German Battleship Scharnhorst

I have written in greater depth about the German Battleship Scharnhorst.

Scharnhorst then went on to participate in Operation Weserübung, the invasion of Denmark and Norway. In April 1940 in the North Sea, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau faced off against the British battlecruiser HMS Renown. Scharnhorst suffered from malfunctions while Gneisenau took two direct hits and both ships used their superior speed to escape back to Kiel for repairs. In June, the two ships returned to the North Sea to disrupt British supply lines to Norway. The sister ships faced off against and sank the British carrier HMS Glorious and her two destroyer escorts. This action is notable since Scharnhorst achieved one of the longest range naval gunfire hits in history at a range of ~25,000 meters. Scharnhorst was damaged enough during the encounter to need temporary repairs prior to returning to Germany and survived numerous attacks from the RAF over the two weeks it took her to return to Kiel where her repairs required six months dock time. Collected below are photographs of the Scharnhorst during the Norwegian campaign.

Scharnhorst (German Battleship, 1939) View on board, looking forward, while the ship was at sea in 1940. Probably taken during the Norwegian campaign, in April or June 1940. Note air identification marking on her fore deck. The ship is cleared for action, with deck edge stanchions and lifelines taken down.
Scharnhorst (German Battleship, 1939) in the left middle distance with battleship Gneisenau at left and heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper in right center. The warships are in a Norwegian port, probably Trondheim, in June 1940.
Scharnhorst (German Battleship, 1939) firing her forward 283mm guns, during the engagement with the British aircraft carrier Glorious and her escorts, 8 June 1940. Photographed from the battleship Gneisenau.

[Images courtesy of the Department of the Navy – Naval History & Heritage Command.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

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