Tuesday 25 November 1941
|German Panzer IV tanks and armored personnel carriers attacking a Soviet-held village in the vicinity of Istra on the Moscow-Riga railway on 25 November 1941 (Tannenberg, Hugo, Federal Archive Figure 183-B17220).|
|HMS Barham listing to port shortly after being hit by three torpedoes. Barham becomes the only Royal Navy battleship to be sunk by a submarine during World War 11. This photo was taken from HMS Valiant.|
|"Members of the Mine Recovery and Disposal Squad towing away a naval mine from the beach at Tayport with the aid of a Bren gun carrier being operated by troops of the 1st Polish Corps, 25 November 1941." © IWM (A 6427).|
|"An early Christmas present for a member of the crew, the dog's name is 'Mosquito'." This photo was taken aboard a Royal Navy torpedo boat at Naval Base Granton. © IWM (A 6380).|
|HMS Barham exploding in a fireball, 25 November 1941.|
|Der Adler, 25 November 1941 (Heft 24, 25. November 1941.: Deutsches Reichsluftfahrtministerium).|
"MS of HMS Barham listing heavily to port, towards the camera - her secondary 6-inch guns already underwater. MLS off the port bow as she begins to roll over. The capsizing ship suddenly blows up in a huge explosion, only her bows remaining visible, steeply canted at the edge of the smoke pall. Debris from the explosion rains into the sea. Various shots emphasize the extent of the smoke pall remaining after the ship has disappeared. The Film then cuts to a MS off the starboard quarter of Barham steaming in quarter line with HMS Queen Elizabeth - the Queen Elizabeth fires after 4.5-inch AA. Final shot reverts to the sinking - Barham is shown listing, Queen Elizabeth in the background." © IWM.
|HMS Barham right before it explodes and sinks. This apparently is a capture taken from a film made of the sinking. If one looks closely, men clinging for their lives are seen on the upraised hull and the decks.|
Captain C. E. Morgan, commanding nearby HMS Valiant, gave an account of the sinking of HMS Barham:
"Our battleships were proceeding westwards line ahead, with the Valiant immediately astern the Barham and with a destroyer screen thrown out ahead of the battlefleet. At 4.23 p.m., carrying out a normal zigzag, we turned to port together, thus bringing the ships into echelon formation.
Suddenly, at 4.25, I heard a loud explosion, followed by two further explosions a couple of seconds later. Fountains of water and two enormous columns of smoke shot skywards. The smoke formed an enormous mushroom, gradually enveloping the whole of the Barham, except the after part, which was subsequently also blotted out as the ship slid into a vast pall of smoke.
As the explosions occurred the officer on watch gave the command “ Hard to port,” to keep clear of the Barham.
Fifteen seconds later I saw a submarine break the surface, possibly forced there by the explosion. Passing from left to right, the submarine was apparently making to cross the Valiant’s bows between us and the Barham. He was only about seven degrees off my starboard bow and 150 yards away, though he must have fired his torpedoes from about 700 yards.
As the periscope and then the conning tower appeared I ordered “ Full speed ahead, hard starboard.” But, with the helm already hard to port, I was unable to turn quickly enough to ram him before he crash-dived only 40 yards away on our starboard side. The submarine was visible for about 45 seconds, and, simultaneously with our ramming efforts, we opened fire with our starboard pom-poms. He was so close, however, that we were unable to depress the guns sufficiently and the shells passed over the conning-tower.
I then gave the order “Amidships” again to avoid turning into the Barham, which was still underway with her engines running but listing heavily to port. As we came upon her beam she heeled further about 20 or 30 degrees, and through the smoke, I could see all her quarter-deck and forecastle. Men were jumping into the water and running up on the forecastle.
The Barham was rolling on a perfectly even keel with neither bows nor stern sticking into the air. For one minute she seemed to hang in this position; then, at 4.28, she suddenly rolled violently, her mainmast striking the’ surface of the sea sharply a few seconds later.
I saw water pouring into her funnels. There followed a big explosion amidships, from which belched black and brown smoke intermingled with flames. Pieces of wreckage, Hung high into the air, were scattered far and wide, the largest piece being about the size of my writing-desk.
I immediately ordered “ Take cover ” as the wreckage started flying, and that was the last we saw of the Barham, which had run almost’ a mile since the moment she was hit. When the smoke cleared the only signs left were a mass of floating wreckage.
The 35,000-ton ship disappeared with unbelievable suddenness; it was only 4 minutes 35 seconds exactly from the moment the torpedoes struck until she had completely disappeared."