Muddled command situation on Z16 Friedrich Eckoldt during Operation Regenbogen

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Panzerspitze
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Muddled command situation on Z16 Friedrich Eckoldt during Operation Regenbogen

Post by Panzerspitze » 17 Jul 2021 09:57

Multiple sites (such as http://www.kbismarck.com/kriegsmarine-d ... -lost.html) erroneously list KzS Alfred Schemmel, the commander of the 5. Zerstörer-Flottille and the former long-time skipper of Z16 Friedrich Eckoldt (1938-Aug. 1942), as the destroyer's CO during Operation Regenbogen--its last sortie.

The German version of Z16's wikipedia https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z_16_Friedrich_Eckoldt says First Officer KK Günther Bachmann was in charge, because the CO KK Lutz Gerstung died (presumably from natural medical reasons) a few days before Operation Regenbogen. Curiously another page https://www.wehrmacht-history.com/krieg ... royer.html lists a "Herbert Bachmann" as the succeeding CO.

However, the book "Red Sky in the Morning: The Battle of the Barants Sea 1942" by Michael Pearson (found on Google Books) says the Flottillechef KzS Alfred Schemmel was doubling as Z16's captain during the last voyage.

Which one of these command scenarios was the most likely? Was Schemmel really pulling double duty? Would that then explain the confused actions by Z16 radioing the Hipper "You are firing at me!" after the latter had replied it was firing to the north of the convoy?

igorr
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Re: Muddled command situation on Z16 Friedrich Eckoldt during Operation Regenbogen

Post by igorr » 19 Jul 2021 04:35

The one and only true source of such data about ship is its KTB (war diary). It say clearly for period 16-31.12.43: "Der Zerstorer wegen ausfall des Kommandanten durch Flottillenchef, Kapitan zur See Schemmel gefuhrt"
There also some of radios before Z.16 dissapeared
11.41 from Z.16 to HIPPER: I see one cruiser and one destroyer to 330 grad. This is you?
11.42 from Z.16 to Hipper: In what direction from convoy you stay?
11.43 from HIPPER to Z.16: North from convoy
from Z.16 to HIPPER: you firing on me!
11.44 from HIPPER to Z.16: no, this is english cruiser.
This is all what is known about Z.16. R. BEITZEN see explosion behind them, believed death of Z.16

Panzerspitze
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Posts: 263
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Re: Muddled command situation on Z16 Friedrich Eckoldt during Operation Regenbogen

Post by Panzerspitze » 19 Jul 2021 14:50

igorr wrote:
19 Jul 2021 04:35
The one and only true source of such data about ship is its KTB (war diary). It say clearly for period 16-31.12.43: "Der Zerstorer wegen ausfall des Kommandanten durch Flottillenchef, Kapitan zur See Schemmel gefuhrt"
There also some of radios before Z.16 dissapeared
11.41 from Z.16 to HIPPER: I see one cruiser and one destroyer to 330 grad. This is you?
11.42 from Z.16 to Hipper: In what direction from convoy you stay?
11.43 from HIPPER to Z.16: North from convoy
from Z.16 to HIPPER: you firing on me!
11.44 from HIPPER to Z.16: no, this is english cruiser.
This is all what is known about Z.16. R. BEITZEN see explosion behind them, believed death of Z.16
Would Schemmel be leading from the bridge or the flottila leader's position on the aft section (between the second set of torpedo tubes and the rear guns, the same type of command post where Friedrich Bonte was killed onboard Wilhelm Hiedkampf in Narvik but then-KK Hans Erdmenger survived because he was on the bridge)? Wouldn't it be too crowded to have the flottillen staff and Z16's own officers all on the bridge?

igorr
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Re: Muddled command situation on Z16 Friedrich Eckoldt during Operation Regenbogen

Post by igorr » 20 Jul 2021 03:26

This details can't be catched from KTB alone. Also docs of 5 Z-Flottille absent for end of December 1942 - they went down with ECKOLDT.

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