Talk:Operation Donnerkeil

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Good article Operation Donnerkeil has been listed as one of the Warfare good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
February 14, 2011 Good article nominee Listed
WikiProject Military history (Rated GA-Class)
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GA This article has been rated as GA-Class on the quality assessment scale.

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Operation Donnerkeil/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

I will review this article over the next few days (by the end of the weekend at the latest).

Reviewer: Nick-D (talk) 03:47, 26 January 2011 (UTC)


  • The article's grammar is a bit rough in places - I've made some changes (and highlight some problems below), but it really needs a comprehensive read through
  • How was the German victory 'Decisive'?
It was essential to the success of the naval operation. Dapi89 (talk) 14:30, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
A 'decisive' victory is generally defined as one which had an important impact on the war it was part of (this has been discussed a few times at WT:MILHIST). I'd suggest dropping the prefix or changing it to 'comprehensive'. Nick-D (talk) 05:03, 5 February 2011 (UTC) Yes check.svg Done
  • "The first German vessels to dock at Brest were the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, on 22 March 1941." - this is vague and unlikely to be accurate - German ships had obviously been docking in this port of many years before the war and surely small German warships and submarines made use of it after France was captured Yes check.svg Done
  • "A raid on 24 July lost 12 percent of its strength" - how many aircraft were lost in this attack?
It does not say. Dapi89 (talk) 14:30, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
  • "During the 12 January 1942 meeting, the Navy demanded massive air cover and won Hitler's support that maximum fighter cover be given" - this is a bit repeditive Yes check.svg Done
  • Where were the eight dummy operations practiced? Did the British notice these? Yes check.svg Done
  • Given that aircraft were much faster than ships, what's meant by the requirement that the aircraft units were required to 'keep pace with the task force'? Yes check.svg Done
  • "Galland demanded an umbrella of at least 16 fighters at any one time along the whole length of the channel" - were these aircraft to patrol the entire Chanel throughout the operation, or just the area where the German warships were passing through at that time? Yes check.svg Done
  • I don't think that Fighter Command, Bomber Command and Coastal Command were sub-units of the Air Ministry - the ministry was the civilian organisation that provided oversight and support for the RAF
The AM answered to the Prime Minister who had military authority over it and the RAF. The AM controlled personnel, reinforcements and procurement as well as influencing air strategy and operations. Dapi89 (talk) 14:30, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
What do you mean by 'influencing' here? I really don't think that it's accurate to say that these commands were part of the Air Ministry as this implies - they were part of the RAF (even Coastal Command, which came under the overall operational control of the RN). Nick-D (talk) 05:03, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
The politicians/civilians influenced strategy. All were fans of strategic bombing and regardless of Churchill's oft' quoted remark about the battle of the Atlantic, they denied Coastal Command the resources to pursue effective naval ops (A/S and ASW). This collusion with the RAF top brass was in order to deny CC and the navy of resources it needed, in order to pursue final victory by offensive air forces alone. So the AM had a large say in what the RAFs priorities were and consequently what strategy was pursued. They had defacto control over the three services. Dapi89 (talk) 13:41, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
While that's true, the text in the article basically states that the three commands were sub-units of the Air Ministry, which isn't accurate. Nick-D (talk) 10:09, 6 February 2011 (UTC) Yes check.svg Done
  • "Confidence in the British bomber force was not high and there was little confidence in their ability to inflict damage to the ships" - this is a bit repeditive Yes check.svg Done
  • The paragraph on the RAF squadrons involved reads a bit oddly. You can omit all but the first 'No.' and what's the difference between the squadrons in the first sentence and those in the second sentence which were "also committed"? Yes check.svg Done
  • What kinds of aircraft were 'Francis Victor Beamish (10 victories) and Wing Commander Finlay Boyd (14 victories)' flying, and why are their numbers of kills relevant here? Yes check.svg Done
  • 'Keeping radio silence they kept their discovery until they landed' - one too many uses of 'keep' Yes check.svg Done
  • What are the 'first Naval actions' in ' Soon afterwards, at around 12:16 GMT, the first naval actions began and the British were alerted'? Yes check.svg Done
  • Did Squadron Leader Eugene Esmonde fly a solo mission? Yes check.svg Done
  • 'Sqdn' should be expanded to 'Squadron' or 'Squadrons' as appropriate Yes check.svg Done
  • "The only unit to keep to mission orders was Squadron Leader Brian Kingcome's No. 72 Squadron. The two squadrons ran into each other by accident." seems contradictory (if No. 72 Squadron was following orders, why did it only stumble across the FAA squadron?) Yes check.svg Done
  • Aircraft 'drop' rather than 'fire' torpedos
  • "RAF Bomber Command launched 73 bombers at between 13:55 and 14:50 (GMT) aircraft. None of the bombs hit their target" - did the aircraft take off or attack between these times? ('launched' is also rather unclear) Yes check.svg Done
  • How did '134—137 bombers' intercept the ships but only 20 attacked? - what did the other 110 or so aircraft do?
Not attack? Dapi89 (talk) 14:32, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
I've just checked. An explanation is already given - 20 only attacked, others were not able to do because they training was poor and or there was a low cloud base and could not see the targets. Dapi89 (talk) 14:35, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
  • "Of the 242 bombers that took part in the missions, only 39 conducted attacks. It is possible that another 16 made bombing raids" - this is a bit confusing - do we know that "only 39" attacked, or was the total probably higher? Yes check.svg Done
  • The article needs to cover the RAF's success in dropping mines which damaged both of the German battleships (I'm not sure if these were laid well ahead of the operation or during it, but it was the only bright point for the British)
    • This still needs to be addressed Nick-D (talk) 05:03, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
      • This remains the only substantive thing to be addressed. Nick-D (talk) 03:05, 13 February 2011 (UTC)Yes check.svg Done
  • "Air Marshal Charles Portal agreed this needed to change arguing, "We agree on the importance of torpedo bomber aircraft, and this was proved completely during the passage of the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau [and Prinz Eugen] up the channel"" - this is confusing - why did Portal agree to the transfer of torpedo bombers if the Channel Dash had demonstrated that there weren't enough of them in the UK? (was it his view that the operation demonstrated how effective these aircraft could be, and as a result they should be sent to theatres where there was an even greater need for them?) Yes check.svg Done
  • " In May 1942 Joubert succeeded in getting the new Bristol Beaufighter into service in November 1942" - this is confusing
  • "The measure of success lay not in the favourable ratio of losses, which amounted to 2:1 in the German favour" - this is a bit repetitive
I think it reads okay.
The use of both 'favour' and 'favourable' in the same sentance is a bit awkward. Nick-D (talk) 05:03, 5 February 2011 (UTC) Yes check.svg Done
  • The last sentence of the article repeats material on Gneisenau already covered in the 'Attacks in port' section Yes check.svg Done
  • A map showing the route of the German ships and the locations where the main air attacks took place would be useful (this could be based on File:Unternemen Cerberus.jpg) Nick-D (talk) 06:33, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm no good at maps and I could only scan one from a book. Dapi89 (talk) 21:47, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
Fair enough - this isn't really needed for GA status. Nick-D (talk) 03:05, 13 February 2011 (UTC)


GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:
    B. MoS compliance for lead, layout, words to watch, fiction, and lists:
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:
    C. No original research:
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    B. Focused:
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:
    Great work Nick-D (talk) 07:42, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Oxspring and Beaumont patrol[edit]

Why no mention of the follow-up "Jim Crow" Spitfire patrol by No. 91 Squadron based at Hawinge, flown by Squadron Leader Robert Oxspring personally, along with his wingman Seargeant Beaumont? At 1035, after having discovered the ships within a few minutes of the other patrol mentioned in the article, Oxspring broke radio silence and reported battle cruisers and escort off Le Touquet heading for Dover. But the British didn't act on Oxspring's report and instead waited for him to land. Oxspring even tried to personally contact Air Vice-Marshal Leigh-Mallory, AOC No. 11 Fighter Group, but he was rebuffed.[1] joepaT 06:53, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

The above is according to: Toliver, Raymond F.; Trevor J. Constable (1990). Fighter General - The Life of Adolf Galland. Zephyr Cove, Nevada, USA: AmPress Publishing, Inc. pp. 182–184. ISBN 978-0962551901. Each day at dawn and dusk, No. 91 Squadron based at Hawkinge, under Squadron Leader Robert Oxspring, sent out two "Jim Crow" patrol Spitfires...Both of the two Spitfire elements discovered the German heavy ships within a few minutes of each other, 15 miles west of Le Touquet...At 1035, Oxspring broke radio silence. He reported battle cruisers and escort of Le Touquet heading for Dover.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help) joepaT 14:44, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with that book, but if it's a reliable source then that information could definitely be added to the article. Regards, Nick-D (talk) 08:25, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
A year late, sorry. I hadn't noticed the question. He claimed he sighted the ship, he claimed he reported it. Unfortunately there is no chain of evidence for any of this. I looked in the operational records of this Squadron at the National Archives. No mention of this momentous alleged report (operational records pre-1944 are sparse). I have not found any information in sources related to the German side that they intercepted this alleged break of radio silence or indeed that they could have identified the pilot who broke it. I doubt the validity of the story. Dapi89 (talk) 11:15, 14 September 2013 (UTC)
    • ^ Toliver, Raymond F.; Trevor J. Constable (1990). Fighter General - The Life of Adolf Galland. Zephyr Cove, Nevada, USA: AmPress Publishing, Inc. pp. 182–184. ISBN 978-0962551901. "Each day at dawn and dusk, No. 91 Squadron based at Hawkinge, under Squadron Leader Robert Oxspring, sent out two "Jim Crow" patrol Spitfires.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)