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Liveblogging World War II: August 29, 1943


The Big Scuttle:  

When German troops invaded the Naval Dockyard in the morning of August 29, 1943 orders were issued to scuttle the Danish Navy. The Royal Danish Navy succeeded in the scuttling of 32 vessels, while 1 Patrol Boat, 3 Minesweepers an 9 cutters managed to escape to neutral Swedish waters….

When at 0400 hrs. on the morning of August 29, 1943 the Germans attacked the Danish Naval Base at the Royal Dockyard (Holmen) in Copenhagen, it proved impossible for the Danish ships to leave the harbor. German guns placed around the harbor controlled the only exit, and the signal to scuttle the fleet was given. At 0408 the signal K N U was dispatch to all units, authorizing the planned scuttling of the Navy. This signal also reached some of the few vessels stationed outside Copenhagen.

The first scuttling charge was blown at 0413 and the last one went off at 0435. By then most of the naval units at Copenhagen had been sunk or torched. The heavy explosions could be heard all over Copenhagen. Of the fifty-two vessels in the Danish Navy on the 29th of august, two were in Greenland, thirty-two were scuttled, four reached Sweden and fourteen were taken undamaged by the Germans.

Major parts of the Naval Officers and personnel were temporally interned in the "KB-Hallen" (a large sports arena) at Frederiksberg. Nine Danish sailors lost their lives and ten were wounded…. Just after, on the evening of August 29, the Supreme Commander of the German Naval Forces in Denmark addressed Vice Admiral Vedel, the Commander in Chief of the Royal Danish Navy, as follows "Wir haben beide unsere Pflicht getan" (We have both done our duty)…