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Operation Sportpalast

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Title: Operation Sportpalast  
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Subject: Convoy PQ 12, Arctic convoys of World War II, Convoy PQ 7, Convoy PQ 8, Convoy PQ 13
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Operation Sportpalast

Operation Sportpalast (translates to sports palace) was the action by Tirpitz and its escorting destroyers against Arctic convoys PQ-12 and QP-8. It took place in early March, 1942 and it was the first attempt to disrupt an Arctic convoy.

Convoy PQ-12 sailed from Victorious, the cruiser HMS Berwick and six destroyers, sailed from Scapa Flow on 6 March to join Vice-Admiral Curteis near Jan Mayen Island.

Tirpitz left Fættenfjord on 5 March, in response to a report from a spotter plane and was joined by Admiral Ciliax and an escort of 3 destroyers on the following day. In turn, the German movements were reported by a British submarine.

Despite using her destroyers to sweep for the convoys, Tirpitz missed QP-8. A slow freighter, Izhora, was caught by the destroyers and sunk after reporting the attack.

The German and British forces and the two convoys managed to move around each other in the vicinity of Bear Island without meeting each other or being seen by spotter aircraft. Advice from German High Command and the British Admiralty added to the confusion of the commanders on the spot. Eventually, on the 9th of March, aircraft from the Illustrious spotted and shadowed the German flotilla, despite being attacked by Tirpitz's aircraft. The consequent air attacks where unsuccessful but encouraged the Germans to return to Norway.

The two convoys reached port safely but the incident had demonstrated the threat that convoys faced. In March and April, 1942, RAF Bomber Command made three unsuccessful attacks on the Tirpitz.

External links

  • Order of battle

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