Operation Hermelin (i)


'Hermelin' (i) was the German transfer of the heavy cruiser (ex-pocket battleship) Lützow from Norwegian waters to the Baltic Sea (23 September/1 October 1943).

Escorted by the destroyers Erich Steinbrinck, Paul Jacobi, Friedrich Ihn, Z 27 and, off south-western Norway, Z 38, Lützow was sighted by British reconnaissance aircraft on 26 and 27 September, but Bristol Beaufighter attack fighters and Grumman Avenger torpedo-bombers of the Fleet Air Arm’s No. 832 Squadron, flying from a base in the Shetland islands group, passed to the south of the German ships, and Lützow reached Gotenhafen on 1 October without coming under attack.

In need of a major overhaul, Lützow remained in dockyard hands at Kiel until January 1944, after which she remained in the Baltic Sea to conduct training cruises for new naval personnel.