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Muttley

The Channel Dash

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Muttley    64

I was listening to a Dan Snow History Hit podcast, and this came up. Where three of the major German battleships slipped out of dock in northern France and headed for the Fjords and safe German harbours.

I have now come up with an idea to do a large build, but want to know more of the whole events of the day. I have found an Osprey book on the event, are there any others? My search is currently drawing a blank. Thanks all

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Jockster    553

Hiya Muttley, just had a dig round in the mancave and been comparing that with the stuff on Wikipedia. Pretty much the same with more on the Wikipedia article.

Google operation Cerberus/channel dash and that will give you pretty much all you need. I also have a great painting by Robert Taylor showing Scharnhorst (I think!) in the foreground with Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen following escorted by a host of destroyers and E-boats and Bf 109s.

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Hairystick    56

An account of the operation from the Luftwaffe's view, is in Galland's book (iirc!) The first & the last.

(just checked) Yes, in chapter 20.

One of the plates shows a line of capital ships, taken from on board The Prinz Eugen.

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Muttley    64

Thanks for your replies all, Not sure when I'll find time to actually build this, but base data (and a reading list) is always a good start

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I was dreaming about the Channel Dash this morning!! I was helping Galland organise the air support/fighter cover for the dash. I did a blooming good job as none of the ships were sunk IIRC. It does seem almost surreal to our minds (and technology) that a flotilla could steam through the Channel in broad daylight without being stopped or severely damaged.

Should I add Channel Dash management to my CV? (I'm sure some of the folk I used to work with had CVs made up with similar 'experience').

Duncan B

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Walrus    329
15 minutes ago, BlackMike Models said:

It does seem almost surreal to our minds (and technology) that a flotilla could steam through the Channel in broad daylight without being stopped or severely damaged.

From what I understand of the events it was a culmination of factors, notably poor visibility.
The British expected to make the Channel Dash at night and were caught unawares.

Can't recall what the Home Fleet was doing and where at the time, but the onus was but on shore based squadrons, while the Germans had a rotating top cover provided by the Luftwaffe.

The German Navy didn't quite make it to the Baltic unscathed however, as the ships suffered damage from mines.  

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Paul Brown    314

The British failure to intercept the Kriegsmarine heavy units must rank as one of it's all time greatest military cock ups. It's a sad tale of ineptitude, incompetence, failure of communications due to inter service and inter unit rivalry and, for the German fleet, favourable (very poor) weather. Duncan, when you say broad daylight, bear in mind the operation was planned by the Kriegsmarine to occur during short daylight hours during a period of forecast reduced visibility. The poor weather was a factor in PRU units not being able to establish the ships movement from French ports simply because eyeball sightings were not possible. There are detailed accounts in Galland's First and the Last and Gibson's Enemy Coast Ahead. Both narratives are in broad agreement, which would suggest they're both reasonably true accounts. Gibson is especially scathing about the British performance. The only unit to distinguish itself was 825 Squadron, FAA, but it was a case of heroic failure. Only five of eighteen crew members involved survived their attack on the German ships and amongst the casualties was Lt Cmdr Eugene Esmonde (who had also led attacks on the Bismark), who was awarded a posthumous VC. The only positives for the British were that both Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were both damaged by mines and once the ships had passed through the Channel they were thereafter bottled up in port.

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