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Battleships and Battlecruisers

Category for Battleships and Battlecruisers of the Germany


Admiral Graf Spee - Corsair in the South Seas

Although Admiral Graf Spee was built as the last in its class, his story is probably the most famous of the three German pocket battleships. Firstly, because she was the first to take part in war operations, but also because she was blown up in front of the inhabitants of the capital of the neutral country. Perhaps the fact that her captain's command and gentlemanly way of fighting gained respect and recognition on the part of the Allies also contributed to their extent. He sank a total of 9 ships with a displacement of over 50,000 tons without losing the life of a single British sailor.

Operation Cerberus - Channel Dash

The German battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, moored in Brest after returning from corsair cruises, became the targets of British air raids, which could sooner or later severely damage them. Therefore, it was decided to move them to Germany, where they could be provided with better defense.

Operation Rheinübung and sinking of Bismarck

In May 1941, most of Europe was ruled by fascist Germany. The Kriegsmarine ( German Navy ) wolf packs inflicted heavy losses on British convoys and attacked the German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU ( Operation BERLIN ), which sank or captured 22 ships with a total tonnage of 115,622 GRT during their corsair voyage, aggravating the British Empire.

Operation Rheinübung and sinking of Bismarck

Bismarck and Prinz Eugen, under the command of Admiral Günther Lütjens, left Gotenhafen ( now Gdynia ) on May 18, 1941 and passed through the Danish Straits of Kattegat and Skagerrak. In order to hide the corsair voyage to the British, the Germans organized a theater in the Baltic in the form of a large convoy with strong security ( Bismarck, Prinz Eugen, destroyers, etc. ). The air force patrolled over the convoy to, if necessary, neutralize reconnaissance aircraft. However, Bismarck was spotted by the Swedish cruiser GOTLAND and workers of the Norwegian resistance movement.

Operation Rheinübung and sinking of Bismarck

At 5:55, Hood fired his first volleys. A gong sounded on Hood announcing the start of the fight. There was a moment of silence, then a deafening blow and four projectiles, each weighing a ton, flew out of Hood at 2,575 km / h ( 715 m / s ). At that moment, the Germans realized that they were not cruiser guns, but battleships.

Operation Rheinübung and sinking of Bismarck

At 8:47 the first shots were fired from Rodney's guns, a minute later King George V began firing. Bismarck fired two minutes at the British ships and focused on Rodney, as his 406 mm guns posed a greater danger than the 365 mm King George V guns

Scharnhorst class battleships

In 1935, Adolf Hitler succeeded in concluding a major maritime agreement with Great Britain. Under the agreement, Germany was able to build 35% of the tonnage of British battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers and destroyers. The construction of submarines was also allowed. In the first phase, 45% of the British tonnage was allowed and for the next stage there was even talk of compliance. This treaty, in its consequences, annulled the conclusions of the Versailles arrangements. After the conclusion of this contract, the construction of the so-called pocket battleships was abandoned and the construction of much larger and, according to the original plan, much better armed.

The battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz

The Bismarck-class battleships ( Bismarck and Tirpitz ) were the largest, most beautiful, and most perfect ships the German Navy had ever had. At the same time, they were the largest ships on the European battlefield and the largest ships in the world, up to the status of Japanese Yamato-class ships ( Yamato and Musashi ) and American Iowa-class ships ( Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri, Wisconsin ).





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