Alternate Operation Zitronella: Home Fleet intercepts German force

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
Stoat Coat
Member
Posts: 58
Joined: 13 Nov 2022 21:39
Location: Way down south in Dixie

Alternate Operation Zitronella: Home Fleet intercepts German force

Post by Stoat Coat » 13 Dec 2022 04:57

The other thread on Arctic/Atlantic island hopping got me thinking, what if the British force that sortied to counter Operation Silizien/Zitronella had managed to intercept the German force? Let’s say the Germans tried to land a larger force at Svalbard and occupy the island, giving Admiral Frasier the time to reach the area.

Note that the Germans are operating near friendly air bases in Norway in relatively clear weather conditions.
The following quote from Naval History net gives the strengths of each force: https://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chron ... 20York.htm

(At 0015/6/9/43 the battleship TIRPITZ, battlecruiser SCHARNHORST and the destroyers KARL GALSTER, HANS LODY, ERICH STEINBRINK, THEODOR RIEDEL, Z27, Z29, Z30, Z31 and Z33 sailed from Altenfjord on Operation ZITRONELLA. Operation ZITRONELLA was an attack on the Allied, Free Norwegian manned, weather station at Barentsburg, Spitsbergen.

The German force approached the island flying the White Ensign. The weather station managed to get off a report of British ships approaching before their radio was destroyed.

At 0430/7/9/43 TIRPITZ and SCHARNHORST opened fire on the weather station and its two 3" guns, which were quickly put out of action, but not before causing damage to Z29 and Z33. The destroyers then landed troops to complete the destruction. At 0900/7/9/43 the German Force departed and returned to Altenfjord, where they arrived at 1730/9/9/43.

Photographic reconnaissance of Altenfjord on 7/9/43 [this was the first operational flight by a Spitfire XI of 543 Sqd from North Russia] showed only LUTZOW and 2 destroyers present which indicated that TIRPITZ and SCHARNHORST were probably in the attacking force)

8th - At 1700 hours the Battlefleet comprising battleships DUKE OF YORK (Flag CinC Home Fleet), ANSON (Flag 2iC Home Fleet), aircraft carrier USS RANGER, heavy cruisers LONDON and USS AUGUSTA and TUSCALOOSA, screened by the destroyers ONSLOW, ROCKET, MAHRATTA, HMCS IROQUOIS and HURON, ORP ORKEN and USS BELL, ISHERWOOD, FORREST, CORRY and HOBSON sailed from Scapa and headed north for Spitsbergen to intercept the enemy force.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 10038
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Alternate Operation Zitronella: Home Fleet intercepts German force

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 13 Dec 2022 19:14

If I could make time for another naval miniatures game...

User avatar
Kingfish
Member
Posts: 3348
Joined: 05 Jun 2003 16:22
Location: USA

Re: Alternate Operation Zitronella: Home Fleet intercepts German force

Post by Kingfish » 14 Dec 2022 12:12

With German intentions and objectives known USS Ranger could be put to good use in whittling down the opposition before both sides come within knife fighting range.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb

Stoat Coat
Member
Posts: 58
Joined: 13 Nov 2022 21:39
Location: Way down south in Dixie

Re: Alternate Operation Zitronella: Home Fleet intercepts German force

Post by Stoat Coat » 15 Dec 2022 18:45

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
13 Dec 2022 19:14
If I could make time for another naval miniatures game...
Yes please :thumbsup:

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 10038
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Alternate Operation Zitronella: Home Fleet intercepts German force

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Dec 2022 02:24

Had the Ranger been equipped with torpedo bombers at this time? I've had reliable information that it did not have torpedo storage in May 1941. If not then its whittling with dive bombers & strafing fighters.

jbroshot
Member
Posts: 239
Joined: 18 May 2009 01:33

Re: Alternate Operation Zitronella: Home Fleet intercepts German force

Post by jbroshot » 16 Dec 2022 06:03

VT-4 with TBF-1s was operating from Ranger in September 1943. They flew the raid against shipping on the Norwegian coast on 10/4/43. Apparently torpedoes were available but on this raid they carried 4x 500lb bombs. USS Ranger 1934-1946, by Robert J. Cressman (2003)

Lethl215
Member
Posts: 59
Joined: 19 Mar 2019 00:00
Location: Texas

Re: Alternate Operation Zitronella: Home Fleet intercepts German force

Post by Lethl215 » 16 Dec 2022 19:03

TF-112.1 and the Home Fleet held an exercise expressly focused on an opposed CV air attack against TIRPITZ, SCHARNHORST and HIPPER with defense against an air counter attack on 4 Sep. Looks like The Germans sortied once they knew the Home Fleet (rein) was back at Scapa. Makes one wonder if the Allies had a better grasp of German intentions perhaps they could have been more deceptive and stayed at sea. The exercise seems to indicate RANGER had torpedoes since the VT practiced those tactics. Can’t compress the PDFs enough to attach the TF-112.1 War Diary. Here’s the link:

https://catalog.archives.gov/id/78217248?objectPage=6

Return to “What if”