The water is calm and still below, For the winds and waves are absent there, And the sands are bright as the stars that glow In the motionless fields of upper air.


X-craft versus Tirpitz : the mystery of the missing X5  Alf R. Jacobsen ; translated from the Norwegian by J. Basil Cowlishaw World War 1939-1945 Naval operations Submarine Stroud : Sutton, 2006 Hardcover. 287 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps, ports. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Norwegian journalist Jacobsen relates one of the most incredible tales of the Second World War, in which Royal Navy X-craft midget submarines attacked the German battleship Tirpitz in Norway. A daring plan was hatched by the Admiralty to sink Tirpitz using midget submarines to plant high explosive mines beneath the ship’s keel.

On 22 September 1943, six X-craft midget submarines set out from Scotland to sink the battleship at anchor in Norway. Three never reached the fjord and X5, commanded by Lt Henty-Creer, was presumed sunk by the Germans, so only X6 and X7 made the attack. Both Lt. Donald Cameron in X6 and Lt Godfrey Place in X7 placed their charges successfully, but were forced to surrender. Both were awarded the Victoria Cross. Although Tirpitz was not sunk she was put out of action until April 1944.

Lt. Henty-Creer, the commander of X5, and his crew were never seen again. Neither he nor any of his crew received any posthumous gallantry awards. Did X5 actually penetrate the anti-submarine defenses around Tirpitz and lay its explosive charges beneath the battleship? If it did, then Henty-Creer and his crew deserve to be honored for their bravery.

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