Destroyer Z9 Wolfgang Zenker


22 Mar 35: Laid down

27 Mar 36: Launched

02 Jul 38: Commissioned

01 Sep 39: Attached to the Reconnaissance Force in Polish waters at thebeginning of the war with Nuremberg, Leipzig, Koln, Z1, Z2, Z4, Z8, Z11,Z14, Z15, Z16.

10-11 Jan 40: Conducted offensive mining operation off Cromer with Z8and Z13. This field sank three ships of 11,153 tons.

09-10 Feb 40: Repeated offensive mining operation off Cromer Knoll withZ8 and Z13. This field sank three ships of 11,855 tons.

18-20 Feb 40: Operation Nordmark. Part of escort for Scharnhorst with Z1and Z20. Z9 aborted the mission and returned to port because of icedamage.

07 Apr 40: Part of Group 1 (Narvik) in invasion of Norway with Z11, Z12,Z13, Z17, Z18, Z19, Z21 and Z22. She embarked troops of the 139thRegiment.

09 Apr 40: Arrived Narvik. With the other ships of the 4th DD FLOT (Z19and Z13) she landed her troops at Elvegard at the head of Herjangsfjordwhere the depot of the Norwegian 6th Division was located.

10 Apr 40: Z9 was one of only three destroyers that managed to refuel.She then anchored at Elvegard with Z13 and Z12.

10 Apr 40: First Battle of Narvik. The British destroyers Hardy, Hunter,Havock, Hostile and Hotspur managed sail past two guarding U-Boats 25miles up Ofotfjord to surprise the German force at Narvik. Theylaunched a gunfire and torpedo attack on the five German destroyers inNarvik harbor, inflicting considerable damage while receiving only oneminor hit in return. After an hour of mayhem, the British were makingtheir last pass prior to withdraw when they were surprised by Z9, Z12and Z13 emerging from Herjangsfjord to the northeast. The Germansadvanced in line with, each ship offset to port which allowed all six oftheir forward guns to bear. They opened fire from 6,500m; the Britishreplied and a running fight developed. The visibility was poor, howeverand the three German ships (commanded by Fregattenkapitan Erich Bey)were forced to turn hard to port to avoid torpedoes fired out of Narvikharbor by Z18. At this point, 0657, Z2 and Z11 emerged fromBallangenfjord, ahead of the British ships and opened fire. The Z9, Z12and Z13 turned back to the fight and the two forces (particularly Z2)brought the British under an effective crossfire. Hardy was blasted andforced aground. Hunter was hit hard by gunfire, then torpedoed andfinally rammed by Hotspur, herself damaged. Hotspur managed to extractherself, but Hunter sank. Z9, Z12 and Z13 briefly pursued the threeretreating British destroyers up the fjord and then broke off to returnto Narvik. Z12 was extremely short on fuel although Z9 and Z13 hadrefueled the night before. Bey’s decision to abandon the pursuit wasunfortunate, because the British destroyers encounted and sank theammunition ship Rauenfels coming up the fjord loaded with 5″ shells thatwould be sorely needed in the coming fight. Z9 was undamaged in this actionalthough she shot off approximately 50% of her 5″ ammunition.

11 Apr 40: Z9, Z13, Z18 and Z19 refueled. These ships were fullyoperational, but made no serious attempt to escape back to Germany.While deploying to Ballangenfjord, Z9 and Z13 ran aground. Z9 sufferedlight damage to her port screw, but Z13 was seriously damaged.

13 Apr 40: Second Battle of Narvik. Z9 was more operational than mostof her companions: Her propeller damage did not greatly affect herspeed, she had only half her ammunition supply, but she had all eighttorpedoes available. The Germans sighted the British force sailing upthe fjord at 1156 hours (battleship Warspite proceeded by the destroyersBedouin, Eskimo, Cossack, Punjabi, Hero, Icarus, Forester, Foxhound andKimberley). Z9 with Z11 and Z18 sailed from Narvik harbor at 1215.They met Z19, which had been on picket duty up the fjord. These fourships engaged the leading British destroyers, Z9 opening fire at 1258,through snow squalls, exchanging gunfire and torpedoes with littleeffect on either side. Z9 fired one salvo of four torpedoes at HMSCossack and her last four shortly before turning back for Narvik at1330. By this time most of their remaining ammunition had been shotoff, (Z9 was, in fact, completely out of ammunition) and Bey orderedhis ships to retreat up Rombaksfjord. With Z11, she retreated all theway up to the head of the fjord where, undamaged but confronted with theinevitable, she was scuttled with demolition charges.