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Operation Cerebus 'The Channel Dash'

Article about: by Scout OT I know, but speaking of docks; I always thought Op Chariot exceptionally devious. St Nazaire is another absolutely fascinating and couragous raid !! Nick

  1. #1

    Default Operation Cerebus 'The Channel Dash'

    I am fascinated with this subject.

    I would like to hear from fellow WW2 enthusiasts your take on why we failed to sink the Gneisenau, Scharnhorst and Prinz Eugen. They were like rats in a trap as they ran the gauntlet!


    The Channel Dash remains the only occasion since the Spanish Armada in 1588 that ships belonging to an enemy of Great Britain have successfully traversed the English Channel !


    Thanks

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  2. #2

    Default Re: Operation Cerebus 'The Channel Dash'

    This is a very easy and concise read on the subject. Its a real 'Boys Own' battle!

    Involved were: Galland and the Luftwaffe, , MTB boats, S- Boats, Coatal Battery guns, Battleships, destroyers, Submarines, Bomber Command, Coastal Command, Fighter Command, Swordfish attacks, VC's, French Resistance...

    I just love it!
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Operation Cerebus 'The Channel Dash'

    Nick, would you say that it could go down in history as the Royal Navy's only night off in roughly 400 years...?
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wypeya oki hi sni"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Operation Cerebus 'The Channel Dash'

    I was just reading up on it a little bit. The Germans wanted to mislead the locals before they departed, and in doing so, they took tropical helmets and cargo marked "for use in the tropics" onboard, so as not to give the game away that they were actually going to brave the channel. Fantastic stuff!

    Regards,

    Carl
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wypeya oki hi sni"

  5. #5

    Default Re: Operation Cerebus 'The Channel Dash'

    Lol! What I cant understand amongst all the other errors of judgement etc was why our Battleships from Scapa Flow were not waiting on the other side to blow them out of the water !

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Operation Cerebus 'The Channel Dash'

    As I see it it was a case of extreme bad weather, whereby Bomber Command could not operate to their full ability, the distances involved as all three ships were sailing close to the French coast and had a vast amount of German Air cover, Faulty radar equipment and heavy jamming, although PT boats were despatched and fired torpedos it was at a 2 mile distance as they were under heavy attack from the air, the coastal defences at Dover were unable to get the correct ranges on the ships because of bad weather, although six Swordfish attacked the ships all six aircraft and their crews were lost, but in effect all three ships were out of the fighting in the Atlantic because they were now trapped in Germany and this was seen as a sort of victory, to say it was a bad day for the Royal Navy alone is'nt stricly true, there were other services involved and a combination of factors that hindered them

  7. #7

    Default Re: Operation Cerebus 'The Channel Dash'

    Yes Dave, good points. The jamming was very cleverly done by the Germans.
    The fact that the ships were in Germany and not harrassing our Atlantic convoys was good. Better if they had been sunk though

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Operation Cerebus 'The Channel Dash'

    They were eventually, the Gniesenau and the Scharnhorst hit mines and the Prinze Eugen was the only one to survive the war to later be sunk at Bikini atoll in the atomic bomb programme

  9. #9

    Default Re: Operation Cerebus 'The Channel Dash'

    Quote by davejb View Post
    They were eventually, the Gniesenau and the Scharnhorst hit mines and the Prinze Eugen was the only one to survive the war to later be sunk at Bikini atoll in the atomic bomb programme
    Indeed. The Prinz Eugen didnt have a warriors death sadly
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    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Operation Cerebus 'The Channel Dash'

    Interesting subject indeed.
    Also interesting pic of the hulk of Prinz Eugen.
    A sad end.
    But then the story of the German Navy during WWII is a classic text book demostration of the end of an era with big battleships.
    .....as is the fate of the Yamato.

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