By Christopher Mann (auth.)
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Extra info for British Policy and Strategy towards Norway, 1941–45
The Arctic Convoy route was extremely difficult. 11 The seas in the far north are extremely stormy and during winter the temperatures are considerably below freezing. The ships were not equipped for such conditions, which increased the crews’ discomfort. In summer, the perpetual daylight aided German reconnaissance and heightened the danger of air attack. The facilities in northern Russian were rudimentary at best. The Germans, in possession of Norway, had excellent air and sea bases on the southern flank of a convoy route from which there could be little deviation.
Her crew were picked up by the submarine HMS Stubborn on 28 September. The German battleship had been seriously damaged. The 2,000-ton ‘C’ turret had been lifted by the explosion beneath it and then had dropped down and jammed. One of the turbines had been shaken from its bed and much other damage done to range finders and fire control systems. The turret could not be repaired without a visit to a German dockyard, as it could not be lifted by any floating crane. The damage to the hull required a dry dock.
The next day the Tirpitz, in the company of three destroyers, sortied after the convoy. The departure was spotted by the British submarine HMS Seawolf on station outside Trondheim. Tovey was sailing as distant cover for the convoys in the battleship King George V with his only aircraft carrier HMS Victorious; he had also been joined by the battlecruiser HMS Renown and battleship Duke of York, which had sailed from Iceland. This heavy cover was necessary with the Tirpitz in Norway. On receipt of the news of the Tirpitz’s sailing on 7 March, Tovey steered towards the converging convoys.