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Deutschland file photo [3728]


Ship ClassDeutschland-class Heavy Cruiser
BuilderDeutsche Werke Kiel
Yard Number219
Slip/Drydock NumberI
Ordered10 Aug 1928
Laid Down5 Feb 1929
Launched19 May 1931
Commissioned1 Apr 1933
Decommissioned4 May 1945
Displacement12,100 tons standard; 16,200 tons full
Length610 feet
Beam71 feet
Draft24 feet
Machinery8 MAN diesel engines
Power Output52,050 shaft horsepower
Speed28 knots
Range8,900nm at 20 knots
Armament6 11-in guns (2 triple turrets), 8 5.9-in guns, 8 21-in torpedo tubes (2 quadruple)
Armor5.5-in turret face, 2.3-in midships belt, 1.6-in deck
Aircraft2 Arado 196 seaplanes


ww2dbaseThe pocket battleship Deutschland, later re-named L├╝tzow, was the first large armored ship built after WW1. The ship was later re-classified a heavy cruiser. She was a treaty ship (her displacement was dressed down in order to fall within treaty limits), hence the small size for a "battleship". She was the model for two later pocket battleships the Admiral Graf Spee and Admiral Scheer, though all designs were fairly different. The ship was renamed L├╝tzow at the start of WW2, avoiding the possible negative morale her potential sinking may incur had she retained the name of her nation.

ww2dbaseAs the L├╝tzow, she participated in the invasion of Norway, and later acted as a raider of British Merchant ships in the Atlantic. She was torpedoed by the British submarine Spearfish north of Jutland and sustained heavy damage, but was able to limp back to Germany for repairs. When she emerged from the docks again in late 1941, she served as a gun platform against land targets along the Baltic. At Swinem├╝nde, she came under attack by Royal Air Force in Apr 1945, and was once again heavily damaged and undergone repairs. She saw some minor duties supporting German army retreats near the end of the war before she was scuttled on 4 May 1945.

ww2dbaseShe was raised by the Soviet navy after the war and used as a target ship.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jul 2005

Heavy Cruiser Deutschland Interactive Map


Erich Raeder, Werner von Blomberg, and Adolf Hitler aboard German cruiser Deutschland in the North Sea, Apr 1934Gneisenau, Admiral Graf Spee, Admiral Scheer, and Deutschland steamed in a line during the German Naval Review of Aug 1938
See all 3 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Deutschland

Deutschland Operational Timeline

19 May 1931 The German pocket battleship Deutschland was launched by Deutsche Werke Kiel, Germany.
1 Apr 1933 Deutschland was commissioned into service.
11 Apr 1934 The pocket battleship Deutschland sailed from Kiel, Germany as a part of the spring manoeuvres. On board were Hitler and his leading army and navy commanders. It was thought that during the voyage Minister of Defence Blomberg nominated Hitler as a candidate for the Presidency (and thus making him Supreme Commander of the Army).
29 May 1937 The German pocket battleship Deutschland was bombed by Spanish Republican aircraft off the Spanish coast. Thirty-one German sailors were killed and 101 were injured.
22 Aug 1939 Westerwald began supporting German cruiser Deutschland in the Arctic Sea.
24 Aug 1939 German warship Deutschland departed Germany on a raiding mission against British shipping.
23 Oct 1939 On being told by Admiral Erich Raeder that he lacked adequate support from both the civil administration and the other two military branches, Adolf Hitler sent a memorandum to the Air Force and Army Commanders-in-Chiefs as well as to the Ministers concerned. The memo made it clear that "All measures for attacking the merchant shipping and economic resources of Great Britain were to be directed through the O.K.W. (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht)." This gave Raeder the chance to press for a relaxation of the restrictions on sinking neutral vessels trading with England. Hitler however remained adamant that any incidents should be forbidden until he was ready to strike on land. He told the admiral that he was worried about the name of the heavy cruiser Deutschland. As soon as she arrived back her name was to be changed to L├╝tzow. "Should she be sunk with her present name it would have serious repercussions back home." Hitler then ordered a meeting of Naval Staff in Berlin, Germany on 1 Nov 1939.
1 Nov 1939 In a meeting with General Wilhelm Keitel and Lieutenant Commander Karl-Jesko von Puttkamer, Adolf Hitler's liaison officer with the Naval War Staff in Berlin, Hitler repeatedly told the officers that the name of the cruiser Deutschland should be changed and the ship was to avoid any action the same orders were to be issued to the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau. Hitler was worried that any action would bring out the British Grand Fleet before air protection was organised. The Graf Spee, on station in the South Atlantic was to be ordered to be ready to sail to the Indian Ocean. Any operations of battleships must be held until Italy entered the war and the British Forces consequently held down. Submarine warfare was to be intensified. Passenger ships could be attacked and neutral ships would be attacked once a state of siege be declared against Britain. Hitler would not give priority to the production of submarines however, as Army equipment and ammunition supplies were of prime importance. Erich Raeder sent a copy to Admiral Karl D├Ânitz, Commander of the Submarine Arm with a note saying that in order to carry out a large scale submarine war then continuous pressure would be necessary.
12 Nov 1939 Westerwald completed supporting German cruiser Deutschland in the Arctic Sea.
11 Apr 1940 British submarine HMS Spearfish damaged the German pocket battleship L├╝tzow, knocking it out of action for one year as one of the six torpedoes fired nearly ripped off the German ship's stern. Not realizing L├╝tzow was unescorted, Spearfish fled from the action as soon as she fired her torpedoes.
8 Jul 1940 British bombers attacked German heavy cruiser L├╝tzow in dock at Kiel, Germany. L├╝tzow, under repair for extensive torpedo damage to her stern caused by HMS Spearfish on 11 Apr 1940, was hit by a bomb that failed to detonate.
11 Jun 1941 German heavy cruiser L├╝tzow departed Kiel, Germany for Norway, escorted by light cruisers Emden and Leipzig and six destroyers.
12 Jun 1941 German heavy cruiser L├╝tzow, light cruiser Emden, light cruiser Leipzig, and destroyers passed through the Kattegat between Denmark and Sweden.
13 Jun 1941 German heavy cruiser L├╝tzow, light cruiser Emden, light cruiser Leipzig, and destroyers passed through the Skagerrak between Denmark and Norway. Despite aerial cover by Bf 110 fighters, a British force of Beaufort torpedo bombers with fighter escort was still able to get through and attack, damaging L├╝tzow with a torpedo hit in the engine room. L├╝tzow was forced to return to Kiel, Germany for repairs.
15 May 1942 L├╝tzow departed Kiel, Germany for Ofotfjord in northern Norway.
16 Apr 1945 Eighteen British Lancaster bombers of No. 617 Squadron RAF attacked the German heavy cruiser L├╝tzow at Swinem├╝nde, Germany (now Swinoujscie, Poland). All but two of the aircraft were hit, although only one was lost (becoming No. 617 Squadron's last loss of the war). A near miss by a "Tallboy" 12,000-lb bomb tore a large hole in the bottom of the L├╝tzow, crippling her.
4 May 1945 Deutschland was decommissioned from service.

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» Wenneker, Paul

Event(s) Participated:
» Annexation of Klaipeda
» Start of the Battle of the Atlantic
» Invasion of Denmark and Norway
» Battle of the Barents Sea
» East Pomeranian Offensive

Heavy Cruiser Deutschland Photo Gallery
Erich Raeder, Werner von Blomberg, and Adolf Hitler aboard German cruiser Deutschland in the North Sea, Apr 1934Gneisenau, Admiral Graf Spee, Admiral Scheer, and Deutschland steamed in a line during the German Naval Review of Aug 1938
See all 3 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Deutschland

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Thomas Dodd, late 1945

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