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Charge of the Campbeltown by jollyjack Charge of the Campbeltown by jollyjack
I was rewatching an old documentary and felt inspired to draw a little piccy: [link]

In 1942, the German battleship Tirpitz was the most feared thing on the waves. Supply convoys were already being torn apart by U-Boat packs, and if the Tirpitz were to ever sail into the fray, they would have been broken entirely, leaving Britain to starve.
The Royal Navy had nothing in its arsenal that could match the Tirpiz, so a different approach was taken. Rather than destroy the battleship, they would destroy the only installation on the Atlantic coast that could be used to repair it, thus making the Germans less eager to let it sail into battle in the first place.

That facility was the Normandie Dock in St. Nazaire, France, and the action taken against it became known as “The Greatest Raid of All”.

A lone destroyer, HMS Campbeltown, and a fleet of little escort boats were disguised as German vessels and were sailed up the estuary beyond which St Nazaire lay.
Under the noses of the enemy, the destroyer rammed the gates of the Normandie Dock, stranding itself on top but failing to breach them.
British Commandos then disembarked and set about razing every important mechanism they could find.
Successful in their part of the operation, the commandos then made to rendezvous with the escort boats that were to take them home.
Unfortunately; they’d more or less all been blown to pieces.
Now trapped, the commandos decided to fight their way out of St Nazaire and head for Spain, despite the local garrison outnumbering them 20 to 1.

Unsurprisingly, all but 5 were captured or killed.

The Germans patted the British on the back for the attempt. It was a bold move, they thought. A bold move, but an ill-planned one. There was no way a rather flimsy ship like the Campbeltown could ever have breached the gates.

The Brits were, of course, well aware of this fact, too.

Which is why they’d loaded the thing with 4 tons of high explosives and a long fuse....
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paul-rosenkavalier Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
This is an incredibly evocative piece. I've found the St Nazaire raid fascinating (and awe impairing) since I first read about it - in a lot of ways the last occurrence of the longstanding British use of fireships, I suppose.
paul-rosenkavalier Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
This is an incredibly evocative piece. I've found the St Nazaire raid fascinating (and awe impairing) since I first read about it - in a lot of ways the last occurrence of the longstanding British use of fireships, I suppose.
PincovaeArte Featured By Owner May 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
perfect scene!
xSamiamrg7x Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2013
Why is this not a movie? It would be the most badass movie of all time.
Photographscanlive Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Im from campbeltown.Its so sad,im also a cadet!
LordOmegaZ Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
saw the documentary

boy am i glad to be british ^^ (though i still respect german science breakthroughs)

after all, no V2 rockets would mean in future no space shuttles.
Thabian Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012
Thank you. That's a little bit of history I had never heard of. It's both inspiring and just plain awesome. Now I have plans for that Black Crusade game - One valkirie filled with explosives and a docking bay on that space marine HQ our gm is insisting is being subverted by chaos... of course we need to park next too the Thunderhawk refuelling bay.
death-tribble Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012
Nice to see this.

The Campbeltown was supposed to blow up earlier than she did. When she did go there were a lot of Germans on the ship investigating it.
A companion tale to this is the British efforts to sink the Tirpitz which included midget submarines and dropping the Tallboy bomb that capsized her.
philpete13 Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012
Great artwork of something few seem to know about.
Obhan Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2011   Digital Artist
thebigemp3 Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey i saw that documentary too, it was grand and i love the drawing. :)
demosthenes1blackops Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
nice piece of often overlooked history, well illustrated. thanks for doing this.
RunicStudio Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2011
that is awsome
Titan-Warrior Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2011
This looks pretty awesome!
Nanopod Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2011
Well, you english guys kicked ass in 40'

Greetings from Italy... sigh.
LilFluff Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2011
I wish our history classes had covered more about what other countries had been up to, because I keep running into stories like this and find myself wishing I'd heard about them before. I see on the Wiki-of-All-Knowledge that Campbeltown's name was brought back for a Type 22 Frigate, only to be decommissioned earlier this year. I'd say if the Royal Navy has any sort of honor list of names to keep in service then Campbeltown ought to be on it. Another interesting note: The first Campbeltown's ships bell was given to the town of Campbelltown Pennsylvania as a gesture of thanks for the lend-lease program (of which the HMS Campbeltown had been part), when the new Campbeltown was commissioned the town lent the bell back for the duration of her commission.

Whoa, for added "they had balls" detail, also according to the Wiki of Wiki's, the explosive charge was detonated with 8-hour time pencils, activated as they left for the mission. Said time pencils covered with concrete to prevent the explosives from being defused.
STG-CJC Featured By Owner May 29, 2011  Student Writer
Hehe, always admired this raid. Imma Campbeltonian :D
They were brave buggers, and they did thier jobs.
gazzz477 Featured By Owner May 27, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
the true turning point in the western front
Der-Buchstabe-R Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I remeber this, there was also this "funny" part (even though there is nothing funny in war) where a german was interrorgating this soldier he said "do you think that you could break through our dock?" As soon as he said that, the ship blew up, and the soldier said "We may look like it, but were not stupid."
Rogue284 Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2011
If not mistaken this was conducted during the diepp raid though I might be mistaken since it took place in 1943.
kawaiku Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2011
No those are two different operations altogether.
Rogue284 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2011
Okay but if I recall correctly there was a commando operation during the Dieppe raid.
kawaiku Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2011
There were commandos that did take part in the operation, you are correct in that they supported the operation.
alexos81 Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2011
alexos81 Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2011
The Tirpitz was the sistership of the legendary Bismarck and my grandfather sunk with this battleship in the norway "fjords"!
But he survived the icecold water and lived in germany (after british warjail or kiddnapping?) till Oct 1989. :o)

- I'm very sorry for my bad english -

NegativeLight Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2010
Very cool, loving the war documentaries at the moment :D
barghest4 Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2010
I'm watching the Jeremy Clarkson documentary on the Greatest Raid of All right now, and that was when I remembered this pic.
Overlord076 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2010
HugoMasters Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
love the colours realy gives the image its own feel and emotion. nice one
SimonLMoore Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm quite seriously stunned I hadn't found this yet, quite agree it's a superb documentary, possibly my favourite moment is the unfurling of the white ensign as the German guns open up. This picture is an excellent homage to the raid and the documentary.

Wonderful documentary about a truly tenacious enterprise, terribly British.

I've also paraded in that hall where Clarkson explains the ramming procedure with his car key and phone, happy times.
SupremeTempest Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2010
Germans: Nice try. Good luck next time.
Britians: Thanks, but we don't need one.
the3rdsentry Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010
Damn straight! That was back when people waged warfare right!
StretchyGalFan Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I remember seeing this on TV as the Lloyd Bridges movie ATTACK ON THE IRON COAST oh, so many years ago... :wow:

This, the X-Craft submarine raid on the Tirpiz in Norway, and the Dambuster raids on Ruhr were always facinating insights into British wartime ingenuity. :D
feli3 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2010
Jeremy Clarkson RULESSS!!!!
Insane-Randomness Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
lol, random like no tomorrow...
xxxxxxChronoxxxxxx Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010
thats what they said about the Yamamoto, and we all know how that turned out
OrangeDemi Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
lol pwn ^^ i loved the movie that was based off that operation. think it was called maddog
chrswvr105 Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2010
Nice one JJ. Have you thought about a series of these informative works?

How about "String Bags over Taranto"
(And a spoof "string bags over Tarantino")

I'd give U-571 a miss though - you'd have WW3 break out here!
Madwolf01 Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2010
When I was a wee lad, I had a model of HMS Campbeltown; the Commonwealth portions of the war are a little more celebrated up in Canada than down here in the US, for obvious reasons.
I've always wondered if it was out of sheer perversity that they set the fuses for such a long delay "Let's let the Jerries wander around and poke about at ithe ship being all smug and cheeky, and *then* we'll blow them to flinders!". Fusing the torpedoes from the MTB's to blow the day after that was just insult to injury.
jesonite Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Jolly~ this Piece Looks stunning! I loved the way you drove the whole atmosphere with the shot and lighting!
Screwball1987 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010
Awesome picture. I think I watched that documentary as well :D

I take issue with the 'nothing could have stopped Tirpitz' bit, since Rodney more or less demolished Bismark on her own once the hit to Bismark's rudder allowed the British to catch up, and Tirpitz was of the same class (and that class was a slightly reworked Baden class of 1918 vintage, that being the last experiance Germany had with battleship construction, and thus missing modern features like all or nothing armour), but on the other hand, that wasn't known at the time. Given the debacle with Hood, the Royal Navy had an... elevated view of Tirpitz's capability.
GreyOfPTA Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2010  Professional Filmographer
I had to add this to my list of favs because you executed this piece so well. You've captured the look and feel of the scene perfectly.
feli3 Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2010
Clarkson RULES!!!!!!!!
otakon2006 Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2010
Damn, never heard that before....
Would make a fine movie, I reckon.
Yue-neko Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2010
I decided to check out the link you posted and ended up watching all 6 parts of the documentary. All i can say is WOW

Amazing story, and awesome piece of art.
akornzombie Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2010
How very British. And thank God that such men were alive then.
Pepelu-Haruhara Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2010
wow... that's a lot of gunfire...great effect with the color and shading. It looks fantastic!
LoneTiger Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2010
Make that a veeeeeery long fuse.
cougashika Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! This is the kind of history that would make into the movies, if you could slip a buxom female in somewhere (hey, it's France!). Seriously, as a student of history, deeds like this get little recognition. Again, thank you for remembering.
Bricktopher Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Quite amazing, and dealing to those debating the power of Bismark, It was indeed a POWERFUL ship, But its main flaws were its band armour, and the fact it was a Cruiser with Battleship guns and belt armour at about the waterline. All in all a bastard ship, and effective one though. It also traded its AA Defense for more main guns, leaving it exposed. All in all, Bismark was a terror to handle in a 1 on 1 fight, but anything above left her exposed.
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