Warfare History Network
The end of an era.
It Took 5 Ton Bombs To Sink Hitler's Last Super Battleship
The Royal Navy viewed the Tirpitz as a menace not only to its warships, but also to merchant vessels that brought food and ammunition to the British Isles. From her Baltic Sea home port, the Tirpitz could intercept Allied convoys bound for Murmansk in the Arctic Circle. Because of these threats, the British Royal Navy and Royal Air Force had to delegate a large complement of naval and air resources to counter the threat the Tirpitz posed. This was known as the fleet-in-being concept by which a powerful warship or naval force poses a threat without ever leaving port.
April 1, 1939, was a red-letter day in the history of the reborn German Kriegsmarine for two key reasons. First, Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler presented the fleet’s chief, Erich Raeder, with an ornate, icon-studded Navy blue baton of office as the first grand admiral since the days of the Kaiser Wilhelm II. This was done with great ceremony and a gala luncheon afterward aboard the new battle cruiser Scharnhorst, anchored on Jade Bay in the former Imperial port of Wilhelmshaven. Second, the Kriegsmarine christened and launched the Third Reich’s newest and most modern battleship, the Tirpitz, on the same day. The Tirpitz, the last battleship the Third Reich would build, was the sister ship to the Bismarck. But the Tirpitz was heavier than the Bismarck. Moreover, it had the distinction of being the largest warship built in Europe up to that point in time.