North Cape 1943

The Sinking of the Scharnhorst

North Cape 1943 cover


A beautifully illustrated study of the Battle of North Cape in 1943, a dramatic clash of British and German battleships in the North Sea which resulted in the sinking of the German battleship Scharnhorst.

The German battleship Scharnhorst had a reputation for being a lucky ship. Early in the war, she fought off a British battlecruiser and sunk a carrier before carrying out two successful forays into the Atlantic. In the spring of 1943, the Scharnhorst was redeployed to Norway. There, working in concert with other German warships such as the battleship Tirpitz, she posed a major threat to the Arctic convoys–the Allied sea lifeline to Russia. Over the next six months, she made two forays into the Barents Sea, but saw no action, save for the shelling of Spitzbergen. However, her presence, alongside Tirpitz, forced the British to tie down ships in Arctic waters.

When Tirpitz was put out of action, and Hitler demanded naval support for the war in Russia, the crew of the Scharnhorst had to act. In late December 1943, she put to sea, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Bey. Her target was an Allied convoy, JW55B, which was passing through the Barents Sea on its way to Murmansk. Unknown to Bey, Admiral Fraser, commanding the British Home Fleet, was using the convoy as bait to draw the Scharnhorst into battle. What followed was a two-day running battle fought in rough seas and near-perpetual darkness, ending with the destruction of the Scharnhorst and all but 36 of her crew. The loss of Scharnhorst ended any serious German naval threat to the Arctic convoy lifeline.

In this illustrated study, Angus Konstam, one of Britain's premier naval historians, offers a fascinating new insight into this key engagement, combining expert analysis with his unique knack for storytelling to offer a fascinating new perspective on the battle which sank the Scharnhorst.

Table of Contents

Origins of the campaign
Opposing commanders
Opposing forces
Opposing plans
The campaign
The Wreck of the Scharnhorst
Further reading

Product details

Published Nov 24 2020
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 96
ISBN 9781472842114
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Dimensions 10 x 7 inches
Series Campaign
Short code CAM 356
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Angus Konstam

Angus Konstam is a Fellow of the Royal Historical…


Edouard A. Groult

Edouard Groult grew up inspired by watching histor…


Discover More

Visit our exclusive member's website to see artwork, maps, and more from this book.


Book Vote

Tell us what titles you would like to see published by Osprey, then vote for your favourites in our monthly book vote!

Related Titles

Sign up for Osprey membership for access to thousands of plane profiles, maps, battle scenes and more. Plus up to 30% off website purchases

Free US delivery on orders $35 or over