Nominator(s): Nick-D (talk) 00:53, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Operation Tungsten was the first, and most successful, of a series of British aircraft carrier raids on the German battleship Tirpitz between April and August 1944. It was a major undertaking, and involved six aircraft carriers and a powerful force of over 120 dive bombers and fighters. The attack killed or wounded about 15% of the battleship's crew, but did not cause major damage.
I've completely redeveloped this article since January, and it passed a GA assessment in August and a military history Wikiproject A-class review on 8 September. It has since been further expanded and copy edited and I'm hopeful that it meets the FA criteria. I'd also like to acknowledge Manxruler's generous donation of photos of the graves of the British airmen killed in the operation. Thank you in advance for your comments. Nick-D (talk) 00:53, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Source review - spotchecks not done
Be consistent in how you format multi-author works
Is Hinsley 1984 or 1988?
"Naval Instute Press"? Nikkimaria (talk) 17:56, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
All fixed - thanks Nikki Nick-D (talk) 10:43, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
Query"Overall, 122 sailors were killed and a further 316 wounded; these casualties represented 15 per cent of the battleship's crew" The crew was a little over 2,000 so this would have been more than 20% of them. Would you mind checking your sources, is it possible that you mean "Overall, 122 Germans were killed and a further 316 wounded; these casualties included 15 per cent of the battleship's crew".ϢereSpielChequers 20:20, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
That's what the source says. Bear in mind that the size of the crew fluctuated quite a bit over time - the extra anti-aircraft guns lead to overall growth in crew size during the ship's career, but crewmen were also sent on leave during periods where she wasn't fit to put to sea. Nick-D (talk) 10:43, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for checking, yes of course we can't go beyond the sources, even if as in this case they seem anomalous. ϢereSpielChequers 14:34, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
SupportComment - Although well-written, illustrated, and referenced, information about the actual composition and execution of the airstrike is minimal in comparison to supporting information on background and subsequent developments. Focus might be improved by tabular orders of battle for the Allies only - German forces appear insufficiently complex to require such description. Tabular information might include the number of each type of aircraft on each of the various carriers and squadrons and their distribution into defensive cover as well as the airstrike targets with launch and recovery sequence times to summarize and clarify existing descriptive text.Thewellman (talk) 18:12, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for those comments. I agree that order of battle information would be useful, and as this is a bit complex (and long-winded), I've started a separate Allied order of battle for Operation Tungsten article. I've fleshed out the material on the strikes as well, but there actually isn't all much that can be said about them - each only lasted for about 60 seconds! I've also added some extra details on the timing of the flying programs which I hope addresses your final comment. Nick-D (talk) 01:35, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
The information presented in the order of battle article is good, but doesn't really address the issue of weighting in this article. The listing of escort carrier fighters as suggested by Sturmvogel 66 is an improvement, but there is remaining ambiguity about the squadrons involved in comparison to the detail of the bomber assignments. This table summarizes the situation:
I assume the escort carrier fighter launches would have been on a squadron basis, but the article doesn't mention which squadrons were assigned to the first and second strikes. Corsair squadron assignments are similarly missing. It appears 842 Squadron aboard Fencer was not involved in the strike and probably provided ASW patrols around the carrier force during the raid. Can this be confirmed? The Seafires aboard Furious are similarly missing from the strike aircraft. Were they retained for defense of the carriers from aerial attack? Are times available for the launch and recovery cycle of these protective patrols?Thewellman (talk) 21:39, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
It seems pretty easy to assign squadrons to each air strike by take off times. Fencer 's Wildcats and Furious ' Seafires provided CAP, although I don't know why times for these aircraft are important. I think that the article already incorporates the minimum necessary information on the composition of the strikes, but I wouldn't object if Nick wants to expand the coverage by adding which squadrons flew on which strike. BTW, why do you have question marks after some of the squadrons? The designations are correct, according to Brown.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 16:44, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Question marks appeared where I hadn't been able to determine whether the squadron participated in the 1st or 2nd strike, so the launch and recovery times may be inappropriate. I don't dispute the article contains the minimum necessary information about the airstrike, but that minimum may not provide an appropriate weight of information about Operation Tungsten in comparison to supporting information on background and subsequent developments. Since Nick indicated there wasn't much information available about the 60-second airstrike, I suggest description of the asset allocation might be an appropriate means of improving the focus of this article on Operation Tungsten as opposed to a history of Royal Navy operations against Tirpitz. Focus might be improved by answering questions like: Which Barracuda squadrons carried the various types of bombs? Of the various fighters available, why were the Corsairs assigned to provide top cover for the raid? Was it squadron pilot experience or aircraft features like greater endurance, rate of climb to gain position following the low-level approach, or air-to-air combat performance in comparison to the other available aircraft? Timing of the carrier force CAP and ASW launch and recovery cycle might improve understanding of the air operations through the raid. Thewellman (talk) 20:49, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
So you only have partial take off/landing times by squadron? The information in the table for those squadrons is your best guess. You make some good points, but the information that you want may not be available.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 23:30, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your suggestions Thewellman. I've just added material which identifies the fighter units involved in each strike (the Corsairs don't seem to have operated in separate squadrons), as well as a short para on the aircraft which were retained over the fleet and some extra material on the attacks. I don't really like the idea of adding further details of the carriers' flying program to the article - this is not likely to be of wide interest to readers, and details on it aren't included as part of any of the narrative accounts of the operation. While the Tactical, Torpedo and Staff Duties Division (Historical Section) report provides details of the flying program in a (somewhat confusing) appendix, the fact that a wartime report written for a professional audience didn't judge this worth including in its main text provides solid ground, I think, for also not including it in this article. I'm afraid that none of the sources indicates why the Corsairs were selected for top-cover duties; my guess is that these aircraft were either judged to be better suited to the role, or the fact that they couldn't be operated off the escort carriers meant that only a smallish number were available. Nick-D (talk) 01:53, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for taking the time to dig out the information to expand the airstrike description, Nick. If I have appropriately updated the above table to match the information presented in this article and the Order of Battle article, I suggest the mention of 800 Squadron in the 7th paragraph of the Attack section might be checked to see if the reference should be to 804 Squadron. In the same paragraph, I wonder if the apostrophe is needed after "898 Naval Air Squadrons". Thewellman (talk) 05:19, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
The source I was relying on (Brown 1977) actually says 800 squadron, but this can't be right given that the nominal roll in the Tactical, Torpedo and Staff Duties Division (Historical Section) report names 10 Hellcat pilots as participating in each strike (but not the units for some reason), and each squadron only had 10 aircraft so both must have been involved. I've found a good source through Google Books which confirms that 804 Sqn took part in the second strike and added this - thanks for spotting the problem! I've also fixed that rouge apostrophe. Nick-D (talk) 09:21, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
"Tirpitz had an important influence on British naval strategy during World War II" --> "The threat Tirpitz posed had an important influence on British naval strategy during World War II..."?
That really helps that para - thanks Nick-D (talk) 01:43, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
what year was this: "On the night of 10/11 February, 15 Soviet aircraft attacked the battleship, but did not cause any damage." 1944?
Yes - added Nick-D (talk) 01:43, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
"During the period the ship was under repair, Scharnhorst, the only remaining operational German battleship, was..." --> "During the period the ship was under repair, Scharnhorst, the only other operational German battleship, was..."?
I chose that wording as Tirpitz wasn't operational at this time (which is why Scharnhorst put to sea with only an inadequate destroyer escort, and was overwhelmed by the Home Fleet) Nick-D (talk) 01:43, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
Fixed. Thanks very much for these comments Nick-D (talk) 01:43, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
No worries, your changes look good. I've added my support. Cheers, AustralianRupert (talk) 05:03, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
A couple of minor points:
This is a little repetitive: "...Victorious would provide protection against German aircraft and Grumman F4F Wildcat and Grumman F6F Hellcats operating from Furious..." Specifically "Grumman" twice. Consider instead: "Victorious would provide protection against German aircraft and Grumman F4F Wildcats and F6F Hellcats operating from Furious."
Also repetitive prose here: "With these two options unavailable, the task was assigned to the Home Fleet's aircraft carriers. At this time the large fleet carriers HMS Furious and Victorious and four smaller escort carriers were available." (unavailable and available - perhaps reword one)
References out of chronological order here: "One of 830 Squadron's Barracudas crashed following the attack with the loss of all three members of its crew. The surviving aircraft of the first wave began landing on the carriers at 6:19 am, and all were recovered by 6:42." I.e. ref 55 before 51 (minor nitpick only).
Fixed (and well spotted!) Nick-D (talk) 09:17, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Spotchecked a couple of sources:
FN 32 - "Operation Tungsten — Attacking the Tirpitz, 1944". Navy Today (160). April 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2013. (Ref spts text with no issues of copyright violation or close paraphrase detected.)
FN 73 - "Tromso Cemetery". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 20 September 2013. (Ref spts text with no issues of copyright violation or close paraphrase detected.) Anotherclown (talk) 07:59, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks very much for your review Nick-D (talk) 09:17, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Support on prose per standard disclaimer. I've looked at the changes made since I reviewed this for A-class. These are my edits. (Btw, I'm giving up on recommending "that" over "which" for all nonrestrictive clauses ... this use is somewhat popular on Wikipedia, especially in Milhist articles, and is even championed at the M-W website ... but other caveats on "which" still apply.) - Dank (push to talk) 19:15, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Dank Nick-D (talk) 23:28, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
flown off an aircraft carrier assigned to the convoy Which carrier?
Victorious - I've just added this. Nick-D (talk) 23:53, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Allies had to assign a powerful force of warships to the British Home Fleet Might this be better phrased as "keep" a powerful force of warships "with"? since Home Fleet was the main RN command for the UK?
I'm not sure about that. The deployments of individual British capital ships were surprisingly fluid until about 1944, and the Home Fleet also served as the de-facto reserve force for other theatres (eg, ships were drawn from it to reinforce the Mediterranean Fleets at various times, and it was tapped for ventures distant from the North Sea such as the invasions of North Africa and Madagascar), so I think that "assigned" better captures this. It's much of a muchness though and I see your point. Nick-D (talk) 23:53, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I haven't tabulated RN BB/CV deployments past Husky, but I expect that they kept at least one BB and CV each in Home Fleet pretty much all the time after Tirpitz became operational. Of course, many times these ships were working up in preparation for other deployments, but they could have been used against her if she'd sortied forth.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 00:29, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
I've just made this tweak: on reflection , "keep" is superior as it fits in with scarce ships being tied down in what would have otherwise have been an unimportant area for them. Nick-D (talk) 02:35, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
Provide metric conversions for all English weights. If using the conversion template, remember to add the |adj=on code to hyphenate the weight of the bomb.
I've deliberately not done this for the bomb weights as these are - as I understand it - typically generic names for the weapons based around their approximate unfused weight rather than their literal weights. By the time fuses, fins, etc, are added the weight often ends up being quite different. Please let me know if I've got this wrong though! Nick-D (talk) 23:53, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I convert them anyways, even though I know the weights are really just nominal. I just know that if I didn't somebody would query why.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 00:29, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
OK, done for this first time it appears (I haven't done this in previous FAs where it's been raised, but the weight of the bombs is an issue in this article given that this had an important influence on their effectiveness). Nick-D (talk) 02:35, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
While I understand the details are in the separate OB article, can you list the numbers of each type of aircraft in the attack, including those on the escort carriers?
Done - thanks for suggesting this. While it needed a surprising amount of detective work to put this together from different sources, it was clearly needed. The underlying problem is that the main source historians have drawn on - the post-battle analysis by the RN's Tactical, Torpedo and Staff Duties Division, is never really clear about the order of battle, and contradicts itself on the topic. Nick-D (talk) 23:53, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
The fighter unit defending Kaafjord was from Jagdgeschwader 5. I believe that Werner Girbig's unit history has been recently translated and might have some information on the Luftwaffe's failure to respond. I think that a group commander was relieved over the issue, although I'm not certain if it was over this attack in particular. I also believe that Eric Mombeek's multi-volume history of JG 5 in German also might cover this, although I'm not certain which volume the details would appear in. Volume 4 looks likely, though.
Can you suggest the names of these references? I might have trouble accessing them quickly here in Australia though :) Given that the Luftwaffe didn't play any role in the operation (or any of the later aerial attacks on the ship) hopefully this isn't a barrier to the article's promotion. Nick-D (talk) 23:53, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Jagdgeschwader 5: The Luftwaffe's JG 5 Eismeerjager in World War IIISBN 978-0764342721 and Eismeerjäger: Zur Geschichte des Jagdgeschwaders 5ISBN 978-2-930546-02-5. The Girbig might be possible to get in Australia, but I really don't think that there's a copy of Mombeek in a library's hands Down Under and there may well be no copies in Worldcat outside Germany. I only have copies of the first two volumes myself. While nice to have, I don't think that it's essential since the Luftwaffe's fighters didn't respond at all. That's not necessarily true, of course, if you plan to do further articles on the other attacks on Tirpitz. I hope you do since it would make a nice little good or featured topic.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 00:29, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. WorldCat shows a copy of the German edition not that far from me, but no copies of the English-language edition are available in the country (and I can't read German). I'll order one as I'm intending to work on Operations Mascot and Goodwood, and would like to do something on the smaller British carrier strikes on Norway in 1944-45. Nick-D (talk) 02:35, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
Also check for availability of J.D. Brown's updated Carrier Operations in World War II, ISBN 978-1-59114-108-2, a book consolidating and expanding his two earlier volumes on the topic. The changes seem to have been concentrated in the Pacific War sections, but something may have been added or corrected to the Norwegian ops section. I plan to work on getting the RN fleet carriers up to speed next year, so ping me if you want to check on something and I'll do the same.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 03:14, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
Red link Arthur La Touche Bisset and link tanker, Rear Admiral, semi-armour-piercing, and deck
All done except for "Rear Admiral": this seems overlinking in this context given that the exact nature of the rank isn't significant to the article, and should be linked in the articles on the people of this rank which follow the term. Nick-D (talk) 23:53, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I always link the rank in my articles as I always figure that a reader might not know the differences in the various types of Admirals or ranks in general.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 00:29, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
I never do this as it seems unnecessary. As this article explicitly states the relationship between the handful of admirals involved I think that readers will be able to follow what's going on. Nick-D (talk) 02:35, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
did so at slower speeds than were necessary to penetrate her deck armour How about "lacked the necessary velocity to penetrate..."--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 18:54, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
That's much better! I really struggled with this sentence. Thanks very much for your detailed comments. Nick-D (talk) 23:53, 16 October 2013 (UTC)