In January 1940 the Scharnhorst was sent to the Baltic Sea for training and gunnery practice. Ice-bound there until February, she returned to Wilhelmshaven on 5 February for operations in the North Sea.
In Operation "Nordmark", which took place between 18. and 20. February, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper and the destroyers Wilhelm Heidkamp, Karl Galster and Wolfgang Zenker made an unsuccessful foray as far as the Shetland Islands. On the night of 18 February the destroyer Wolfgang Zenker had to return home as it suddenly took in water in one of its sections. The purpose of Operation "Nordmark" was to intercept British convoys between Bergen in Norway and Britain but no ships was sighted. The German task force returned to Wilhelmshaven 20 February 1940.
The winter of 1940 was severe and both Scharnhorst and Gneisenau stayed in Wilhelmshaven in the following 6 weeks.
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