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Old April 18th, 2013, 09:03 PM
Luath Luath is offline
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What happens to the 'Tirpitz' after 1945

Hello all, I've had an odd scenario rattling round the cranium. The Battleship Tirpitz avoids being sunk and remains at anchorage in the Norwegian fjord, the name escapes me, and is surrendered to the allies at the liberation of Norway. I can't be sure but I imagine the captain, whose name also escapes me, would be under orders to sink it before that happened.

Basically if the above was to happen, what becomes of the ship? Does the RN get it, the USN, Soviets, or could it be giffited to Norway? (Nor-wank ) What's more likely, Museum, scrap, Bikini Atoll?

Please let me know
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Old April 18th, 2013, 09:05 PM
Johnrankins Johnrankins is offline
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Originally Posted by Luath View Post
Hello all, I've had an odd scenario rattling round the cranium. The Battleship Tirpitz avoids being sunk and remains at anchorage in the Norwegian fjord, the name escapes me, and is surrendered to the allies at the liberation of Norway. I can't be sure but I imagine the captain, whose name also escapes me, would be under orders to sink it before that happened.

Basically if the above was to happen, what becomes of the ship? Does the RN get it, the USN, Soviets, or could it be giffited to Norway? (Nor-wank ) What's more likely, Museum, scrap, Bikini Atoll?

Please let me know
Either the US or GB depending on the outcome of negotiations. My guess it eventually winds up on display somewhere.
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Old April 18th, 2013, 09:14 PM
pedmore1202 pedmore1202 is offline
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My suggestion would be Britain, but it then could be used in one of several ways. Britain incorporates it into the RN, scraps it, uses it as target practice, a museum ship, or could even gift to another country (Norway, Holland or Denmark would be my guess)
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Old April 18th, 2013, 10:47 PM
Lord Brisbane Lord Brisbane is offline
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If the RN holds on to it, then its sold for scrap quite quickly or used in one of the atomic tests (Op. Hurricane).
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Old April 18th, 2013, 11:11 PM
Lord_Thrawn Lord_Thrawn is offline
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The Italian battleships Vittorio Veneto and Littorio (Italia after armistice) were allocated to the UK and the US, respectively. In 1948 the USSR received the Giulio Cesare, and older Italian ship. Now with 3 brand new battleships, the USSR can claim one of the three (2 Italian, 1 German). So if ceded to either Britain or the US, scrapped by the 1950's; if USSR, will be refitted and serve until Khrushchev scraps it or worn out.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 05:14 AM
David S Poepoe David S Poepoe is offline
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Originally Posted by Luath View Post
Hello all, I've had an odd scenario rattling round the cranium. The Battleship Tirpitz avoids being sunk and remains at anchorage in the Norwegian fjord, the name escapes me, and is surrendered to the allies at the liberation of Norway. I can't be sure but I imagine the captain, whose name also escapes me, would be under orders to sink it before that happened.

Basically if the above was to happen, what becomes of the ship? Does the RN get it, the USN, Soviets, or could it be giffited to Norway? (Nor-wank ) What's more likely, Museum, scrap, Bikini Atoll?

Please let me know
Scrapped. The Germans wouldn't turn over a working battleship - see what happened at Scapa Flow? The crews would wreck the gun breeches and destroy critical machinery and its engines. I'm fairly certain the seacocks would be opened and the Tirpitz settle into the mud of the fjord floor.

Too expense to repair, let alone salvage to sail to a port to be scrapped. It could be gifted to Norway, but it would be considered a white elephant sort of gift by Oslo. In the end it would be scrapped.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 06:24 AM
Flubber Flubber is offline
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Originally Posted by David S Poepoe View Post
Scrapped.

Agreed, and for the reason you wisely stated: The Germans aboard will not turn over a working or even partially working vessel.

Before someone brings up the "example" of U-boats turning themselves in, let me remind them that the crews in those cases were at sea.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 07:01 AM
HMS Warspite HMS Warspite is offline
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Logically the British would claim this ship, simply as it was their main and principle foe of the entire WW2 period, besides being the pride German prestige. As the USA already got Prinz Eugen for a strange reason, this ship would not go to the USA for political logic of the time and certainly not to the hostile USSR, as the Western Allies already had second thoughts about the USSR at the time. Minor countries were out of the question, as none was capable of supporting such a large vessel.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 10:14 AM
altamiro altamiro is online now
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Originally Posted by David S Poepoe View Post
I'm fairly certain the seacocks would be opened and the Tirpitz settle into the mud of the fjord floor.
The "mud of the fjord floor" is about a kilometer below the surface - the norwegian fjords are much deeper than the sea before the coast. If the crew decides to abandon the ship and open the seacocks it will be so deep as to be unrecoverable.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 10:56 AM
HMS Warspite HMS Warspite is offline
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In the OTL Tirpitz was sunk in shallow waters of the Tromsöfjord. She had been put on a sandy bank on purpose and this bank was even increased in size by putting additional ground on it. The huge size of the Tallboy Bombs was needed to blow huge craters in the sand, causing the flooded ship to turn turtle.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 11:01 AM
DrakonFin DrakonFin is offline
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Originally Posted by Lord_Thrawn View Post
So if ceded to either Britain or the US, scrapped by the 1950's; if USSR, will be refitted and serve until Khrushchev scraps it or worn out.
The Soviets used the formerly Finnish coastal armored ship Väinämöinen, named Vyborg, as a training ship for the Baltic Fleet. The Tirpitz might be used in a similar role, for example in the Northern Fleet, maybe called the Kaliningrad.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 11:54 AM
Simon Simon is offline
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Wasn't the UK really short of steel and other metals in the post-war period? Since IIRC the main military force that was sent to Norway when the Germans surrendered was the British 1st Airborne Division I could see them calling dibs on it and towing her back to the UK for scrapping if it was cost-effective or even just cost-neutral.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 03:27 PM
Cook Cook is offline
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Originally Posted by pedmore1202 View Post
Britain incorporates it into the RN...
I’m afraid that wouldn’t have been an option. The Tirpitz’s guns (main, secondary and anti-aircraft) were of different calibre but that’s only the start of it. Far more critically, every single piece of equipment on board was built to metric specifications while everything in the Royal Navy was built to imperial specifications. The RN wouldn’t have even have been able to replace a nut and bolt from their own inventory.


For an idea of just how annoying this is, try working on a 110 series Land Rover that’s had people improvise replacement bits over the years, and then multiply how annoying that is by about a thousand fold!

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Old April 19th, 2013, 03:43 PM
Magnum Magnum is offline
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Maybe give it to Denmark and have them make sure the Soviets don't get any bright ideas regarding the straits ?
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Old April 20th, 2013, 01:15 PM
Magniac Magniac is offline
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Maybe give it to Denmark and have them make sure the Soviets don't get any bright ideas regarding the straits ?
Attach a demotorised, concrete-filled Tirpitz to an RDN tugboat or two, have the whole set up stationed on the Kiel Canal, ready for use as a blockship to clog up that artery in the event of Soviet invasion.

Okay, that's not actually in Denmark, but it's the closest you're going to get to a Danish Tirpitz being deployed for any practical warlike reason.
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Old April 20th, 2013, 06:15 PM
Dave Howery Dave Howery is offline
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IIRC, the US blew up several Axis warships in an atomic bomb test. I suspect this would happen to the Tirpitz too...
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Old April 20th, 2013, 08:20 PM
Flubber Flubber is offline
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IIRC, the US blew up several Axis warships in an atomic bomb test. I suspect this would happen to the Tirpitz too...

It will depend on what condition Tirpitz is in at war's end. The UK inflicted varying amounts of damage to her during their several attacks. IIRC, one of the main battery turrets couldn't rotate after damage from one attack and their were no cranes in Norway capable of fixing the problem. By late 1944 the Germans had given up on attempts to fully repair the ship. Instead they kept her working just enough to use as a floating artillery platform and as a "distraction" for the UK.

If Tirpitz is still afloat in May of '45, she's going to go to either the UK or US for technical evaluation prior to being scrapped or expended as a target. The USSR isn't going to want a floating battery and can't repair her without substantial effort. That's why the Soviets took Italian ships instead, they were operational vessels thanks to the circumstance of Italy's surrender in '43. As for minor powers receiving the ship, other posters have already pointed out how asinine that suggestion is.

Prinz Eugen's postwar career should illustrate any possible postwar career for Tirpitz. The cruiser was first seized in Denmark by the UK and turned over to the US as a war prize in late '45. She steamed across the Atlantic in early '46, went through an extensive technical evaluation, and by mid-46 is relegated as a target in Operation Crossroads. She's towed from the US east coast to Bikini, nuked twice, and contaminated so severely that she cannot be repaired. She slowly foundered over several months finally sinking in late '46.

The most probable postwar careers of a surviving Tirpitz are, first, scrapping and, a distant second, expended as a test subject. Eugen was is good repair, unlike Tirpitz, and was worth steaming to the US and towing to Bikini. The other Axis target ships, the IJN's Nagato and Sakawa, barely made it to Bikini at all. They started off steaming to the atoll, but both broke down and had to be towed. Nagato was in especially poor condition and could have easily foundered if she'd broke down further from the test site.
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Old April 20th, 2013, 08:46 PM
Onkel Willie Onkel Willie is offline
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Assuming that she falls into English hands is assuming she stays in Norway. Hitler didn't want to lose his toy, but the turning of the tide in '44/'45 could change his mind. Tirpitz's 15 inch guns could be used against the advancing Soviets, assuming she can make it to the Baltic Sea before the British can sink her. Hitler could do something mad like sending the Tirpitz down the Oder or something to shell Soviet positions. Who knows with a raving looney like him ?
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Old April 21st, 2013, 09:37 AM
Jukra Jukra is offline
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Originally Posted by Lord_Thrawn View Post
The Italian battleships Vittorio Veneto and Littorio (Italia after armistice) were allocated to the UK and the US, respectively. In 1948 the USSR received the Giulio Cesare, and older Italian ship. Now with 3 brand new battleships, the USSR can claim one of the three (2 Italian, 1 German). So if ceded to either Britain or the US, scrapped by the 1950's; if USSR, will be refitted and serve until Khrushchev scraps it or worn out.
How about RN and USN making a cunning plan by turning out all major Axis combatant ships to USSR? They would suckout Soviet manpower away from the kind of ships Soviets could really use in any plausible wartime situation...
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Old April 21st, 2013, 10:08 AM
DrakonFin DrakonFin is offline
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How about RN and USN making a cunning plan by turning out all major Axis combatant ships to USSR? They would suckout Soviet manpower away from the kind of ships Soviets could really use in any plausible wartime situation...
That would be probably a bit too smart for them at the time; it might need a fair measure of hindsight to see allowing the Soviets having a good amount of not-totally-obsolete hardware in 1945 when the Western Allies could just keep it themselves (never mind what they actually do with). But it is a quite innovative idea.

As one knock-on effect to that happening, though, I could well see Finnish shipyards doing a lot of repair and conversion work on some of those ships in the following years at the behest of the Soviets, replacing somewhat the work done on building new ships IOTL for war reparations. Maybe that would change the way Finnish shipyard capacity developed post-war. The Turku shipyard for example would need whole different facilities to do a major overhaul on the Tirpitz than for building port tugs and river barges for the USSR...
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