HMS Belfast and the sinking of the Scharnhorst

Scharnhorst was one of the most dangerous German warships of the Second World War, and the last of her kind. In late December 1943, she was sunk, after attempting to intercept two Arctic convoys. What happened at the Battle of North Cape?

On Boxing Day 1943, Vice Admiral Robert Burnett was in Soviet Russia on board HMS Belfast, having escorted an Arctic convoy there. Burnett’s warships were preparing to escort the next convoy back to Britain, when intelligence reached them from the Admiralty in London. The battleship Scharnhorst and five destroyers had left their Norwegian base. These convoys had baited out one of the Allies’ most wanted warships. HMS Belfast and the rest of the convoy were no longer embarking on a return journey home, they were heading for battle.


HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast and the Arctic Convoys

For 18 months, HMS Belfast and her crew endured punishing conditions supporting the vital Arctic Convoys delivering supplies to the Soviet Union. 
Split screen with the disastrous Dieppe landings on one side and a Mulberry Harbour on the other
Second World War

Mulberry Harbours explained: The invention that kept D-Day afloat

2 years before D-Day and Operation Overlord, the Allies mounted a daring rehearsal raid on the French port of Dieppe. The attack ended in disaster, but out of its ashes came one of the greatest unsung inventions of the Second World War, one that would keep the Allies in the fight when they returned to invade Normandy: the Mulberry Harbours.
Blindfolded , in merchant seaman rescue kit, being landed on their way to internment.
© IWM (A 21203)
Second World War

HMS Belfast And The Battle Of North Cape

The Battle of North Cape began when the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst and five destroyers left their base in Altenfjord, northern Norway on Christmas Day 1943.