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Finding German Warships

During the Second World War, Norwegian fjords were used as secluded anchorages by German capital ships conducting operations against Allied convoys in the North Atlantic. In July 1942, the cruisers Admiral Scheer and Admiral Hipper were known to be operating in northern Norway, along with the battleship Tirpitz.


On 19 July 1942, a British photographic reconnaissance Mosquito aircraft returned from sortie N/0597 with photographs showing the location of one of these two cruisers, the state of construction of German submarine pens at Trondheim and aircraft activity at two Luftwaffe airfields. A selection of these images is presented in this feature.







An important maritime city, Trondheim was occupied by German forces on 9 April 1940, the first day of their invasion of Norway, until the end of the Second World War on 8 May 1945.

Lade airfield


Now a commercial complex, during the Second World War Lade airfield, to the east of Trondheim, was home to German maritime patrol and fighter aircraft.

Værnes airfield


Now Trondheim airport, Værnes airfield was occupied by the German Luftwaffe during the Second World War. Several Fw-200 Condor maritime patrol aircraft and Bf-109 fighters are visible in this image.

Trondheim docks


This image of the Trondheim dock area shows a U-boat bunker under construction. Visible are the internal subdivisions prior to the emplacement of the concrete roof. A second bunker was subsequently built adjacent to this one and despite Allied bombing both survive in situ today. Within the harbour, a floating dry-dock contains a U-boat.



Moored within a protective anti-torpedo boom net enclosure, at lower right in this image, is the German cruiser Admiral Scheer.

Hidden ship


The German light cruiser Köln is visible at lower right in this image, moored parallel to the shore of Fettenfjord, Norway. The bow and stern of the ship have been blended into the shoreline by netting and floating material. The presence of an adjacent protective boom net, folded back on itself and resembling the outline of a ship, would have drawn the eyes of a photo interpreter to the spot, however, and revealed the cruiser's hiding place.