DKM

Prinz Eugen CA

The Prinz Eugen was the third and last heavy cruiser commissioned by the Kriegsmarine. She became famous on her first war mission in May 1941, during the Atlantic sortie with the Bismarck in which the Hood was sunk and the Prince of Wales damaged. In February 1942, after a period spent in Brest, the Prinz Eugen together with the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, successfully passed through the English Channel on her way back to Germany. Shortly afterwards, while en route to Norway she was torpedoed and damaged by a British submarine off Trondheim. The ship was not ready for service until the beginning of 1943, and then used for training purposes in the Baltic. In 1945, the Prinz Eugen was used for shore bombardment off the Baltic coast to protect civilian refugees. The ship surrendered to the British at Copenhagen in May 1945, and was handed over to the Americans. In July 1946, she survived two nuclear tests in Bikini Atoll. Towed later to Kwajalein Atoll, the Prinz Eugen capsized on 22 December 1946. The Prinz Eugen had a maximum speed of 33.5 knots and was armed with 8  203 mm (8 inch) SK C/34 cannons in 4 dual mount turrets, 12  105 mm (4.1 inch) L/65 C/33 canons, 17 40 mm FlaK canons, 8 37 mm L/83 canons, 28 20 mm MG L/64 canons, 12 53.3 cm torpedo tubes and carried 3 Arado AR-196 float planes.

DKM CA Prinz Eugen

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Z38 1936 A Class Narvik DD

The Zerstörer 1936A class destroyers was the main type of destroyer used by the Kriegsmarine in WWII. Often called Narvik class destroyers, the name really only belongs to destroyers assigned to the 8th “Narvik Flotille” destroyer flotilla. Following traditional German navy practice all of the Narviks were unnamed and known only by their hull numbers. The 1936A class was a beautiful design and fairly large for a destroyer of the time. Their armament almost put then in the light cruiser category and they were generally superior to the smaller, slower and mostly poorly armed British destroyers. In spite of being based on earlier designs, the 1936 class destroyers had problems with the reliability of their high pressure steam engines and seakeeping in rough seas due to the newly designed bow and heavy forward artillery. The Z38 was laid down in 1940, launched on August 5,1941 and commissioned on March 20, 1943. She was transferred to Britain at the end of WWII and renamed HMS Nonsuch. She was used as test ship and scrapped between 1949 and 1950. The 1936A (Mob) class destroyer Z-38 was armed with 5 5.9 in. (149 mm) guns in 1 twin mount forward and 3 single mounts aft and also carried 4 37 mm guns, 8 20 mm guns, 8 533 mm torpedo tubes, 60 mines and 4 depth charge launchers.

DKM DD Z-38 Narvik

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Bismark BB

The battleship Bismarck was the lead ship of her class and was laid down in July 1936 and completed in September 1940. Design started in 1932 to determine the ideal characteristics of a battleship built to the 36,000 ton limit of the Washington Naval Treaty. By the time the design evolved into the Bismarck the primary threat was believed to be the French navy and the 15 inch gun was chosen to counter the new 15 inch gunned French Richelieu class ships. The range of the ship was increased so they it would be able to make long voyages from German ports to reach the Atlantic. The general assumption was made that the ship would fight at close range in the North Sea so the design also emphasized stability and armor protection. Very thick vertical belt armor, heavy upper citadel armor and extensive splinter protection in the bow and stern was designed in. The Bismarck was 823 ft long 118 ft wide with a draft of 32 ft. Her full displacement was 55,440 tons and had a double bottom for 83 percent of her length and twenty two watertight compartments. She had a standard crew of 103 officers and 1,962 enlisted sailors. The Bismarck and her sister ship Tirpitz ships were the largest warships built by the German Navy and the heaviest capital ships ever completed in Europe. The Bismarck was very heavily armored with an armor belt that ranged from 8.7 to 13 inches thick. Her main battery consisted of eight 15 inch SK C/34 guns in four twin turrets which allowed the guns to elevate to 30° giving the guns a maximum range of 39,940 yards. They fired 1,800 lb projectiles at a muzzle velocity of 2,690 ft/s and could fire one shot every 18 seconds. Her secondary battery was made up of twelve 5.9 inch SK C/28 guns mounted in six twin turrets. They could elevate to 40° and depress to -10°; they had a rate of fire of six shots per minute firing 100 lb shells at a muzzle velocity of 2,871 ft/s. At maximum elevation the guns had a range of 25,000 yards. The Bismarck also carried sixteen 4.1 inch C/32 65 antiaircraft guns in eight twin mounts, sixteen 37 mm C/30 antiaircraft guns in eight dual mounts and twenty 20 mm antiaircraft guns in individual mounts. She also carried 4 Arado AR-196 floatplanes.

After Bismarck joined the fleet plans were drawn up for a sortie into the North Atlantic. Initially the operation was to have 4 ships, however only the Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen were available. Early on the morning of May 19 Bismarck left Gotenhafen, bound for the North Atlantic. After a stop in Norway, the ships headed for the Denmark Straight, arriving on May 23. That evening the British cruisers Suffolk and Norfolk engaged Bismarck before dropping back to shadow the German ships. At 06:00 the following morning observers aboard Bismarck spotted the masts of the battlecruiser Hood and the battleship Prince of Wales. The British ships steamed directly towards Bismarck and Prinz Eugen, before attempting a turn to bring the two forces on a roughly parallel course. During the turn at least one of Bismarck's 15 inch shells penetrated one of the aft ammunition magazines aboard Hood which caused a catastrophic explosion and destroyed the ship. The German ships then concentrated their fire on Prince of Wales which was forced to withdraw. Bismarck took a direct hit on her bow from Prince of Wales which her to take in some 2,000 tons of water. The ship was also leaking oil, which made it easier for the British to track her. Prince of Wales then joined Norfolk and Suffolk and the ships briefly engaged Bismarck at around 18:00 that same day. After the second engagement with Prince of Wales, Prinz Eugen was detached to continue the operation while Bismarck sailed for port. Shortly before midnight on May 24 a group of Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers from Victorious attacked Bismarck. One torpedo struck the ship amidships without doing any serious damage, however her speed was reduced to 16 knots. Early on May 25 Bismarck evaded her pursuers but also sent a series of radio transmissions which allowed the British to get a rough fix on her position. At approximately 20:30, a flight of fifteen of Ark Royal's Swordfish torpedo bombers launched an attack on Bismarck. Three torpedoes were believed to have struck the ship; the first two torpedoes failed to do serious damage to the ship but the third hit jammed Bismarck's rudders hard to starboard. The damage could not be repaired, and the battleship began turning in a large circle, back towards her pursuers. At 08:47 the following morning the battleship Rodney opened fire followed directly by King George V and the Bismarck replied three minutes later. At 09:02 the forward turrets were destroyed and half an hour later the rear turrets were also silenced. At about 10:15 both British battleships ceased fire as the Bismarck was now a burning wreck. The cruiser Dorsetshire fired several torpedoes into the crippled ship which then took on a severe list to port. At approximately the same time as Dorsetshire's attack, the engine room crew detonated scuttling charges in the engine rooms. There is still some debate as to whether battle damage or the scuttling charges sunk her. Only 110 men were rescued by the British and 5 by German submarines. This model shows the DKM Bismark as she appeared at Korsfjord, Norway on May 21, 1941 shortly before setting out on her final mission.

DKM BB Bismarck

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Admiral Graf Spee BC

The Admiral Graf Spee was a Deutschland class Panzerschiffe, commonly called a pocket battleship. Based on their armament and configuration they would rate as very heavy cruisers. Although they officially were in compliance with the Treaty of Versailles the ships really were 6,000 tons over the limit. They incorporated several innovations to save weight and were the first major warships to use welding and all diesel propulsion. The hull was constructed with transverse steel frames using welding rather than riveting over 90 percent of its length. This saved 15 percent in weight which was used for armament and armor. Design work on the ships began in the early 1920s and proceeded despite severe political opposition until the design was finalized in 1928. The WWI Allies also attempted to stop their construction but as they officially met the treaty terms, nothing could be done. Admiral Graf Spee was ordered by the Reichsmarine to replace the battleship Braunschweig. Her keel was laid on October 1, 1932, launched on June 30, 1934 and entered service on 6 January 6, 1936. She then underwent three months of extensive sea trials before becoming the flagship of the German Navy. After the Spanish Civil War began she deployed to the Atlantic to participate in non-intervention patrols off the Republican-held coast of Spain. Between August 1936 and May 1937, the ship conducted three patrols off Spain. On the return voyage from Spain Admiral Graf Spee stopped in Great Britain to represent Germany in the Coronation Review at Spithead for King George VI on May 20, 1937. After the Review she returned to Spanish waters for another non-intervention patrol. Following fleet maneuvers and a visit to Sweden she conducted a fifth patrol in February 1938. Later in 1938 and into mid 1939 she was sent on a series of goodwill visits to various foreign ports. On August 21 1939 Admiral Graf Spee departed Wilhelmshaven bound for the South Atlantic. When WWII began on September 1, 1939 she rendezvoused with her supply ship Altmark southwest of the Canary Islands. The ship also transferred unneeded equipment to the supply ship along with two 20 mm antiaircraft guns. On September26, 1939 she received orders to begin attacks on Allied merchant shipping. Four days later she sunk her first target the cargo ship Clement off the coast of Brazil. By October 5, 1939 the British and French navies had formed eight groups to hunt down Admiral Graf Spee in the South Atlantic. Until December 13, 1939 the Admiral Graf Spee continued her commerce raiding patrol, refueling and resupplying from the Altmark several times and transferring prisoners. At 05:30 on December 13, 1939, lookouts spotted a pair of masts off the ship's starboard bow. Captain Langsdorff assumed that this was a mechant convoy. However by 05:52 the ship was identified as HMS Exeter and she was accompanied by a pair of smaller warships. Captain Langsdorff decided to give battle and closed at maximum speed. At 06:17 she opened fire with her main battery at Exeter and her secondary guns at Ajax. At 06:20 Exeter returned fire followed by Ajax at 06:21 and Achilles at 06:24. In the next 30 minutes Admiral Graf Spee hit Exeter three times, disabling her two forward turrets, destroying her bridge and her aircraft catapult, and starting major fires. Ajax and Achilles began to move closer and Captain Langsdorff thought they were making a torpedo attack and he turned away under cover of a smokescreen. This allowed Exeter to withdraw. At about 07:00 Exeter returned firing from her sole remaining turret. Admiral Graf Spee fired on her again scoring several hits and forcing her to withdraw again. At 07:25 Admiral Graf Spee scored a hit on Ajax that disabled her aft turrets. After this both sides broke off the engagement. Admiral Graf Spee retreated into the River Plate estuary and the British cruisers remained just outside to observe. During the engagement Admiral Graf Spee was hit about 70 times and had 36 men killed and 60 wounded including Captain Langsdorff. Because of the battle damage Captain Langsdorff decided to put into Montevideo to make repairs and offload the wounded and dead. While most of the hits scored by the British cruisers caused only minor damage the oil purification plant, desalination plant and galley were destroyed. She was also low on ammunition. The British worked hard to convince Captain Langsdorff that vastly superior force was on the way to the area to destroy him when he attempted to break out of the harbor. After consulting with Berlin he was given two choices. Either to break out and head for Buenos Aires or to scuttle the ship where it was. Unwilling to risk the lives of his crew against what he believed were vastly superior forces, Captain Langsdorff ordered the destruction of all important equipment aboard the ship and dispersed the ships ammunition throughout the ship. On December 18, 1939 the ship with only Captain Langsdorff and 40 men aboard moved into the outer roadstead to be scuttled. A crowd of 20,000 watched as the scuttling charges were set, the crew taken off and the ship was scuttled at 20:55. On December 20, 1939 Captain Langsdorff shot himself in full dress uniform and lying on the ship's battle ensign in his hotel room. The ship's crew were taken to Argentina where they were interned for the remainder of the war. The wreck was partially broken up in 1942 - 1943 and parts of the ship are still visible. The Admiral Graf Spee had a top speed of 28.5 knots, a range of 16,300 nautical miles at 18.69 knots, carried 33 officers and 586 enlisted men. She was armed with six 11.1 inch SK C/28 naval guns in triple turrets, eight 5.9 inch SK C/28 naval guns single turrets, six 88 mm L/78 antiaircraft guns and eight 21 inch torpedo tubes. She also carried two Arado Ar-196 seaplanes. This model show the Admiral Graf Spee in 1938.

DKM BC Admiral Graf Spee

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Type VII B U-Boat SS

The Type VII U Boat was a direct decedent of the U boats used by the Kaiserliche Marine in the First World War. The Type VII was designed in 1933-34 and became the first generation of the new attack boats. They were generally popular with their crews and much more powerful than the smaller Type II boats they replaced with better armament and very good surface agility. The Type VII was the most numerous U boat type during the Battle of the Atlantic. The Type VII A had a short production run of only 10 boats and was soon superseded by the Type VII B. Because of the limited fuel capacity of the Type VII A two saddle tanks were added that increased the Type VII Bs range by 2,500 nautical miles. The rudder was also changed from a single rudder to a dual rudder for better agility. The aft torpedo tube was moved inside the boat which allowed an additional aft torpedo to be carried below the deck plating of the aft torpedo room. The Type VII B was powered by two supercharged MAN, 6 cylinder diesel engine on the surface and two AEG GU 460/8-276 engines underwater providing a surface speed of 17.7 knots and a submerged speed of 7.6 knots. Type VII Bs included many of the most famous U boats of WWII including U-48, U-47, U-99 and U-100. They Type VII B was armed with five 21 inch torpedo tubes (4 bow, 1 stern, 14 × torpedoes or 26 TMA or 39 TMB mines, one 88 mm SK C/35 deck gun 220 rounds and a wide variety of light antiaircraft weapons. This model shows a typical Type VII B U boat in the North Atlantic in 1940.

DKM SS Type VII B U-Boat

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