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Referred to by Winston Churchill as `the Beast’, `Tirpitz’ was Germany’s last great battleship and was one of the largest and heaviest battleships ever constructed by a European navy. Sister ship to the infamous `Bismarck’, `Tirpitz’ may be referred to as `the Lonely Queen of the North’. Laid down in 1936 and commissioned in 1941, `Tirpitz’ spent most of her operational life lurking as a `fleet in being’ amongst the fjords of Norway. Such was the threat posed to the sea lanes, and with that the Allied war effort, and so obsessed was Churchill and the Admiralty with her destruction that twenty-four operations, ranging from the foolhardy to the ridiculous were undertaken against her. It was in November 1944 that the `Tirpitz’ was finally sunk, not by the Royal Navy, but by the aircraft of RAF Bomber Command. Using a variety of sources this book begins by looking at the military and political situation in Germany that led to the decision to build the `Tirpitz’ before going on to analyse the life and death of Germany’s last great battleship.
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