History Podcasts

Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class, Gerhard Koop and Klaus-Peter Schmolke

Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class, Gerhard Koop and Klaus-Peter Schmolke

Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class, Gerhard Koop and Klaus-Peter Schmolke

Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class, Gerhard Koop and Klaus-Peter Schmolke

Although the Nazis had impressive plans for their navy, very few of the planned ships were ever built. Of the five heavy cruisers allowed by the Anglo-German Naval Treaty of 1935 only three were ever completed. The fourth was chosen for conversion to an aircraft carrier, but not completed in that role either, and the fifth abandoned while under construction. The three that were completed had very different fates. The Admiral Hipper was wrecked by RAF bombs in 1945. The Blücher wassunk during the invasion of Norway in 1940. The Prinz Eugen, famous as the companion of the Bismarckon her last voyage, became the largest German warship to survive the war intact and was used as a target for post-war Atom bomb tests.

This entry in Koop's impressive series on German warships looks at all five of these ships, with the most material on the three that were completed. The text is well structured, looking at the development, construction and technical specifications of all five ships in the first two chapters, before finishing with detailed histories of the five ships.

The author doesn't pull his punches in this series, but his criticisms are well targeted. There is an interested contrast here with his book on German light cruisers, where he was very critical of the ships themselves. Here the ships themselves are judged to have been good heavy cruisers, but the author doesn't believe that the German navy actually needed that type of ship. The biggest problem with them appears to have been a lack of reliability, with the result that they spent long periods in dock undergoing repairs. The author compares them unfavourably to their less technologically advanced but more reliable British opponents.

There are some impressive photos, including valuable pictures of the interior of the Prinz Eugen, and fascinating pictures of the damage when she lost her stern, one showing the exposed interior of the ship and one showing the temporary bulkhead that sealed the gap. This is an excellent entry in a very high quality series.

Chapters
Development and Construction
Technical Specifications
Scale Plans
Camouflage Schemes
Admiral Hipper
Blücher
Prinz Eugen
Seydlitz
Lützow
Conclusions

Author: Gerhard Koop and Klaus-Peter Schmolke
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 208
Publisher: Seaforth
Year: 2014 edition of 1992 original



German cruiser Blücher

Blücher was the second of five Admiral Hipper-class heavy cruisers of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine (War Navy), built after the rise of the Nazi Party and the repudiation of the Treaty of Versailles. Named for Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, the Prussian victor of the Battle of Waterloo, the ship was laid down in August 1936 and launched in June 1937. She was completed in September 1939, shortly after the outbreak of World War II. After completing a series of sea trials and training exercises, the ship was pronounced ready for service with the fleet on 5 April 1940. She was armed with a main battery of eight 20.3 cm (8.0 in) guns and, although nominally under the 10,000-long-ton (10,000 t) limit set by the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, actually displaced over 16,000 long tons (16,000 t).

  • 12 × boilers
  • 132,000 shp (98 MW)
  • 3 × Blohm & Voss steam turbines
  • 3 × three-blade propellers
  • 42 officers
  • 1,340 enlisted men
  • 8 × 20.3 cm (8.0 in) guns
  • 12 × 10.5 cm (4.1 in) SK C/33 guns
  • 12 × 3.7 cm (1.5 in) SK C/30 guns
  • 8 × 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 guns (20 × 1)
  • 6 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes
    : 70 to 80 mm (2.8 to 3.1 in) : 20 to 50 mm (0.79 to 1.97 in) faces: 105 mm (4.1 in)

Immediately upon entering service, Blücher was assigned to the task force that supported the invasion of Norway in April 1940. Blücher served as the flagship of Konteradmiral (Rear Admiral) Oskar Kummetz, the commander of Group 5. The ship led the flotilla of warships into the Oslofjord on the night of 8 April, to seize Oslo, the capital of Norway. Two old 28 cm (11 in) coastal guns in the Oscarsborg Fortress engaged the ship at very close range, scoring two hits, as did several smaller guns in other batteries. Two torpedoes fired by a torpedo battery in the fortress struck the ship, causing serious damage. A major fire broke out aboard Blücher, which could not be contained. The fire spread to one of her anti-aircraft gun magazines, causing a large explosion, and then spread further to the ship's fuel bunkers. Blücher then capsized and sank with major loss of life.

The wreck lies at the bottom of Oslofjord, and in 2016 was designated as a war memorial to protect it from looters. Several artifacts have been raised from the wreck, including one of her Arado 196 floatplanes, which was recovered during an operation to pump out leaking fuel oil from the ship in 1994.


1. Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class (Paperback)

Book Description Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. The warships of the World War II era German Navy are among the most popular subject in naval history with an almost uncountable number of books devoted to them. However, for a concise but authoritative summary of the design history and careers of the major surface ships it is difficult to beat a series of six volumes written by Gerhard Koop and illustrated by Klaus-Peter Schmolke. Each contains an account of the development of a particular class, a detailed description of the ships, with full technical details, and an outline of their service, heavily illustrated with plans, battle maps and a substantial collection of photographs. These have been out of print for ten years or more and are now much sought after by enthusiasts and collectors, so this new modestly priced reprint of the series will be widely welcomed. This volume covers the Admiral Hipper class, among the largest heavy cruisers to serve in World War II.Intended to be a class of five, they enjoyed contrasting fortunes: Seydlitz and Lutzow were never completed Blucher was the first major German warship sunk in action Admiral Hipper became one of the most successful commerce raiders of the war while the Prinz Eugen survived to be expended as a target in one of the first American nuclear tests in 1946. Seller Inventory # PAS9781848321953


Contents

The Admiral Hipper class of heavy cruisers was ordered in the context of German naval rearmament after the Nazi Party came to power in 1933 and repudiated the disarmament clauses of the Treaty of Versailles. In 1935, Germany signed the Anglo–German Naval Agreement with Great Britain, which provided a legal basis for German naval rearmament the treaty specified that Germany would be able to build five 10,000-long-ton (10,160 t) "treaty cruisers". [1] The Admiral Hippers were nominally within the 10,000-ton limit, though they significantly exceeded the figure. [2]

Prinz Eugen was 207.7 meters (681 ft) long overall, and had a beam of 21.7 m (71 ft) and a maximum draft of 7.2 m (24 ft). After launching, her straight bow was replaced with a clipper bow, increasing the length overall to 212.5 meters (697 ft). The new bow kept her foredeck much drier in heavy weather. [3] The ship had a design displacement of 16,970 t (16,700 long tons 18,710 short tons) and a full-load displacement of 18,750 long tons (19,050 t). Prinz Eugen was powered by three sets of geared steam turbines, which were supplied with steam by twelve ultra-high pressure oil-fired boilers. The ship's top speed was 32 knots (59 km/h 37 mph), at 135,619 shaft horsepower (101.131 MW). [4] As designed, her standard complement consisted of 42 officers and 1,340 enlisted men. [5]

The ship's primary armament was eight 20.3 cm (8 in) SK L/60 guns mounted in four twin turrets, placed in superfiring pairs forward and aft. [a] Her anti-aircraft battery consisted of twelve 10.5 cm (4.1 in) L/65 guns, twelve 3.7 cm (1.5 in) guns, and eight 2 cm (0.79 in) guns. The ship also carried a pair of triple 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo launchers abreast of the rear superstructure. For aerial reconnaissance, she was equipped with three Arado Ar 196 seaplanes and one catapult. [5] Prinz Eugen ' s armored belt was 70 to 80 mm (2.8 to 3.1 in) thick her upper deck was 12 to 30 mm (0.47 to 1.18 in) thick and her main armored deck was 20 to 50 mm (0.79 to 1.97 in) thick. The main battery turrets had 105 mm (4.1 in) thick faces and 70 mm thick sides. [4]

Prinz Eugen was ordered by the Kriegsmarine from the Germaniawerft shipyard in Kiel. [4] Her keel was laid down on 23 April 1936, [6] under construction number 564 and the contract name Kreuzer J. [4] She was originally to be named after Wilhelm von Tegetthoff, the Austrian victor of the Battle of Lissa, though considerations over the possible insult to Italy, defeated by Tegetthoff at Lissa, led the Kriegsmarine to adopt Prinz Eugen as the ship's namesake. [7] She was launched on 22 August 1938, [8] in a ceremony attended by the Governor (Reichsstatthalter) of the Ostmark, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, who made the christening speech. Also present at the launch were Adolf Hitler, the Regent of Hungary, Admiral Miklós Horthy (who had commanded the battleship SMS Prinz Eugen from 24 November 1917 to 1 March 1918), and his wife Magdolna Purgly, who performed the christening. [9] As built, the ship had a straight stem, though after her launch this was replaced with a clipper bow. A raked funnel cap was also installed. [10]

Commissioning was delayed slightly due to light damage sustained during a Royal Air Force attack on Kiel on the night of 1 July 1940. Prinz Eugen suffered two relatively light hits in the attack, [9] but she was not seriously damaged and was commissioned into service on 1 August. [8] The cruiser spent the remainder of 1940 conducting sea trials in the Baltic Sea. [6] In early 1941, the ship's artillery crews conducted gunnery training. A short period in dry dock for final modifications and improvements followed. [11] In April, the ship joined the newly commissioned battleship Bismarck for maneuvers in the Baltic. The two ships had been selected for Operation Rheinübung, a breakout into the Atlantic to raid Allied commerce. [12]

On 23 April, while passing through the Fehmarn Belt en route to Kiel, [13] Prinz Eugen detonated a magnetic mine dropped by British aircraft. The mine damaged the fuel tank, propeller shaft couplings, [12] and fire control equipment. [13] The planned sortie with Bismarck was delayed while repairs were carried out. [12] Admirals Erich Raeder and Günther Lütjens discussed the possibility of delaying the operation further, in the hopes that repairs to the battleship Scharnhorst would be completed or Bismarck ' s sistership Tirpitz would complete trials in time for the ships to join Prinz Eugen and Bismarck. Raeder and Lütjens decided that it would be most beneficial to resume surface actions in the Atlantic as soon as possible, however, and that the two ships should sortie without reinforcement. [14]

Operation Rheinübung Edit

By 11 May 1941, repairs to Prinz Eugen had been completed. Under the command of Kapitän zur See (KzS—Captain at Sea) Helmuth Brinkmann, the ship steamed to Gotenhafen, where the crew readied her for her Atlantic sortie. On 18 May, Prinz Eugen rendezvoused with Bismarck off Cape Arkona. [12] The two ships were escorted by three destroyers—Hans Lody, Z16 Friedrich Eckoldt, and Z23—and a flotilla of minesweepers. [15] The Luftwaffe provided air cover during the voyage out of German waters. [16] At around 13:00 on 20 May, the German flotilla encountered the Swedish cruiser HSwMS Gotland the cruiser shadowed the Germans for two hours in the Kattegat. [17] Gotland transmitted a report to naval headquarters, stating: "Two large ships, three destroyers, five escort vessels, and 10–12 aircraft passed Marstrand, course 205°/20'." [16] The Oberkommando der Marine (OKM—Naval High Command) was not concerned about the security risk posed by Gotland, though Lütjens believed operational security had been lost. [17] The report eventually made its way to Captain Henry Denham, the British naval attaché to Sweden, who transmitted the information to the Admiralty. [18]

The code-breakers at Bletchley Park confirmed that an Atlantic raid was imminent, as they had decrypted reports that Bismarck and Prinz Eugen had taken on prize crews and requested additional navigational charts from headquarters. A pair of Supermarine Spitfires were ordered to search the Norwegian coast for the German flotilla. [19] On the evening of 20 May, Prinz Eugen and the rest of the flotilla reached the Norwegian coast the minesweepers were detached and the two raiders and their destroyer escorts continued north. The following morning, radio-intercept officers on board Prinz Eugen picked up a signal ordering British reconnaissance aircraft to search for two battleships and three destroyers northbound off the Norwegian coast. [20] At 7:00 on the 21st, the Germans spotted four unidentified aircraft that quickly departed. Shortly after 12:00, the flotilla reached Bergen and anchored at Grimstadfjord. While there, the ships' crews painted over the Baltic camouflage with the standard "outboard gray" worn by German warships operating in the Atlantic. [21]

While in Bergen, Prinz Eugen took on 764 t (752 long tons 842 short tons) of fuel Bismarck inexplicably failed to similarly refuel. [22] At 19:30 on 21 May, Prinz Eugen, Bismarck, and the three escorting destroyers left port. [23] By midnight, the force was in the open sea and headed toward the Arctic Ocean. At this time, Admiral Raeder finally informed Hitler of the operation, who reluctantly allowed it to continue as planned. The three escorting destroyers were detached at 04:14 on 22 May, while the force steamed off Trondheim. At around 12:00, Lütjens ordered his two ships to turn toward the Denmark Strait to attempt the breakout into the open waters of the Atlantic. [24]

By 04:00 on 23 May, Lütjens ordered Prinz Eugen and Bismarck to increase speed to 27 knots (50 km/h 31 mph) to make the dash through the Denmark Strait. [25] Upon entering the Strait, both ships activated their FuMO radar detection equipment sets. [26] Bismarck led Prinz Eugen by about 700 m (2,300 ft) mist reduced visibility to 3,000 to 4,000 m (9,800 to 13,100 ft). The Germans encountered some ice at around 10:00, which necessitated a reduction in speed to 24 knots (44 km/h 28 mph). Two hours later, the pair had reached a point north of Iceland. The ships were forced to zigzag to avoid ice floes. At 19:22, hydrophone and radar operators aboard the German warships detected the cruiser HMS Suffolk at a range of approximately 12,500 m (41,000 ft). [25] Prinz Eugen ' s radio-intercept team decrypted the radio signals being sent by Suffolk and learned that their location had indeed been reported. [27]

Admiral Lütjens gave permission for Prinz Eugen to engage Suffolk, though the captain of the German cruiser could not clearly make out his target and so held fire. [28] Suffolk quickly retreated to a safe distance and shadowed the German ships. At 20:30, the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk joined Suffolk, but approached the German raiders too closely. Lütjens ordered his ships to engage the British cruiser Bismarck fired five salvoes, three of which straddled Norfolk and rained shell splinters on her decks. The cruiser laid a smoke screen and fled into a fog bank, ending the brief engagement. The concussion from the 38 cm guns disabled Bismarck ' s FuMo 23 radar set this prompted Lütjens to order Prinz Eugen to take station ahead so she could use her functioning radar to scout for the formation. The British cruisers tracked Prinz Eugen and Bismarck through the night, continually relaying the location and bearing of the German ships. [29]

Battle of the Denmark Strait Edit

The harsh weather broke on the morning of 24 May, revealing a clear sky. At 05:07 that morning, hydrophone operators aboard Prinz Eugen detected a pair of unidentified vessels approaching the German formation at a range of 20 nmi (37 km 23 mi), reporting "Noise of two fast-moving turbine ships at 280° relative bearing!". [30] At 05:45, lookouts on the German ships spotted smoke on the horizon these turned out to be from Hood and Prince of Wales, under the command of Vice Admiral Lancelot Holland. Lütjens ordered his ships' crews to battle stations. By 05:52, the range had fallen to 26,000 m (85,000 ft) and Hood opened fire, followed by Prince of Wales a minute later. [31] Hood engaged Prinz Eugen, which the British thought to be Bismarck, while Prince of Wales fired on Bismarck. [b]

The British ships approached the Germans head on, which permitted them to use only their forward guns, while Bismarck and Prinz Eugen could fire full broadsides. Several minutes after opening fire, Holland ordered a 20° turn to port, which would allow his ships to engage with their rear gun turrets. Both German ships concentrated their fire on Hood. About a minute after opening fire, Prinz Eugen scored a hit with a high-explosive 20.3 cm shell, detonating unrotated projectile ammunition and starting a large fire on Hood, which was quickly extinguished. [32] Holland then ordered a second 20° turn to port, to bring his ships on a parallel course with Bismarck and Prinz Eugen. By this time, Bismarck had found the range to Hood, so Lütjens ordered Prinz Eugen to shift fire and target Prince of Wales to keep both of his opponents under fire. Within a few minutes, Prinz Eugen scored a pair of hits on the battleship and reported that a small fire had been started. [33]

Lütjens then ordered Prinz Eugen to drop behind Bismarck, so she could continue to monitor the location of Norfolk and Suffolk, which were still some 10 to 12 nmi (19 to 22 km 12 to 14 mi) to the east. At 06:00, Hood was completing her second turn to port when Bismarck ' s fifth salvo hit. Two of the shells landed short, striking the water close to the ship, but at least one of the 38 cm armor-piercing shells struck Hood and penetrated her thin upper belt armor. The shell reached Hood ' s rear ammunition magazine and detonated 112 t (110 long tons 123 short tons) of cordite propellant. [34] The massive explosion broke the back of the ship between the main mast and the rear funnel the forward section continued to move forward briefly before the in-rushing water caused the bow to rise into the air at a steep angle. The stern similarly rose upward as water rushed into the ripped-open compartments. [35] After only eight minutes of firing, Hood had disappeared, taking all but three of her crew of 1,419 men with her. [36]

After a few more minutes, during which Prince of Wales scored three hits on Bismarck, the damaged British battleship withdrew. The Germans ceased fire as the range widened, though Captain Ernst Lindemann, Bismarck ' s commander, strongly advocated chasing Prince of Wales and destroying her. [37] Lütjens firmly rejected the request, and instead ordered Bismarck and Prinz Eugen to head for the open waters of the North Atlantic. [38] After the end of the engagement, Lütjens reported that a "Battlecruiser, probably Hood, sunk. Another battleship, King George V or Renown, turned away damaged. Two heavy cruisers maintain contact." [39] At 08:01, he transmitted a damage report and his intentions to OKM, which were to detach Prinz Eugen for commerce raiding and to make for St. Nazaire for repairs. [40] Shortly after 10:00, Lütjens ordered Prinz Eugen to fall behind Bismarck to discern the severity of the oil leakage from the bow hit. After confirming "broad streams of oil on both sides of [Bismarck ' s] wake", [41] Prinz Eugen returned to the forward position. [41]

Separation and return to France Edit

With the weather worsening, Lütjens attempted to detach Prinz Eugen at 16:40. The squall was not heavy enough to cover her withdrawal from Wake-Walker's cruisers, which continued to maintain radar contact. Prinz Eugen was therefore recalled temporarily. [42] The cruiser was successfully detached at 18:14. Bismarck turned around to face Wake-Walker's formation, forcing Suffolk to turn away at high speed. Prince of Wales fired twelve salvos at Bismarck, which responded with nine salvos, none of which hit. The action diverted British attention and permitted Prinz Eugen to slip away. [43]

On 26 May, Prinz Eugen rendezvoused with the supply ship Spichern to refill her nearly empty fuel tanks. [44] She had by then only 160 tons fuel left, enough for a day. [45] Afterwards the ship continued further south on a mission against shipping lines. [46] Before any merchant ship was found, defects in her engines showed and on 27 May, the day Bismarck was sunk, she was ordered to give up her mission and make for a port in occupied France. [47] On 28 May Prinz Eugen refuelled from the tanker Esso Hamburg. The same day more engine problems showed up, including trouble with the port engine turbine, the cooling of the middle engine and problems with the starboard screw, reducing her maximum speed to 28 knots. [48] The screw problems could only be checked and repaired in a dock and thus Brest, with its large docks and repair facilities, was chosen as destination. Despite the many British warships and several convoys in the area, at least 104 units were identified on the 29th by the ship's radio crew, Prinz Eugen reached the Bay of Biscay undiscovered, and on 1 June the ship was joined by German destroyers and aircraft off the coast of France south of Brest [49] and escorted to Brest, which she reached late on 1 June where she immediately entered dock. [44] [50]

Operation Cerberus and Norwegian operations Edit

Brest is not far from bases in southern England and during their stay in Brest Prinz Eugen and the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were repeatedly attacked by Allied bombers. [49] The Royal Air Force jokingly referred to the three ships as the Brest Bomb Target Flotilla, and between 1 August and 31 December 1941 it dropped some 1200 tons of bombs on the port. [51] On the night of 1 July 1941, [44] Prinz Eugen was struck by an armor-piercing bomb that destroyed the control center deep down under the bridge. The attack killed 60 men and wounded more than 40 others. [52] [49] [53] The loss of the control center also made the main guns useless and repairs lasted until the end of 1941. [51]

The continuous air attacks led the German command to decide Prinz Eugen, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau would have to move to safer bases as soon as they were repaired and ready. Meanwhile, the Bismarck operation had demonstrated the risks of operating in the Atlantic without air cover. In addition, Hitler saw the Norwegian theater as the "zone of destiny", so he ordered the three ships' return to Germany in early 1942 so they could be deployed there. [54] [55] The intention was to use the ships to interdict Allied convoys to the Soviet Union, as well as to strengthen the defenses of Norway. [54] Hitler insisted they would make the voyage via the English Channel, despite Raeder's protests that it was too risky. [56] Vice Admiral Otto Ciliax was given command of the operation. In early February, minesweepers swept a route through the Channel, though the British failed to detect the activity. [54]

At 23:00 on 11 February, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Prinz Eugen left Brest. They entered the Channel an hour later the three ships sped at 27 knots (50 km/h 31 mph), hugging the French coast along the voyage. By 06:30, they had passed Cherbourg, at which point they were joined by a flotilla of torpedo boats. [54] The torpedo boats were led by Kapitän zur See Erich Bey, aboard the destroyer Z29. General der Jagdflieger (General of Fighter Force) Adolf Galland directed Luftwaffe fighter and bomber forces (Operation Donnerkeil) during Cerberus. [57] The fighters flew at masthead-height to avoid detection by the British radar network. Liaison officers were present on all three ships. German aircraft arrived later to jam British radar with chaff. [54] By 13:00, the ships had cleared the Strait of Dover but, half an hour later, a flight of six Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers, with Spitfire escort, attacked the Germans. The British failed to penetrate the Luftwaffe fighter shield, and all six Swordfish were destroyed. [58] [59]

Off Dover, Prinz Eugen came under fire from British coastal artillery batteries, though they scored no hits. Several Motor Torpedo Boats then attacked the ship, but Prinz Eugen ' s destroyer escorts drove the vessels off before they could launch their torpedoes. At 16:43, Prinz Eugen encountered five British destroyers: Campbell, Vivacious, Mackay, Whitshed, and Worcester. She fired her main battery at them and scored several hits on Worcester, but she was forced to maneuver erratically to avoid their torpedoes. [60] Nevertheless, Prinz Eugen arrived in Brunsbüttel on the morning of 13 February, completely undamaged [56] but suffering the only casualty in all three big ships, killed by aircraft gunfire. [61]

On 21 February 1942, Prinz Eugen, the heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer, and the destroyers Richard Beitzen, Paul Jakobi, Z25, Hermann Schoemann, and Friedrich Ihn steamed to Norway. [62] After stopping briefly in Grimstadfjord, the ships proceeded on to Trondheim. Two days later, while patrolling off the Trondheimsfjord, the British submarine Trident torpedoed Prinz Eugen. [60] The torpedo struck the ship in the stern, killing fifty men, causing serious damage, and rendering the ship unmaneuverable. However, on her own power she managed to reach Trondheim and from there was towed to Lofjord [de] , where, over the next few months, emergency repairs were effected. Her entire stern was cut away and plated over and two jury-rigged rudders, operated manually by capstans, were installed. [56] [63]

On 16 May, Prinz Eugen made the return voyage to Germany under her own power. While en route to Kiel, the ship was attacked by a British force of 19 Bristol Blenheim bombers and 27 Bristol Beaufort torpedo bombers commanded by Wing Commander Mervyn Williams, though the aircraft failed to hit the ship. [60] Prinz Eugen was out of service for repairs until October she conducted sea trials beginning on 27 October. [64] Hans-Erich Voss, who later became Hitler's Naval Liaison Officer, was given command of the ship when she returned to service. [65] In reference to her originally planned name, the ship's bell from the Austrian battleship Tegetthoff was presented on 22 November by the Italian Contrammiraglio (Rear Admiral) de Angeles. [66] Over the course of November and December, the ship was occupied with lengthy trials in the Baltic. In early January 1943, the Kriegsmarine ordered the ship to return to Norway to reinforce the warships stationed there. Twice in January Prinz Eugen attempted to steam to Norway with Scharnhorst, but both attempts were broken off after British surveillance aircraft spotted the two ships. After it became apparent that it would be impossible to move the ship to Norway, Prinz Eugen was assigned to the Fleet Training Squadron. For nine months, she cruised the Baltic training cadets. [64]

Service in the Baltic Edit

As the Soviet Army pushed the Wehrmacht back on the Eastern Front, it became necessary to reactivate Prinz Eugen as a gunnery support vessel on 1 October 1943, the ship was reassigned to combat duty. [64] In June 1944, Prinz Eugen, the heavy cruiser Lützow, and the 6th Destroyer Flotilla formed the Second Task Force, later renamed Task Force Thiele after its commander, Vizeadmiral August Thiele. Prinz Eugen was at this time under the command of KzS Hans-Jürgen Reinicke throughout June she steamed in the eastern Baltic, northwest of the island of Utö as a show of force during the German withdrawal from Finland. On 19–20 August, the ship steamed into the Gulf of Riga and bombarded Tukums. [67] [68] Four destroyers and two torpedo boats supported the action, along with Prinz Eugen ' s Ar 196 floatplanes the cruiser fired a total of 265 shells from her main battery. [64] [68] Prinz Eugen ' s bombardment was instrumental in the successful repulse of the Soviet attack. [69]

In early September, Prinz Eugen supported a failed attempt to seize the fortress island of Hogland. The ship then returned to Gotenhafen, before escorting a convoy of ships evacuating German soldiers from Finland. [64] The convoy, consisting of six freighters, sailed on 15 September from the Gulf of Bothnia, with the entire Second Task Force escorting it. Swedish aircraft and destroyers shadowed the convoy, but did not intervene. The following month, Prinz Eugen returned to gunfire support duties. On 11 and 12 October, she fired in support of German troops in Memel. [67] Over the first two days, the ship fired some 700 rounds of ammunition from her main battery. She returned on the 14th and 15th, after having restocked her main battery ammunition, to fire another 370 rounds. [64]

While on the return voyage to Gotenhafen on 15 October, Prinz Eugen inadvertently rammed the light cruiser Leipzig amidships north of Hela. [64] The cause of the collision was heavy fog. [70] The light cruiser was nearly cut in half, [64] and the two ships remained wedged together for fourteen hours. [67] Prinz Eugen was taken to Gotenhafen, where repairs were effected within a month. [64] Sea trials commenced on 14 November. [68] On 20–21 November, the ship supported German troops on the Sworbe Peninsula by firing around 500 rounds of main battery ammunition. Four torpedo boats—T13, T16, T19, and T21—joined the operation. [68] Prinz Eugen then returned to Gotenhafen to resupply and have her worn-out gun barrels re-bored. [64]

The cruiser was ready for action by mid-January 1945, when she was sent to bombard Soviet forces in Samland. [71] The ship fired 871 rounds of ammunition at the Soviets advancing on the German bridgehead at Cranz held by the XXVIII Corps, which was protecting Königsberg. She was supported in this operation by the destroyer Z25 and torpedo boat T33. [68] At that point, Prinz Eugen had expended her main battery ammunition, and critical munition shortages forced the ship to remain in port until 10 March, when she bombarded Soviet forces around Gotenhafen, Danzig, and Hela. During these operations, she fired a total of 2,025 shells from her 20.3 cm guns and another 2,446 rounds from her 10.5 cm guns. The old battleship Schlesien also provided gunfire support, as did Lützow after 25 March. The ships were commanded by Vizeadmiral Bernhard Rogge. [68] [72]

The following month, on 8 April, Prinz Eugen and Lützow steamed to Swinemünde. [67] On 13 April, 34 Lancaster bombers attacked the two ships while in port. Thick cloud cover forced the British to abort the mission and return two days later. On the second attack, they succeeded in sinking Lützow with a single Tallboy bomb hit. [73] Prinz Eugen then departed Swinemünde for Copenhagen, [67] arriving on 20 April. Once there, she was decommissioned on 7 May and turned over to Royal Navy control the following day. [72] For his leadership of Prinz Eugen in the final year of the war, Reinicke was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 21 April 1945. [74] During her operational career with the Kriegsmarine, Prinz Eugen lost 115 crew members 79 men were killed in action, 33 were killed in accidents and three died of other causes. Of these 115 crew members, four were officers, seven were cadets or ensigns, two were petty officers, 22 were junior petty officers, 78 were sailors and two were civilians. [65]

Service with the United States Navy Edit

On 27 May 1945, Prinz Eugen and the light cruiser Nürnberg—the only major German naval vessels to survive the war in serviceable condition—were escorted by the British cruisers Dido and Devonshire to Wilhelmshaven. On 13 December, Prinz Eugen was awarded as a war prize to the United States, which sent the ship to Wesermünde. [67] The United States did not particularly want the cruiser, but it did want to prevent the Soviet Union from acquiring it. [75] Her US commander, Captain Arthur H. Graubart, recounted later how the British, Soviet and US representatives in the Control Commission all claimed the ship and how in the end the various large prizes were divided in three lots, Prinz Eugen being one of them. The three lots were then drawn lottery style from his hat with the British and Soviet representatives drawing the lots for other ships and Graubart being left with the lot for Prinz Eugen. [76] The cruiser was commissioned into the US Navy as the unclassified miscellaneous vessel USS Prinz Eugen with the hull number IX-300. A composite American-German crew consisting of 574 German officers and sailors, supervised by eight American officers and eighty-five enlisted men under the command of Graubart, [77] [78] then took the ship to Boston, departing on 13 January 1946 and arriving on 22 January. [67]

After arriving in Boston, the ship was extensively examined by the US Navy. [72] Her very large GHG passive sonar array was removed and installed on the submarine USS Flying Fish for testing. [79] American interest in magnetic amplifier technology increased again after findings in investigations of the fire control system of Prinz Eugen. [80] [81] The guns from turret Anton were removed while in Philadelphia in February. [82] On 1 May the German crewmen left the ship and returned to Germany. Thereafter, the American crew had significant difficulties in keeping the ship's propulsion system operational—eleven of her twelve boilers failed after the Germans departed. The ship was then allocated to the fleet of target ships for Operation Crossroads in Bikini Atoll. Operation Crossroads was a major test of the effects of nuclear weapons on warships of various types. The trouble with Prinz Eugen ' s propulsion system may have influenced the decision to dispose of her in the nuclear tests. [78] [83]

She was towed to the Pacific via Philadelphia and the Panama Canal, [78] departing on 3 March. [82] The ship survived two atomic bomb blasts: Test Able, an air burst on 1 July 1946 and Test Baker, a submerged detonation on 25 July. [84] Prinz Eugen was moored about 1,200 yards (1,100 m) from the epicenter of both blasts and was only lightly damaged by them [85] the Able blast only bent her foremast and broke the top of her main mast. [86] She suffered no significant structural damage from the explosions but was thoroughly contaminated with radioactive fallout. [84] The ship was towed to the Kwajalein Atoll in the central Pacific, where a small leak went unrepaired due to the radiation danger. [87] On 29 August 1946, the US Navy decommissioned Prinz Eugen. [84]

By late December 1946, the ship was in very bad condition on 21 December, she began to list severely. [78] A salvage team could not be brought to Kwajalein in time, [84] so the US Navy attempted to beach the ship to prevent her from sinking, but on 22 December, Prinz Eugen capsized and sank. [78] Her main battery gun turrets fell out of their barbettes when the ship rolled over. The ship's stern, including her propeller assemblies, remains visible above the surface of the water. [87] The US government denied salvage rights on the grounds that it did not want the contaminated steel entering the market. [84] In August 1979, one of the ship's screw propellers was retrieved and placed in the Laboe Naval Memorial in Germany. [8] The ship's bell is currently held at the National Museum of the United States Navy, while the bell from Tegetthoff is held in Graz, Austria. [65]

Beginning in 1974, the US government began to warn about the danger of an oil leak from the ship's full fuel bunkers. The government was concerned about the risk of a severe typhoon damaging the wreck and causing a leak. Starting in February 2018, the US Navy, including the Navy's Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One, US Army, and the Federated States of Micronesia conducted a joint oil removal effort with the salvage ship USNS Salvor, which had cut holes into the ship's fuel tanks to pump the oil from the wreck directly into the oil tanker Humber. [88] The US Navy announced that the work had been completed by 15 October 2018 the project had extracted approximately 250,000 US gallons (950,000 l 210,000 imp gal) of fuel oil, which amounted to 97 percent of the fuel remaining aboard the wreck. Lieutenant Commander Tim Emge, the officer responsible for the salvage operation, stated that "There are no longer active leaks. the remaining oil is enclosed in a few internal tanks without leakage and encased by layered protection." [89]


Contents

The Admiral Hipper class of heavy cruisers was ordered in the context of German naval rearmament after the Nazi Party came to power in 1933 and repudiated the disarmament clauses of the Treaty of Versailles. In 1935, Germany signed the Anglo–German Naval Agreement with Great Britain, which provided a legal basis for German naval rearmament the treaty specified that Germany would be able to build five 10,000-long-ton (10,000 t) "treaty cruisers". [1] The Admiral Hippers were nominally within the 10,000-ton limit, though they significantly exceeded the figure. [2]

Admiral Hipper was 202.8 meters (665 ft) long overall and had a beam of 21.3 m (70 ft) and a maximum draft of 7.2 m (24 ft). After the installation of a clipper bow during fitting out, her overall length increased to 205.9 meters (676 ft). The ship had a design displacement of 16,170 t (15,910 long tons 17,820 short tons) and a full load displacement of 18,200 long tons (18,500 t). Admiral Hipper was powered by three sets of geared steam turbines, which were supplied with steam by twelve ultra-high pressure oil-fired boilers. The ship's top speed was 32 knots (59 km/h 37 mph), at 132,000 shaft horsepower (98,000 kW). [3] As designed, her standard complement consisted of 42 officers and 1,340 enlisted men. [4]

Admiral Hipper ' s primary armament was eight 20.3 cm (8.0 in) SK L/60 guns mounted in four twin gun turrets, placed in superfiring pairs forward and aft. [a] Her anti-aircraft battery consisted of twelve 10.5 cm (4.1 in) L/65 guns, twelve 3.7 cm (1.5 in) guns, and eight 2 cm (0.79 in) guns. She had four triple 53.3 cm (21.0 in) torpedo launchers, all on the main deck next to the four range finders for the anti-aircraft guns. [5]

The ship was equipped with three Arado Ar 196 seaplanes and one catapult. [4] Admiral Hipper ' s armored belt was 70 to 80 mm (2.8 to 3.1 in) thick her upper deck was 12 to 30 mm (0.47 to 1.18 in) thick while the main armored deck was 20 to 50 mm (0.79 to 1.97 in) thick. The main battery turrets had 105 mm (4.1 in) thick faces and 70 mm thick sides. [3]

Admiral Hipper was ordered by the Kriegsmarine from the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg. [3] Her keel was laid on 6 July 1935, [6] under construction number 246. [3] The ship was launched on 6 February 1937, and was completed on 29 April 1939, the day she was commissioned into the German fleet. [7] The Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine, Großadmiral (Grand Admiral) Erich Raeder, who had been Franz von Hipper's chief of staff during World War I, gave the christening speech and his wife Erika Raeder performed the christening. [8] [9] As built, the ship had a straight stem, though after her launch this was replaced with a clipper bow. A raked funnel cap was also installed. [10]

Kapitän zur See (Captain at Sea) Hellmuth Heye was given command of the ship at her commissioning. [11] After her commissioning in April 1939, Admiral Hipper steamed into the Baltic Sea to conduct training maneuvers. The ship also made port calls to various Baltic ports, including cities in Estonia and Sweden. In August, the ship conducted live fire drills in the Baltic. At the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, the ship was still conducting gunnery trials. She was briefly used to patrol the Baltic, but she did not see combat, and was quickly returned to training exercises. [6] In November 1939, the ship returned to the Blohm & Voss dockyard for modifications these included the replacement of the straight stem with a clipper bow and the installation of the funnel cap. [12]

Sea trials in the Baltic resumed in January 1940, but severe ice restrained the ship to port. On 17 February, the Kriegsmarine pronounced the ship fully operational, and on the following day, Admiral Hipper began her first major wartime patrol. [13] She joined the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the destroyers Karl Galster and Wilhelm Heidkamp in a sortie into the North Sea off Bergen, Norway. A third destroyer, Wolfgang Zenker, was forced to turn back after sustaining damage from ice. The ships operated under the command of Admiral Wilhelm Marschall. [14] The ships attempted to locate British merchant shipping, but failed and returned to port on 20 February. [13]

Operation Weserübung Edit

Following her return from the North Sea sortie, Admiral Hipper was assigned to the forces tasked with the invasion of Norway, codenamed Operation Weserübung. [13] The ship was assigned as the flagship of Group 2, along with the destroyers Paul Jakobi, Theodor Riedel, Friedrich Eckoldt, and Bruno Heinemann. KzS Heye was given command of Group 2 during the operation. [15] The five ships carried a total of 1,700 Wehrmacht mountain troops, whose objective was the port of Trondheim the ships loaded the troops in Cuxhaven. [13] [16] The ships steamed to the Schillig roadstead outside Wilhelmshaven, where they joined Group 1, consisting of ten destroyers, and the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, which were assigned to cover Groups 1 and 2. The ships steamed out of the roadstead at midnight on the night of 6–7 April. [17]

While steaming off the Norwegian coast, Admiral Hipper was ordered to divert course to locate the destroyer Bernd von Arnim, which had fallen behind Group 1. In the mist, the destroyer encountered the British destroyer HMS Glowworm the two destroyers engaged each other until Bernd von Arnim ' s commander requested assistance from Admiral Hipper. [18] Upon arriving on the scene, Admiral Hipper was initially misidentified by Glowworm to be a friendly vessel, which allowed the German ship to close the distance and fire first. Admiral Hipper rained fire on Glowworm, scoring several hits. Glowworm attempted to flee, but when it became apparent she could not break away from the pursuing cruiser, she turned toward Admiral Hipper and fired a spread of torpedoes, all of which missed. The British destroyer scored one hit on Admiral Hipper ' s starboard bow before a rudder malfunction set the ship on a collision course with the German cruiser. [19]

The collision with Glowworm tore off a 40-meter (130 ft) section of Admiral Hipper ' s armored belt on the starboard side, as well as the ship's starboard torpedo launcher. [20] Minor flooding caused a four degree list to starboard, though the ship was able to continue with the mission. [18] Glowworm ' s boilers exploded shortly after the collision, causing her to sink quickly. Forty survivors were picked up by the German ship. [13] Admiral Hipper then resumed course toward Trondheim. [19] The British destroyer had survived long enough to send a wireless message to the Royal Navy headquarters, which allowed the battlecruiser Renown time to move into position to engage Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, though the German battleships used their superior speed to break off contact. [21]

One of Admiral Hipper's Arado seaplanes had to make an emergency landing in Eide, Norway on 8 April. After trying to purchase fuel from locals, the aircrew were detained and handed over to the police. The Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service captured the Arado, which was painted in Norwegian colors and used by the Norwegians until 18 April when it was evacuated to Britain. [22]

After arriving off Trondheim, Admiral Hipper successfully passed herself off as a British warship long enough to steam past the Norwegian coastal artillery batteries. The ship entered the harbor and docked shortly before 05:30 to debark the mountain troops. After the ground troops seized control of the coastal batteries, the ship left Trondheim, bound for Germany. She was escorted by Friedrich Eckoldt she reached Wilhelmshaven on 12 April, and went into drydock. The dockyard workers discovered the ship had been damaged more severely by the collision with Glowworm than had previously been thought. Nevertheless, repairs were completed in the span of two weeks. [19]

Admiral Marschall organized a mission to seize Harstad in early June 1940 Admiral Hipper, the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and four destroyers were tasked with the operation. [19] The ships departed on 4 June, and while en route, Admiral Hipper encountered and sank the empty troopship Orama on 9 June. [23] Before they reached Harstad, the Germans learned that the Allies had already abandoned the port. Marschall's squadron was then tasked with intercepting an Allied convoy that was reported to be in the area. The ships failed to find the convoy, and returned to Trondheim to refuel. [13]

On 13 June, the ship's anti-aircraft gunners shot down an attacking British bomber. [13] On 25 July, Admiral Hipper steamed out on a commerce raiding patrol in the area between Spitzbergen and Tromsø the cruise lasted until 9 August. [24] While on the patrol, Admiral Hipper encountered the Finnish freighter Ester Thorden, which was found to be carrying 1.75 t (1.72 long tons 1.93 short tons) of gold. The ship was seized and sent to occupied Norway with a prize crew. [25]

Atlantic operations Edit

Admiral Hipper was ordered to leave the Norwegian theatre on 5 August 1940 for an overhaul in Wilhelmshaven. This was completed on 9 September and with a new commanding officer, Wilhelm Meisel, the cruiser made ready to participate in Operation Sea Lion, the planned invasion of the United Kingdom. Admiral Hipper's role would have been a diversionary foray into the North Sea, Operation Herbstreise or "Autumn Journey", with the aim of luring the British Home Fleet away from the intended invasion routes in the English Channel. Following the postponement of that operation, on 24 September the ship left Wilhelmshaven on a mission break out into the Atlantic Ocean to raid merchant traffic. [26] The engine oil feed system caught fire and was severely damaged. The fire forced the crew to shut down the ship's propulsion system until the blaze could be brought under control this rendered Admiral Hipper motionless for several hours on the open sea. British reconnaissance failed to locate the ship, and after the fire was extinguished, the ship returned to Hamburg's Blohm & Voss shipyard, where repairs lasted slightly over a week. [25]

The ship made a second attempt to break out into the Atlantic on 30 November she successfully navigated the Denmark Strait undetected on 6 December. Admiral Hipper intercepted WS 5A, a convoy of 20 troopships on 24 December, [25] some 700 nautical miles (1,300 km 810 mi) west of Cape Finisterre. Five of the twenty ships were allocated to Operation Excess. The convoy was protected by a powerful escort composed of the aircraft carriers Furious and Argus, the cruisers Berwick, Bonaventure, and Dunedin, and six destroyers. [27] Admiral Hipper did not initially spot the escorting warships, and so began attacking the convoy. [25] With her main guns she badly damaged two ships, [27] 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. [25]

Ten minutes later, Berwick reappeared off Admiral Hipper ' s port bow [25] [27] 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 disengaged, to prevent the British destroyers from closing to launch a torpedo attack. By now, the ship was running low on fuel, and so she put into Brest in occupied France on 27 December. [25] While en route, Admiral Hipper encountered and sank the isolated 6,078 GRT passenger ship Jumna. [27] Another round of routine maintenance work was effected while the ship was in Brest, readying her for another sortie into the Atlantic shipping lanes. [28]

On 1 February 1941, Admiral Hipper embarked on her second Atlantic sortie. [29] The Kriegsmarine had initially sought to send the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau to operate in concert with Admiral Hipper, but Gneisenau suffered storm damage in December that prevented the participation of the two ships. [28] Repairs were effected quickly, however, and the two battleships broke out into the Atlantic in early February. [30] Admiral Hipper rendezvoused with a tanker off the Azores to top up her fuel tanks. [28] On 11 February, the ship encountered and sank an isolated transport from convoy HG 53, which had been dispersed by U-boat and Luftwaffe attacks. [31] 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. [32] The British reported only seven ships were lost, totaling 32,806 long tons (33,332 t), along with damage to two more. [28] [33] The Germans claimed Admiral Hipper had sunk thirteen of the nineteen freighters, while some survivors reported fourteen ships of the convoy were sunk. [28]

Following the attack on convoy SLS 64, Admiral Hipper ' s fuel stocks were running low. She therefore returned to Brest on 15 February. British bombers were regularly attacking the port, however, and the Kriegsmarine therefore decided Admiral Hipper should return to Germany, where she could be better protected. Before the ship could leave, damage caused to the ship's hull by wrecks in the harbor had to be repaired. [28] On 15 March, the ship slipped out of Brest, unobserved, and passed through the Denmark Strait eight days later. [34] While en route, Admiral Hipper stopped to refuel in Bergen. [28] By 28 March, the cruiser was docked in Kiel, having made the entire journey without being detected by the British. [34] Upon arrival, the ship went into the Deutsche Werke shipyard for an extensive overhaul, which lasted for seven months. After completion of the refit, Admiral Hipper conducted sea trials in the Baltic before putting into Gotenhafen on 21 December for some minor refitting. In January 1942, the ship had her steam turbines overhauled at the Blohm & Voss shipyard a degaussing coil was fitted to the ship's hull during this overhaul. By March, the ship was again fully operational. [35]

Deployment to Norway Edit

On 19 March 1942, Admiral Hipper steamed to Trondheim, escorted by the destroyers Z24, Z26, and Z30 and the torpedo boats T15, T16, and T17. Several British submarines were patrolling the area, but failed to intercept the German flotilla. Admiral Hipper and her escorts reached their destination on 21 March. [36] There, they joined the heavy cruisers Lützow and Prinz Eugen, though the latter soon returned to Germany for repairs after being torpedoed. On 3 July, Admiral Hipper joined the cruisers Lützow and Admiral Scheer and the battleship Tirpitz for Operation Rösselsprung, an attack on convoy PQ 17. [37] Escorting the convoy were the battleships HMS Duke of York and USS Washington and the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious. [38] Admiral Hipper, Tirpitz, and six destroyers sortied from Trondheim, while a second task force consisting of Lützow, Admiral Scheer, and six destroyers operated out of Narvik. [39] Lützow and three of the destroyers struck uncharted rocks while en route to the rendezvous and had to return to port. Swedish intelligence had meanwhile reported the German departures to the British Admiralty, which ordered the convoy to disperse. Aware that they had been detected, the Germans aborted the operation and turned over the attack to U-boats and the Luftwaffe. The scattered vessels could no longer be protected by the convoy escorts, and the Germans sank 21 of the 34 isolated transports. [40]

The British submarine Tigris unsuccessfully attempted to torpedo Admiral Hipper on 10 September, while the ship was patrolling with Admiral Scheer and the light cruiser Köln. [28] The cruiser escorted the destroyers Z23, Z28, Z29, and Z30 on 24–28 September to lay a minefield off the north-west coast of Novaya Zemlya. [41] The goal of the operation was to funnel merchant traffic further south, closer to the reach of German naval units in Norway. After her return to port, Admiral Hipper was transferred to Bogen Bay near Narvik for repairs to her propulsion system. [28] On 28–29 October, Admiral Hipper and the destroyers Friedrich Eckoldt and Richard Beitzen were transferred further north from Narvik to the Altafjord. [42] Starting on 5 November, Admiral Hipper and the 5th Destroyer Flotilla, composed of Z27, Z30, Richard Beitzen, and Friedrich Eckoldt, patrolled for Allied shipping in the Arctic. Vizeadmiral Oskar Kummetz commanded the squadron from Admiral Hipper. On 7 November, the cruiser's Arado Ar 196 floatplane located the 7,925-long-ton (8,052 t) Soviet tanker Donbass and its escort, the auxiliary warship BO-78. Kummetz dispatched the destroyer Z27 to sink the two Soviet ships. [43]

Battle of the Barents Sea Edit

In December 1942, convoy traffic to the Soviet Union resumed. Großadmiral Raeder ordered a plan, Operation Regenbogen, to use the available surface units in Norway to launch an attack on the convoys. The first convoy of the month, JW 51A, passed to the Soviet Union without incident. However, the second, convoy JW 51B, was spotted by the submarine U-354 south of Bear Island. Raeder ordered the forces assigned to Operation Regenbogen into action. [44] Admiral Hipper, again served as Kummetz's flagship the squadron comprised Lützow and the destroyers Friederich Eckoldt, Richard Beitzen, Theodor Riedel, Z29, Z30, and Z31. [45] The force left Altafjord at 18:00 on 30 December, under orders to avoid confrontation with even an equal opponent. [46]

Kummetz's plan was to divide his force in half he would take Admiral Hipper and three destroyers north of the convoy to attack it and draw away the escorts. Lützow and the remaining three destroyers would then attack the undefended convoy from the south. At 09:15 on the 31st, the British destroyer Obdurate spotted the three destroyers screening for Admiral Hipper the Germans opened fire first. Four of the other five destroyers escorting the convoy rushed to join the fight, while Achates laid a smoke screen to cover the convoy. Admiral Hipper fired several salvos at Achates, raining shell splinters on the destroyer that severed steam lines and reduced her speed to 15 knots (28 km/h 17 mph). Kummetz then turned back north to draw the destroyers away. Captain Robert Sherbrooke, the British escort commander, left two destroyers to cover the convoy while he took the remaining four to pursue Admiral Hipper. [46]

Rear Admiral Robert Burnett's Force R, centered on the cruisers Sheffield and Jamaica, standing by in distant support of the Allied convoy, [44] raced to the scene. The cruisers engaged Admiral Hipper, which had been firing to port at the destroyer Obedient. Burnett's ships approached from Admiral Hipper ' s starboard side and achieved complete surprise. [47] In the initial series of salvos from the British cruisers, Admiral Hipper was hit three times. [45] One of the hits damaged the ship's propulsion system the No. 3 boiler filled with a mix of oil and water, which forced the crew to turn off the starboard turbine engine. This reduced her speed to 23 knots (43 km/h 26 mph). The other two hits started a fire in her aircraft hangar. She fired a single salvo at the cruisers before turning toward them, her escorting destroyers screening her with smoke. [48]

After emerging from the smoke screen, Hipper was again engaged by Burnett's cruisers. Owing to the uncertainty over the condition of his flagship and the ferocity of the British defense, Kummetz issued the following order at 10:37: "Break off action and retire to the west." [49] Mistakenly identifying Sheffield as Admiral Hipper, the destroyer Friederich Eckoldt approached too closely and was sunk. [50] Meanwhile, Lützow closed to within 3 nmi (5.6 km 3.5 mi) of the convoy, but due to poor visibility, she held her fire. She then received Kummetz's order, and turned west to rendezvous with Admiral Hipper. Lützow inadvertently came alongside Sheffield and Jamaica, and after identifying them as hostile, engaged them. The British cruisers turned toward Lützow and came under fire from both German cruisers. Admiral Hipper ' s firing was more accurate and quickly straddled Sheffield, though the British cruiser escaped unscathed. Burnett quickly decided to withdraw in the face of superior German firepower his ships were armed with 6 in (150 mm) guns, while Admiral Hipper and Lützow carried 20.3 cm (8.0 in) and 28 cm (11 in) guns, respectively. [51]

Based on the order issued at the outset of the operation to avoid action with a force equal in strength to his own, poor visibility, and the damage to his flagship, Kummetz decided to abort the attack. In the course of the battle, the British destroyer Achates was sunk by the damage inflicted by Admiral Hipper. The Germans also sank the minesweeper Bramble and damaged the destroyers Onslow, Obedient, and Obdurate. In return, the British sank Friederich Eckoldt and damaged Admiral Hipper, and forced the Germans to abandon the attack on the convoy. [45] In the aftermath of the failed operation, a furious Hitler proclaimed that the Kriegsmarine's surface forces would be paid off and dismantled, and their guns used to reinforce the fortifications of the Atlantic Wall. Admiral Karl Dönitz, Raeder's successor, persuaded Hitler to retain the surface fleet, however. [52] After returning to Altafjord, emergency repairs to Admiral Hipper were effected, which allowed her to return to Bogen Bay on 23 January 1943. [53] That day, Admiral Hipper, Köln, and the destroyer Richard Beitzen left the Altafjord to return to Germany. The three ships stopped in Narvik on 25 January, and in Trondheim from 30 January to 2 February. [54] After resuming the voyage south, the ships searched for Norwegian blockade runners in the Skagerrak on 6 February before putting into port at Kiel on 8 February. [55] On 28 February, the ship was decommissioned in accordance with Hitler's decree. [53]

Fate Edit

Despite being decommissioned, repair work on the ship continued. [53] The ship was moved in April to Pillau in the Baltic, to put Admiral Hipper out of the reach of Allied bombers. A year later, the ship was moved to Gotenhafen the Kriegsmarine intended to re-commission the ship so she could be used in the Baltic. Over the next five months, Admiral Hipper ran a series of sea trials in the Baltic, but failed to reach operational status. As the Soviet army pushed the Germans back on the Eastern Front, her crew was drafted into construction work on the defenses of the city, further impairing Admiral Hipper ' s ability to enter active service. The Royal Air Force also laid an extensive minefield around the port, which forced the ship to remain in the harbor. [53]

By the end of 1944, the ship was due for another overhaul work was to have lasted for three months. The Soviet Army had advanced so far, however, that it was necessary to move the ship farther away from the front, despite the fact that she had only one working turbine. On 29 January 1945, the ship left Gotenhafen, arriving in Kiel on 2 February. She entered the Germaniawerft shipyard for refitting. On 3 May, RAF bombers attacked the harbor and severely damaged the ship. [56] Her crew scuttled the wrecked ship at her moorings at 04:25 on 3 May. In July 1945, after the end of the war, Admiral Hipper was raised and towed to Heikendorfer Bay and subsequently broken up for scrap in 1948–1952. Her bell was on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. [7] The bell has since been returned to Germany and is on display at the Laboe Naval Memorial near Kiel. [57]


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Lee un libro Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class de Gerhard Koop,Klaus-Peter Schmolke Ebooks, PDF, ePub

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Admiral hipper warship girls wiki fandom admiral hipper is a heavy cruiser based on german cruiser admiral hipper admiral hipper was the nameship of admiral hipperclass it was the largest heavy cruiser in the world when it was constructed after commission admiral hipper participated in gcountrys operation in northern europe during the operation admiral hipper was damaged by the ramming of hms glow wormwhich later sunk

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Heavy cruisers of the admiral hipper class warships of these have been out of print for ten years or more and are now much sought after by enthusiasts and collectors so this new modestly priced reprint of the series will be widely welcomedthis volume covers the admiral hipper class among the largest heavy cruisers to serve in world war ii

Admiral hipperclass cruiser wikipedia the admiral hipper class was a group of five heavy cruisers built by nazi germanys kriegsmarine beginning in the mid1930s the class comprised admiral hipper the lead ship blücher prinz eugen seydlitz and lützowonly the first three ships of the class saw action with the german navy during world war iiwork on seydlitz stopped when she was approximately 95 percent complete it was


World War Photos

Crew lined up on deck of Admiral Hipper Cruiser Admiral Hipper in Norway, bow view Admiral Hipper, Heikendorfer Bay 1946 German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper docked
Crew on Deck of German Cruiser Admiral Hipper Heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper embarking troops in Cuxhaven, Germany on April 6. 1940 before saling to Trondheim heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper in Norway 2 heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper 1940
heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper in Wilhelmshaven heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper in Norway Bergen German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper in drydock British transport ship Orama sunk by heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper
Schwerer Kreuzer Admiral Hipper Admiral Hipper Hardangerfjord Norway 1942 German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper Kiel 1945 Heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper – Kristiansand Norway 1942
Admiral Hipper Norway Admiral Hipper german Kriegsmarine Heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper Kristiansand Norway 1942 cruiser Admiral Hipper
Heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper in camouflage, Norway Heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper in Norway Admiral Hipper Norway 1942 Admiral Hipper cruiser in Norway 1942
cruiser Admiral Hipper Norway 1942 German cruiser Admiral Hipper
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  • Gerhard Koop, Klaus-Peter Schmolke – Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class, Warships of the Kriegsmarine
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  • Miroslaw Skwiot – Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper and the Prinz Eugen class, Kagero War Camera Photobooks
  • Bernard Edwards – Beware Raiders!: German Surface Raiders in the Second World War
  • Gerhard Koop, Klaus-Peter Schmolke – Vom Original zum Modell: Schwere Kreuzer Admiral Hipper, Blücher und Prinz Eugen (german)

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Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class, Gerhard Koop and Klaus-Peter Schmolke - History

Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class (Kindle)

The Admiral Hipper, Blücher, Prinz Eugen, Seydlitz and Lützow

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Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral… ePub (117.6 MB) Add to Basket £4.99

&bull Essential reference work on this formidable class of German warship &bull Superbly illustrated throughout with hundreds of photographs &bull Details the war record of five major ships Heavy cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class were products of Germany's race to rearm in the late 1930s and, for their time, were some of the world's most formidable and revolutionary warships. This valuable reference book, in the same format as the successful Battleships of the Bismarck Class, Battleships of the Scharnhorst Class and Pocket Battleships of the Deutschland Class, traces the development and building of the class and presents the history of each individual ship. Statistical information and complete technical specifications are included, giving an insight into the performance and potential of each vessel. The career history of each vessel is also outlined and is based on primary sources, extracts from the ships' logs and official battle reports. The text is supported by illustrations throughout: technical plans, camouflage drawings and hundreds of previously unpublished photographs, many of them from the private collections of former crew members. The Admiral Hipper fought in World War II, taking part in the battle for Norway and anti-convoy operations the Blücher was sunk in April 1940 off Norway the Prinz Eugen took part in Operation Cerberus and patrols in the Baltic the Seydlitz was never completed and the Lützow entered Soviet service in 1940, taking part in the defence of Leningrad. Gerhard Koop served in the Kriegsmarine in World War II and is a respected authority on German battleships. Klaus-Peter Schmolke is well known for his superb technical drawings.

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Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class, Gerhard Koop and Klaus-Peter Schmolke - History

Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class (ePub)

The Admiral Hipper, Blücher, Prinz Eugen, Seydlitz and Lützow

£4.99 Print price £50.00

You save £45.01 (90%)

Need a currency converter? Check XE.com for live rates

Other formats available Price
Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral… Kindle (148.8 MB) Add to Basket £4.99

&bull Essential reference work on this formidable class of German warship &bull Superbly illustrated throughout with hundreds of photographs &bull Details the war record of five major ships Heavy cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class were products of Germany's race to rearm in the late 1930s and, for their time, were some of the world's most formidable and revolutionary warships. This valuable reference book, in the same format as the successful Battleships of the Bismarck Class, Battleships of the Scharnhorst Class and Pocket Battleships of the Deutschland Class, traces the development and building of the class and presents the history of each individual ship. Statistical information and complete technical specifications are included, giving an insight into the performance and potential of each vessel. The career history of each vessel is also outlined and is based on primary sources, extracts from the ships' logs and official battle reports. The text is supported by illustrations throughout: technical plans, camouflage drawings and hundreds of previously unpublished photographs, many of them from the private collections of former crew members. The Admiral Hipper fought in World War II, taking part in the battle for Norway and anti-convoy operations the Blücher was sunk in April 1940 off Norway the Prinz Eugen took part in Operation Cerberus and patrols in the Baltic the Seydlitz was never completed and the Lützow entered Soviet service in 1940, taking part in the defence of Leningrad. Gerhard Koop served in the Kriegsmarine in World War II and is a respected authority on German battleships. Klaus-Peter Schmolke is well known for his superb technical drawings.

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