Commerce raiding in Atlantic
It took Hipper two attempts to break trough and get into Atlantic for commerce raiding. During patrol Admiral Hipper intercepted a convoy of 20 troopships on Christmas day 1940 west of Cape Finisterre. Hipper began attacking the convoy, just to realize shortly after the presence of powerful escort composed of the aircraft carriers Furious and Argus, the cruisers Berwick, Bonaventure, and Dunedin, and six destroyers.
Hipper managed to badly damage two transport ships, one of which was the 13,994-long-ton (14,219 t) transport Empire Trooper, before spotting the heavy cruiser Berwick and destroyers steaming toward her. She quickly withdrew, using her main guns to keep the destroyers at bay. Ten minutes later, Berwick reappeared off Admiral Hipper’s port bow. The German cruiser fired several salvos from her forward turrets and scored hits on the British cruiser’s rear turrets, waterline, and forward superstructure. Admiral Hipper then quickly disengaged and refueled in occupied Brest (France) on 27 December. While en route, Admiral Hipper encountered and sank the isolated 6,078-long-ton (6,176 t) cargo ship Jumna.
On 1 February 1941, Admiral Hipper embarked on her second Atlantic sortie. On 11 February, the ship encountered and sank an isolated British transport from convoy HG 53, which had been dispersed by U-boat and Luftwaffe attacks. That evening, she picked up the unescorted convoy SLS 64, which contained nineteen merchant ships. The following morning, Admiral Hipper closed in and sank several of the ships. The Germans claimed Admiral Hipper had sunk thirteen of the nineteen freighters, while some survivors reported fourteen ships of the convoy were sunk. Hipper was then ordered to return to Germany, as French ports were regularly attacked by British Royal Air Force.
After successful return to Germany, Hipper underwent several repairs and steam turbines overhaul and by the by March 1942, the ship was again fully operational.