|by Marek Twardowski
Z 32 was laid down in Germaniawerft yard in Kiel on 1.XI.1940. Launched on 15.VIII.1941, she was towed to Deschimag yard in Kiel for completion.
Commissioned on 15.IX.1942, she trained on the Baltic and then was transferred via English Channel to Bordeaux together with the German 8th Destroyers Flotilla.
|Z 32 in winter 1942|
The first action of Z 32 took place on 30.III.1943 when together with other ships she screened an Italian blockade runner Pietro Orseolo arriving from Far East. On 9.IV.1943 a similar operation took place, when another Italian ship - the Himalaya - attempted to break out from France. Afterwards the Z 32 escorted U-boats in the Biscayas.
On 27.XII.1943 Z 32 with five other boats of 8th Destroyers Flotilla (Z 23, Z 24, Z 27, Z 37 and ZH 1) and six torpedoboats of 4th Torpedoboats Flotilla (T 22, T 23, T 24, T 25, T 26 and T 27) escorted blockade runner Osorno, arriving in France. The operation succeeded, though when Osorno entered Gironde she was damaged on a wreck and had to be beached. On 27.XII.1943 the same ships tried to bring in the Alsterufer, but she was bombed and sank on the same day. Instead of the blockade runner the German destroyers met two British light cruisers, Glasgow and Enterprise. A 1.5 hour battle took place, fought in storm on high speeds and distances over 10 000 meters. The British were hit only once, while the Germans lost three ships - the Z 27, T 25 and T 26. Later, on 30.I.1944, Z 32 rammed the Z 37, which was never repaired.
After the Allied Normandy landing on 6.VI.1944 the German 8th Destroyers Flotilla
(Z 24, Z 32 and ZH 1 and last of 4th Torpedoboats Flotilla, T 24) were moved to Brest, closer to the landing forces that were to be attacked. In the evening of 8.VI.1944 the Germans left Brest to attack the landing fleet, but during the night they were found by Allied 10th Destroyers Flotilla, forewarned by Enigma reports. During a fierce night fight the ZH 1 was heavily damaged by Tartar and Ashanti and had to be blown up. The Z 24 and T 24 escaped and returned to Brest, to be destroyed later by Allied aircraft. The Z 32 was damaged by Tartar and Ashanti and after a prolonged chase by Canadian Haida and Huron she was beached on the Ile de Batz. Her wreck was bombed on 9.VI.1944 by RAF to prevent any attempt of salvage.
|Wreck of Z 32 on the Ile de Batz beach|