26 Eylül 2013 Perşembe

Hans Uldrich Rudel Junkers Ju 87 Stuka'sı ile Marat'ı batırışı 21 Eylul 1941

KRONSHTADT, 21 SEPTEMBER, 1941 (pages 80-81)
The Red Banner Baltic Fleet's home base on Kronshtadt
Island near Leningrad represented a major German objective
from Barbarossa's inception. Nazi Germany depended
heavily on strategic materials from Sweden and Finland
shipped across the Baltic. Hitler knew that if his advancing
army could deprive the fleet of its bases, Admiral Tribute
would basically have three options: scuttle the fleet, seek
internment in neutral Sweden, or escape the narrow Baltic.
The large Baltic Fleet became even more of a threat after
gaining numerous forward operating bases when the USSR
annexed the Baltic states in 1940. Hitler still had faith in the
ability of his Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine to handle the
Soviets. However, less than a month prior to Barbarossatag
the naval correlation of forces changed drastically when the
Royal Navy sank the Bismarck in the North Atlantic. Admiral
Tributs took precautions immediately before 22 June:
including his dispatch of the battleship Marat from Tallinn
to Kronshtadt with its awesome flak protection. Indeed, von
Leeb's Army Group moved up the Baltic coast, gobbling
Soviet bases at Libau and Riga. The naval situation altered
markedly in the Germans' favor on 28 August when the
61st Infantry Division took Tallinn, the Red Banner Fleet's
last base out side of Kronshtadt. The Soviet evacuation was
a disaster: the Germans destroyed 25 percent of vessels
participating and the Soviets lost 40 percent of passengers
embarked. While German advances on the ground boxed in
Tributs' fleet, it was nevertheless well placed to influence
the battle now taking place around Leningrad. Kronshtadt
lay less than ten miles from the mainland and Soviet
warships could provide supporting fire to Red Army forces
from their piers. By mid-September Hitler worried that the
Soviet ships would break out to the Atlantic while army
commanders complained about the naval gunfire. The
Fuhrer ordered his own commander in the Baltic to create
a force centered on the Tirpitz to terminate the Red Banner
Fleet. The Luftwaffe acted first, however. The task fell t o.
Stukageschwader 2, "Immelmann." At Kronshtadt stood two
battleships, two cruisers, 13 destroyers, and more than 200
other vessels guarded by over 600 anti-aircraft guns - 50
battalions' worth. Flak explodes while the Stukas are still
ten miles out. Starting at 9,000 feet altitude the dive
bombers tip over for the final run. They carry 2,000-pound
bombs especially made for large warships (1). Planes are
nearly wingtip to wingtip and so close behind one another
that there is a danger of ramming. Pilots plunge at about
80° without using dive brakes in order to get through the
bursting artillery. Lieutenant Hans Ulrich Rudel (T6+AD) (2)
keeps his sights on the Marat (3). He pushes the bomb
release then pulls back on the stick. He momentarily blacks
out from the G-force until his radioman/gunner tells him
"She is blowing up, sir!" "Immelmann" returned to
Kronshtadt and severely damaged the cruisers Kirov and
Maxim Gorki but had less success against the battleship
Oktyabruskaya Revolutsia. However, Rudel and his comrades
won an incomplete victory; the crippled Marat settled into
the shallow water of the bay, but her stern guns continued
to bombard German soldiers on the mainland preparing their
final assaults on Leningrad. (Howard Gerrard)

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