The Channel Dash
The Channel Dash or Unternehmen Zerberus (Operation Cerberus) was a German naval operation during World War II.
A Kriegsmarine (German navy) squadron consisting of both Scharnhorst-class battleships and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen along with escorts, ran a British blockade from Brest in Brittany, where they had been a latent threat to British trans-Atlantic convoys.
At Brest and La Pallice, the ships had been attacked by Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command and by RAF Coastal Command torpedo-bombers from March 1941, which inflicted periodic damage to the ships, reducing their seaworthiness. In late 1941, Adolf Hitler ordered Oberkommando der Marine (OKM Navy high-command), to plan an operation to return the ships to German bases, to counter a possible British invasion of Norway.
The short route up the English Channel was preferred to a detour around the British Isles, to benefit from surprise and from air cover by the Luftwaffe.