HMS Hunter, Sunk During First Battle of Narvik 10 April 1940, Found in One Thousand Feet of Water – Part 23

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One of the famous Tribal class fleet destroyers, HMS Eskimo (F75), had her bow blown off by a torpedo during the Second Battle of Narvik. Fortunately, her collision bulkhead held and the ship did not sink. After shoring up the bulkhead, the ship proceeded slowly to England and an entire new fore section was built on. May 1940

With water spraying in a huge V shape from her damaged bow, sort of like the rooster tail a water skier makes but on each side of the bow and much bigger, HMS Hotspur made all possible speed with the Bernd von Arnim and other German destroyers banging away at her and the aft batteries of the Hotspur, under local control, keep up a steady fire on the Germans.

However, as Hotspur came out of the smoke and fog and built up speed, her flotilla mates, HMS Havoc and HMS Hostile saw the damaged ship, turned around and went at full speed toward her to cover her retreat.

The German destroyer Z2 Georg Thiele beached in the inner part of the Rombaks Fjord off Sildvika after the 2nd Naval Battle of Narvik on 13 April 1940. Georg Thiele’s Kommandant used the last bit of power he had left in his engines to beach his ship which allowed his crew to escape. After the crew abandoned ship, they set the ship afire and it blew up.

Georg Thiele herself, was on fire and had been hit as many as seven times by the British destroyers and was about to run out of fuel so pursuing Hotspur was out of the question. The other German destroyers, also low on fuel and ammunition halted the chase, allowing HMS Havoc and HMS Hostile to shepherd HMS Hotspur to safety.

British destroyer HMS Hostile, underway on completion in October 1936. Her main armament is turned towards the camera. Since there is no bow wave the ship is presumably proceeding at “slow ahead”.

[Images courtesy of the UK Imperial War Museum, UK Imperial War Museum, and the UK Imperial War Museum.]

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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: http://charlesmccain.com/

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