'Wilhelm Gustloff' and others - did you know? - Ships Nostalgia
10:14

Welcome
Welcome!Welcome to Ships Nostalgia, the world's greatest online community for people worldwide with an interest in ships and shipping. Whether you are crew, ex-crew, ship enthusiasts or cruisers, this is the forum for you. And what's more, it's completely FREE.

Click here to go to the forums home page and find out more.
Click here to join.
Log in
User Name Password

'Wilhelm Gustloff' and others - did you know?

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 17th December 2006, 21:35
ddraigmor ddraigmor is offline
member
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Deck
Active: 1974 - 1994
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
My location
Posts: 5,812
'Wilhelm Gustloff' and others - did you know?

How many of you know about the three ships lost during the closing days of World war 2? The ships - the 'Goya', the 'Cap Arcona' and the 'Wilhelm Gustloff' took a total of almost 25000 souls with them when they were sunk.

I've chosen the briefest history of the 'Wilhelm Gustloff' as an example - if you're interested, I'll post more on each ship.

A terrible, sad waste of life that is little known - how many of you did?

The former KdF Cruise Liner Wilhelm Gustloff, at the time serving as a barracks ship for the Kriegsmarine, left from the Baltic port of Gotenhafen and set sail for the relative safety of the west, away from the advance of Soviet forces that were converging on the region. The Gustloff, designed to carry a maximum of 1,865 people total, was transporting 10,582 refugees, soldiers, sailors, and crew - including scores of sick and injured, as well as women, children and the elderly. All were fleeing from the terrible fate that awaited most of those left in the wake of the Soviet advance, including Germans and non-Germans alike.

When the gray light of dawn lifted over the freezing cold waves of the Baltic Sea on January 31st, 1945, it would fail to fall upon the decks of the Gustloff, for that night it had been sunk by the Soviet sub S-13 and disappeared under the dark sea in less than 50 minutes, taking with it 9,343 lives, marking its loss as the most tragic naval loss in all of history.

Jonty

Last edited by ddraigmor : 23rd October 2008 at 13:09.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 18th December 2006, 04:47
billyboy's Avatar
Bilge Rat
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Engineering
Active: 1957 - 1963
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
My location
Posts: 33,695
as you so rightly say. a terrible waste of lives that very little was known about. look forward to you other postings.
__________________
"Imagination is more important than knowledge". A. Einstein.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 18th December 2006, 09:28
Richard Green Richard Green is offline  
Géricault walks on water
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 328
Yes, I had read an article or book review somewhere by or about a lady who survived but I can't remember many details. Did the sub come back and torpedo again once the ship was disabled and sinking? Incidentally did many survive? What a terrible loss of life especially in a sea which is not noted for calm or warmth...
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 18th December 2006, 20:35
ddraigmor ddraigmor is offline
member
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Deck
Active: 1974 - 1994
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
My location
Posts: 5,812
Where do I start? This thread will be a long one- certainly for the stories involved - so I will split it into the ships involved. That way, it can be viewed under each ship’s name.

I’ll start in chronological order with the ‘Wilhelm Gustloff’ January 29th / 30th 1945.

The ‘Wilhelm Gustloff’ was a 25000 ton liner built for the KDF "Strength through Joy" (Kraft durch Freude) - Hitler’s socialist party’s ‘cruises for all’ programme. During the war she found herself converted from cruising to an accommodation ship and then a 500 bed hospital ship - the role which she was undertaking at the time of the tragedy.

Wartime records of how many individuals were aboard her are not precise. She was, however, overcrowded with some 4568 persons, including naval officers and men, Women Naval auxiliaries, wounded service men - including stretcher cases Her crew were some 173 strong. Whilst official sources attempt to give a figure, it has been disputed. According to one German reference work, there were 4,974 refugees and 1,626 military service personnel on board. Of this total of 6,600, only 900 could be rescued, and 5,700 perished. Source: W. Schötz, ed., Lexikon: Deutsche Geschichte im 20. Jahrhundert (Rosenheim: DVG, 1990), p. 497.

A 223-page English-language work on the sinking of the Gustloff reports that in addition to the 6,050 people (including 4,424 refugees) officially recorded as being on board, another 2,000 desperate refugees were hastily let on from small boats off Hela as the ship was leaving Gotenhafen This means about 8,000 people were aboard the ‘Wilhelm Gustloff’ when it sank. Of this number, 964 were rescued from the icy sea, some of whom died later. "It is likely, therefore, that at least 7,000 people perished." Source: Christopher Dobson, John Miller and Thomas Payne, The Cruellest Night: Germany's Dunkirk and the Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff Boston: Little Brown, 1979, pp. 83-84, 140-141.

Latest research puts the number of passengers aboard as closer to 10,582, with only 964 picked up - meaning that well over 8,500 people died in the attack.

Just before midnight, the ship was struck by three torpedoes fired by the Russian submarine S-13 under the command of Alexander Marinesko. One struck the bow area, one the swimming pool area on E deck (where the female auxiliaries were accommodated) and the third struck amidships. The attack took place off the Danish island of Bornholm and many survivors were later landed at Sassnitz and Ruegen Island. The Danish hospital ship ‘Prins Olaf’, anchored in Ruegen harbour, acted as reception vessel for those fortunate enough to be plucked from the freezing sea. The ’Wilhelm Gustloff’ capsized within 90 minutes and much rescue work was carried out by a single German minesweeper on scene. Despite the best efforts of other convoy vessels, those who were not killed or seriously wounded in the first few minutes of the attack were to endure a painful death in the bitter waters of the Baltic.

The cruiser ‘Admiral Hipper’ also put in an appearance but due to further submarine reports, left the scene for fear of attack.

‘General Von Steuben’ February 10, 1945

At 14600 tons, the ex Nord German Lloyd Line’s ‘General Von Steuben’ was another vessel that was sunk with an incredible loss of life. Setting sail from Pillau for Swinemunde, she had a total of 2800 wounded soldiers aboard together with 320 nurses, 30 doctors, 165 crew - and over 1500 refugees.

Again, the Soviet Navy struck at midnight, with L-13 the submarine responsible. The ‘General Von Steuben’ went down in just under seven minutes. Approximately 3608 people perished in those awful moments with some 659 survivors picked up by vessels involved in the convoy she was part of.

In May 2004, the wreck of the ship was discovered lying on its side in a depth of 45 metres - surrounded by human remains.

The commander of submarine L-13 was Captain Alexander Marinesko - the same man who had sunk the ‘Wilhelm Gustloff’. Mikhail Gorbachev posthumously awarded Captain Marinesko the award of ‘Hero Of The Soviet Union’ for his ‘distinguished wartime service’. The man who sank both ships sent over 10000 people to their deaths - many of them refugees fleeing the wrath of the advancing Red Army - and is remembered as a hero.

‘Goya’ April 16, 1945

A passenger / cargo ship of 5230 tons owned by the Hamburh America Line, she was commandeered by the Kriegsmarine as part of ‘Operation Hannibal’ - Doenitz’s last ditch effort to evacuate as many people as possible from the Gulf of Danzig area during the last few months of the war.

She took aboard the remnants of the 35th Tank Regiment and ‘thousands of pleading refugees’ attempting to escape from the Red Army as it steam rollered through Poland.

60 miles from Stolpe, near Cape Rozewje, she ran foul of the Russian submarine L-3 under the command of Captain Vladimir Konovalov. Struck by two torpedoes - which hit her amidships - she broke in half and sank in under 5 minutes. Of the estimated 6385 souls aboard, only 183 survived.

Konovalov was awarded the ‘Hero Of The Soviet Union’ for his efforts.

‘Cap Arcona’ and ‘Thielbeck’ May 3, 1945

Four days after Adolf Hitler committed suicide in Berlin, the liner ‘Cap Arcona’ (27,561 tons) and the cargo vessel ‘Thielbeck’ were anchored in Lubeck Bay. Aboard the ships were some 7000 people - a mix of Jews, Russian and Polish POW’s from the concentration camps at Nueengamme (nr. Hamburg) and Stuthof (nr. Danzig). They were being ‘evacuated’ on the orders of Heinrich Himmler from advancing allied troops.

When they had initially arrived at Lubeck, the Captain of the ‘Cap Arkona’ - Captain Heinrich Bertmann - refused to allow the mass to board stating he had room only for 700 people in total. Threatened with arrest and summary execution by the SS guards accompanying the prisoners, he could only stand and watch as his human cargo was shoved and pushed aboard the liner.

Some sources say that Heinrich Himmler had ordered the SS to allow the ships to go to sea and, once in deep water, to scuttle them with their human cargo aboard. Himmler's order to all concentration camp commanders that 'surrender was unacceptable, that camps were to be immediately evacuated and no prisoner was to fall alive into the hands of the enemy’ could give credence to this.

Also with both vessels was the steamer ‘Athen’ whose captain - with 1,998 aboard - deliberately ran his ship hard into the quayside at Neustadt and hoisted a white surrender flag - thus saving their lives

Attacked by RAF Typhoon fighter-bombers of 197, 184 and 263 Squadrons RAF, with rockets, the ‘Cap Arcona’ - with 4500 prisoners trapped below - was reduced to a blazing wreck and quickly rolled over onto her side. Only 314 prisoners and 2 crew escaped. Again, sources claimed that many who tried to reach shore were gunned down by members of the SS.

The ’Thielbeck’ took 45 minutes to sink - of her human cargo of some 2800, only 50 were saved. Again, as survivors attempted to swim ashore, they were mown down without mercy by the SS troops stationed on the shoreline..

6,500 people died in this two ship tragedy.

It was not until 1975 that the RAF crews who took part in the operation were told of their part.

Postscript:

Doenitz’s ‘Operation Hannibal’ had been an effort to evacuate as many people - civilians as well as military - from the advancing Red Army. Between January 1945 and the capitulation of Germany on May 8th 1945, over 2 million people were safely rescued.

Although hospital ships are internationally considered to be shown respect from attack during wartime, the Soviet government categorically regarded the German hospital ships as legitimate military targets. An official note of July 1941, stated that the Soviet government rejected a German request to abide by international law regarding the immunity of hospital ships: " ... The Soviet government gives notice that it will not recognize and respect German hospital ships according to the Hague Convention." (Source: Alfred de Zayas, The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945 (University of Nebraska Press, 1990), p. 261.; A. de Zayas, Nemesis, p. 76. )

Sober reading.

Jonty

Last edited by ddraigmor : 19th December 2006 at 13:25.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 18th December 2006, 23:11
David Wilcockson's Avatar
David Wilcockson David Wilcockson is online now  
Senior Member
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Navigation
Active: 1964 - 1982
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
My location
Posts: 3,122
Jonty
I had heard/read sketchy reports over the years of this incident but nothing in the depth that you have managed though, thanks very much for it. Mans inhumanity to man knows no bounds. One nit picking point, `Admiral Hipper` unless I`m wrong was a heavy cruiser same class as Prinz Eugen, & not a battleship.
David
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 18th December 2006, 23:23
ddraigmor ddraigmor is offline
member
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Deck
Active: 1974 - 1994
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
My location
Posts: 5,812
David,

I stand corrected!

Jonty
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 19th December 2006, 13:38
ddraigmor ddraigmor is offline
member
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Deck
Active: 1974 - 1994
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
My location
Posts: 5,812
Photos of the other ships.

'General Von Steuben' - 'Cap Arkona' - 'Goya'

Jonty

Last edited by ddraigmor : 23rd October 2008 at 13:09.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 19th December 2006, 15:00
Lksimcoe Lksimcoe is offline  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
My location
Posts: 560
One thing about the Wilhelm Guslof that I heard on TV a couple of months ago.

There was an expedition to dive on the ship, and they were surprised to find that the whole center of the ship was a mass of jumbled metal.

it turns out that after the war, the Soviets dove on the ship to recover valuables from the victims, and then blew the ship to cover their crime.

This came to light after the collapse of the Soviet Union when records were opened.

Makes me sick. (there's more I could comment, but for fear of being banned, I'll keep my opinions to myself)
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 19th December 2006, 16:20
David Wilcockson's Avatar
David Wilcockson David Wilcockson is online now  
Senior Member
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Navigation
Active: 1964 - 1982
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
My location
Posts: 3,122
Lksimcoe
Like I said Mans inhumanity ............!
David
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 19th December 2006, 18:16
ddraigmor ddraigmor is offline
member
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Deck
Active: 1974 - 1994
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
My location
Posts: 5,812
The Polish Giovernment have refused to allow anyone to dive on the vessel - they have a Coastguard vessel hovering nearby on stand-by - so the story of the Russian pillage of a war grave could be right.

Terrible stories - the more I read up about the ship, the more I find myself horrified by the extent of war.

As for the collapsed centre (midships) section, she apparently broke her back as she sank so that could explain it........?

Jonty
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 26th December 2006, 00:56
david david is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 328
Jonty and Richard,
On the website:-
http://www.wilhelmgustloff.com
there is a lot of up-to-date info including an interview with that lady survivor.
Also links to the other ships sunk during those dark, chaotic days just as the war was ending, "every man for himself" and very little factual reportage.
Try online booksellers for:
"On a Sailors Grave-(No Roses Grow)"
+
"The Damned Don't Drown"

Regards, Seasons Greetings,
David D.
I have the latter book and can recommend as an excellent pageturner, written from the perspective of one who was on her.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 26th December 2006, 22:15
Ngaio 62's Avatar
Ngaio 62 Ngaio 62 is offline  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,663
"the director JOSEPH VILSMAIER will start next year shooting a movie about the WILHELM GUSTLOFF in germany. it is a high budget tv movie 10 million euro,in cooperation with teamworx production (dresden,stauffenberg,etc)...."

This is a message that was posted on Wilhelmgustloff.com back in November.

Martin
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 26th December 2006, 23:29
ddraigmor ddraigmor is offline
member
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Deck
Active: 1974 - 1994
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
My location
Posts: 5,812
All,

Many thanks - a pity the TV documentary being shot in Germany may not be shown in the UK.

Drat, and I don't speak German either!

Jonty
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 30th December 2006, 22:09
Ngaio 62's Avatar
Ngaio 62 Ngaio 62 is offline  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,663
Jonty,
My reader of this suggests this will be a feature length if not a made for TV movie. If it is anything like the Pamir film it will probably come out on DVD with English subtitles.

If I learn more I will try and post it here.

Martin
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 31st December 2006, 00:00
ddraigmor ddraigmor is offline
member
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Deck
Active: 1974 - 1994
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
My location
Posts: 5,812
Ngaio,

Yes - please keep us posted as it is a film that would be worth seeing.

Regards,

Jonty
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 8th October 2008, 15:55
ddraigmor ddraigmor is offline
member
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Deck
Active: 1974 - 1994
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
My location
Posts: 5,812
Hopefully, this revival will provide me with answers!

I am still seeking films of the 'Wilhelm Gustloff' story. Does anyone know if the feature length movie mentioned by Ngaio is out yet? If so, where can I get a copy?

Jonty
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 8th October 2008, 17:04
James_C's Avatar
James_C James_C is offline   SN Supporter
Malim Sahib Moderator
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Navigation
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
My location
Posts: 7,178
Jonty,
I've just seen this thread and thank you for bringing it to our attention.
I'd read of the Gustloff but had no idea of the Von Steuben, Cap Arcona and the others.
I did a bit of googling and found the following website which has mention of a DVD.
http://www.wilhelmgustloff.com/
Also, take a look on Youtube as there is quite a lot of footage taken on dives to the Gustloff and Von Steuben.
The whole episode brings a chill to the bone, especially knowing most of the casualties were civilians desperately trying to escape.
__________________
Regards,

Jim
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 8th October 2008, 20:02
ddraigmor ddraigmor is offline
member
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Deck
Active: 1974 - 1994
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
My location
Posts: 5,812
Jim.

She's fascinated me for years - well, all of them really but for some reason she stands out.

I am going through the Youtibe site as I write this. You're correct - the images and the stories all send a shiver down my spine.

The site you mention does say a lot about the film but I beleive a new one was made. I am sure someone will tell me what it's called and then I'll probably get it off Amazon.de - I can't speak German but hey ho...I am sure I will work out what is going on!

Jonty
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 8th October 2008, 21:05
ssr481's Avatar
ssr481 ssr481 is offline  
Senior Member
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Deck
Active: 1992 - Present
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,220
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddraigmor View Post
Jim.

She's fascinated me for years - well, all of them really but for some reason she stands out.

I am going through the Youtibe site as I write this. You're correct - the images and the stories all send a shiver down my spine.

The site you mention does say a lot about the film but I beleive a new one was made. I am sure someone will tell me what it's called and then I'll probably get it off Amazon.de - I can't speak German but hey ho...I am sure I will work out what is going on!

Jonty
Jonty, get in touch with me.. I speaka da lingo.. can translate for ya.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 8th October 2008, 22:11
ddraigmor ddraigmor is offline
member
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Deck
Active: 1974 - 1994
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
My location
Posts: 5,812
If I get the video then I can usually work out what is what. There was a chance of it being subtitled in English but I am waiting for an informed member to let me know what the title is!

Ta for that SSR - if I get stuck I might send you a copy of the DVD over when I get it but the translation will take you months!

Jonty
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 9th October 2008, 08:55
stein stein is offline  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 12,424
Nobel prize winner Gunther Grass has recently published a book around the Gustloff story, I took this off the net, posted by one "Aneurin": The sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff has recently been the subject of the latest work by Gunter Grass, Germany's Nobel prize-winning author. Named Im Krebsgang or In Retrogression it uses a blend of fact and fiction to tell the story of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff.

Of course what interests Gunter Grass is not so much the tale of the Wilhelm Gustloff itself, but how it symbolises the sufferings many Germans endured during the Second World War and in particular the expulsion of the millions of Germans from their former homes in East Prussia (2) and how reluctant Germany has been to recognise this itself.

Publication of the novel has triggered a re-examination within Germany of its past. The UK Daily Telegraph reports that publication " has caused a sensation in Germany," and how it has been hailed as a turning point in the way that the country views the fate of own citizens who died in the war.

As Gunter Grass himself puts it:
It is strange and disturbing to hear it said that it is only ever late in the day and with much hesitation that the sufferings inflicted on the Germans during the war are recalled. The consequences of the war, begun without scruple by Germany and criminally pursued, that is, the destruction of German towns, the deaths of thousands of civilians as a result of bombing, the expulsion and distress of the 12 million Germans in the east who had to flee: all this was only ever mentioned as a background. In postwar literature, the memory of the many who died in the nights of bombing and the mass exodus was never reflected in the same way. Experience shows that victims of violence, whoever was responsible for it, do not wish to remember the atrocities they have undergone. (End of quote.)

Personally I would like to see a Russion version of the event too. I remember watching a German documentary on the Gustloff story with the Russian U-boat commander either interviewed or quoted as saying: "I only saw a large ship." And the time of day and weather conditions as reported partly confirming this. This may easily turn into a sort of revolving guilt game. There exists a movement in Germany to focus on the lost territories and the expulsions, along with the occupation of East Germany in a way that brands the Russians occupiers subhuman, their army often deemed "criminal hordes." One should here remember Hitler's "good intention" of defending the world against the Bolsheviks, a propaganda idea used continually in occupied countries, as well as in Germany itself during the war. Those people who buy this propaganda today should speak to the Norwegians who were saved from Hitler's order to burn Norway by a Russian army who behaved exemplary and is every year honoured for their part in saving the North of Norway. Russia largely won the the Second World War for us, with an enormous sacrifice against an enemy that considered Russians "subhuman" and performed atrocities daily. The sufferings of the people considered "subhumans" by the Nazis, as the Russians were, were enormous in comparison with the "Arians" like the Norwegians, and when considering the Russian behaviour at the end of the war and after, this should perhaps be taken into consideration. Regards, Stein.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 9th October 2008, 12:05
ddraigmor ddraigmor is offline
member
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Deck
Active: 1974 - 1994
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
My location
Posts: 5,812
Stein,

The 'blame game' is, unfortunately, a fact we cannot ever withdraw from. If you read contemporary accounts of the war during that period, you will find that the Red Army were as brutal with Germans as the occupying forces had been when they made their moves into Russia itself. It is almost 'eye for an eye'.

When we look at the brutality of the Red Army towards the Germans, do we conveniently seem to ignore things such as the treatment of Soviet POWs , who were not given the protections and guarantees of the Geneva Convention. Or The intentional destruction of major medieval churches of Novgorod, of monasteries in the Moscow region and of the imperial palaces around St. Petersburg - many of them were left by the post-war authorities in ruins or simply demolished). There was also the campaign of extermination of Slavic population in the occupied territories. Several thousand villages were burned with their entire population (e.g., Khatyn massacre in Belarus). Every fourth inhabitant of Belarus did not survive the German occupation.

So, in exacting 'revenge', the Red Army were particularly brutal against the Germans as they had been towards the 'sub human' Slavic peoples.

However, the 'Wilhelm Gustloff' and the other vessels sunk by the Soviets were atrocities in their own rights. Let us not foget that the German Krigesmarine had a capital ship in the area that night - the KMS 'Admiral Hipper'. The question was never asked as to why the Russians did not choose to go for her but rather a slow moving vessel which was showing navigation lights to mark her as an evacuation vessel. Was their intelligence that faulty - or was it a 'revenge' attack to kill as many Germans as possible? The Red Army treatment of the Germans was 'like for like' - if we are looking at inhumanity, then both sides are equally as guilty.

If Germany is now answering her past, then some good has come of this. However, atrocities were committed by all sides - let us also not foregt that.

Also, Russia won the war for you? I find that hard to accept, Stein! On the 8th May 1945, it was Allied troops - from Norway, Sweden and Great Britain in company with members of the Norwegian Resistance - who accepted the surrender of the occupying German forces. Also, King Haakon was brought home to Norway by the Royal Navy.

It was - and correct me here if I am wrong - the allies who supplied the resistance with arms and ammunition, co ordinated it, sustained and supplied it. It was the British who made the first attempt to invade Norway and the British and Norwegians who took part in raids such as Lofoten and the Heavy water plant.

The Russians won the war for you? A small part of it perhaps - but please do not foget the many allied troops who laid down their lives to try and free Norway from German occupation!

Without allied intervention, Russia would not have been inany position to win her war - and that stands for many of the other countries occupied by Germany too.

Jonty
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 9th October 2008, 12:22
stein stein is offline  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 12,424
A small misunderstanding, probably due to bad wording on my part. In "Russia won the war for us," "us" was meant to refer to the Allies. But that not to indicate anything other than "a very large part." I have not the number of German soldiers occupied on the Eastern front, but I believe they represented a substantial part of German strength. I'd be interested in the facts in numbers if anyone has them.
As for Norway, it was rapidly occupied by the Germans, and when Germany capitulated they left (with the country in overall terms largely as it was before the war, our big losses were at sea). Apart from the Russians stopping the "burnt Earth" project in the North there were no liberation of Norway. This of course said as large strategic facts, if you want to record every act of heroic resistance, you could use forever. One thing I often think of that may be relevant is the British bomber crew - I would guess in a Mosquito, that alone tried to bomb Gestapo Headquarters at Victoria Terrasse in Oslo. They missed with their bomb and hit a tramcar full of Norwegian workers going to work in the morning. Daring raid, yes very, with possibly glorious propaganda results yes, but for it all they probably received no medals. That's war, results only are counted, intentions counts for hardly anything. Regards, Stein
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 9th October 2008, 13:40
K urgess K urgess is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
My location
Posts: 0
Possibly the first raid by Mosquitoes, Stein.
It was a top secret aircraft before that.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oslo_Mosquito_raid
It could be said that the lessons learnt from the mistakes made were used to good effect in raids such as the French prison and Copenhagen Shell House raids.
http://www.raf.mod.uk/history_old/shell.html
I always though that the burnt earth policy in northern Norway was a direct result of facing the Russians across the border with the same mind set as that used on the main Eastern Front.
Being the son of a Norwegian Resistance worker who was also conscripted by the Germans as a cook/maid and one of the British forces that arrived in Stavanger in May 1945, I have a biassed outlook on the conduct and results of that conflict.
As to the subject of the thread, wasn't there another refugee ship in the same area that was sunk by Allied bombers despite red crosses and the like?
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 9th October 2008, 13:42
chadburn chadburn is offline  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 8,375
From what I understood of the situation was that the "Gustloff" and the other escaping ships were not making for the sanctury of the Allied Western Controlled area's but were making for Norway which at the time was still under German control to set up a German enclave, the German's always considered the Norwegian's to be their nearest "Arian?" relative's (most of the Norwegian's did not of course agree!) but had little say in the matter with a Quisling Government in charge. It is a bit of a useless exercise to look back and say the sinking of these ships should not have happened although that will be the German view I suspect, but from an Allied point of view they had to be stopped from reaching Norway or possibly Denmark (as a last resort )which again was still in German hands and the decision was taken to attack/sink all ships in that area by ALL Allied Forces not just the Russian's, I am afraid my sympathy's lie with the "missing" 6 million Men, Woman and CHILDREN of another Race
__________________
Geordie Chief

From Grey Funnel to any Funnel, just show him/ me the money Mabel
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Search the net with ask.com
Support SN
Ask.com and get


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.