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Book Review
Tirpitz – Hitler’s Last Battleship
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by: Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

Tirpitz – Hitler’s Last Battleship

By John Asmussen & Kjetil Åkra
Copyright © Midt-Troms Museum, John Asmussen & Kjetil Åkra 2006, 2015
ISBN 978-82-996934-3-1
Hardcover - 416 Pages

This story of the Tirpitz, published through the Midt-Troms Museum and the authors, is a 416 page, hardcover photographic manuscript defining the complete history of the largest warship built in Europe to date. The authors take an exhaustive look into the complete history of this massive ship through a photographic display of archival and unseen pictures of the Tirpitz from day one with the laying of her keel up to the final moments as the Allied forces hunted her down. John Asmussen & Kjetil Åkra set out on a journey to show the history of Germany’s final battleship of the Second World War. The many years of their hard work and dedication to this subject finally paid off with the release of Tirpitz – Hitler’s Last Battleship. Originally published under the name Tirpitz - Hitler's siste slagskip this book was released in 2006. Recently a new reprinting of this book has become available to the public.

Table of Contents

• Forward 1
• Forward 2
• Alfred von Tirpitz
• The Construction
• The Launch
• The Fitting-out
• The Commissioning
• British Bomber Aircraft against the Tirpitz
• The Seas Trials
• Hitler’s Visit
• Operation Polornacht
• First Air Attacks in Norway
• Operation Sportpalast
• Operation Rössessprung
• Operation Title
• Soviet Russian Missions
• Operation Sizilien
• Operation Source
• Operation Tungsten
• Operation Goodwood
• Operation Paravane & Obviate
• Operation Catechism
• Bardufoss Airfield
• The Incidents at Bardufoss
• What went wrong for the Luftwaffe
• The Scraping
• Technical Data
• Weights
• Armour
• Propulsion Plant
• Armament
• Fire Control
• Anchors & Chains
• Minesweeping Paravanes
• Smoke Generators
• Sound Locator System
• Boats
• Aircraft
• Paint Schemes
• Tirpitz in 3D
• Tirpitz Today
• Tirpitz Anchorages Then & Now
• Life on Board the Tirpitz
• Supplies
• Tirpitz Captains
• Tirpitz & Norwegian Agents


• British Naval Operations
• X-Craft Crew List
• Operation Source
• Allied Air Attacks against the Tirpitz 1942 – 1944
• British Bomber Aircraft Crew Casualty List
• German Signal Flags
• German Naval Ensigns of the Second World War
• Ranks
• Operation History of the Tirpitz
• Tirpitz Casualty List 1942 – 1944
• Sources & References

A look inside

From the outset of this this book, the authors take us on a chronologically walkthrough of the history of this battleship from her humble beginnings amidst slipway No.2 in Wilhelmshaven in 1936 up to her demise at the hands of allied bombing raids late in the Second World War. The first few chapters of this book cover extensively the construction and commissioning of the Tirpitz through a vast number of amazingly detailed black and white and rare color photos. Each of these photographs are presented with textual excerpts explaining some of what we are looking at in the pictures. Mission after fruitless mission, the Allies would not give up throughout the war in their attempt to cripple this ship. The book is a massive collection of informative chapters showing us the bigger story to the Tirpitz and the quest to destroy her giving us a glimpse at the men and machines of the arm of the British air corps that dedicated their service to destroying this battleship. Moving forward, the authors shed light on the sea trials and personal visit from the Hitler before she began here operational status.

Every operation the Tirpitz was involved in during her time afloat, as well as the countless attacks made by the allies, is presented in its entirety and in a pictorial format. Picture after picture, over 700 in all, we get to walk through the complete history of Hitler’s last battleship. Each chapter is supported with many diagrams and maps along with numerous color plates and profiles giving us a strong technical presentation of the ship. We are shown a chronological, step by step breakdown to these events leading up to the final attack on the ship. A thorough examination of the final attack and aftermath with dozens of photos taken from the British Lancasters on their bombing run along with an amazing accounting as Tirpitz capsized leaving survivors clinging to the bilge keel awaiting rescue. The authors continue their investigation surrounding this ship with an in-depth look at the Luftwaffe and men who flew these planes discussing their ineffectiveness in being able to stop these raids on the ship.

After cresting the halfway mark of the book, we are shown a detailed look into the salvage operations surrounding the Tirpitz leading into an immense technical accounting of the ship. This part of the book is filled with graphs, tables, side profiles, color plates, pictures and more providing the reader with a tremendous amount of detailed information regarding the ship. From armament to the ship’s boats, each section is supported with color profiles and tables explaining what, where and when items were installed. Included, is a look at the aircraft that were appointed to the Tirpitz, the storage layout and incredible original photographs showing these planes in use.

The section titled Paint Schemes is an eighteen-page color display of the many color and camouflage schemes used on the Tirpitz. There is a beautiful color 3D walk around section added to this chapter as well. This section precedes an expose on the Tirpitz now. This shows a collection of artifacts and photographs comparing locations, past and present. Rounding out the climax of the book, the appendix is a collection of even more information; British Naval Operations, synopsis of the timeline history of the Tirpitz crew and casualty listing for both the Allied and Axis sides.

While there have been other publication surrounding the Tirpitz produced in the past, John Asmussen and Kjetil Åkra have collaborated to create the most complete accounting of the Tirpitz in their 416 page book, Tirpitz – Hitler’s Last Battleship. This book is an undeniable treasure-trove photographic evidence and technical information. There are over 700 photographs inside the book, both color and black and white; many not previously seen. The technical information is presented in an excellent manner and easy to decipher when looking at any of the include tables, graphs and maps. Taking this book ver the top in regards to providing valuable information are the clearly printed line drawing and color schemes.

Tirpitz – Hitler’s Last Battleship is an absolute treat to read and even more of a pleasure to look through, allowing the most comprehensive look at this ship throughout the time she sailed and beyond. This is certainly a must-have publication for any naval enthusiast and most definitely for any modelers interesting in obtaining technical information and an exceptional profile detailing of this ship!

Highly Recommended

Please Note:

At the current time, the publishers of the book are in the process of setting up a webshop at the Midt-Troms Museum website for future purchases of this book.

Midt-Troms Museum website
- http://mtmu.no/
Highs: An amazingly comprehensive publication filled with a tremendous amount of photographs and information about the Tirpitz
Lows: None
Verdict: This is a must have book for all enthusiasts of the battleship Tirpitz and fans of WWII Naval history.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
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  PUBLISHED: Mar 06, 2016

Our Thanks to Midt-Troms Museum!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Todd Michalak (TRM5150)

I am building what I like, when I like and how I like it; having fun doing it. I have been building and finishing models on and off my whole life but the past ten years things really exploded. Just about anything goes when it comes to hitting the bench, but wrecked armor, rusted hulks, ships or ...

Copyright ©2020 text by Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


It was a beautiful ship. I have wondered about what became of the hulk. Not surprising that the Luftwaffe couldn't protect it; it would have required more JGs that were needed to defend Der Reich. This book should be a great resource.
MAR 06, 2016 - 06:09 PM
They won't be selling many of these unless they get their act together with regard to online ordering & purchasing. A dedicated page in English would be good too. My wallet is waiting................
APR 08, 2016 - 06:59 PM

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