Tirpitz file photo [1889]


Ship ClassBismarck-class Battleship
Yard Number128
Slip/Drydock NumberII
Ordered14 Jun 1936
Laid Down2 Nov 1936
Launched1 Apr 1939
Commissioned25 Feb 1941
Sunk12 Nov 1944
Displacement42,900 tons standard; 53,500 tons full
Length830 feet
Beam118 feet
Draft32 feet
Machinery12 Wagner high-pressure boilers, 3 Brown-Boveri geared turbines, 3 shafts
Power Output163,026 shaft horsepower
Speed30 knots
Range8,870nm at 19 knots
Armament4x2x380mm/L52 SK C/34 guns, 12x150mm/L55 SK-C/28 guns, 16x105 mm/L65 SK-C/37 guns, 16x37 mm/L83 SK-C/30 guns, 12x20 mm/L65 MG C/30 guns, 18x4x20mm/L65 MG C/38 guns, 2x4x533mm G7a T1 torpedo tubes
Armor145-320mm belt, 50-120mm deck, 220mm bulkheads, 130-360mm turrets, 342mm barbettes, 360mm conning tower
AircraftFour Ar 196A-3 floatplanes
CatapultOne, double-ended


ww2dbaseThe Bismarck-class battleship Tirpitz was commissioned in Feb 1941, and set sail for Norwegian waters in Jan 1942 after nearly a year of training operations in the Baltic Sea. Although the German surface fleet in Norway was a major threat for Allied shipping in the North Atlantic, Tirpitz actually never came in contact with Allied shipping; she had only fired her guns once against targets on land. Nevertheless, her presence made the Allied leaders uneasy.

ww2dbaseTo put the Tirpitz out of action, the British mounted a number of aerial attacks, but none of them successfully damaged her. On 14 Sep 1943, British Spitfire aircraft conducted a reconnaissance mission, locating German warships Tirpitz and Scharnhorst in K√•fjord, Norway as well as L√ľtzow in nearby Langefjord; a decision was made use midget submarines, instead of aircraft, to attack these warships. These midget submarines were to each carry two mines, and the mines were to be delivered beneath the ships covertly. As things would turn out, Scharnhorst and L√ľtzow would be away from their anchorages, thus Tirpitz was to the only target when the operation was launched in Sep 1943. Between 1830 and 2000 hours on 20 Sep, British midget submarines X-5, X-6, X-7, and X-10 were cut loose from the submarines that towed them into the area of operation. X-6 slipped through the anti-torpedo net in the fjord at 0630 hours on 22 Sep; she ran aground at 0707 hours and surfaced, but luckily the Germans thought she was a dead porpoise and was ignored. She struggled to dive, but when she surfaced again at 0712 hours about 68 meters off Tirpitz's port side, she was correctly identified and Tirpitz's crew attacked her with small arms and grenades. X-6's crew surrendered after dropping their cargo near the ship. At 0723, roughly around the same time that X-6 was struggling, X-7 was successful in approaching without being detected, and delivered its cargo toward the stern of Tirpitz. On her way out, however, X-7 became entangled in an anti-torpedo net, and she was spotted by the Germans at 0740 hours while she attempted to break free. X-7 eventually broke free of the net, but ultimately was scuttled at 0835 hours. At 0843 hours, Tirpitz's crew spotted the midget submarine X-5 off the starboard bow and fired at her, probably damaging her, but this could not be confirmed as X-5 was lost to unknown reason some time after this attack. Midget submarine X-10 suffered mechanical failures and never made it near the German battleship. Two of the four mines delivered by X-6 and X-7 exploded at 0812 hours, prior to the scuttling of X-7. Tirpitz's No. 2 generator room was flooded as the result of a split in her hull, while her turbines, propeller shafts, and the rudder were also seriously damaged. The damage caused by the 22 Sep attack would keep her in place for repairs for months.

ww2dbaseIn Feb 1944, Soviet bombers attacked her and lightly damaged Tirpitz with a near miss. Apr 1944 saw British aircraft attacking her, scoring several hits and causing serious damage, putting her in repair once again. Between Jul and Sep she saw more British air raids, causing various degrees of damage that kept her from major fleet action. She was moved to Troms√ł in Oct 1944, where she was hit by two air strikes from six British carriers, relegating her to the role of a stationary gun platform. On 12 Nov, she received serious damage from two near-misses by 12,000-pound bombs dropped by British Lancaster bombers. She listed heavily, then suffered explosion from her ammunition magazine. She eventually capsized with the loss of over 1,000 lives.

ww2dbaseTirpitz's wreck was largely scrapped in place after the war.

United States Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

Last Major Revision: Jul 2005

Battleship Tirpitz Interactive Map

Tirpitz Operational Timeline

14 Jun 1936 A contract for 'New Construction G' was issued by the German Navy to the Kriegsmarine Werft in Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
1 Apr 1939 Grossadmiral Tirpitz's daughter Frau von Hassel christened the battleship named after her father.
9 Jul 1940 During the night, 11 British Hampden aircraft (out of 14 dispatched) attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect.
15 Jul 1940 Hampden bombers from RAF Hemswell in England, United Kingdom were sent, in one of the most daring attacks of the war, to raid Wilhelmshaven, Germany in an attempt to cripple the Tirpitz and Admiral Scheer. Six aircraft were detailed to attack Tirpitz and two to attack Admiral Scheer. Other aircraft were detailed to carry out diversionary raids. The raid was not a success. Four bombers were shot down and most of the survivors damaged (one was found to have 150 holes on its return). No damage was incurred by the German warships.
20 Jul 1940 During the night, British aircraft from Hemswell-Lincolnshire attacked Tirpitz to little effect.
21 Jul 1940 British Hampden bombers from No. 61 and No. 144 Squadrons attacked German battleship Tirpitz at Wilhelmshaven, Germany, causing no damage.
24 Jul 1940 During the night, 14 British Whitley aircraft attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect.
5 Aug 1940 During the night, British Hampden aircraft attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect.
8 Oct 1940 During the night, 17 British aircraft from Waddington, Lincolnshire attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect.
10 Oct 1940 During the night, 14 British aircraft from Waddington, Lincolnshire and Lindholme, Yorkshire attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect.
11 Oct 1940 During the night, 4 British Hampden aircraft (out of 5 launched) from Lindholme, Yorkshire attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect.
13 Oct 1940 During the night, many British aircraft were launched to attack battleship Tirpitz in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, but in poor weather only 4 Hampden aircraft were able to locate the port. Not hits were scored on Tirpitz.
20 Oct 1940 During the night 7 British Wellington bombers attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect.
25 Nov 1940 During the night 5 British aircraft attacked battleship Tirpitz in bad weather conditions; they scored no hits.
8 Jan 1941 During the night, 7 British Wellington bombers from Feltwell, Lincolnshire attacked battleship Tirpitz at Wilhelmshaven, which suffered light damage from near misses.
11 Jan 1941 During the night 16 British aircraft from Scampton, Lincolnshire attacked battleship Tirpitz at Wilhelmshaven, Germany to little effect.
29 Jan 1941 During the night 25 British Wellington bombers attacked battleship Tirpitz to little effect.
9 Feb 1941 13 British aircraft from Scampton, Lincolnshire attacked battleship Tirpitz at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. The air crews reported to have caused damage, but in actuality no hits were scored.
25 Feb 1941 German battleship Tirpitz was commissioned to Kapit√§n zur See Friedrich Karl Topp.
27 Feb 1941 During the night, 30 British Wellington bombers from Wyton in Cambridgeshire, Marham in Norfolk, and Stradishall in Suffolk attacked battleship Tirpitz. The 26 aircraft that arrived attacked and reported success, though the actual results were questionable.
28 Feb 1941 During the night 23 British Hampden aircraft from Waddington, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom attacked battleship Tirpitz at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Low clouds resulted in only 4 aircraft locating the battleship, and they failed to hit their target.
26 Sep 1941 German battleship Tirpitz sailed with other warships to patrol off of the Aaland Islands in the Baltic Sea to prevent Soviet naval maneuvers.
29 Dec 1941 The German Navy decided to send battleship Tirpitz to Norway on 10 Jan 1942 to tie down Allied naval resources in the North Atlantic.
6 Jan 1942 German Navy Gro√üadmiral Erich Raeder inspected battleship Tirpitz at Kiel, Germany.
10 Jan 1942 Kapit√§n zur See Friedrich Karl Topp of German battleship Tirpitz declared the ship to be fully operational.
12 Jan 1942 Tirpitz departed Kiel, Germany.
13 Jan 1942 Tirpitz passed through the Kiel Canal and arrived at Brunsb√ľttel at the canal's western end to refuel. She departed for Wilhelmshaven later on the same day.
14 Jan 1942 Tirpitz departed Wilhelmshaven, Germany at 2300 hours for Trondheim, Norway; she was escorted by four destroyers. This departure was four days later than originally planned.
16 Jan 1942 Tirpitz arrived at Trondheim, Norway and anchored in F√¶ttenfjord.
5 Mar 1942 German battleship Tirpitz, escorted by destroyers, departed for the Arctic Ocean to intercept Allied convoys in Operation Sportpalast.
6 Mar 1942 German battleship Tirpitz and 4 destroyers departed Trondheim, Norway to intercept Allied convoys PQ-12 and QP-8, which departed from Reykjavik in Iceland for Murmansk in Russia and from Murmansk in Russia for Hvalfj√∂r√įur in Iceland, respectively. The British Royal Navy learned of this departure via Ultra decryption and dispatched a fleet centered around battleships HMS Duke of York, HMS King George V, and HMS Renown to attack.
9 Mar 1942 At 0640 hours, British aircraft spotted a German fleet centered around battleship Tirpitz. At 0730 hours, British carrier HMS Victorious launched 12 Albacore aircraft to attack, reaching Tirpitz and destroyer Friedrich Ihn at 0830 hours. The attack caused no damage to the German warships; two Albacore aircraft were lost. Tripitz and her escorts arrived at Bogen near Narvik, Norway later that day.
12 Mar 1942 Tirpitz arrived at Trondheim, Norway.
30 Mar 1942 During the night, 32 British Halifax bombers from three bases in Scotland attacked German battleship Tirpitz to little effect.
27 Apr 1942 31 British Halifax and 12 Lancaster bombers attacked German battleship Tirpitz and other ships at Trondheimsfjord near Trondheim in Norway to little effect. 5 bombers were lost during this attack.
28 Apr 1942 21 British Halifax and 12 Lancaster bombers attacked German battleship Tirpitz at Trondheim, Norway; two Halifax bombers were destroyed.
2 Jul 1942 A German BV 138 seaplane shadowed Allied convoy PQ-17 in the Barents Sea from a distance, reporting in the convoy's position throughout the day. Seven He 115 seaplanes made a unsuccessful torpedo attack on the convoy, while German battleship Tirpitz, cruiser Admiral Hipper, four destroyers, and two torpedo boats departed Trondheim, Norway to intercept (Operation R√∂sselsprung). The German ships were spotted by Soviet submarine K21, which attacked and reported a hit, but in actuality the torpedo had missed.
5 Jul 1942 Operation R√∂sselsprung was canceled and battleship Tirpitz reversed course for Bogen near Narvik, Norway.
6 Jul 1942 Tirpitz arrived at Bogen near Narvik, Norway.
23 Oct 1942 Tirpitz departed Bogen near Narvik, Norway for refitting at F√¶ttenfjord/Lofjord near Trondheim.
24 Jan 1943 Tirpitz completed its refitting at F√¶ttenfjord/Lofjord near Trondheim, Norway.
5 Mar 1943 Tirpitz completed post-refitting trials.
11 Mar 1943 Jaguar and Greif escorted battleships Tirpitz and Scharnhorst as they sailed from Trondheim, Norway to the German Navy base in Bogen Bay, Norway.
11 Mar 1943 Tirpitz departed Trondheim, Norway.
12 Mar 1943 Tirpitz arrived at Bogen near Narvik, Norway.
22 Mar 1943 Tirpitz departed for K√•fjord/Altafjord, Norway.
6 Sep 1943 Operation Sizilien: Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, and 9 destroyers departed K√•fjord, Norway for an attack on the Allied base on Spitzbergen.
8 Sep 1943 Operation Sizilien: Tirpitz attacked the Allied base at Spitzbergen.
9 Sep 1943 Tirpitz arrived at K√•fjord, Norway.
11 Sep 1943 Operation Source: British midget submarines X5, X6, and X7 attacked German battleship Tirpitz in Norway. All three were destroyed, but X6 and X7 were able to place mines below the ship.
22 Sep 1943 Operation Source: The first of the charges placed by British midget submarines below German battleship Tirpitz in Norway exploded at 0812 hours. The second explosion took place shortly afterwards. The explosions caused damage to the hull and disabled the turbines, propeller shafts, and the rudder. One sailor was killed and 40 were wounded.
10 Feb 1944 During the night, 15 Soviet bombers attacked German battleship Tirpitz to little effect.
15 Mar 1944 Tirpitz began post-repair trials at Barbrudalen (K√•fjord) and Altafjord, Norway.
3 Apr 1944 Operation Tungsten: 41 British Barracuda dive bombers attacked German battleship Tirpitz, scoring 15 hits.
14 Jul 1944 From the North Sea, British carrier task force under Admiral Moore unsuccessfully attacked German battleship Tirpitz in Kaafjord, Norway.
17 Jul 1944 44 Barracuda dive bombers, 18 Hellcat fighters, and 30 other fighters from carriers HMS Formidable, HMS Indefatigable, and HMS Furious attacked the German battleship Tirpitz in Norway in Operation Mascot, scoring no hits.
31 Jul 1944 Tirpitz conducted exercises at sea with five destroyers.
1 Aug 1944 Tirpitz completed exercises at sea.
22 Aug 1944 Operation Goodwood I and Goodwood II: British carrier aircraft (32 Barracuda dive bombers and 43 fighters) from HMS Formidable, Indefatigable, Furious, Nabob, and Trumpeter attacked German battleship Tirpitz to little effect.
24 Aug 1944 Operation Goodwood III: British carrier aircraft (33 Barracuda dive bombers, 10 Hellcat fighters, 5 Corsair fighters, 29 other fighters) from HMS Indefatigable, Furious, and Formidable attacked German battleship Tirpitz, scoring 2 hits.
29 Aug 1944 Operation Goodwood IV: British carrier aircraft (26 Barracuda dive bombers, 2 Corsair fighters, 3 Hellcat fighters, 25 other fighters) from HMS Formidable and Indefatigable attacked German battleship Tirpitz, scoring several near misses.
15 Sep 1944 Operation Paravane: 21 British Lancaster bombers based in Yagodnik, Russia attacked German battleship Tirpitz, scoring two hits on the forecastle and putting her out of action.
15 Oct 1944 Damaged German battleship Tirpitz set sail for Troms√ł, Norway at the speed of 10 knots.
29 Oct 1944 Operation Obviate: 39 British Lancaster bombers attacked German battleship Tirpitz, scoring one near miss 15 meters to port.
12 Nov 1944 Operation Catechism: 31 British Lancaster bombers attacked German battleship Tirpitz with Tallboy bombs, scoring three hits and several near misses. Tirpitz capsized, killing 971 out of the about 1,700 aboard. None of the Lancaster bombers were lost.


Tirpitz fitting out, 2 Feb 1940Tirpitz circa 1941Tirpitz underway for her trials, 194110.5cm ammunition on the Tirpitz, circa 1942
See all 14 photographs of Battleship Tirpitz

Did you enjoy this article or find this article helpful? If so, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.

Share this article with your friends:


Stay updated with WW2DB:

 RSS Feeds

Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
24 Jul 2005 06:43:21 PM

Maybe you can mention the Commando operation? The one where they tried to blow up Tirpitz harbour. I believe that was the only habour that could accomodate the Tirpitz at that time.
2. Anonymous says:
25 Jun 2020 12:56:13 AM

Can you add specifically who was on the crew of the KMS Tirpitz?

All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.

Posting Your Comments on this Topic

Your Name
Your Email
 Your email will not be published
Comment Type
Your Comments
Security Code



1. We hope that visitor conversations at WW2DB will be constructive and thought-provoking. Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment. All comment submissions will become the property of WW2DB.

2. For inquiries about military records for members of the World War II armed forces, please see our FAQ.

Search WW2DB & Partner Sites
More on Tirpitz
» Assmann, Heinz

Event(s) Participated:
» Arctic Convoys

Battleship Tirpitz Photo Gallery
Tirpitz fitting out, 2 Feb 1940
See all 14 photographs of Battleship Tirpitz

Famous WW2 Quote
"Since peace is now beyond hope, we can but fight to the end."

Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937

Support Us

Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 a month will go a long way. Thank you!

Or, please support us by purchasing some WW2DB merchandise at TeeSpring, Thank you!