Episode 8: The War at Sea
This episode covers the early battle of the Atlantic and naval operations in the Mediterranean.
Though the battles along the western front and over the skies of London are the most renowned of the early war fighting was raging elsewhere too. The first major naval engagement after the sinking of the Graf Spee took place off the coast of Norway during the german invasion. In the far north, inside the arctic circle, the cruiser Renown took on the Gneisenau and the Scharnhorst in a brief but furious battle. The Renown actually managed to wound the Gneisenau but the german ships were able to stand their ground and protect the transport vessels landing men on the mainland. Several more engagements took place along the norwegian coast in which the German cruiser Konigsberg was sunk and the Lutzow was critically damaged. On April 10th, 1940 Captain Warburton-Lee sailed his flotilla, led by the battleship Warspite and followed by nine destroyers, into Narvik harbor. There he wreaked havoc on the german vessels at their moorings. All told 8 destroyers and one U-boat were lost along with a smattering of other vessels. Overall the battle for Norway had cost the Kriegsmarine half of its destroyer force and, with losses over the previous months, most of her battleships.