In one of World War Two's great naval battles, the Royal Navy finally tracked down, cornered, and sank The Scharnhorsta potent symbol of Nazi seagoing power that had wreaked havoc on Allied convoys. This gripping military tale reveals how the cruiser was lured out of her Norwegian haven on Christmas Day 1943...and in a climactic fight, perished under the big guns of the battleship Duke of York. Eyewitnesses recount this crucial victory that was helped by the cracking of German codes.
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Starightforward, no-frills account of the events that led up to the sinking of the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst on Boxing Day 1943 in terrible conditions in the Arctic Sea (sometimes known as the Battle of North Cape). Good general introduction to the strategic situation, and clear exposition of the events of the final two days. Sets out clearly and without undue bias the errors on the German side which led to this magnificent ship being lost along with most of her crew. Winton had much actual naval experience and you can tell this book is written by someone who knows warships from the inside.
Death of the Scharnhorst is a very good overview of a classic naval engagment during WW2 - the chase and eventual sinking of one of the most famous (and lucky) German ships of this war. Although often overshadowed by her more famous cousin, Bismarck, Scharnhorst was actually much more effective as a surface raider and participated in several more engagements. Unfortunately, by the end of 1943, the famous battleship (more accurately a light battleship or battlecruiser, but very fast) was relegated to the icy fjords of Northern Norway to prey on Artic convoys traveling to and from Russia. Her sister, the Tirpitz, had been recently damaged by mini-subs, so that Scharnhorst and five destroyers were the only significant German naval force left in that part of Europe. Always greatly outnumbered by the British fleet, German units such as Scharnhorst still fought gallantly to the end, although tactics and strategy used were often suspect. The particular behavior shown by Scharnhorst during her last cruise is dissappointing and mysterious, but Winton does a good job of describing it in detailed and interesting ways. The author assumes a heavy knowledge of naval terms, and is somewhat biased towards the British, but still provides a very entertaining narrative of the battle. (P.S. The book is only 159 pages and can be read comfortably within an average weekend!)