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Old 03-24-2022, 04:06 AM   #1
RJBub1
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wolf_howl15 | Battle of the Atlantic | Kreigsmarine | 1939 -

This will be my Subsim "Logbook" of my Battle of the Atlantic German side.
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Germany's superships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, escorted by the destroyer Z1, leave the Port of Kiel, Germany on the 5th of September, 1939.
Radio transmissions had been detected indicating that heavy British units were pursuing the Graf Spee. In an attempt to shake these units off the ship, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and their escort sortie off the coast of Norway. Their mission is not only to help the pursued Graf Spee, but to intercept and destroy British troop transports that were turning neutral Norway into a fortified peninsula.

On September 21st, the vessels are spotted by the British submarine HMS Undine in the North Sea, however they are moving too fast for a torpedo attack. Undine radioes the Admiralty: "Heavy German surface units - two heavy cruisers and a light cruiser. Weather unpermissive for an attack. Out of range for torpedoes".
The Admiralty scrambles a cruiser flotilla out of Scapa Flow to intercept. HMS Renown, which had recently departed to pursue Graf Spee, is recalled to Scapa Flow with orders to join HMS Berwick, the HMS Achilles, and the destroyer HMS Vimy on the hunt for the German "cruisers".
September 25th finds the three German vessels about 400 kilometers off the Norwegian island of Svalbard. Later that day smoke on the horizon is spotted, there appears to be high speed troop transports headed their way. At 11:13 hours General quarters is sounded, the men man battle stations and flank speed is ordered to engage the transports.

At 11:56 hours, from a range in excess of 25,000 meters, Gneisenau fires first, quickly followed by a Salvo from Scharnhorst. The German shells miss their mark. Z1 turns on the afterburners and makes nearly 40 knots in an attempt to scout and relay information.

At 12:26 hours, from a range of 18,000 meters, Z-31 makes out a ship with three funnels and is identified as an Armed Merchant cruiser. Another two contacts are identified as a freighter and destroyer. Unbeknownst to the Germans, they are actually firing upon Force A, the first British rapid intercept naval fleet. With the battle cruiser HMS Renown still over 700 kilometers away, there is little the British can do against an enemy who has them outgunned and outmatched.





At 12:31 hours, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau approach Force A at a closure rate of 40 kilometers an hour. It's at this time, when at 17 kilometers, Scharnhorst fires another salvo. The Armed Merchant Cruiser is now positively identified as a Heavy cruiser of the Suffolk class. Turret A & B blast their 5th volleys and Turret C fires it's first volley, and in a amazing stroke of luck all three 283mm High Explosive rounds explode on the deck of the heavy cruiser. The first round explodes under the main mast behind the bridge, knocking out radio equipment and starting a fire. Another round lobs itself into the barrette of Turret B, temporarily jamming it in place until seconds later the last round penetrates inside the turret and explodes, killing everyone inside.

These explosions jam Turret A's firing mechanism and crews frantically work to get it back in operation.



Scharnhorst and Gneisenau fire relentlessly at the cruiser eventually scoring over 70 HE hits, and around 11 AP hits. With the flagship learing out of formation, the Germans now target the "freighter", now identified as a Leander class light cruiser. Leander has fired over 200 rounds of 6 inch Armour piercing ammunition in ten minutes, yet has little to show for it. Just 6 rounds met their mark, only 1 of which damaged the Gneisenau. That particular 6" round damaged Gneisenau's port side aviation crane. Gneisenau's first salvo catches the stern section of the cruiser, with two rounds hitting aft doing minimal damage. Scharnhorst joins in and four 283mm High explosive rounds detonate amidships, cutting off all power to the vessel. Now she too lears out of formation, and has a slight list to starboard. Across the water, as Scharnhorst's secondaries target HMS Suffolk, a huge explosion envelops the heavy cruiser, which kills everyone remaining in the bridge, blows off the fore funnel and destroys seaplane handling equipment. The remaining sailors attempt to regain control via the aft bridge, however another explosion envelops amidships as ready use Anti air ammunition detonates. This acts as a catalyst and fires deep throughout the ship finally reign out of control. At 1:29 hours, nearly an hour after the battle starts, Suffolk experiences a catastrophic explosion which completely disintegrates her bow. Her stern is visibly lifted out of the water, before coming back down and sinking in seconds. There are no survivors.



These stunning victories come at a cost for the Germans: the destroyer HMS Vimy is now within six kilometers and has fired four torpedoes towards the Scharnhorst.



Immediate evasive action is taken, and Scharnhorst now can only fire her rear turret as her front turrets face away. One torpedo strikes the torpedo protection belt and does little damage. HMS Vimy retreats.

Over on Z1, the German crews set up a torpedo firing solution of their own, and fire a salvo of eight torpedoes to finish off the stricken light cruiser. The crew of destroyer HMS Vimy notice this and race towards the Z1, forcing the latter's crew to prematurely fire as Z1 turns into the oncoming threat. All eight torpedoes miss the HMS Achilles.





Back on the battleships, all guns aim towards the lone destroyer. Over a dozen 150mm secondary HE rounds straddle or strike the Vimy.



Now at a turtle's pace, Vimy turns and fires her last volley of four torpedoes, before the order to abandon ship is given. Several 283mm shells over penetrate the ship and speed up her demise. Vimy's last torpedoes miss.



At 2:05 hours, Rear Admiral Lütjens aboard Gneisenau gives the cease fire, and the burning HMS Achilles is left to sink. HMS Achilles would later make it back to Scapa Flow, and would be under repairs for the duration of 1939 - 1940.

A stunning German victory. In Berlin, Adolf Hitler informs the public of the naval battle to great approval.

Lütjens is promoted to Fleet Admiral, with his superior, Erich Raeder, promoted to Grand Admiral.

In Britain, the Admiralty recalls Renown now that they no longer possess a numbers advantage. The defeat is a major blunder and the moral of many Royal Navy sailors is severely blown. Winston Churchill vows that both German ships will be sunk within the month.









Last edited by RJBub1; 03-24-2022 at 04:25 AM.
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