List of cruisers of Germany
Starting in the 1880s, the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) began building a series of cruisers. The first designs—protected and unprotected—were ordered to replace aging sail and steam-powered frigates and corvettes that were of minimal combat value. After several iterations of each type, these cruisers were developed into armored and light cruisers, respectively, over the following decade. All of these ships were built to fill a variety of roles, including scouts for the main battle fleet and colonial cruisers for Germany's overseas empire. The armored cruisers in turn led to the first German battlecruiser, SMS Von der Tann.
The protected and unprotected cruisers had been withdrawn from active service by the 1910s, though some continued on in secondary roles. Most of the armored and light cruisers saw action in World War I, in all of the major theaters of the conflict. Their service ranged from commerce raiding patrols on the open ocean to the fleet engagements in the North Sea such as the Battle of Jutland. Many of the ships were sunk in the course of the war, and the majority of the remaining vessels were either seized as war prizes by the victorious Allies, scuttled by their crews in Scapa Flow in 1919, or broken up for scrap. The Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to surrender most of its remaining vessels. Only six old pre-dreadnought battleships and six old light cruisers could be kept on active duty. These ships could be replaced when they reached twenty years of age, and the cruisers were limited to a displacement of 6,000 metric tons (5,900 long tons; 6,600 short tons).
In the 1920s, Germany began a modest program to rebuild its fleet, now renamed the Reichsmarine. It began with the new light cruiser, Emden, in 1921, followed by five more light cruisers and three new heavy cruisers, the Deutschland class. A further five heavy cruisers—the Admiral Hipper class—were ordered in the mid-1930s, though only the first three were completed. At the same time, the German navy was renamed the Kriegsmarine. Plan Z, a more ambitious reconstruction program that called for twelve P-class cruisers, was approved in early 1939 but was cancelled before the end of the year following the outbreak of World War II. Of the six heavy cruisers and six light cruisers that were finished, only two survived the war. One, Prinz Eugen, was sunk following nuclear weapons tests during Operation Crossroads in 1946; the other, Nürnberg, saw service in the Soviet Navy until she was scrapped around 1960.
|Armament||The number and type of the primary armament|
|Armor||The thickness of the deck or belt armor|
|Displacement||Ship displacement at full combat load|
|Propulsion||Number of shafts, type of propulsion system, and top speed generated|
|Cost||Cost of the ship's construction|
|Service||The dates work began and finished on the ship and its ultimate fate|
|Laid down||The date the keel began to be assembled|
|Commissioned||The date the ship was commissioned|
Starting in the mid-1880s, the German Navy began to modernize its cruising force, which at that time relied on a mixed collection of sail and steam frigates and corvettes. General Leo von Caprivi, then the Chief of the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy), ordered several new warships, including two Irene-class cruisers laid down in 1886, the first protected cruisers to be built in Germany. Design work on their successor, Kaiserin Augusta, began the following year, though she was not laid down until 1890. Five more ships of the Victoria Louise class followed in the mid-1890s. These ships, the last protected cruisers built in Germany, provided the basis for the armored cruisers that were built starting at the end of the decade. All of these ships were intended to serve both as fleet scouts and overseas cruisers, since Germany's limited naval budget prevented development of ships optimized for each task.
Most of the German protected cruisers served on overseas stations throughout their careers, primarily in the East Asia Squadron in the 1890s and 1900s. Prinzess Wilhelm participated in the seizure of the Kiautschou Bay concession in November 1897, which was used as the primary base for the East Asia Squadron. Kaiserin Augusta, Hertha, and Hansa assisted in the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900, and Vineta saw action during the Venezuelan crisis of 1902–03, where she bombarded several Venezuelan fortresses. Irene, Prinzess Wilhelm, and Kaiserin Augusta were relegated to secondary duties in the 1910s, while the Victoria Louise class was used to train naval cadets in the 1900s. All eight ships were broken up for scrap in the early 1920s.
|Irene||4 × 15 cm K L/30 guns
10 × 15 cm K L/22
|20 mm (0.79 in)||5,027 t (4,948 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 reciprocating engines, 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)||1886||25 May 1888||Scrapped, 1922|
|Prinzess Wilhelm||13 November 1889||Scrapped, 1922|
|Kaiserin Augusta||12 × 15 cm SK L/35 guns||50 mm (2.0 in)||6,318 t (6,218 long tons)||3 shafts, 3 triple-expansion engines, 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph)||1890||17 November 1892||Scrapped, 1920|
|Victoria Louise||2 × 21 cm SK L/40 guns
8 × 15 cm SK L/40 guns
|40 mm (1.6 in)||6,491 t (6,388 long tons)||3 shafts, triple-expansion engines, 19.5 knots (36.1 km/h; 22.4 mph)||1895||20 February 1899||Scrapped, 1923|
|Hertha||23 July 1898||Scrapped, 1920|
|Freya||20 October 1898||Scrapped, 1921|
|Vineta||6,705 t (6,599 long tons)||3 shafts, triple-expansion engines, 18.5 knots (34.3 km/h; 21.3 mph)||1896||13 September 1899||Scrapped, 1920|
|Hansa||20 April 1899||Scrapped, 1920|
At the same time that Caprivi began ordering new protected cruisers, he also authorized the construction of smaller unprotected cruisers for use in Germany's overseas colonies. The first of these, the Schwalbe class, were laid down in 1886 and 1887. A further six vessels of the Bussard class, which were improved versions that were larger and faster than their predecessors, followed over the next five years. A final, much larger vessel, Gefion, was laid down in 1892; her design was based on contemporary protected cruisers like Kaiserin Augusta. She represented another attempt to merge the colonial cruiser and fleet scout, which was unsuccessful. As a result, the German naval designers began work on the Gazelle class, which provided the basis for all future German light cruisers.
All nine cruisers served extensively in Germany's colonies, particularly in Africa and Asia. They participated in the suppression of numerous rebellions, including the Abushiri Revolt in German East Africa in 1889–1890, the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900–1901, and the Sokehs Rebellion in the Caroline Islands in 1911. Most of the ships had been recalled to Germany and decommissioned by the early 1910s, having been replaced by the newer light cruisers. Bussard and Falke were scrapped in 1912, but the rest continued on in secondary roles. Of the remaining seven ships, only Cormoran and Geier remained abroad at the start of World War I in August 1914. Cormoran was stationed in Tsingtao, but her engines were worn out, so she was scuttled to prevent her capture. Geier briefly operated against British shipping in the Pacific before running low on coal. She put into Hawaii, where she was interned by the US Navy. After the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, she was seized and commissioned into American service as USS Schurz, though she was accidentally sunk in a collision in June 1918. Seeadler, employed as a mine storage hulk in Wilhelmshaven during the war, was destroyed by an accidental explosion in 1917. Condor, Schwalbe, and Sperber were all broken up for scrap in the early 1920s, while Gefion was briefly used as a freighter, before she too was scrapped, in 1923.
|Schwalbe||8 × 10.5 cm K L/35 guns||—||1,359 t (1,338 long tons)||2 × 2-cylinder double-expansion steam engines, 13.5 knots (25.0 km/h; 15.5 mph)||April 1886||8 May 1888||Scrapped, 1922|
|Sperber||September 1887||2 April 1889||Scrapped, 1922|
|Bussard||8 × 10.5 cm K L/35 guns||—||1,868 t (1,838 long tons)||2 × 2-cylinder double-expansion steam engines, 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph)||1888||7 October 1890||Scrapped, 1913|
|Falke||8 × 10.5 cm SK L/35 guns||1890||14 September 1891||Scrapped, 1913|
|Seeadler||1890||17 August 1892||Destroyed, 1917|
|Condor||1891||9 December 1892||Scrapped, 1921|
|Cormoran||1890||25 July 1893||Scuttled, 28 September 1914|
|Geier||1893||24 October 1895||Captured, 6 April 1917, sunk 21 June 1918|
|Gefion||10 × 10.5 cm SK L/35 guns||25 mm||4,275 t (4,207 long tons)||2 × 3-cylinder triple expansion engines, 20.5 knots (38.0 km/h; 23.6 mph)||1892||5 June 1895||Converted to freighter, 1920, scrapped 1923|
The first armored cruiser, Fürst Bismarck, was ordered shortly after the Victoria Louise class of protected cruisers. Fürst Bismarck was an improved version of the earlier type, with heavier armament, more extensive armor protection, and a significantly greater size. A further seven units, divided between four different designs, followed over the next ten years; each design provided incremental improvements over earlier vessels. A ninth armored cruiser, Blücher, was a much larger vessel representing an intermediate step between armored cruisers and battlecruisers. Indeed, her design had been influenced by the misinformation Britain had released about its Invincible-class battlecruisers, which were then under construction. Once the characteristics of the new ships were revealed, Germany began building battlecruisers in response.
Germany's armored cruisers served in a variety of roles, including overseas as flagships of the East Asia Squadron, and in the fleet reconnaissance forces. All of them, save Fürst Bismarck, saw action during World War I in a variety of theaters. Blücher served with the battlecruisers in the I Scouting Group and was sunk at the Battle of Dogger Bank in 1915, and the two Scharnhorst-class cruisers formed the core of Maximilian von Spee's squadron that defeated the British at the Battle of Coronel in November 1914 before being annihilated at the Battle of the Falkland Islands. Yorck was accidentally sunk by a German mine in November 1914 outside Wilhelmshaven, and the two Prinz Adalbert-class cruisers were sunk in the Baltic Sea. Only Prinz Heinrich and Roon survived the war; both were scrapped in the early 1920s.
|Fürst Bismarck||4 × 24 cm (9.4 in) SK L/40
10 × 15 cm (5.9 in) SK L/40 guns
|200 mm (7.9 in)||11,461 t (11,280 long tons)||3 screws, triple expansion engines, 18.7 knots (34.6 km/h; 21.5 mph)||1896||1 April 1900||Broken up for scrap in 1919–1920|
|Prinz Heinrich||2 × 24 cm (9.4 in) SK L/40
10 × 15 cm (5.9 in) SK L/40 guns
|100 mm (3.9 in)||9,806 t (9,651 long tons)||3 screws, triple expansion engines, 19.9 knots (36.9 km/h; 22.9 mph)||1898||11 March 1902||Broken up for scrap in 1920|
|Prinz Adalbert||4 × 21 cm (8.3 in) SK L/40
10 × 15 cm (5.9 in) SK L/40 guns
|100 mm (3.9 in)||9,875 t (9,719 long tons)||3 screws, triple expansion engines, 20.4 knots (37.8 km/h; 23.5 mph)||1900||12 January 1904||Sunk on 23 October 1915 by HMS E8|
|Friedrich Carl||3 screws, triple expansion engines, 20.5 knots (38.0 km/h; 23.6 mph)||1901||12 December 1903||Sunk on 17 November 1914 by Russian mines|
|Roon||4 × 21 cm SK L/40
10 × 15 cm (5.9 in) SK L/40 guns
|100 mm (3.9 in)||10,266 t (10,104 long tons)||3 screws, triple expansion engines, 21.1 knots (39.1 km/h; 24.3 mph)||1902||5 April 1906||Broken up for scrap in 1921|
|Yorck||3 screws, triple expansion engines, 21.4 knots (39.6 km/h; 24.6 mph)||1903||21 November 1905||Sunk on 4 November 1914 by German mines|
|Scharnhorst||8 × 21 cm SK L/40
6 × 15 cm (5.9 in) SK L/40 guns
|150 mm (5.9 in)||12,985 t (12,780 long tons)||3 screws, triple expansion engines, 23.5 knots (43.5 km/h; 27.0 mph)||1905||24 October 1907||Sunk on 8 December 1914 at the Battle of the Falkland Islands|
|Gneisenau||3 screws, triple expansion engines, 23.6 knots (43.7 km/h; 27.2 mph)||1904||6 March 1908||Sunk on 8 December 1914 at the Battle of the Falkland Islands|
|Blücher||12 × 21 cm SK L/45
8 × 15 cm (5.9 in) SK L/45 guns
|180 mm (7.1 in)||17,500 t (17,200 long tons)||3 screws, triple expansion engines, 25.4 knots (47.0 km/h; 29.2 mph)||21 February 1907||1 October 1909||Sunk on 24 January 1915 at the Battle of Dogger Bank|
Starting in the late 1890s, the Kaiserliche Marine began developing modern light cruisers, based on experience with the unprotected cruisers and a series of avisos it had built over the preceding decade. The ten-ship Gazelle class set the basic pattern, which was gradually improved over successive classes. The Pillau class introduced more powerful, 15-centimeter (5.9 in) main guns, and the Magdeburg class added a waterline main belt to improve armor protection. Between 1897 and the end of World War I, the German Navy completed forty-seven light cruisers; all of these ships saw service during the war in a variety of theaters and roles. Some, such as Emden and Königsberg, served as commerce raiders, while others, such as the two Wiesbaden-class cruisers, served with the High Seas Fleet and saw action at the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Several fleet cruiser design studies were prepared in 1916, but no work was begun before the war ended in November 1918.
Following the war, the Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to cede all of its most modern light cruisers; only eight Gazelle and Bremen-class cruisers were permitted under the terms of the treaty. These ships could be replaced after twenty years from the time they were launched, and the first new vessel, Emden, was laid down in 1921. Five more ships of the Königsberg and Leipzig classes were built between 1926 and 1935. These six cruisers all saw combat during World War II; two, Königsberg and Karlsruhe, were sunk during the invasion of Norway in April 1940. Emden and Köln were destroyed by Allied bombers in the closing months of the war, and Leipzig was discarded after being badly damaged in a collision with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. This left Nürnberg as the only vessel of the type to survive the war. She was seized by the Soviet Union as a war prize and continued in Soviet service until she was scrapped in 1960.
|Gazelle||10 × 10.5 cm SK L/40 guns||25 mm (0.98 in)||2,963 t (2,916 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 reciprocating engines, 19.5 knots (36.1 km/h; 22.4 mph)||1897||15 June 1901||Scrapped, 1920|
|Niobe||2 shafts, 2 reciprocating engines, 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph)||1898||25 June 1900||Destroyed, 19 December 1943|
|Nymphe||3,017 t (2,969 long tons)||20 September 1900||Scrapped, 1932|
|Thetis||1899||14 September 1901||Scrapped, 1930|
|Ariadne||3,006 t (2,959 long tons)||18 May 1901||Sunk, Battle of Heligoland Bight, 28 August 1914|
|Amazone||3,082 t (3,033 long tons)||18 May 1901||Scrapped, 1954|
|Medusa||2,972 t (2,925 long tons)||1900||26 July 1901||Scrapped, 1948–1950|
|Frauenlob||3,158 t (3,108 long tons)||1901||17 February 1903||Sunk, Battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916|
|Arcona||3,180 t (3,130 long tons)||12 May 1903||Scrapped, 1948|
|Undine||3,112 t (3,063 long tons)||5 January 1904||Sunk, 7 November 1915|
|Bremen||10 × 10.5 cm SK L/40 guns||80 mm (3.1 in)||3,797 t (3,737 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 reciprocating engines, 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)||1902||19 May 1904||Sunk, 17 February 1915|
|Hamburg||3,651 t (3,593 long tons)||8 March 1904||Scrapped, 1956|
|Berlin||3,792 t (3,732 long tons)||4 April 1905||Scuttled, 1947|
|Lübeck||3,661 t (3,603 long tons)||4 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 22.5 knots (41.7 km/h; 25.9 mph)||1903||26 April 1906||Scrapped, 1922–1923|
|München||3,780 t (3,720 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 reciprocating engines, 22 kn||10 January 1905||Scrapped, 1920|
|Leipzig||3,756 t (3,697 long tons)||1904||20 April 1906||Sunk, Battle of the Falkland Islands, 8 December 1914|
|Danzig||3,783 t (3,723 long tons)||1 December 1907||Scrapped, 1922–1923|
|Königsberg||10 × 10.5 cm SK L/40 guns||80 mm||3,814 t (3,754 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 reciprocating engines, 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph)||1905||6 April 1907||Scuttled, Battle of Rufiji Delta, 11 July 1915|
|Nürnberg||3,902 t (3,840 long tons)||1906||10 April 1908||Sunk, Battle of the Falkland Islands, 8 December 1914|
|Stuttgart||4,002 t (3,939 long tons)||1905||1 February 1908||Scrapped, 1920|
|Stettin||3,822 t (3,762 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph)||1906||29 October 1907||Scrapped, 1921–1923|
|Dresden||10 × 10.5 cm SK L/40 guns||80 mm||4,268 t (4,201 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph)||1906||14 November 1908||Scuttled, Battle of Mas a Tierra, 14 March 1915|
|Emden||2 shafts, 2 reciprocating engines, 23.5 knots (43.5 km/h; 27.0 mph)||1906||20 July 1909||Grounded, Battle of Cocos, 9 November 1914|
|Kolberg||12 × 10.5 cm SK L/45 guns||40 mm (1.6 in)||5,418 t (5,332 long tons)||4 shafts, 4 steam turbines, 25.5 knots (47.2 km/h; 29.3 mph)||1908||21 June 1910||Scrapped, 1929|
|Mainz||4,889 t (4,812 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph)||1907||1 October 1909||Sunk, Battle of Heligoland Bight, 28 August 1914|
|Cöln||4,864 t (4,787 long tons)||4 shafts, 4 steam turbines, 25.5 knots (47.2 km/h; 29.3 mph)||1908||16 June 1911||Sunk, Battle of Heligoland Bight, 28 August 1914|
|Augsburg||4,882 t (4,805 long tons)||1908||1 October 1910||Scrapped, 1922|
|Magdeburg||12 × 10.5 cm SK L/45 guns||60 mm (2.4 in)||4,570 t (4,498 long tons)||4 shafts, 4 steam turbines, 27.5 knots (50.9 km/h; 31.6 mph)||1910||20 August 1912||Grounded, 26 August 1914|
|Breslau||1910||10 May 1912||Sunk, Battle of Imbros, 20 January 1918|
|Strassburg||1910||9 October 1912||Sunk, 23 September 1944|
|Stralsund||1910||10 December 1912||Scrapped, 1935|
|Karlsruhe||12 × 10.5 cm SK L/45 guns||60 mm||6,191 t (6,093 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)||21 September 1911||15 January 1914||Sunk, 4 November 1914|
|Rostock||1911||5 February 1914||Sunk, Battle of Jutland, 1 June 1916|
|Graudenz||12 × 10.5 cm SK L/45 guns||60 mm||6,382 t (6,281 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 27.5 knots (50.9 km/h; 31.6 mph)||1912||10 August 1914||Scrapped, 1937|
|Regensburg||1912||3 January 1915||Scuttled, 1944|
|Pillau||8 × 15 cm (5.9 in) SK L/45 guns||80 mm||5,252 t (5,169 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 27.5 kn||1913||14 December 1914||Ceded to Italy, 20 July 1920|
|Elbing||4 September 1915||Scuttled, 1 June 1916|
|Wiesbaden||8 × 15 cm SK L/45 guns||60 mm||6,601 t (6,497 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 27.5 kn||1913||23 August 1915||Sunk, 1 June 1916|
|Frankfurt||20 August 1915||Sunk as a target, 18 July 1921|
|Königsberg||8 × 15 cm SK L/45 guns||60 mm||7,125 t (7,012 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)||1914||12 August 1916||Scrapped, 1936|
|Karlsruhe||1915||15 November 1916||Scuttled, 21 June 1919|
|Emden||1914||16 December 1916||Scrapped, 1926|
|Nürnberg||1915||15 February 1917||Sunk as a target ship, 1922|
|Brummer||4 × 15 cm SK L/45 guns||15 mm (0.59 in)||5,856 t (5,764 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)||1915||2 April 1916||Scuttled, 21 June 1919|
|Bremse||1 July 1916||Scuttled, 21 June 1919|
|Cöln||8 × 15 cm SK L/45 guns||40 mm (1.6 in)||7,486 t (7,368 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 27.5 knots (50.9 km/h; 31.6 mph)||1915||17 January 1918||Scuttled, 21 June 1919|
|Dresden||1916||28 March 1918||Scuttled, 21 June 1919|
|Ersatz Cöln||1916||—||Scrapped, 1921|
|Ersatz Emden||1916||—||Scrapped, 1921|
|Ersatz Karlsruhe||1916||—||Scrapped, 1920|
|FK 1||5 × 15 cm SK L/45 guns||—||3,800 t (3,740 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph)||—||—||Design study only|
|FK 1a||4,850 t (4,773 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph)||—||—|
|FK 2||5,350 t (5,266 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 32 kn||—||—|
|FK 3||7 × 15 cm SK L/45 guns||6,900 t (6,791 long tons)||2 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 32 kn||—||—|
|FK 4||8 × 15 cm SK L/45 guns||8,650 t (8,513 long tons)||—||—|
|Emden||8 × 15 cm SK L/45 guns||40 mm||6,990 long tons (7,102 t)||2 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 29.5 knots (54.6 km/h; 33.9 mph)||8 December 1921||15 October 1925||Destroyed, 3 May 1945|
|Königsberg||9 × 15 cm SK C/25 guns||40 mm||7,700 long tons (7,824 t)||3 shafts, 4 steam turbines, 2 diesel engines, 32 kn||12 April 1926||17 April 1929||Sunk, 10 April 1940|
|Karlsruhe||27 July 1926||6 November 1929||Sunk, 9 April 1940|
|Köln||7 August 1926||15 January 1930||Sunk, 3 March 1945|
|Leipzig||9 × 15 cm SK C/25 guns||30 mm (1.2 in)||8,100 t (7,972 long tons)||3 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 4 diesel engines, 32 kn||28 April 1928||8 October 1931||Scuttled, July 1946|
|Nürnberg||9,040 t (8,897 long tons)||1934||2 November 1935||Scrapped, c. 1960|
|M||8 × 15 cm SK C/28 guns||25 mm||8,500 t (8,366 long tons)||3 shafts, 2 steam turbines, 4 diesel engines, 35.5 knots (65.7 km/h; 40.9 mph)||1938||—||Scrapped, 1939|
|Q||9,300 t (9,153 long tons)|
In addition to restricting the number of light cruisers Germany could possess, the Treaty of Versailles also limited the capital ship strength of the new Reichsmarine to six old pre-dreadnought battleships and placed restrictions on the size of replacement ships, with the intent of prohibiting ships more powerful than coastal defense ships from being built. The Reichsmarine responded by designing the Deutschland class; these heavy cruisers armed with 28 cm (11 in) guns were intended to break the naval clauses of Versailles by significantly outgunning the new treaty cruisers being built by Britain and France under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty, which were limited to 20.3 cm (8.0 in) guns. If Britain and France agreed to abrogate the naval clauses of the Versailles treaty, Germany would abandon the new cruisers. France rejected the proposal, and so the three Deutschlands were built, and a further two of the D-class were planned, though these were cancelled in favor of a larger derivative, the Scharnhorst class of fast battleships. When Germany signed the Anglo-German Naval Agreement in 1935, the Reichsmarine was permitted to build five new heavy cruisers—the Admiral Hipper class. Plan Z, approved in early 1939, projected a dozen P-class cruisers based on the Deutschland design.
Owing to the outbreak of World War II, only three of the Admiral Hippers were completed and the P-class ships were cancelled. Admiral Graf Spee was scuttled following the Battle of the River Plate in December 1939, and Blücher was sunk during the invasion of Norway. Admiral Scheer and Admiral Hipper were destroyed by Allied bombers in the last month of the war. In 1942 the Kriegsmarine decided to convert the Admiral Hipper-class cruiser Seydlitz into an aircraft carrier, though the project was not completed. Deutschland, renamed Lützow, and Prinz Eugen both survived the war; the former was sunk in Soviet weapons tests in 1947 and the latter sank after enduring two nuclear detonations in Operation Crossroads in 1946. The two unfinished Admiral Hippers, Seydlitz and Lützow, were scrapped in the Soviet Union in the late 1950s; the former was a war prize but the latter had been sold to the Soviets before the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.
|Deutschland/Lützow||6 × 28 cm SK C/28 guns||80 mm (3.1 in)||14,290 long tons (14,519 t)||2 shafts, 8 diesel engines, 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)||5 February 1929||19 May 1931||Sunk in Soviet weapons test, July 1947|
|Admiral Scheer||15,180 long tons (15,424 t)||25 June 1931||1 April 1933||Sunk on 9 April 1945, broken up for scrap|
|Admiral Graf Spee||16,020 long tons (16,277 t)||1 October 1932||30 June 1934||Scuttled on 17 December 1939|
|D||6 × 28 cm guns||220 mm (8.7 in)||20,000 long tons (20,321 t)||Turbine propulsion, 29 knots (54 km/h; 33 mph)||14 February 1934||—||Work halted on 5 July 1934, broken up|
|E||—||Work not begun|
|P1–P12||6 × 28 cm guns||120 mm (4.7 in)||25,689 long tons (26,101 t)||12 diesel engines, 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph)||—||—||Canceled on 27 July 1939|
|Admiral Hipper||8 × 20.3 cm SK C/34 guns||80 mm (3.1 in)||18,200 long tons (18,492 t)||3 shafts, 3 turbine engines, 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)||6 July 1935||29 April 1939||Scuttled 3 May 1945, broken up in 1948|
|Blücher||18,200 long tons (18,492 t)||15 August 1936||20 September 1939||Sunk on 9 April 1940|
|Prinz Eugen||18,750 long tons (19,051 t)||23 April 1936||1 August 1940||Sunk after US atomic tests, 22 December 1946|
|Seydlitz||19,800 long tons (20,118 t)||29 December 1936||—||Ceded to the Soviet Union, broken up after 1958|
|Lützow||19,800 long tons (20,118 t)||2 August 1937||—||Sold to the Soviet Union, broken up in 1958–1959 or 1960|
- The German navies also operated numerous auxiliary cruisers during both world wars, including SMS Seeadler and Kormoran. As they were armed merchant ships and not purpose-built warships, they are not within the scope of this list.
- Historian Erich Gröner states that full load was defined as "[equal to] type displacement plus full load fuel oil, diesel oil, coal, reserve boiler feed water, aircraft fuel, and special equipment." See: Gröner, p. ix.
- This figure is as designed; the combat displacement is unknown.
- The details of the ships' propulsion system are unknown.
- See: Treaty of Versailles Section II: Naval Clauses, Articles 181 and 190
- Sondhaus, p. 166.
- Gardiner, p. 254.
- Gardiner & Gray, p. 142.
- Gottschall, pp. 157–162.
- Perry, p. 29.
- Mitchell, p. 86.
- Gröner, pp. 45–48, 95.
- Gröner, p. 95.
- Gröner, p. 94.
- Gardiner, p. 253.
- Gröner, p. 46.
- Gröner, p. 47.
- Gröner, p. 48.
- Gröner, pp. 93–97.
- Hildebrand, Röhr, & Steinmetz Vol. 3, p. 194.
- Gröner, pp. 98–100.
- Herwig, p. 28.
- Hildebrand, Röhr, & Steinmetz Vol. 7, p. 145.
- Hildebrand, Röhr, & Steinmetz Vol. 2, p. 191.
- Gröner, pp. 93–99.
- "Schurz". Naval History & Heritage Command. Archived from the original on 14 March 2004. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
- Gröner, pp. 94–99.
- Gröner, pp. 93–94.
- Hildebrand, Röhr, & Steinmetz Vol. 7, p. 178.
- Gröner, p. 97.
- Gröner, p. 98.
- Gröner, p. 99.
- Gröner, pp. 47–49.
- Gröner, pp. 49–52.
- Staff, pp. 3–4.
- Gardiner, p. 249.
- Halpern, p. 66.
- Tarrant, pp. 36–42.
- Herwig, pp. 157–158.
- Tarrant, p. 30.
- Gröner, pp. 50–51.
- Gröner, pp. 50, 52.
- Gröner, p. 49.
- Gröner, pp. 48–49.
- Gardiner, p. 255.
- Gröner, p. 50.
- Gröner, p. 51.
- Gröner, p. 52.
- Gardiner, p. 256.
- Gröner, p. 53.
- Gardiner & Gray, p. 150.
- Gardiner & Gray, p. 143.
- Gardiner & Gray, pp. 159–161.
- Forstmeier, pp. 10–14.
- Halpern, p. 77.
- Tarrant, p. 62.
- Gröner, pp. 116–117.
- See: Treaty of Versailles Section II: Naval Clauses, Article 181
- Gardiner & Chesneau, pp. 229–231.
- Williamson Light Cruisers, pp. 17, 21.
- Gröner, pp. 99–102.
- Gröner, p. 103.
- Gröner, p. 102.
- Gröner, pp. 102–103.
- Gardiner & Gray, p. 157.
- Gröner, p. 104.
- Gröner, p. 105.
- Forstmeier, p. 2.
- Gröner, p. 106.
- Gardiner & Gray, p. 159.
- Gardiner & Gray, p. 201.
- Gröner, p. 107.
- Gröner, pp. 107–108.
- Gardiner & Gray, p. 264.
- Gröner, p. 109.
- Hildebrand, Röhr, & Steinmetz Vol. 5, pp. 83–85.
- Gröner, pp. 109–110.
- Gröner, pp. 110–111.
- Gröner, p. 111.
- Gröner, p. 112.
- Gardiner & Gray, p. 162.
- Gröner, p. 113.
- Novik, pp. 185–188.
- Gardiner & Gray, p. 163.
- Gröner, p. 114.
- Gröner, pp. 114–115.
- Gröner, p. 116.
- Gröner, p. 117.
- Gröner, p. 118.
- Gardiner & Chesneau, p. 229.
- Williamson Light Cruisers, p. 13.
- Gardiner & Chesneau, p. 230.
- Gröner, p. 119.
- Gröner, pp. 119–120.
- Gardiner & Chesneau, p. 231.
- Gardiner & Chesneau, p. 232.
- Gröner, p. 124.
- Gröner, pp. 124–125.
- Gröner, p. 125.
- Gardiner & Chesneau, p. 227.
- Bidlingmaier, p. 2.
- Gröner, pp. 63–67.
- Gröner, pp. 62, 67.
- Prager, pp. 317–320.
- Gröner, p. 67.
- Gröner, p. 60.
- Gröner, p. 61.
- Gröner, p. 62.
- Gröner, p. 63.
- Gröner, p. 64.
- Gröner, p. 66.
- Gröner, p. 65.
- Williamson Heavy Cruisers, p. 12.
- Williamson Heavy Cruisers, p. 22.
- Williamson Heavy Cruisers, p. 37.
- Williamson Heavy Cruisers, pp. 42–43.
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