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In the early summer of 1941 German mountain soldiers under the command of General Eduard Dietl set out in northern Norway up through Finland to the Russian border. Operation Silberfuchs was underway. The northernmost section of the Eastern Front would ensure Hitler supplies of nickel from Finnish mines, and bring the strategically important port city of Murmansk under German control. The roadless rocky terrain and extremes of weather created major challenges for the German troop movements. Despite this Dietl's men made quick gains on his Russian foe, and they came closer to Murmansk. Despite repeated warnings of a German attack, Stalin had failed to mobilize, and the British hesitated to come to the rescue of the Red Army. But while the weather conditions steadily worsened, the Russians' resistance increased. Three bloody efforts to force the river Litza were repulsed and the offensive would develop into a nightmare for the inadequately equipped German soldiers. In an exciting and authoritative narrative based on previously unpublished material, Alf Reidar Jacobsen describes the heavy fighting that would lead to Hitler's first defeat on the Eastern Front. With firsthand accounts of the fighting on the front line, this is a dramatic new account of a forgotten but bloody episode of World War II.
In the great and gallant tradition of the Royal Navy, Captain Bernard Warburton-Lee followed the call of Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, to lead his flotilla into hostile waters through 50 miles of blizzards. His ships delivered a crushing blow to the Nazi German squadron then occupying Narvik, the famous Arctic iron-ore port. Only moments later, a salvo of German shells smashed the bridge of HMS Hardy, killing Warburton-Lee and several of his officers. His last signal to his fellow men was without fear: `Keep on engaging the enemy!' With his death, the Royal Navy had lost one of its youngest and most talented officers: a truly human hero. Death at Dawn is the epic retelling of the first Battle of Narvik, fought over the course of two days, during which two German destroyers were sunk and six damaged. Utilising first-hand accounts, including letters from Warburton-Lee to his wife Elizabeth, Alf R. Jacobsen crafts the events leading up to and during the conflict into a gripping tale of human courage at the edges of the earth.
Norwegian investigative journalist Alf Jacobsen relates one of the most incredible tales of the Second World War, in which Royal Navy X-craft midget submarines attacked the German battleship Tirpitz in Norway. A daring plan was hatched by the Admiralty to sink Tirpitz using midget submarines to plant high explosive mines beneath the ship's keel. On 22 September 1943, six X-craft midget submarines set out from Scotland to sink the battleship at anchor in Norway. Three never reached the fjord and X5, commanded by Lt Henty-Creer, was presumed sunk by the Germans, so only X6 and X7 made the attack. Both Lt Donald Cameron in X6 and Lt Godfrey Place in X7 placed their charges successfully, but were forced to surrender. Both were awarded the Victoria Cross. Although Tirpitz was not sunk she was put out of action until April 1944. Lt Henty-Creer, the commander of X5, and his crew were never seen again. Neither he nor any of his crew received any posthumous gallantry awards. Did X5 actually penetrate the anti-submarine defences around Tirpitz and lay its explosive charges beneath the battleship? If it did, then Henty-Creer and his crew deserve to be honoured for their bravery.
The powerful German battle cruiser Scharnhorst was stalked and engaged on Boxing Day 1943 by a superior Allied naval task force off the North Cape of Norway. In pitch darkness and mountainous seas, British warships led by HMS Duke of York and HMS Belfast engaged Scharnhorst in a clash of the titans that saw the pride of the German Navy sent to the bottom of the Barents Sea with heavy loss of life among its crew of the 2000 or so men onboard, only 36 were saved. In 2000, the Norwegian writer and investigative journalist, Alf R. Jacobsen, led the expedition that found and filmed the wreck of the Scharnhorst 1000ft down in the freezing ocean inside the Arctic Circle. His book tells for the first time the complete story of this important World War II naval engagement and the eventual rediscovery of the ship. The story of the destruction of the Scharnhorst and the clandestine activities around the German naval base in northern Norway are interwoven with the author's personal account of how, after a search lasting many years, he finally succeeded in locating and filming the wreck of the battle cruiser.