Eighty years ago this week the British make their first sustained attempt to sink Tirpitz


Wehrmacht forces on the Greek island of Cephalonia began the massacre of Italian troops of the Acqui division. The Italians had briefly fought the Germans after taking a vote on what to do following their country's surrender. About 5,000 Italians would be killed out of hand. Similar slaughters took place elsewhere notably Kos and Corfu.

Under the command of General Giraud about 2,000 French troops were landed on Corsica from French warships. In part this was motivated by fears that the local maquis might be exterminated after attacking German occupation forces.  In the event Hitler had decided to abandon both Corsica and Sardinia so the operation proceeded with only moderate casualties. Some of the Italian occupation forces fought against the Germans. This was the first allied landing on French soil and Corsica was the first French departement to be liberated. The operation was the last hurrah of Giraud's faltering campaign to lead the Free French.

British mini-submarines (X-craft) attacked the German battleship Tirpitz at her moorings in Kajfjord Norway. An attack by manned torpedoes the previous year had been aborted. Six X-craft had been despatched but two were lost under tow across the North Sea by conventional submarines. One had to abandon its attack and another vanished, probably sunk by  gunfire from its target. The remaining two succeeded in laying heavy charges on the seabed which exploded causing Tirpitz severe damage and put her out of action for some months. The crews of both the successful attackers were captured; all received decorations, both captains the VC.  Tirpitz remained afloat though and was still considered a serious threat to allied shipping.