the Arctic 1944: Removing the German Surface Threat
By mid 1943 the Allies were successfully defeating the German U-boats in the Atlantic, leaving the Norwegian-based battleships Tirpitz and Scharnhorst as the main threat to the Arctic convoys. The British found Tirpitz in port and eventually destroyed her after seven waves of attacks over more than a year. Meanwhile Scharnhorst was sunk at North Cape while attempting to intercept Convoy JW 55B. The Arctic Convoy route had been secured.
22 Sep 1943–12 Nov 1944 Sinking the Tirpitz▲
Seven waves of successive British attacks with midget submarines, carrier-borne aircraft, and land-based bombers flying from both Russia and Scotland eventually sank the German battleship Tirpitz, moored near Altafjord and then Tromso, Norway.
26 Dec 1943 Battle of the North Cape▲
The German battleship Scharnhorst was intercepted by a Royal Navy force comprising the battleship HMS Duke of York, four cruisers, and nine destroyers off Norway’s North Cape. In the ensuing battle, the Scharnhorst was sunk with the loss of 1,932 crew killed and 36 captured for British losses of 11 killed and 11 wounded.
6 Jun 1944 D-Day▲
After extensive aerial and naval bombardment, including the landing of 24,000 airborne troops, 156,000 US, British, and other Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, German-occupied France, in the largest seaborne invasion in history. The landings began at 06:30 and met heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, along with numerous mines and obstacles. Over the day, the Allies suffered at least 10,000 casualties vs about 1,000 for the Germans, but secured their beachhead.
10 Jun 1944 Vyborg Offensive▲
Supported by an aerial and artillery assault beginning on 9 June 1944, the Soviet Leningrad Front launched an all-out offensive on Finnish defensive lines near Leningrad. Overwhelming the Finns, the Soviets pushed forward to capture Vyborg on 20 June.
17 Jun 1944 Republic of Iceland▲
Following a referendum in May 1944 in which 99.5% favored independence, the Icelandic parliament formally severed ties to the Danish monarchy, founding the Republic of Iceland.