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Encyclopedia > Altmark incident
Altmark Incident
Part of World War II

The German tanker Altmark in Jøssingfjord, Norway, February 1940.
Date 16 February 1940
Location Jøssingfjord, Norway
Result British Victory
Combatants
Germany United Kingdom
Commanders
Unknown Philip Vian
Strength
One supply ship One destroyer
Casualties
Prisoners lost, 7 killed Boarding party casualties
Atlantic Campaign
River PlateAltmark Incident - SC-7 - HX-84 - HX-106 - Operation Berlin - Denmark StraitThe Bismarck Chase - Mediterranean – Channel DashSt. Lawrence - Laconia Incident - PQ-17 – Barents SeaNorth Cape

The Altmark Incident (Norwegian: Altmark-saken) was a naval skirmish of World War II between United Kingdom and Nazi Germany, which happened on 16 February 1940 in what, at that time, were neutral Norwegian waters. The Altmark, a German supply ship, was returning to Germany with 299 (other sources: 303) British merchant sailors on board, who had been picked up from ships sunk by the heavy cruiser Graf Spee, herself scuttled after the Battle of the River Plate in December 1939. It has the unique distinction of being the last major boarding action fought by the Royal Navy. Combatants Allied Powers Axis Powers Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000,000 Total dead: 50,000,000 Military dead: 8,000,000 Civilian dead: 4,000,000 Total dead 12,000,000 World War II (abbreviated WWII), or the Second World War, was a worldwide conflict... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... February 16 is the 47th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... Jøssingfjord is a fjord located within the municipality of Sokndal. ... Admiral of the Fleet Sir Philip Vian GCB KBE DSO was a British naval officer best known for the incident early in 1940 when a force under his command released captured British merchant sailors from the German supply ship Altmark in Norway. ... The Altmark was a German tanker / unarmed supply vessel, best known for her support of the Admiral Graf Spee and later involvement in the Altmark Incident. ... USS Lassen, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet or battle group and defend them against smaller, short-range attackers (originally torpedo boats, later submarines and aircraft). ... Combatants Royal Navy Royal Canadian Navy United States Navy Kriegsmarine Regia Marina (until 1943) Commanders Sir Percy Noble Sir Max K. Horton Percy W. Nelles Leonard W. Murray Ernest J. King Erich Raeder Karl Dönitz Casualties 30,248 merchant sailors 3,500 merchant vessels 175 warships 28,000 sailors... Combatants Nazi Germany United Kingdom New Zealand Commanders Hans Langsdorff Henry Harwood Strength 1 pocket battleship (Panzerschiffe) Admiral Graf Spee 1 heavy cruiser 2 light cruisers Casualties 1 pocket battleship scuttled 36 killed 1 heavy cruiser Exeter heavily damaged 72 killed The Battle of the River Plate (December 13, 1939... SC-7 was a World War II convoy of 35 merchant ships which sailed eastbound from Sydney, Nova Scotia for Liverpool, England and other British ports on October 4, 1940. ... HX-84 was a World War II convoy of 38 ships which sailed eastbound from Halifax, Nova Scotia for Liverpool, England on 28 October 1940. ... Convoy HX-106 consisted of some 41 ships, eastbound from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Liverpool, England. ... Operation Berlin was the commerce raid performed by German warships KM Scharnhorst and KM Gneisenau between January and March, 1941. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Combatants Germany United Kingdom Commanders Günther Lütjens John Tovey Strength 1 battleship 2 battleships 5 destroyers Casualties 1 battleship sunk None The Bismarck Chase was a World War II naval engagement fought between the British Home Fleet and the German battleship Bismarck which had attempted to break out... Combatants Royal Navy Kriegsmarine Regia Marina Strength 62 U-boats Casualties 95 merchant ships sunk 24 warships sunk 62 U-boats lost The Mediterranean U-boat Campaign went on and off from September 21, 1941 to May 1944 during World War II. The Nazi Kriegsmarine aimed at isolating Gibraltar, Malta... Operation Cerberus (German: Zerberus) was the name given to the escape during World War II of the Kriegsmarines ships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Prinz Eugen and a number of smaller ships from Brest to ports in Germany and Denmark via the English Channel. ... The Battle of the St. ... The Laconia incident was a 1942 incident during World War II when RMS Laconia, carrying some 80 civilians and 268 British soldiers, and about 1800 Italian POWs with 160 Polish soldiers on guard, was struck by a torpedo from a German U-boat off the coast of West Africa and... PQ-17 was a World War II convoy carrying war materiel from Britain and the USA to the USSR. PQ-17 sailed in June-July 1942 and suffered the heaviest losses of any Russia-bound (PQ) convoy, with 25 vessels out of 36 lost to enemy action. ... The Battle of the Barents Sea took place on December 31, 1942 between British ships escorting convoy JW 51B to Kola Inlet in the USSR, and German surface raiders. ... Combatants Germany United Kingdom Commanders Erich Bey† Bruce Fraser Strength 1 battleship 5 destroyers 1 battleship 4 cruisers 8 destroyers Casualties 1 battleship sunk 1 battleship lightly damaged 1 heavy cruiser lightly damaged 1 light cruiser lightly damaged 1 destroyer lightly damaged In the World War II naval Battle of... Combatants Allied Powers Axis Powers Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000,000 Total dead: 50,000,000 Military dead: 8,000,000 Civilian dead: 4,000,000 Total dead 12,000,000 World War II (abbreviated WWII), or the Second World War, was a worldwide conflict... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... February 16 is the 47th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... The Altmark was a German tanker / unarmed supply vessel, best known for her support of the Admiral Graf Spee and later involvement in the Altmark Incident. ... Admiral Graf Spee was a pocket battleship (Panzerschiff, later changed to heavy cruiser) launched by Germany in 1934 and named after the World War I Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee. ... Combatants Nazi Germany United Kingdom New Zealand Commanders Hans Langsdorff Henry Harwood Strength 1 pocket battleship (Panzerschiffe) Admiral Graf Spee 1 heavy cruiser 2 light cruisers Casualties 1 pocket battleship scuttled 36 killed 1 heavy cruiser Exeter heavily damaged 72 killed The Battle of the River Plate (December 13, 1939... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore the Senior Service). ...


On her way from Southern Atlantic to Germany, Altmark found herself on Norwegian waters. She was investigated there by officers from Norwegian patrol vessels, who boarded the ship and carried out a cursory search. The British prisoners on board reportedly made strenuous efforts to signal their presence in the hold, such as shouting loudly and banging on the sides of the hull, to the point where the German crew had to drown out the noise by running winches. However, the Norwegian search party did not inspect the hold and allowed the ship to continue on its way.


She was then spotted by a British plane, which raised the alarm in the Royal Navy. After being intercepted by the destroyer HMS Cossack, captained by Philip Vian, the Altmark sought refuge in the fjord Jøssingfjord, but Cossack followed her in and forced her to ground. The British then boarded the Altmark and after some hand-to-hand fighting with bayonets, overwhelmed the ship's crew and released the prisoners. It is supposedly the last incident in which cutlasses were used in anger by a boarding party. The Norwegian escorts protested, but did not intervene. The official explanation later given by the Norwegian government was that, according to international treaty, a neutral country was not obliged to resist a vastly superior force. HMS Cossack (L-03/F-03/G-03) was a Tribal-class destroyer which became famous for the boarding of the German supply ship Altmark in Norwegian waters, and the associated rescue of sailors originally captured by the Admiral Graf Spee. ... Admiral of the Fleet Sir Philip Vian GCB KBE DSO was a British naval officer best known for the incident early in 1940 when a force under his command released captured British merchant sailors from the German supply ship Altmark in Norway. ... Fjord in Sunnmøre, Norway A fjord (or fiord) is a narrow inlet of the sea between cliffs or steep slopes, which results from marine inundation of a glaciated valley. ... Jøssingfjord is a fjord located within the municipality of Sokndal. ...

Jøssingfjord today

The Norwegians were angered that their neutrality had been infringed and did not want to be dragged into a European war. Yet, the Altmark incident sowed doubts about the Norwegian neutrality among the allies, as well as in Germany. Both sides had contingency plans for military action against Norway, primarily to control the traffic of Swedish iron ore, on which the German armament industry depended in the early stages of the war. The Altmark incident convinced Adolf Hitler that the allies would not respect Norwegian neutrality, and on 19 February decided to intensify the planning for Operation Weserübung, the occupation of Denmark and Norway, which eventually took place on 9 April 1940. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2048x1536, 1113 KB) Overview over the fjord Jøssingfjord in Norway. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2048x1536, 1113 KB) Overview over the fjord Jøssingfjord in Norway. ... A neutral country takes no side in a war between other parties, and in return hopes to avoid being attacked by either of them. ... This heap of iron ore pellets will be used in steel production. ... Hitler redirects here. ... February 19 is the 50th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Operation Weserübung was the German codename for Nazi Germanys assault on Denmark and Norway during World War II and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign. ... April 9 is the 99th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (100th in leap years). ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ...


The Altmark incident gave the British a short-lived but sorely needed morale boost during the "Phony War". The incident also had a more lasting propaganda effect in German-occupied Norway during the war, when the Norwegian collaborationist government tried to neutralize their nickname Quislings by using the location of the skirmish (Jøssingfjord) to coin the derogatory term jøssing, referring to pro-allies and anti-nazis. Their efforts backfired, as jøssing was immediately adopted as a positive term by the general public, and the word was finally banned from official use by 1943. British Ministry of Home Security Poster of a type that was common during the Phony War The Phony War , or in Winston Churchills words the Twilight War, was a phase in early World War II marked by few military operations in Continental Europe, in the months following the German... An Australian anti-conscription propaganda poster from World War One Propaganda is a type of message aimed at influencing the opinions or behavior of people. ... Quisling, after Norwegian fascist politician Vidkun Quisling, is a term used to describe traitors and collaborationists. ...


References

  • Frischauer, Willi; & Jackson, Robert, The Navy's Here! The Altmark Affair

External links

  • Ships of the World: Altmark
  • Halford Mackinder's Necessary War An essay describing the Altmark incident in a larger strategic context of World War II

  Results from FactBites:
 
Altmark Incident - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (508 words)
The Altmark Incident (Norwegian: Altmark-saken) was a naval skirmish of World War II between United Kingdom and Nazi Germany, which happened on 16 February 1940 in what, at that time, were neutral Norwegian waters.
The Altmark incident convinced Hitler that the allies would not respect Norwegian neutrality, and on 19 February decided to intensify the planning for Operation Weserübung, the occupation of Denmark and Norway, which eventually took place on 9 April 1940.
The incident also had a more lasting propaganda effect in German-occupied Norway during the war, when the Norwegian collaborator government tried to neutralize their nickname Quislings by using the location of the skirmish (Jøssingfjord) to coin the derogatory term jøssing, referring to pro-allies and anti-nazis.
German tanker Altmark - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (390 words)
Altmark was a German tanker and supply vessel, best known for her support of the German commerce raider, the "pocket battleship" Admiral Graf Spee, and her subsequent involvement in the Altmark incident.
She was built in Hamburg in 1938 by Blohm and Voss, was 141 metres long and had a gross tonnage of 7,021.
Altmark was assigned to support Admiral Graf Spee during her raid in the South Atlantic.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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