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"Operation Wikinger" Topic

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657 hits since 7 Jan 2013
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Kaoschallenged Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 11:32 p.m. PST

I posted this back in 2011 on the Naval Board. Now this one would be a very interesting scenario to game
Luftwaffe versus Kriegsmarine destroyers. Robert

Operation Wikinger
"It is well known, that the cooperation between the German Kriegsmarine and the German Luftwaffe was not the best during World War 2. Instead of its own naval aviation- the Marineflieger -that the Kriegsmarine demanded for, it was depending on those aircraft the Luftwaffe was willing to give for naval operations. Even more, Görings refusal to set those few aircraft that were available for naval warfare under Kriegsmarine command made it necessary to follow a long chain of command between the two branches of the German military to coordinate operations or even inform the other branch about individual operations that both branches would execute in the same area. This bad cooperation found its climax early in the war in February of 1940. The result was what today would be called
friendly fire – and the loss of two German destroyers. "


Kaoschallenged Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 11:34 p.m. PST

Here is another version of the story. Robert

"LEBERECHT MAAS and MAX SHULTZ (February 22, 1940)

Six German destroyers, sailing from the Schilling Roads, the German Naval anchorage at Wilhelmshaven and proceeding to their North Sea action stations, were attacked by mistake by their own Luftwaffe. By a full moon, a Heinkel 111 from 4/KG26, on its way to attack merchant shipping along Britain's east coast, spotted the wake of the destroyers and believing them to be enemy merchant ships started its bombing run. The last destroyer Leberecht Maas was hit by the third bomb dropped. The fourth bomb hit amidships and Leberecht Maas broke in two and sank in a ball of fire. Only 60 of the destroyers crew survived, 282 men drowned.

The next ship attacked was the Max Schultz which blew up in a violent explosion after hitting a newly laid British mine and sank, taking to the bottom its entire crew of 308 men. Of the two ships, a total of 590 men perished. A German court of inquiry began on board the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper. It was established that the cause of the tragedy was the failure of the German Navy Group West to inform the Luftwaffe that its ships were at sea."

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79thPA Supporting Member of TMP08 Jan 2013 12:59 p.m. PST

I winder what ever happened to the German pilot and if he survived the war. He was probably very excited about his exploits for a very short period of time…

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member09 Jan 2013 3:40 p.m. PST

I would assume that the deaths were explained as being due to "Enemy" Action" Robert

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member10 Jan 2013 2:35 p.m. PST

I wonder too when the families found out the true reason. Robert

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member12 Jan 2013 6:29 p.m. PST

"A force of six German destroyers set out on the moonlit night of 22nd February 1940 to intercept British fishing boats off the Dogger Bank. Although the Kriegsmarine had been informed that the Luftwaffe intended to fly anti-shipping operations in the North Sea that night, the message had not been passed on to the task group. As the German force made their way through the narrow swept channel of their own minefield the destroyer Z 1 Leberecht Maas was bombed by a Heinkel III; in two attacks she was hit three times.

In the following minutes there was confusion in the remaining five destroyers, who had apparently not seen the second attack by the aircraft. In the confined area of the swept channel they faced considerable dangers from their own mines as they tried to rescue the crew from the freezing cold waters. The situation was then compounded by the belief that they were under torpedo attack. The Theodor Riedel interpreted hyrophone sounds as a submarine but she was travelling too slowly when she dropped her depth charges and she damaged her own hull and steering. The Max Schulz was then blown up in another large explosion.

The Erich Koellner, Friedrich Eckoldt and Richard Beitzen put out their boats to pick up survivors. However, just as they reached the men in the water, another submarine was believed sighted and they were ordered away from the rescue at speed. The small boat was still attached to the stern of the Erich Koellner with a rescue party in it, as the destroyer sped off this boat capsized and they were all lost. Ultimately there were no survivors from the Max Schulz, unable to survive in the icy waters whilst the other ships spent twenty-five minutes looking for a submarine, and only sixty from the Leberecht Maas. In total 578 men were lost.

Meanwhile the Luftwaffe were reporting that they had bombed a single ship some 50km away, and were querying a teleprinter request from the Kriegsmarine to provide a dawn escort for a returning task force, since they were not aware of any German ships in the area in the first place. It was to take some time before the subsequent German enquiry was able to piece together what had happened.

It was only after the war that it was established that the Royal Navy had mined the area some days previously, but it has never been possible to conclusively determine whether the Max Schulz was lost to a British or a German mine."


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