German Kriegsmarine Super Battleship KMS Tirpitz (sistership of Bismarck)

Tirpitz was Bismarck's sistership (with the addition of triple 21" torpedo tubes amidships on either side), and after the latter's destruction -- thanks to radar and naval airpower -- it was apparent that it could not be risked out on the Atlantic.

However, with the beginning of the Western Allies' Arctic Convoys (to Arkangelsk in the summer and Murmansk in the winter), Tirpitz posed a grave threat of striking from its Norwegian fjord lairs and as such served as a "fleet in being," tying up major British and then American naval forces necessary to counterbalance it.

The effectiveness of this strategy was shown during (Arctic) Convoy PQ17, July 1-10 1942 -- at the same time Rommel had arrived at Alamein and was struggling to break through to the Suez -- when Tirpitz along with pocket battleship Scheer and heavy cruiser Hipper sortied against that. Unfortunately, our Allied battleships were too far back to intervene, and the British Admiralty believed that our "covering force" of 4 British and American heavy cruisers would be massacred in short order by Tirpitz and her consorts (which has proven correct in my Naval Action games of that scenario, I might add).
The covering force was recalled, the convoy's close escort of destroyers left with it, and the merchant ships were ordered to disperse, making them easy targets for Luftwaffe dive and torpedo bombers and Kriegsmarine U-boats. Less than half survived, and the debacle was an interallied scandal.
Thus, the mere threat of Tirpitz and company had had its effect, and these fuel-devouring big ships were recalled without having fired a shot.

Tirpitz was repeatedly attacked by the British with aircraft and midget submarines which did her significant damage. Ultimately, she was sunk near Tromso Norway on 12 November 1944 by Royal Air Force Lancaster bombers carrying 12,000 lb. "tall boy" bombs.

Models of Bismarck and/or Tirpitz are available in a variety of scales by various manufacturers. At 1:600, old Aurora's Bismarck had some bizarre looking 5.9" gun turrets. Then there is Revell's still-respected Bismarck and Tirpitz at 1:570. Airfix came out with them at 1:600 and then a 1:1200 tabletop Bismarck. Old Lindberg had motorized, working models of both of them at roughly 1:400. (My eldest son Robert and I sailed the Lindberg Bismarck and Hood on the pond a block away from my house.) Heller came out with a 1:400, and Tamiya has come out with a superlative 1:350 Bismarck. All of these models were full-hull.
Aoshima did waterline models Bismarck and Tirpitz at the popular 1:700 scale, and I have a hand-me-down copy of that which Robert beautifully painted up in Tirpitz's 1942 camouflage. I'll put up a photo or two of it.
Finally, Bismarck/Tirpitz have been prominent in the smaller, wargaming and recognition scales: 1:1200 and 1:1250, Axis & Allies' 1:1800, 1:2400, 1:3???, and even CinC's exquisite little 1:4800s.

Now, would you now like to return to my home page or the main drawings page?

5May09