Operation Catechism

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Operation Catechism
Part of Battle of the Atlantic (1939–1945)
Tirpitz
German battleship Tirpitz capsized after Operation Catechism
Date 12 November 1944
Location near Tromsø, Norway
Result British victory
Tirpitz sunk
Belligerents
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg RAF Bomber Command Kriegsmarine Jack Kriegsmarine
Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe
Commanders and leaders
Group Captain James Brian Tait Kapitan zur See Robert Weber 
Major Heinrich Ehrler
Strength
30 Avro Lancasters Tirpitz (Bismarck-class battleship)
Casualties and losses
1 bomber damaged 1 battleship sunk
971 dead or missing

Operation Catechism was the last of nine attempts to sink or sabotage the Kriegsmarine battleship Tirpitz during the Second World War. On 12 November 1944, RAF Bomber Command dispatched 30 Avro Lancaster heavy bombers from No. 9 Squadron RAF and No. 617 Squadron RAF (including a film unit aircraft from No. 463 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force) from RAF Lossiemouth to the Tirpitz's mooring in Tromsø, Norway. Each bomber carried a single 5-ton Tallboy bomb. At least two bombs[1] hit the Tirpitz, which suffered a violent internal explosion. The battleship capsized and remained bottom upwards.[1] Approximately 1,000 of the 1,900 men on board were killed or injured and one No. 9 Squadron RAF Lancaster was severely damaged by flak; it landed safely in neutral Sweden with its crew unhurt.[2]

The destruction of the Tirpitz meant that the threat from German surface ship attack against the Allied Arctic convoys supplying the Soviet Union was considerably lessened, and several British capital ships could therefore be moved from the Atlantic to support the war in the Pacific.

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Tirpitz, November 12, 1944". Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary. UK Crown. Retrieved 2007-05-24. 
  2. ^ "Campaign Diary". Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary. UK Crown. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
RAF Flight Lieutenant John Leavitt (center) and crew prior to taking off on Operation Catechism

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Coordinates: 69°38′55″N 18°48′16″E / 69.64861°N 18.80444°E / 69.64861; 18.80444