Seventy years ago today, on 31st December 1942, Allied convoy JW51B, en route to the Kola Inlet in Russia was intercepted by the German Pocket Battleship Lutzow and the Heavy Cruiser Hipper. The attack was beaten off by the convoy escorts and the timely arrival of two British Cruisers HMS Jamaica and HMS Sheffield. The battle was fought in the 2-3 hours of murky arctic half light and darkness. The sea was frozen and so cold that life expectancy for anyone who went into it was only a few minutes. The battle is significant because, Hitler, furious at the failure of his big ships to sink a single merchant vessel and assist his hard pressed army at Stalingrad, ordered the decomimisioning of all his large warships.

Battle for the Barents Sea

Battle for the Barents Sea German Destroyer Friedrich Eckold

Battle for the Barents Sea HMS Sheffield