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Monday, 2 March 2015

Erich Bey


Career:

Branch: Kriegsmarine
Born: 23 March 1898 in Hamburg, German Empire.
Died: 26 December 1943 in North Cape, Norway.

Ranks:
Konteradmiral
Kommodore
Kapitän zur See 1 April 1940
Fregattenkapitän
Korvettenkapitän
Kapitänleutnant
Oberleutnant zur See
Leutnant zur See
Oberfähnrich zur See
Fähnrich zur See

Decorations:
Iron Cross 1914 2nd Class
Hanseatic Cross, Hamburg
Preußische Rettungsmedaille am Band
Cross of Honor
Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th to 2nd Class
Memel Medal
Sudetenland Medal
Clasp to the Iron Cross 1939
2nd Class 16 October 1939
Iron Cross 1939
1st Class 20 November 1939
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 9 May 1940
Destroyer War Badge October 1940
Narvik Shield 1940

Commands:
Friedirch Ihn
Takes command on October 1938
Ends command on April 1939

Personal Information:

Erich Bey was born on 23 March 1898 in in Hamburg, German Empire and was a serving member of the Kriegsmarine during World War II and managed to attain the rank of Konteradmiral and went on to command the following Friedirch Ihn

Erich Bey joined the Kaiserliche Marine on 13 June 1916 and served in its destroyer arm. Following the end of First World War, Erich Bey stayed in the down sized German Navy, now called Reichsmarine. He continued his career with the rise of the National Socialist Party in power in Germany, and by the start of World War II was a Commander.
As a Commander in the Kriegsmarine, Erich Bey led the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, comprising of the destroyers Z11 Bernd von Arnim, Z12 Erich Giese and Z13 Erich Koellner, as part of Commodore Friedrich Bonte's force that carried General's mountain troops for the occupation of Narvik on 9 April 1940. In the following Battles of Narvik on 10 April and 13 April, Erich Bey distinguished himself by guiding a small group of destroyers in a brave though ill-fated action against a superior Royal Navy force that included the battleship HMS Warspite. Due to his distinguished service at Narvik, Erich Bey was awarded with the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 9 May 1940. The next day he was promoted to Captain and appointed commander of the German destroyer force (Führer der Zerstörer), following Commodore Bonte, who had been killed on 10 April in the first engagement of Narvik.

Captain Erich Bey then commanded the destroyer screen protecting the ships of the Brest Group (Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Prinz Eugen) during Operation Cerberus (the Channel Dash) in February 1942. Of the three, Scharnhorst sustained considerable damage, having struck a naval mine laid off the Dover Straits.
Promoted to Rear Admiral, on 25 December 1943, Erich Bey headed a task force comprising of the battleship Scharnhorst and the destroyers Z29, Z30, Z33, Z34, and Z38 out of Alta Fjord in Operation Ostfront. Intending to intercept the Allied Convoy JW-55B on the way to Murmansk, but with his ship's radar destroyed by a lucky shot fired by British screening force, Erich Bey came across a superior Royal Navy force led by the battleship HMS Duke of York. At first, Erich Bey had five destroyers which were superior to the escorting British destroyers in terms of firepower, but concerning poor weather, heavy seas and insufficient Luftwaffe reconnaissance, and his inability to locate the convoy, lead to the detachment of his destroyers, which opened Scharnhorst to torpedo attacks. In the resulting Battle of North Cape, the Scharnhorst was sunk after a long battle. Of her crew of 1,968, Royal Navy vessels fished 36 men alive from the icy sea, not one of them an officer. Erich Bey was reported as having been seen in the water but was not rescued.
Erich Bey received the admiration of his British opposite number, Admiral Bruce Fraser, who commanded the British force during the Battle of North Cape, for his courageous command against superior odds. When Admiral Fraser briefed his officers on board Duke of York later on the evening of 26 December 1943 he said: Gentlemen, the battle against Scharnhorst has ended in victory for us. I hope that if any of you are ever called upon to lead a ship into action against an opponent many times superior, you will command your ship as gallantly as Scharnhorst was commanded.

Gallery:

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Sources:

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