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Gneisenau file photo [1285]

Gneisenau

CountryGermany
Ship ClassGneisenau-class Battlecruiser
BuilderDeutsche Werke Shipyard, Kiel, Germany
Laid Down14 Feb 1934
Launched8 Dec 1936
Commissioned21 May 1938
Sunk23 Mar 1945
Displacement31500 tons standard; 38900 tons full
Length772 feet
Beam98 feet
Draft32 feet
Machinery3 Germania geared turbines with single reduction 3 three-bladed propellers
Power Output151893 SHP
Speed31 knots
Range8,400nm at 19 knots
Crew1669
Armament9x11in, 12x150mm, 14x105mm anti-aircraft, 16x37mm anti-aircraft, 16x20mm anti-aircraft, 6x21in torpe
Armor80-95mm deck, 350mm belt, tower, and turrets

Contributor:

ww2dbaseGneisenau was the second ship to carry the name of the Prussian general August von Gneisenau. The battlecruiser's construction was delayed due to a design change mid-way through the construction. She was a treaty ship with the displacement under the limit of 35,000 tons. She was sent back for refitting immediately in winter 1938 after realizing that her low profile brought too much water on her deck; the problem was resolved after placing a new bow on the ship.

ww2dbaseWhen WW2 started militarily in Europe, Gneisenau was attacked by British Royal Air Force at Brunsbüttelkoog on 4 Sep 1939, though was not damaged. She then was assigned to the North Atlantic to attack merchant ships that transported vital supplies to Britain. In 1940, she participated in the invasion of Norway from the sea, which included an inconclusive duel with the British battlecruiser Renown. Her second major engagement for her came on 8 Jun when she surprise attacked the British task force centered around carrier Glorious. Her last major engagement was conducted alongside her sister ship Scharnhorst in Mar 1941, destroying 14 ships (22 total for the task force) on a raiding mission against British shipping.

ww2dbaseIn 1942 Gneisenau participated in the Channel Dash, a German fleet daylight movement from the French coast back to Germany (Operation Cerberus). She was able to make it to her destination of Kiel, but she was damaged by a mine en route. Although she had survived a number of mine and other battle damages before, this time she was not as fortunate; while still in the shipyards, she was attacked by aircraft on 26-27 Feb 1942 and was so badly damaged further that repairs never completed. Her guns were removed for shore-based batteries in Denmark and Norway, and the hull was eventually sunk in Gotenhafen harbor to prevent Allied usage of the port within.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Feb 2006

Battlecruiser Gneisenau Interactive Map

Gneisenau Operational Timeline

3 Mar 1935 The keel of the German battlecruiser Gneisenau was laid down at Deutschewerke Kiel, Germany.
21 May 1938 Gneisenau was commissioned into service.
18 Feb 1940 German battlecruiser Gneisenau embarked on Operation Nordmark, aiming to intercept British convoy traffic in the North Sea.
8 Jun 1940 During Operation Juno, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau opened fired on British carrier HMS Glorious and her escorts about 170 miles west of Narvik, Norway at 1630 hours, sinking destroyer HMS Ardent at 1720 hours (killing 151) and the carrier at 1910 hours (1,515 killed, 43 survived).
20 Jun 1940 German battlecruiser Gneisenau and heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper departed Trondheim, Norway for operations near Iceland as a diversion for battleship Scharnhorst's cruise to Kiel, Germany for repairs. British submarine HMS Clyde detected Gneisenau and hit her with a torpedo 80 miles northwest of Trondheim and forced her to return for repairs.
25 Jul 1940 German battleship Gneisenau completed its torpedo damage repairs and departed Trondheim, Norway for Kiel, Germany for more thorough repairs. She was escorted by cruiser Nürnberg and destroyers Galster, Lody, Jacobi, and Ihn; torpedo boats Luchs, Jaguar, Kondor, Iltis, and T.5 would join the convoy overnight near Stavanger, Norway.
6 Apr 1941 RAF Beaufort aircraft torpedoed German battlecruiser Gneisenau at Brest, France. During this attack, Flying Officer Kenneth Campbell of No. 22 Squadron RAF Coastal Command, who scored the hit with an Mk XII torpedo, was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed with the loss of the entire crew. Campbell would be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his gallantry.
10 Apr 1941 Overnight, RAF aircraft attacked German battlecruisers in Brest, France, hitting Gneisenau with 4 bombs and causing extensive damage.
18 Dec 1941 British bombers attacked Scharnhorst and Gneisenau at Brest, France during the daylight hours at about 1230 hours.
5 Feb 1942 60 British RAF Bomber Command aircraft attacked German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau at Brest, France, causing little damage.
26 Feb 1942 49 British RAF bombers attacked Gneisenau in the drydock at Kiel, Germany. A bomb penetrated the armored deck, triggering a detonation in the forward turret which caused great damage to entire bow section of the ship; 112 were killed, 21 were wounded.
4 Apr 1942 Gneisenau arrived at Gotenhafen, Germany (now Gdynia, Poland).

Photographs

Gneisenau, Admiral Graf Spee, Admiral Scheer, and Deutschland steamed in a line during the German Naval Review of Aug 1938Battlecruiser Gneisenau, date unknown
See all 10 photographs of Battlecruiser Gneisenau



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. The corrector says:
15 Jun 2011 10:37:34 PM

These ships were BB and not BC.
2. Anonymous says:
5 Sep 2011 11:16:07 AM

No, they were clearly BC class, with 11 inch guns as compared to the BB Bismarck with 15 inchers. (Big tonnage diffeence as well)
3. Anonymous says:
5 Feb 2012 08:22:21 PM

The size of a ships guns other than that they be of capital ship size has no bearing on what is a BB or A BC by any standard definition. definately a BB and not a BC
4. Kristopher says:
7 Dec 2012 01:36:25 PM

The two ships were battlecruisers based on their main armament and their displacement. Look at the American battlecruisers and compare thier tonnage and main armament.
5. Kurt Greiner says:
28 Sep 2013 10:16:48 AM

The plans for the ship say Schlachtshiffe, not Schalchtkreuzer. The German Navy paid for them, and considered them battleships. The US Navy considreed them battleships, listing them in ONI-204 a BB-1 and 2 for the German Navy. The consensus on Wikipedia is that they are battleships. Only Anglocentric sources consider them otherwise.
6. Anonymous says:
6 Nov 2014 03:17:53 AM

Both ships were Battlecruisers.There is no dout. German ship design went into decline after 1918 and they were an improved MACKERSTINE CLASS b/c of 1916 orign. Bismark was basically an improver Beyen class BB. Basicaly they were hybrids who were to replace there 11ins guns with 15ins at a later date. Only 6 15ins 3x2.They were fast enough but had bad machinery which caused many problems. Suprising for Germans.
7. June Courts says:
31 Aug 2016 05:37:28 AM

Battleship or Battlecruiser ,who cares. They were beautiful ships,clean lines, neat bridge superstructure, and fast, very fast. Is it not a pity that man designs such a marvellous ship and then blows it to hell? War is so stupid, destructive, wasteful, and costly. When will we ever learn to talk, shake hands before millions of lives are lost, not after?...

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More on Gneisenau
Event(s) Participated:
» Start of the Battle of the Atlantic
» Invasion of Denmark and Norway
» Operation Berlin
» Operation Cerberus

Battlecruiser Gneisenau Photo Gallery
Gneisenau, Admiral Graf Spee, Admiral Scheer, and Deutschland steamed in a line during the German Naval Review of Aug 1938Battlecruiser Gneisenau, date unknown
See all 10 photographs of Battlecruiser Gneisenau


Famous WW2 Quote
"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?"

Winston Churchill, 1935