In the proposed project called the "Northern East West Freight Corridor" portion of the Eurasian Land Bridge, there are plans for using Narvik as a port for goods from East Asia bound for eastern North America. The reason is that the railway and ocean distances using this route are shorter than through central Europe to Western European ports.

European route E6 crosses through the municipality using three bridges: Skjomen Bridge, Beisfjord Bridge and Hålogaland Bridge. There is also the Rombak Bridge used for E6 until 2018. There are road connections from Narvik across the mountains eastwards to Abisko and Kiruna, Sweden (via European route E10). One Narvik citizen lets other citizens use his Tesla cars at will. [41]

Narvik is served by Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes which is 57 kilometres (35 mi) by road from Narvik and has regular flights to Oslo, Trondheim, Bodø, Tromsø and Andenes.

The Narvik War Museum (Narvik Krigsmuseum) covers the war years 1940–1945. The museum displays the Victoria Cross awarded posthumously to Captain Bernard Warburton-Lee of the British Royal Navy and a rare German Enigma coding machine. [42] [43]

Museum Nord - Narvik tells of the development of the ice-free harbour of Narvik and the rapid transformation of the town over the past century. The building that houses Museum Nord - Narvik was erected in 1902 as the head office of the Norwegian state railway company, Norges statsbaner and was designed by architect, Paul Due. [44]

Churches Edit

The Church of Norway has four parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Narvik. It is part of the Ofoten prosti (deanery) in the Diocese of Sør-Hålogaland.


Hitler's Pre-emptive War : The Battle for Norway, 1940

After Hitler conquered Poland and was still fine-tuning his plans against France, the British began to exert control over the coastline of neutral Norway, an action that threatened to cut off Germany’s iron-ore conduit to Sweden and outflank from the start its hegemony on the Continent. The Germans responded with a dizzying series of assaults, using every tool of modern warfare developed in the previous generation. Airlifted infantry, mountain troops, and paratroopers were dispatched to the north, seizing Norwegian strongpoints while forestalling larger but more cumbersome Allied units.

The German navy also set sail, taking a brutal beating at the hands of Britannia, but ensuring with its sacrifice that key harbors would be held open for resupply. As dive-bombers soared overhead, small but elite German units traversed forbidding terrain to ambush Allied units trying to forge inland. At Narvik, some six thousand German troops battled twenty thousand French and British until the Allies were finally forced to withdraw by the great disaster in France, which had then gotten underway.

Henrik Lunde, a native Norwegian and former US Special Operations colonel, has written the most objective account to date of a campaign in which twentieth-century military innovation found its first fertile playing field.

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LibraryThing Review

Yeats said: “The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity”, and that summarizes Hitler's Pre-Emptive War: The Battle for Norway, 1940 in a sentence. The Norwegians . Читать весь отзыв

LibraryThing Review

Hitler’s Pre-emptive War, by Henrik O. Lunde, is an in-depth study of the German attack on Norway during the Second World War. If I were to title this review, it would be called ‘Who Knew?’. As a . Читать весь отзыв


Commander Derek Willan (DSC, Narvik, Dunkirk, Atlantic & Mediterranean)

Dec 05, 2018 #1 2018-12-05T19:15

From The Daily Telegraph 5 December.

Commander Derek Willan has died aged 101.

He was born at Devonport, Devon, on June 13 1917 and entered Dartmouth in 1931. He was the fifth generation of his family to become a naval officer: his great-great-grandfather was Rear-Admiral Charles Austen, brother of Jane.

He achieved his ambition to be a destroyer officer when in 1939 he joined HMS Icarus, whose commanding officer he much admired, the highly decorated Captain Colin Maud.

Willan thought there would be more scope for initiative, and, indeed, Maud gave Willan plenty of responsibility, as watchkeeper, torpedo officer, and in charge of the ship’s correspondence: up to the outbreak of war in 1939, Icarus patrolled the coast of Palestine to control illegal migration.

On return to home waters, Icarus was soon into action: on October 14 in the South West Approaches she assisted in the sinking of the German submarine U-45, and on November 29 she took part in the sinking off southern Norway of U-35.

In early 1940 Icarus was converted to a minelayer and ocean minesweeper however, in April 1940, at the start of the Norwegian campaign, Icarus’s orders to lay mines off Norway were forestalled by the German invasion. On April 8 she laid a minefield in Vestfjord, and the following day sank the ore-carrier Europa. On April 11 she captured the German storeship Alster.

At the Second Battle of Narvik on April 13 1940, Icarus led the fleet up Ofotfjord. In the close-range battle, Willan remembered the bows being blown off the destroyer Eskimo by German torpedoes while other torpedoes hit the shore with their propellers still racing.

On May 28 Icarus was diverted to the evacuation of allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk. On the first day, Icarus made two round trips in daylight, almost continually under air attack, and brought 1,142 men home. Fortunately Icarus suffered only one casualty, a rescued soldier hit by shrapnel.

Over the next few days, Icarus carried 4,396 troops in six trips, the last from Dunkirk on June 2. Towards the end of this frantic period, Willan recalled how Icarus’s exhausted officers missed a buoy as they approached the French coast and narrowly avoided running aground. Willan’s duties, driving the ship’s motorboat and ferrying soldiers between shore and ship, were not, he thought, “very special”, but he was awarded the DSC.

After Dunkirk, Willan was appointed to the destroyer Shakari, where on convoy duties in the North West Approaches he was proud never to have lost a merchantman. The worst enemy, he noted, was the weather, which, on a voyage to Iceland, crushed the bridge structure, though nobody was hurt.

In May 1942 he was appointed first lieutenant of the destroyer Ilex, under refit in the US: the following year he took part in Allied landings on Sicily and Italy, and on July 13 Ilex sank the Italian submarine Nereide south-east of the Strait of Messina.

In January 1944 Willan took command of the destroyer Catterick, which, aged 26, he thought was “not too bad”. He took part in the landings in the south of France and the recapture of Greek islands from the Germans. When he unexpectedly met his brother, Dick, serving with the Army in Egypt, he took him to sea for a fortnight.

Subsequently he commanded the destroyers Havelock and Rapid, before being appointed in 1946 to Hamburg, where he supervised the Germans in sweeping up their mines in the Baltic and North Seas, and where he met his wife-to-be.

In 1949 and 1950 he commanded the Malta-based landing ship Messina: one of his tasks was to fetch forage from Libya for Mountbatten’s polo ponies. Promoted to commander, in the 1950s he surveyed the Montebello islands off Western Australia and, while making two round trips from Britain in command of the landing ship Narvik, he planned the 1952 British nuclear test.

In 1961, when a shrinking Navy was divided into a “wet list” and a “dry list” (the latter receiving no further appointments to sea in command), Willan, despite his extensive and early commands, was placed on the “dry list”, and took retirement.


Military conflicts similar to or like Battles of Narvik

The Battles of Narvik were fought from 9 April to 8 June 1940 as a naval battle in the Ofotfjord and as a land battle in the mountains surrounding the north Norwegian city of Narvik as part of the Norwegian Campaign of the Second World War. Wikipedia

The code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign. In the early morning of 9 April 1940 (Wesertag, "Weser Day"), Germany occupied Denmark and invaded Norway, ostensibly as a preventive manoeuvre against a planned, and openly discussed, Franco-British occupation of Norway known as Plan R 4 (actually developed as a response to any German aggression against Norway). Wikipedia

The Battle of Gratangen occurred during the first Norwegian counter-attack in the Narvik Campaign. The Norwegian 6th Division gathered forces to push the Germans out of the Gratangen area and back towards Narvik. Wikipedia

Offensive campaign by Germany during the Second World War. It took place over 18 days in May 1940 and ended with the German occupation of Belgium following the surrender of the Belgian Army. Wikipedia

Attempted Allied occupation of northern Norway, during the early stages of World War II. Some early stages of the Allied operation preceded the German invasion and occupation of the Norwegian mainland on 8 April 1940. Wikipedia

Town and the administrative centre of Narvik Municipality in Nordland county, Norway. Located along the Ofotfjorden in the Ofoten region. Wikipedia

The name given to the naval campaign fought in the Mediterranean Sea during World War II, from 10 June 1940 to 2 May 1945. Fought between the Italian Royal Navy , supported by other Axis naval and air forces, and the British Royal Navy, supported by other Allied naval forces, such as Australia, the Netherlands, Poland and Greece. Wikipedia

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Part of the Battle of the Atlantic, from 1941 to 1945. German U-boats and Italian submarines attempted to disrupt the Allied supply of oil and other material. Wikipedia

Fought between Norwegian Army infantry forces and German Fallschirmjäger paratroops in mid-April 1940. As part of their conquest of Norway south of Trondheim, and as a countermeasure against reported Allied landings in the Romsdal area of south western Norway, the Germans dropped a company of paratroopers near the vital railroad junction of Dombås on 14 April 1940. Wikipedia

The North African campaign of the Second World War took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to 13 May 1943. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts (Western Desert Campaign, also known as the Desert War) and in Morocco and Algeria (Operation Torch), as well as Tunisia (Tunisia Campaign). Wikipedia

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Narvik overview

The period between the outbreak of the Second World War and the invasion of Norway is often called the Phoney war. Whilst on land this might have been the case, with the opposing army’s glowering at each other from either side of the Western Front, at sea it was an entirely different matter. Over 400 allied merchant ships had already been sunk, and the Royal Oak, the aircraft carrier Courageous, six destroyers and three submarines had all been lost. The Germans hadn’t come through unscathed either, losing amongst others seventeen U-boats, and the mighty Battleship Graff Spee.

So why invade Norway? Germany’s entire war production rested on the iron ore that she got from Sweden. However in the winter the Baltic ports froze solid, so the ore had to be transported by rail to Narvik in Norway which was ice free, and then shipped to Germany through protected neutral waters behind the chain of Norwegian islands. Something had to be done about this and Churchill, by now First Lord of the Admiralty, was all for occupying Norway as soon as possible. But for the politicians, this was fraught with danger. In the first place Churchill’s enemies kept harping back to his fiasco in the Dardanelle’s in the First War, and secondly, the Government felt that an occupation could only take place with the ascent of the king of Norway, as an outright attack on a friendly nation was not considered politically practical. In the end a decision of sorts was made to lay mines in Norwegian waters.

This it was hoped would drive the ore ships out of territorial waters where they could be seized by the British. It was fairly obvious that the Germans would react badly to this, so an expeditionary force was proposed just in case the Germans did decide to land in Norway. It was all to little to late because the Germans had already come to the same conclusions as Churchill, and they had also got wind of the British intention to mine the entrances to the fjords. In order to protect their source of iron ore, and not be forestalled by the British, they secretly planned their own invasion of Narvik. The operation was called ‘Wesserubung’ and it called for troops to be landed by ship simultaneously in the early hours of April 9th at Narvik, Trondheim, Bergen, Kristiansond and Oslo.

Ten destroyers under the command of Kommodore Fredrich Bonte comprised Group One of the invasion force bound for Narvik. Bonte had assembled his force at the north German port of Breverhaven, some 1020 miles from Narvik, and since surprise was essential it was decided to sail early on the 7th April and steam at 20 knots to the entrance of Vestifjord escorted by the battle cruisers Scharnhorst ,Gneisau and the Hipper, who was also carrying 1700 troops. The U-boat arm was ordered to support the operation with every available boat, and amongst those commanders present was the famous ace Gunter Prien, already showered with honours for the destruction of the Royal Oak.

At the same time as all this was happening, oblivious to what was going on, the British started their own, Operation Wilfred. This was to lay mines on the morning of April 8th off the outer shore of Vestfjord, and near Statlandet, with a dummy minefield off Bud Among the assembled Fleet were two Destroyer groups, Minelayers, and the Battle cruisers Renown, Repulse and Warspite So it was, that by pure coincidence, both fleets were at sea in the same area, but didn’t know it. Also, the British had not yet realized the Germans true intensions as previous intelligence on the subject had been either discounted or ignored.

All that changed when H.M.S. Gloworm lost a man overboard in atrocious weather and turned back to try and find him. She ran slap into three German destroyers, who because of the heavy weather had got detached from their taskforce. She immediately opened fire on all three and sent off signals to alert the Fleet. The Gloworm didn’t have much chance of hitting anything as the sea’s were just too ferocious to provide a decent gun platform, and any way the German destroyers were more in danger from each other as they tried to take avoiding action.

Meanwhile the Battle Cruiser Hipper arrived on the scene and proceeded to pound the Gloworm to pieces with 8 inch shells. In desperation the Skipper Lt. Roope fired his torpedos but missed as the Hipper dodged behind a smoke screen. However when the Hipper re-emerged from the smoke, she found the Gloworm closing at full speed. The ship smashed into the side of the Hipper, and all of a sudden her guns went quiet.The Hipper was severely damaged, but still managed to save the survivors from the Gloworm, 38 in all. Sadly the Captain was not among them. He was later awarded the V.C. posthumously.

In an interesting development after Germany surrendered, the Hipper was found stranded at Kiel, and a plaque was found on one of her forward gun mountings. It read:

In the event the German Fleet evaded the British Fleet in the storm, and Bonte’s Group One, ended up positioned off the Norwegian coast during the daylight of 8th April. The Force entered Ofotfjord shortly after 4 am the next morning, sinking two ancient Norwegian warships, the Norge and the Eidsvold. The Commandant of the Norwegian Garrisson, Colonel Sundlo, who was German friendly, quickly surrendered, and one hour later Narvik was firmly in German hands.

Meanwhile the Admiralty was still unaware of how many destroyers were in Narvik, sent a signal to Warberton- Lee in command of the Second Destroyer Group, saying that a German ship had landed a small force at Narvik. Warburton-Lee wasn’t convinced by this intelligence, so landed a party at the Pilot Station at Vestfjord to find out what was happening. When he realizes the true state of affairs he decided to launch a dawn attack.

At half past four that morning, it was snowing heavily, reducing visibility to less than a thousand yards. Leaving Hostile and Hotspur guarding the outer entrance, Warburton-Lee in Hardy, together with Hunter and Havalock swept into Narvik harbour sinking two destroyers ( Kommodore Bonte was killed in this attack)and damaging at least three others, whilst at the same time sinking several merchant ships. An hour later the British withdrew under cover of smoke, but ran straight into the remaining five German destroyers who sank Hardy and Hunter and severely damaged Hotspur. The remaining German destroyers that had so far escaped damage, retired into the shelter of the Fjords but now faced a real problem. Most of their ammunition had been used up and they were desperately short of fuel, so much so that they risked being permanently trapped in the Fjords. The rest of the British Fleet had now arrived, including the Battleship Warspite and the Aircraft Carrier Glorious, and so now had the advantage of overwhelming force. Quite why they waited three days to finish the job is unclear, but finish the job they did, sinking the rest of the German destroyers in a bloody, hard fought battle, in which the Germans fought down to the last shell.

The Battles of Narvik and their causes are complex. I have drawn heavily on these two excellent books for information and understanding. Any mistakes, as ever, are mine, not theirs.

Today the two battles are commemorated by a Narvik Association, which holds an annual meeting of the survivors from both sides. The British did occupy parts of Norway, but with the German invasion of Belgium, the Netherlands and France, and the collapse of the Allies in this theatre of war, they had to evacuate, and on 24th May, the British reluctantly abandoned Norway to its fate.

Comments

Can anyone please help me find the location of MS Chrobry, bombed and destroyed 14th May 1940 carrying Irish guards.

M/S Chrobry was put in fire the night between 14. and 15. of may 1940 by a Heinkel 111. Three Stuka-bombplanes sunked it in the morning on 16. of may 1940. 2 hunred people did not survived.

Position of the wessel:
Lofoten. Vestfjorden. Wreek. Position: ca. 67o 53′ 56″ N, 13o 29′ 52″ E (WGS 84)
?

Dear Hermann. Would you have any information I need for a book I am writing about 1st Battle of Narvik 10th April 1940. I know where she went aground. My father was a survivor on Hardy and I am gathering information from survivors and their family’s for a book based on personal narrative. It would be of great interest to have any Norwegian accounts. I am in contact with Geirr Haarr who has been helpful. I look forward to your reply with interest. Ron Cope &#[email protected]

Ron Cope ([email protected]) wrote on 28 December 2013:

John Hague. It is with regret I have to inform remaining survivors or families and friends associtated with the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla in the 1st Battle of Narvik on 10th of April 1940, that John passed away on the 20th December 2013.
John was a 20 year old Stoker 1st Class on HMS Hunter, one of 39 survivors, who were eventually interned in Sweden. These survivors had to endure a long forced march with German guards over the mountains from Narvik. John being a keen Rugby League player from Oldham, his fitness not only helped him to complete the extremely difficult trek but also enable him to help another shipmate.
Approximately, 7 months into internment, John volunteered to be a crew member for the Norwegian cargo vessel ‘Ranga’ held in the port of Gothenburg. He and other volunteers were left in no doubt that it was a ‘life or death’ task, known as ‘Operation Rubble’. In January 1941 the mission was successfully completed, having avoided the German navy and attacks by the Lufwaffe aircraft. Finally,arriving in Britain with much needed supplies for the ongoing war effort.
Previously, John and his shipmates had been forced by the
Germans to sign a form, which meant if they were captured again, then it would lead immediately to a death penalty. Subsequently, John had to be discharged from the Royal Navy. However, he received a telegram from the Admiralty thanking him for his “Spirited and courageousness which enabled five merchant ships to reach this country with their valuable cargo”. He was awarded the British Empire Medal.
The story does not end there, John at the age of 88, with his large family in attendance, at the ‘Trafford’ branch of the Royal Naval Association, he was presented by the Norwegian Military Attache with the ‘Norwegian War Medal’.
This is a brief obituary to John, whom I had the privilege of meeting at his home, whilst researching for my book. His astonishing account will be a main feature, dedicated to those brave sailors involved in the most famous destroyer battle of the Second World War.
My sincere condolences goes to John’s daughter Carole and family, in the loss of a remarkable man. Ron Cope.

My father, Cliff Spriggs, was a gunner on HMS Warspite during the second battle of Narvik.
I would like to make contact with anyone who knew him at the time.
I grew up with tales of this battle and would dearly love to visit the site of the battle.
Sadly my father passed away seven years ago.


Contents

Erich Giese had an overall length of 119 meters (390 ft 5 in) and was 114 meters (374 ft 0 in) long at the waterline. The ship had a beam of 11.3 meters (37 ft 1 in), and a maximum draft of 4.23 meters (13 ft 11 in). She displaced 2,171 metric tons (2,137 long tons) at standard and 3,190 metric tons (3,140 long tons) at deep load. The Wagner geared steam turbines were designed to produce 70,000 shaft horsepower (52,199 kW) which would propel the ship at 36 knots (67 km/h 41 mph). Steam was provided to the turbines by six high-pressure Benson boilers [1] with superheaters. Erich Giese carried a maximum of 752 metric tons (740 long tons) of fuel oil which was intended to give a range of 4,400 nautical miles (8,100 km 5,100 mi) at 19 knots (35 km/h, 22 mph), but the ship proved top-heavy in service and 30% of the fuel had to be retained as ballast low in the ship. [2] The effective range proved to be only 1,530 nmi (2,830 km 1,760 mi) at 19 knots (35 km/h 22 mph). [3]

Erich Giese carried five 12.7 cm SK C/34 guns in single mounts with gun shields, two each superimposed, fore and aft. The fifth gun was carried on top of the rear deckhouse. Her anti-aircraft armament consisted of four 3.7 cm SK C/30 guns in two twin mounts abreast the rear funnel and six 2 cm C/30 guns in single mounts. The ship carried eight above-water 53.3-centimeter (21.0 in) torpedo tubes in two power-operated mounts. [1] [2] Four depth charge throwers were mounted on the sides of the rear deckhouse and they were supplemented by six racks for individual depth charges on the sides of the stern. Enough depth charges were carried for either two or four patterns of 16 charges each. [4] Mine rails could be fitted on the rear deck that had a maximum capacity of 60 mines. [1] 'GHG' (German: Gruppenhorchgerät) passive hydrophones were fitted to detect submarines. [5]


Contents

Friedrich Eckoldt had an overall length of 119 meters (390 ft 5 in) and was 114 meters (374 ft 0 in) long at the waterline. The ship had a beam of 11.30 meters (37 ft 1 in), and a maximum draft of 4.23 meters (13 ft 11 in). She displaced 2,171 metric tons (2,137 long tons) at standard and 3,190 metric tons (3,140 long tons) at deep load. The Wagner geared steam turbines were designed to produce 70,000 metric horsepower (51,000 kW 69,000 shp) which would propel the ship at 36 knots (67 km/h 41 mph). Steam was provided to the turbines by six high-pressure Benson boilers [1] with superheaters. Friedrich Eckoldt carried a maximum of 752 metric tons (740 long tons) of fuel oil which was intended to give a range of 4,400 nautical miles (8,100 km 5,100 mi) at 19 knots (35 km/h 22 mph), but the ship proved top-heavy in service and 30% of the fuel had to be retained as ballast low in the ship. [2] The effective range proved to be only 1,530 nmi (2,830 km 1,760 mi) at 19 knots (35 km/h 22 mph). [3] The ship's crew consisted of 10 officers and 315 sailors. [1]

Friedrich Eckoldt carried five 12.7 cm SK C/34 guns in single mounts with gun shields, two each superimposed, fore and aft. The fifth gun was carried on top of the rear deckhouse. Her anti-aircraft armament consisted of four 3.7 cm SK C/30 guns in two twin mounts abreast the rear funnel and six 2 cm C/30 guns in single mounts. The ship carried eight above-water 53.3-centimeter (21.0 in) torpedo tubes in two power-operated mounts. A pair of reload torpedoes were provided for each mount. [1] [4] Four depth charge throwers were mounted on the sides of the rear deckhouse and they were supplemented by six racks for individual depth charges on the sides of the stern. Sufficient depth charges were carried for either two or four patterns of sixteen charges each. [5] Mine rails could be fitted on the rear deck that had a maximum capacity of sixty mines. [1] 'GHG' (Gruppenhorchgerät) passive hydrophones were fitted to detect submarines and an active sonar system was installed by the end of 1939. [6]

The ship was ordered on 19 January 1935 and laid down at Blohm & Voss, Hamburg on 4 November 1935 as yard number B505. She was launched on 21 March 1937 and completed on 28 July 1938. [7] The ship participated in the August 1938 Fleet Review as part of the 3rd Destroyer Division. On 23–24 March 1939, Z16 Friedrich Eckoldt was one of the destroyers escorting Adolf Hitler aboard the pocket battleship Deutschland to occupy Memel. [8] She participated in the Spring fleet exercise in the western Mediterranean and made several visits to Spanish and Moroccan ports in April and May. [9]

When World War II began, Z16 Friedrich Eckoldt was initially deployed in the Baltic to operate against the Polish Navy and to enforce a blockade of Poland, [8] but she was soon transferred to the German Bight where she joined her sisters in laying defensive minefields. [10] She also patrolled the Skagerrak to inspect neutral shipping for contraband goods in October. [8] On the night of 17/18 October, Rear Admiral (Konteradmiral) Günther Lütjens, aboard his flagship Z21 Wilhelm Heidkamp, led Eckoldt, Z19 Hermann Künne, Z17 Diether von Roeder, Z18 Hans Lüdemann, and Z20 Karl Galster as they laid a minefield off the mouth of the River Humber. The British were unaware of the minefield's existence and lost seven ships totaling 25,825 gross register tons (GRT). [11] On the night of 18/19 November, Eckoldt and Hans Lody, led by Commander (Fregattenkapitän) Erich Bey in his flagship Erich Steinbrinck, laid another minefield off the Humber Estuary that claimed another seven ships of 38,710 GRT, including the Polish ocean liner M/S Piłsudski [12] of 14,294 GRT. [11]

Another minefield of 170 magnetic mines was laid by Eckoldt, Ihn and Steinbrinck on the night of 6/7 January 1940 off the Thames Estuary. The destroyer HMS Grenville and six merchant ships totalling 21,617 GRT were lost to this minefield as well and another ship was damaged as well. [13] Commodore Friedrich Bonte led a minelaying sortie to the Newcastle area with Heidkamp, Eckoldt, Anton Schmitt, Richard Beitzen, Galster, and Ihn. The latter ship suffered tube failures in her boilers that reduced her maximum speed to 27 knots (50 km/h 31 mph) and she had to be escorted back to Germany by Beitzen. This minefield only claimed one fishing trawler of 251 tons. Eckoldt, Beitzen and Max Schultz laid 110 magnetic mines in the Shipwash area, off Harwich, on 9/10 February that sank six ships of 28,496 GRT and damaged another. [14] Eckoldt was the flagship during Operation Wikinger, an attempt to capture British fishing trawlers operating off the Dogger Bank on 22 February, when two destroyers sank with heavy loss of life – one hit newly-laid British mines in a supposedly mine-free channel and the other was bombed in error by the Luftwaffe. [15]

Friedrich Eckoldt was allocated to Group 2 for the Norwegian portion of Operation Weserübung. The group's task was to transport the 138th Mountain Infantry Regiment (138. Gebirgsjäger Regiment) to seize Trondheim together with Admiral Hipper. The ships began loading troops on 6 April and set sail the next day. Eckoldt ' s port propeller shaft began to overheat shortly after passing the mouth of the Elbe River and she had to slow down. The ship managed to repair the problem and joined the main body later in the day. [16] The ship escorted Admiral Hipper as they entered Trondheim Fjord and both ships disembarked their troops once they reached Trondheim harbor. All of the German ships proved to be very low on fuel after their journey and fuel oil was transferred to Eckoldt from Theodor Riedel and Heinemann. Admiral Hipper and Eckoldt attempted to leave on the night of 10 April, but the smaller ship proved to be unable to match Admiral Hipper ' s speed in the heavy seas encountered and was forced to turn back. After some fuel was discovered in Trondheim on 12 April, the ship and Heinemann sailed for Germany two days later. [17]

After completing her refit in early September (the ship may have been fitted with a FuMO 21 or FuMO 24 radar set above the bridge at this time), [18] Eckoldt was transferred to France with four of the surviving destroyers on 9 September. [19] The ship covered five other destroyers laying mines in Falmouth Bay during the night of 28/29 September. Five ships totalling only 2026 GRT were sunk by this minefield. [20] Eckoldt was attacked by Fairey Swordfish of No. 812 Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm during the night of 9/10 October and lightly damaged by bomb splinters. One man was killed and three were wounded. [21] The ship was transferred back to Hamburg on 5 November where she was refitted until the end of December. Eckoldt was training in the Baltic until she escorted the battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen from Cape Arkona to Trondheim on 19–22 May as they sortied into the North Atlantic. [8] The following month, she escorted the pocket battleship Lützow from Kiel to Norway as the latter ship attempted to break through the British blockade. Several Bristol Beaufort aircraft spotted Lützow and her escorts and one managed to surprise the ships and torpedo the pocket battleship early on the morning of 13 June. Eckoldt took Lützow under tow until the latter managed to restart her starboard engine and proceed under her own power. [22]

On 20 June, Eckoldt sailed for Bergen, Norway, with Galster and Schonemann where they waited until 4 July for the latter's main feed pump to be repaired and for Beitzen and Lody to arrive. All five destroyers arrived at Kirkenes on 10 July. They mounted their first anti-shipping patrol on 12 July, but did not spot anything until the following night. A small Soviet convoy was spotted and two of its ships were sunk after expending four-fifths of their ammunition. As the German ships were returning to port, they were attacked by several aircraft, of which Eckoldt claimed to have shot down one. A second patrol was made on 22 July, but only a single Soviet ship was sunk while the German ships were not damaged by several aerial attacks. When the British aircraft carriers Victorious and Furious attacked Petsamo and Kirkenes on 29 July, the destroyers were far to the east and could not catch the British ships before they left the area. The German destroyers made one final sortie into the Kola Inlet where they sank one small Soviet patrol vessel. Eckoldt was damaged by a single aircraft's bombs that straddled the ship and damaged her steering and starboard engine. This damage was temporarily repaired, but Eckoldt was ordered to Narvik for more thorough repairs. After they were completed, the ship remained in the Arctic for convoy escort duties. She was accidentally rammed by a Norwegian freighter in Tromsø on 12 October and was given temporary repairs in the floating dock at Trondheim on 22 October before she was sent to Kiel for more permanent repairs where she arrived on 9 November. [23]

Eckoldt finished her repairs and overhaul on 15 April 1942 and was training until she attempted to sail for Norway on 11 June. She developed more engine problems en route and had to turn back for repairs. The ship reached Trondheim on 9 July, escorting the light cruiser Köln both ships laid mines at the entrance to the Skagerrak en route. Eckoldt continued onwards and reached Narvik on 18 July. [8] During Operation Wunderland in August, Eckoldt, Beitzen and Steinbrinck escorted the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer at the beginning and end of its mission to attack Soviet shipping in the Kara Sea. They also escorted the minelayer Ulm as it departed to lay a minefield off Cape Zhelaniya in mid-August. [24] On 13–15 October, Eckoldt, Beitzen, and the destroyers Z27 and Z30 laid a minefield off the Kanin Peninsula at the mouth of the White Sea that sank the Soviet icebreaker Mikoyan. Three weeks later, the same four destroyers escorted Admiral Hipper as she attempted to intercept Allied merchant ships proceeding independently to Soviet ports in early November. [25]

Battle of the Barents Sea Edit

During Operation Regenbogen, the attempt to intercept Convoy JW 51B sailing from the UK to the Soviet Union in late December, Eckoldt, Beitzen, and Z29 escorted Admiral Hipper as she attempted to occupy the attention of the convoy's escort while Lutzow and three other destroyers attacked the convoy. [24] The three destroyers separated from Hipper to search for the convoy and were successful on the morning of 31 December. The destroyer HMS Obdurate spotted them in turn and closed to investigate when the German ships opened fire at a range of 8,000 meters (8,700 yd). [26] Obdurate turned away to rejoin the convoy without sustaining any damage and the German ships did not pursue as they had been ordered to rejoin Hipper. The Germans found the minesweeper HMS Bramble, which had been detached earlier from the convoy to search for stragglers, as they maneuvered to close with the convoy and the destroyers were ordered to sink her while Hipper engaged the convoy's escorting destroyers. This took some time in the poor visibility and Hipper was surprised in the meantime by the British covering force of the light cruisers Sheffield and Jamaica. After sinking Bramble, the German destroyers Beitzen and Eckoldt attempted to rejoin Hipper, ignorant that British cruisers were in the area. They confused Sheffield with Hipper when they spotted each other at 4,000 meters (4,400 yd) range and were taken by surprise when Sheffield opened fire on the nearest, Eckoldt, with every gun she had. Eckholdt broke in two and sank with all hands in less than two minutes Beitzen escaped unscathed. [27]