1. Arrived at Brest on 23rd March 1941, and went out of service because of repairs to her boilers.
  2. Repairs completed mid July, requiring sea-trials.
  3. Sailed for La Pallice, 250 miles SE, on 24th July. Her place was taken by a merchantman covered with camouflage netting, and oil slicks were spread to the north of Brest.
  4. Simultaneous daylight attacks on La Pallice and Brest at 1400 / 25th July. Scharnhorst was hit 5 times, damaging the electrical systems, and causing flooding.
  5. Very quickly patched up, and in dry dock at Brest on 26th July for repairs. Refitted and equipped with torpedo tubes from KM Nuremburg.
  6. Ready for service in December 1941, but the dock gates were damaged by bombing, 17th / 18th December, and the ship was not undocked until January 1942, 1 month before sailing.


  1. Arrived at Brest on 23rd March with Scharnhorst.
  2. During a raid by Bomber Command on the night of 4th April, a bomb fell into No.8 Dock where Gneiseanau was lying.
  3. The bomb did not explode, and Gneisenau was moved to a mooring in the harbour.
  4. Gneisenau was torpedoed early on the morning of 6th April by Pilot Officer Kenneth Campbell RAFVR (posthumous VC), Sgt. J.P. Scott (posthumous DFM), Sgts W. Mallis and R.W. Hillman, 22 Squadron RAF Coastal Command, flying a Bristol Beaufort from North Coates.
    1. The aircraft was shot down into the harbour while climbing out, and all the crew were killed.
    2. The achievement remained unknown by the Admiralty until later, because the aircraft did not return to base.
    3. As a result of the attack by P.O. Campell and his crew, Gneisenau was out of service for 6 months with a smashed propeller shaft.
  5. On 24th March, air photo recce showed that Gneisenau had been moved into dry-dock.
  6. On the night of 10th-11th April, Gneisenau received 4 bomb hits from Bomber Command.
  7. Not damaged by the air raids of 24th July. Fitted with torpedo tubes from KM Leipzig.
  8. Ready for service in November 1941, 3 months before sailing.
  9. Slightly damaged in an air-raid, 6th January 1941.

Prinz Eugen

  1. Detached from Bismarck 1800 / 24th at 56o30'N 36o15'W.
  2. Refueled by Esso Hamburg on 28th May, when Prinz Eugen discovered serious defects in all 3 engines plus a propeller blade chipped by ice in the Denmark Straits.
  3. Returned to Brest on 1st June, having steamed 7,000 miles at an average speed of 24 knots since leaving Gotenhafen (Danzig / Gdansk).
  4. Bombed 1st / 2nd July; hit on the bridge, with over 50 killed; estimated 6 months to repair.
  5. Not damaged by the air raids of 24th July.
  6. Ready for service in December 1941 and undocked 15th December.

Planning for Operation Cerberus

  1. At a meeting with Admiral Raeder at Rastenburg, Hitler pressed for Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen to be withdrawn from Brest to counter an expected invasion of Norway, Hitler’s "Zone of Destiny".
  2. On 29th December 1941, Hitler insisted on the ships being brought back to the North Sea, or the ships being paid off, having all of their main armaments removed for coastal defence in Norway, and the hulls scrapped.
  3. On 12th January, Vizeadmiral Ciliax agreed to the concept of sending the ships through the Channel, providing that they were guaranteed air cover by the Luftwaffe. Lt. General Jeschonnek agreed to provide 250 fighters between Brest and Hamburg. Hitler emphasized the importance of surprise: "If one ship is not ready, the other two must go." The only provision was that the Prinz Eugen should not sail alone.
  4. Hitler also suggested that Mussolini be informed that KM Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen were breaking out to the Pacific to assist the Imperial Japanese Navy.
  5. The optimum date was 12th February, when high water at Dover was at the optimum time of 0930 within the period of maximum darkness.
  6. Since the ships could reach maximum speeds only in deeper waters, marker buoys indicated channels with depths in excess of 15 meters. 119 mines were cleared in advance from these channels by 80 minesweepers.
  7. The weather forecast was "slight to moderate sea, with winds not in excess of 20 kph / 13 mph, visibility no more than 16 km / 10 miles, cloud 10/10".
  8. Long range weather forecasts by FW 20's confirmed 12th February.

Planning for Operation Fuller

  1. Bomber Command bombed and mined the Brest area and the cleared channels on the route along the Channel from 11th December onward, every night.
  2. Sir Philip Joubert, C-in-C Coastal Command, noticed increased numbers of German destroyers and torpedo boats in the Channel, and that Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen had been observed taking part in exercises together. He predicted in a Memorandum that the German Squadron would try a break-out through the Channel about 10th – 15th February.
  3. With the destruction of the Bismarck in mind, the strategy was to cripple the German Squadron by means of torpedo aircraft, so that surface ships could sink them.
  4. Coastal Command set up three patrol lines, "Stopper", to the east of the Brest Peninsula, "Habo", and "Line SE".
  5. Joubert noted that 15th February, when there would be no moon, would be a tentative date.
  6. Joubert’s conclusions were in agreement with those of Fighter Command, Bomber Command, and the Admiralty.
  7. Only Admiral Bertram Ramsay thought that a daylight break-out would be attempted, and that the RAF and RN forces lacked the necessary torpedo bombers to stop the German Squadron. He therefore requested and received the redeployment of 825 Squadron from Lee-on-Solent to Manston. All of Coastal command’s other torpedo bomber squadrons were in the Mediterranean.

Operation Cerberus and Fuller

  1. From 11th December onward, Coastal Command and Bomber Command bombed and / or mined the Brest area and the presumed route to the North Sea every night.
  2. The RN went on immediate notice every night from the beginning of February, against a nighttime passage through the Straits of Dover.
  3. HMS Sealion was given discretion to patrol the Brest Roads every night from 7th to 11th February. This was done, including recharging her batteries on the surface, and proceeding to sea every day. On station at 1900 to 2200 / 11th, but forced out to sea at about 2200 to recharge batteries.
  4. Brest, 2030 / 11th, order given to German ships to raise steam.
  5. ~2035 / 11th air raid warning sounded, followed by an air raid.
  6. 2100 / 11th, all clear sounded.
  7. 2245 / 11th, German ships weighed anchor.
  8. 2200 / 11th, HMS Sealion recharging her batteries.
  9. The 224 Squadron Hudson patrolling "Line Stopper" took off at 1900 from St. Eval, and immediately nearly collided with a Ju 88. The radar set was immediately switched off, and when being switched on again was found to be inoperative, and the aircraft returned to base.
  10. The replacement aircraft arrived over the Brest area at about the time the German Squadron was leaving, but made no sightings.
  11. The 224 Squadron Hudson patrolling "Line SE" arrived at 1930, but at 2055 the radar failed. It was decided to patrol the line Bréhat – Ushant in the hope of making a visual siting, but this proved impossible. At 2156, the aircraft decided to return to base.
  12. No replacement aircraft was sent to patrol "Line SE".
  13. "Line Habo" was patrolled by Hudsons of 223 Squadron, but at no time during the hours of patrol were the German ships within radar distance of the aircraft.
  14. The German Squadron was off Alderney, due south of Portland Bill, at 0515.
  15. The German Squadron was NW of Le Havre at 0800.
  16. The German Squadron was NW of Dieppe at 0915.
  17. Three large blips were sighted by Swingate Downs radar station using a Type 271 set, Dover, when the ships were 60 miles away, moving at 25 knots, at about 1000. Two Spitfires were scrambled from Hawkinge to investigate.
  18. The German Squadron was not sighted until 1042 off Le Touquet, by two separate pairs of patrolling Spitfires from Kenley and Hawkinge.
  19. At about the same time, Admiral Ramsey, acting on radar plots, decided that the German Squadron was in the Channel and informed the First Sea Lord.
  20. Wireless silence was maintained until the aircraft landed at 1109.
  21. The weather had deteriorated to 7/10 cloud, 1,400 yards visibility, cloud base at 600 to 900 feet.
  22. The Admiralty confirmed to Admiral Ramsay that the German Squadron was approximately one hour’s steaming away from the Straits of Dover.
  23. The Dover MTB Flotilla sailed at 1150.
  24. The Harwich Flotilla had been taking part in gunnery exercises under the AA cover of a flotilla of Hunt class destroyers, and was informed that the German Squadron was in the Straits of Dover "shortly before noon".
  25. The German Squadron was off Cap Griz Nez at 1156.
  26. The heavy guns on the South Foreland opened fire at 1219.
  27. 825 Squadron took off at 1220.
  28. The Ramsgate MTB Flotilla sailed at 1225.

German Forces

  • Generaladmiral Alfred Saalwächter
    Position: Group Commander
  • Admiral Schniewind
    Position: Fleet Commander
  • Vizeadmiral Otto Ciliax
    Position: CinC Battleships
  • KM Scharnhorst (flagship)(flagship)
    Commanding officer: KaptzS Kurt Caesar Hoffmann
  • KM Gneisenau
    Commanding officer: KaptzS Otto Fein
  • KM Prinz Eugen
    Commanding officer: KptzS Helmuth Brinkman

Destroyer screen

From Brest
  • Rear Adm. Bey
  • KM Z 29 (flagship)(flagship)
5th Destroyer Flotilla
  • Capt. Berger
  • KM Richard Beitzen (flagship)(flagship)
  • KM Paul Jacobi
  • KM Herman Schoemann
  • KM Frederich Inn
  • KM Z 25
  • KM Bruno Heinmann
    Notes: Intended to be part of the screen but mined and sunk off Calais on 25th January 1942.

2nd Torpedo Boat Flotilla

Le Havre, joined off Cherbourg Peninsula
  • Cdr. Erdmann
  • KM T 2
  • KM T 4
  • KM T 5
  • KM T 11
  • KM T 12

3rd Torpedo Boat Flotilla

From Dunkirk, joined off Le Havre (?)
  • Cdr. Wilcke
  • KM T 13
  • KM T 15
  • KM T 16
  • KM T 17

5th Torpedo Boat Flotilla

Joined off Cape Griz Nez
  • Cdr. Schmidt
  • KM Kondor
  • KM Falke
  • KM Seadler
  • KM Iltis
  • KM Jaguar

S-boot Flotillas

Ten boats
  • 2nd
    Commanding officer: Lt. Cdr. Feldt
  • 4th
    Commanding officer: Lt. Cdr. Bätge
  • 6th
    Commanding officer: Lt. Cdr. Obermaier

Minesweeping West

  • Kapitän zur See Friederich Ruge
    Position: Commander, Minesweeping West
  • 1st Minesweeping Flotilla
    Notes: Shared with Minesweeping North.
  • 2nd Minesweeping Flotilla
  • 4th Minesweeping Flotilla
  • 5th Minesweeping Flotilla
  • 12th Minesweeping Flotilla

Minesweeping North

  • Konteradmiral Wolfram
    Position: Commander, Minesweeping North
  • 1st Minesweeping Flotilla
    Notes: Shared with Minesweeping West.
  • 5th Minesweeping Flotilla
  • 2nd R-boot Flotilla
  • 3rd R-boot Flotilla
  • 4th R-boot Flotilla


  • Various small craft
    Notes: From Commander Naval Defense Forces West and Commander Naval Defense Forces North.
    • V1302 (sunk)(sunk)

Air Forces

Total available fighter strength is approx. 252 planes. Losses amounted to 17 fighters and 11 pilots.

Plan is for capital ships to leave Brest at 2000. Continuous fighter cover will be by four schwaerme of four planes each, two low and two high, one of each set on either side of the flotilla flying in broad figure-eights along the length of the KM formation. Patrols to last 30 minutes with relief to take place over the naval force: approx. flight overlap time of 10 minutes. Strictest radio silence to be maintained (Luftwaffe fighter pilots were known for being extremely talkative while in flight) and all patrols to be maintained at minimum altitude until the command "open visor" was given, at which time all flights to go to their assigned altitudes. Interception of incoming enemy forces to be met as needed and radio silence relaxed. On-site LW commander was Ibel on the Scharnhorst; overall commander—and the one to issue the "open visor" command—was Galland at Audembert.

Luftflotte 3

  • Generalfeldmarschall Hugo Sperrle
    Notes: Paris

Total 176 bomber aircraft to attack RN ships. Luftflotte 3 also included:

  • 2 HE 111
    Notes: Radar jammers. Paris.
  • KGr 122
  • KGr 106

Luftflotte Reich

  • General der Fleiger Weise
  • Fighter Groups
    Commanding officer: Oberst Adolph Galland
    Notes: Galland at Audembert.

Liason aboard Scharnhorst

  • Jafue Schiff Oberst Max Ibel

Jagdgeschwader 26

Total available strength of approx. 90 fighters.

  • Kommodore Major Gerhard Schoepfel
  • Stab
    Notes: FW-190A-1.
I Gruppe
  • Kommandeur Major Johannes Seifert
  • 1 Staffel
    Commanding officer: Staffelkaeptain Oberleutnant Josef Haiboeck
  • 2 Staffel
    Commanding officer: StaKap Oblt. Christian Eickhoff
  • 3 Staffel
    Commanding officer: StaKap Oblt. Johannes Schmidt
II Gruppe
  • Kommandeur Hauptmann Joachim Muencheberg
  • 4 Staffel
    Commanding officer: StaKap Oblt. Kurt Ebersberger
  • 5 Staffel
    Commanding officer: StaKap Oblt. Wolfgang Kosse
  • 6 Staffel
    Commanding officer: StaKap Oblt. Otto Behrens
III Gruppe
  • Kommandeur Hauptmann Josef Priller
  • 7 Staffel
    Commanding officer: StaKap Hptm. Klaus Mietusch
  • 8 Staffel
    Commanding officer: StaKap Oblt. Karl Borris
  • 9 Staffel
    Commanding officer: StaKap Hptm. Kurt Ruppert

Jagdgeschwader 2

Similar composition with similar strength.

Jagdgeschwader 1

Similar composition but with approx. 60 available Bf-109's available for the Dash because next day's air cover is also their responsibility Jagdgeschwader 52 grounded due to bad weather.


  • Paris Fighter Training School
    Notes: Approx. 12 Bf-109.
  • Night fighters
    Notes: Approx. 30 Me110 night fighters available for dawn and dusk cover.

Ground Forces

  • Gun batteries
    Notes: Pas de Calais.

British Forces


  • Admiral Sir Max Horton
5th Submarine Flotilla
  • 1 "U" class
  • 1 "T" class
  • 3 "S" class
    • HMS Sealion
      Commanding officer: Lt. Cdr. G.R. Colvin
      Notes: Off Brest replaced one other H class on 6th February, with the discretion to go inside Brest Roads.
  • 1 Porpoise class
  • 1 "R" class
  • 1 "P" class
  • 1 ex Turkish
  • 1 R. Nor. N.
  • 4 Free French
  • H.M.S. Graph
7th Submarine Flotilla
  • 2 "O" class
  • 2 "L" class
  • 7 "H"class
  • 3 R.Net, N.
  • 1 R. Nor. N.
  • 1 Polish
  • HMS H.34

Home Fleet

Sir John Tovey refused to risk the one effectively available battleship, HMS King George V, in the Channel, so close to the U-boats bases and Luftwaffe bomber bases.

Of the Home Fleet battleships available in the second week of February 1942:

  • HMS King George V
    Notes: Watching the Tirpitz.
  • HMS Duke of York
    Notes: Working up and would not join the Fleet until the end of the month.
  • HMS Rodney
    Notes: Too slow to catch Scharnhorst, Gneisenau or Prinz Eugen, and was in need of another refit.
  • HMS Renown
    Notes: Force H. In the UK to escort a troop convoy to the Middle East.

Plymouth and Portsmouth Commands

At Devonport
  • HMS Manxman
    Notes: Fast minelayer.
  • HMS Plover
    Notes: Controlled minelayer.
  • HMS Cardiff
    Notes: Gunnery Firing Cruiser, Western Approaches.
  • HMS Belfast
    Notes: Refitting at Devonport.
  • 1st Destroyer Flotilla
  • 15th Destroyer Flotilla

1st and 15th Destroyer Flotillas were employed as coastal convoy escorts. The use of these ships to attack the German Squadron was not considered because of their low speed (25 knots), and the lack (on some ships) of torpedo tubes.

At Dover
  • Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay
    Position: Flag officer, Dover
  • HMS Welshman
    Notes: Fast minelayer.
Dover Flotilla
  • Lt. Cdr E.N. Pumphrey
  • MTB 221
    Commanding officer: Lt. Cdr Nigel Pumphrey
  • MTB 219
    Commanding officer: Lt. Mark Arnold-Foster
  • MTB 45
    Commanding officer: Lt. Hilary Gamble DSC
  • MTB 44
    Commanding officer: Lt. Richard Saunders RAN
    Notes: Rescued Sub Lts. Lee and Rose.
  • MTB 48
    Commanding officer: Lt. Anthony Law, RCN
  • MGB 43
    Commanding officer: Lt. P.F.S. Gould, DSC
  • MGB 41
    Commanding officer: Lt. R. King
  • ASB 31
    Notes: Rescued Sub Lt. Kingsmill and his crew.
Ramsgate Flotilla
  • MTB 32
    Commanding officer: Lt. D.J. Long
  • MTB 18
    Commanding officer: Sub Lt. I.C. Trelawney, RNVR
  • MTB 71
    Commanding officer: O.B. Mabee, RNVR
At Harwich
21st Destroyer Flotilla
  • Capt. Mark Pizey
    Notes: Reporting to Admiral Ramsay.
  • HMS Campbell
    Commanding officer: Captain Pizey
  • HMS Vivacious
    Commanding officer: Lt. Cdr. Alexander
16th Destroyer Flotilla
  • Capt. J.P. Wright
    Notes: Reporting to Admiral Ramsay.
  • HMS MacKay
    Commanding officer: Capt. J.P. Wright
  • HMS Whitshed
    Commanding officer: Lt. Cdr. W.A. Juniper
  • HMS Walpole
    Commanding officer: Lt. Cdr. John Eadon
  • HMS Worcester
    Commanding officer: Lt. Cdr. Colin Coates

The destroyers formed as follows:

1st Division
  • HMS Campbell
    Notes: After the battle, Captain Pizey was made a Commander of the Order of the Bath.
  • HMS Vivacious
  • HMS Worcester
    Notes: After the battle, Lt. Cdrs. Coates received the DSO.
2nd Division
  • HMS Mackay
  • HMS Whitshed
    Notes: After the battle, Lt. Cdrs. Juniper received the DSO.
  • HMS Walpole
    Notes: Ordered back to Harwich at 1318 when a main bearing burned. During her return voyage she was attacked by 2 RAF Wellington bombers, which made several runs and scored near misses. The bombers were driven off by a flight of Me 109’s, which gave the ship close air cover until they ran short of fuel and had to return to base.

Air Forces

Including FAA aircraft, British losses reached 17 fighters and 26 bombers.

Royal Navy

Fleet Air Arm
825 Squadron
6 Swordfish

Transferred from Lee-on-Solent to Manston at Admiral Ramsay's request on or about 6th February.

  • Lt. Cdr. Eugene Esmonde
A Flight
  • 825/H
    Commanding officer: Lt. Cdr Esmonde DSO (killed)
    Crew: Lt. W.H. Williams (observer) (killed), CPO W.J. Clinton (air gunner) (killed)
  • 825/G
    Commanding officer: Sub Lt. Brian Rose
    Crew: Sub Lt. Edgar Lee (observer), Leading Aircraftsman Johnson (air gunner) (killed)
  • 825/L
    Commanding officer: Sub Lt. Charles Kingsmill
    Crew: Sub Lt. R.M. Samples (observer), L/A Donald Brunce (air gunner)
B Flight
  • 825/F
    Commanding officer: Lt. J.C. Thompson (killed)
    Crew: Sub Lt. Parkinson (observer) (killed), L/A E. Topping (air gunner) (killed)
  • 825/K
    Commanding officer: Sub Lt. C.R. Wood (killed)
    Crew: Sub Lt. Fuller-Wright (observer) (killed), L/A Wheeler (air gunner) (killed)
  • 825/M
    Commanding officer: Sub Lt. Peter Bligh (killed)
    Crew: Sub Lt. W. Benyon (observer) (killed), L/A Smith (air gunner) (killed)

Lt. Cdr Esmonde received the posthumous VC at the specific recommendation of Wing Commander T. Gleave, RAF, Officer Commanding RAF Manston, who was not Esmonde's commanding officer and therefore not the person who would usually recommend a decoration.

Sub Lts. Rose, Lee, Kingsmill, and Samples received the DSO.

L/A D.A. Brunce received the CGM.

Lts. Thompson and Williams, Sub Lts. Wood, Fuller-Wright, Parkinson, Bligh, and Benyon, CPO Clinton, L/A L/A Topping, Wheeler and Smith were all posthumously Mentioned in Dispatches. (L/A Topping is also spelled Tapping).

Royal Air Force

Coastal Command
  • 42 Squadron
    Notes: At Leuchars watching the Tirpitz: transferred on the night of 10th / 11th to Manston (a Fighter Command base without any torpedoes), 22 aircraft, 14 serviceable, 9 with torpedoes, 5 without torpedoes; 9 despatched, 2 lost.
  • Mobile Torpedo Servicing Unit
    Notes: Nicknameed the "Immobile Unit". This was supposed to supply 42 Squadron's Beauforts with torpedoes, but was held up in the snow.
  • 86 Squadron
    Notes: Beauforts, St. Eval.
  • 217 Squadron
    Notes: At St. Eval with a detachment at Thorney Island, 7 Beauforts, 4 serviceable, 1 unservicable, 2 not yet armed with torpedoes, 4 despatched, 1 lost.
  • 223 Squadron
    Notes: Hudsons, Thorney Island, radar patrols on Line "Habo".
  • 224 Squadron
    Notes: Hudsons, St. Eval, radar patrols on Lines "Stopper" and "SE".
Fighter Command
11 Group
  • Air Vice-Marshall Sir Trafford Leigh Mallory


  • 3 Squadron
    Notes: Spitfires.
  • 11 Squadron
    Notes: Hurricanes, Debden.
  • 64 Squadron
    Notes: Spitfires, Hornchurch.
  • 65 Squadron
    Notes: Spitfires, Debden.
  • 72 Squadron
    Commanding officer: Squadron Leader Brian Kingcombe
    Notes: Spitfires. 10 planes available.
  • 91 Squadron
    Commanding officer: Squadron Leader Bobby Oxspring
    Notes: Spitfires, Hawkinge.
  • 118 Squadron
    Notes: Spitfire.
  • 124 Squadron
    Notes: Spitfires, Biggin Hill.
  • 128 Squadron
    Notes: Spitfires?
  • 137 Squadron
    Notes: Whirlwinds, Matslake.
  • 234 Squadron
    Notes: Spitfires.
  • 401 RCAF Squadron
    Notes: Spitfires.
  • 407 RCAF Squadron.
  • 411 RCAF Squadron
    Commanding officer: Squadron Leader R.B Newton
    Notes: Spitfires, at Hornchurch.
  • 452 RAAF Squadron
    Notes: Spitfires, Kenley.
  • 485 RNZAF Squadron
    Notes: Spitfires, Kenley.
  • 602 City of Glasgow Squadron
    Notes: Spitfires, Kenley.
  • 607 Squadron
    Notes: Hurricanes, Tangmere.
Bomber Command

Stood down on the 12th February. Only 5 Group was at 4 hours notice. Bomber Command’s aircraft attacked in 3 waves, the first of which was airborne at 1330.

Attacking units

Attacking units included:

2 Group
  • 88 Squadron
    Notes: Bostons
  • 110 Squadron
    Notes: Blenheims
  • 226 Squadron
    Notes: Bostons
  • 402 RCAF Squadron
    Notes: Hurricanes, conducting anti-shipping sweeps in the North Sea. (The squadron is also described as being equipped with Hudsons).
5 Group
  • 35 Squadron
    Notes: Halifaxes.
  • 40 Squadron
    Commanding officer: Squadron Leader McGillivray
    Notes: Wellingtons, Alconbury.
  • 207 Squadron
    Notes: Manchesters.
  • 241 Squadron
    Commanding officer: Wing Commander McFadden
    Notes: Halifaxes, Stradishall.
  • 455 RAAF Squadron
    Notes: Hampdens.
  • 42 Squadron
    Commanding officer: Squadron Leader W.H. Cliff
    Notes: Beauforts (14), Manston via Coltishaw, based at Leuchars.
  • 43 Squadron
    Notes: Beauforts, Leuchars (11 planes) and Coltishaw (3).
  • 86 Squadron
    Notes: Beauforts, St. Eval (12).
  • 110 Squadron
    Notes: Blenheims, Wattisham.
  • 217 Squadron
    Notes: Beauforts, St. Eval (3) and Thorney Island (7).
  • 223 Squadron
    Notes: Hamptons, Thorney Island.
  • 224 Squadron
    Notes: Hamptons, St. Eval.
  • 407 RCAF Squadron
    Notes: Hudsons, Manston.
Attacking aircraft

Bomber Command despatched:

  • 92 Wellingtons
  • 64 Hampdens
  • 37 Blenheims
  • 15 Manchesters
  • 13 Halifaxes
  • 11 Stirlings
  • 10 Bostons
  • 0 Whitleys


  • Photographic Reconnaissance Unit (PRU)
    Notes: Spitfires.


Approximately 700 aircraft total, 242 aircraft dispatched, 39 attacked the German Squadron, 15 were lost, and the remainder did not find the enemy because of the atrocious weather conditions.

Scharnhorst (twice) and Gneisenau (once) were mined off the Friesian Islands, on mines laid during the previous nights by Hampdens of 5 Group.

Ground Forces

Gun Batteries

  • 540th Regiment R.A.
    • South Foreland Battery, Dover
      Commanding officer: Maj. Guy Huddelstone
      Notes: Dover, 9.2" Mk X* radar controlled range 31,000 yards, 392 lb shell.
    • J/K/L Troops at Wanstone Battery
      Notes: 15" guns being installed.
  • 1 and 2 Troops, R.M. Siege Regiment
    Commanding officer: Lt. Col. H.D. Fellowes
    Notes: Two 14" Mk VII guns (spare King George V class barrels), "Winnie" and "Pooh"; crews were away on a training exercise and had to be recalled. The guns were suffering from worn barrels and were effectively on a Care & Maintenance basis until the liners could be replaced. Range 47,000 yards, 1400 shell.
  • Elham Valley Light Railway
    Notes: 13.5" Mk V (and reportedly a 18" howitzer) railguns, "Sceneshifter," "Gladiator," "Bochebuster," and "Peacemaker."
  • Fan Bay Battery
    Notes: 6" ex RN Mk XXIV guns
  • Langdon Battery
    Notes: 6" ex RN Mk XXIV guns
  • Lydden Spout
    Notes: 6" ex RN Mk XXIV guns


  • Army Signals Interception Unit


  • Battleships of the Bismarck class by Koop and Schmolke
  • Battleships of the Scharnhorst class by Koop and Schmolke
  • Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945 by Rohwer and Hummelchen
  • Warships of World War II by H.T. Lenton & J.J. College
  • The Bomber Command War Diaries by M. Middlebrook and C. Everitt
  • The War at Sea, 1939-1945,Vol II by S.W. Roskill
  • Hold the Narrow Seas by Peter C. Smith
  • The War at Sea by J. Thompson
  • German Cruisers of World War 2 by M. J. Whitley
  • Fiasco: The Break-out of the German Battleships by John Deane Potter
  • The JG26 War Diary: Vol. 1 by Donald Caldwell