German World War II destroyers

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At the outbreak of the Second World War, the German Navy, the Kriegsmarine, had 21 destroyers (Ger: Zerstörer) in service, while another one was just completing.[1] These 22 vessels - comprising 3 classes (Type 34, 34A and 36) - had all been built in the 1930s, making them modern vessels (no destroyers remained in German hands following the close of the First World War).[note 1] Including that final pre-war vessel, a further 19 were brought into service during the war and more were captured from opposing navies, including the Italian Navy (Regia Marina) after the Italian Armistice with the Allies in 1943.[3]

German destroyer classes were generally known by the year of their design. Because of their size, use and weaponry, some vessels classified as "fleet torpedo boats", Flottentorpedoboot, are also described.[1]

Class general characteristics are taken from the first of each class, and may differ slightly for individual ships, particularly when they were refitted. Post-war, some surviving ships had significant changes to armament.

Zerstörer 1934[edit]

Maas-1.jpg
Z1 Leberecht Maass
Class overview
Builders: Deutsche Werke, Kiel
Built: 1934–1935
In commission: 1937–1947
Completed: 4
Lost: 3
General characteristics
Class & type: Zerstörer 1934
Displacement: 3,155 long tons (3,206 t) maximum
Length: 119 m (390 ft 5 in) o/a
114 m (374 ft 0 in) w/l
Beam: 11.3 m (37 ft 1 in)
Draught: 4.23 m (13 ft 11 in)
Propulsion: 2 × Wagner geared turbines, 70,000 shp
2 shafts
Speed: 36 knots (41 mph; 67 km/h)
Range: 1,900 nmi (3,500 km) at 19 kn (35 km/h)
Complement: 325
Armament: • 5 × 128 mm (5 in) guns
• 4 × 37 mm guns
• 6 × 20 mm guns
• 8 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes
• 60 mines

This class of four ships was the first German destroyer class built since World War I, laid down between October 1934 and January 1935. They were not very good ships. Built rapidly, they were too wet in heavy seas, which could make their forward guns unusable, there were structural weaknesses and machinery problems. The engines were newly designed high pressure turbines that promised much but disappointed once installed: maintenance was difficult and they caused excessive vibration. In addition, the class' range was limited (less than half of equivalent British ships) and they had limited magazine capacities (again half of the British equivalents). Only one ship survived the war. The ships were named after German navy personnel killed in World War I.

The ships were:

Z1 Leberecht Maas Laid down: Deutsche Werke Kiel, 15 October 1934

Launched: 18 August 1935
Commissioned: 14 January 1937
Fate: sunk after friendly fire bomb hits on 22 February 1940, during Operation Wikinger
Named after Leberecht Maass[4]

Z2 Georg Thiele Laid down: Deutsche Werke Kiel, 25 October 1934

Launched: 18 August 1935
Commissioned: 27 February 1937
Fate: sunk on 13 April 1940
Named after Georg Thiele

Z3 Max Schultz Laid down: Deutsche Werke Kiel, 2 January 1935

Launched: 30 November 1935
Commissioned: 8 April 1937
Fate: sunk as a result of friendly fire bomb hits and striking mines on 22 February 1940, during Operation Wikinger[4]
Named after Max Schultz

Z4 Richard Beitzen Laid down: Deutsche Werke Kiel, 7 January 1935

Launched: 30 November 1935
Commissioned: 13 May 1937
Fate: scrapped 1947
Named after Richard Beitzen


Zerstörer 1934A[edit]

Bernd von Arnim scuttled.jpg
The scuttled wreck of the Bernd von Arnim in the Rombaksfjord near Narvik.
Class overview
Builders: DeSchiMAG
Germaniawerft
Blohm + Voß
Built: 1935–1936
In commission: 1937–1958
Completed: 12
Lost: 7
General characteristics
Class & type: Type 1934A-class destroyer
Displacement: 2,223 metric tons (2,188 long tons)
Length: 119 m (390 ft 5 in) o/a
114 m (374 ft 0 in) w/l
Beam: 11.3 m (37 ft 1 in)
Draft: 4.23 m (13 ft 11 in)
Installed power: 70,000 shp (52,000 kW)
Propulsion: 2 shafts, 2 × Wagner geared steam turbines
6 × water-tube boilers
Speed: 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)
Range: 2,040 nmi (3,780 km; 2,350 mi) at 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph)
Complement: 325
Armament: 5 × 127 mm (5 in) guns
4 (later 14) × 37 mm guns
6 (later 10) × 20 mm guns
8 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes
60 mines

Twelve destroyers laid down between July and November 1935. They were only slightly modified from the design of the preceding 1934 class and continued their predecessors' limited endurance and magazine capacity - factors which contributed to the heavy German losses at the Second Battle of Narvik. Five survived the war.

Z5 Paul Jakobi Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 15 July 1935

Launched: 24 March 1936
Commissioned: 29 June 1937
Fate: Transferred to France as a reparation Desaix, scrapped 1958
Named after Paul Jakobi

Z6 Theodor Riedel Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 18 July 1935

Launched: 22 April 1936
Commissioned: 2 July 1937
Fate: Transferred to France as the Kleber, scrapped 1958
Named after Theodor Riedel

Z7 Hermann Schoemann Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 7 September 1935

Launched: 16 July 1936
Commissioned: 9 September 1937
Fate: sunk 2 May 1942 by the British cruiser Edinburgh
Named after Hermann Schoemann

Z8 Bruno Heinemann Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 14 January 1936

Launched: 15 September 1936
Commissioned: 8 January 1938
Fate: sunk 25 January 1942 by a mine near Calais
Named after Bruno Heinemann, killed during the Wilhelmshaven mutiny

Z9 Wolfgang Zenker Laid down: Germaniawerft Kiel, 23 March 1935

Launched: 27 March 1936
Commissioned: 2 July 1938
Fate: scuttled on 13 April 1940
Named after Wolfgang Zenker, killed during the Wilhelmshaven mutiny

Z10 Hans Lody Laid down: Germaniawerft Kiel, 1 April 1935

Launched: 14 May 1936
Commissioned: 13 September 1938
Fate: Taken over by Great Britain after the war and used as a trials ship, scrapped 1946 - 1949
Named after Carl Hans Lody, unusually not a captain of a vessel but had been spying in Britain.

Z11 Bernd von Arnim Laid down: Germaniawerft Kiel, 26 April 1935

Launched: 8 July 1936
Commissioned: 6 December 1938
Fate: scuttled on 13 April 1940
Named after Bernd von Arnim

Z12 Erich Giese Laid down: Germaniawerft Kiel, 3 May 1935

Launched: 12 March 1937
Commissioned: 4 March 1939
Fate: sunk 13 April 1940
Named after Erich Giese

Z13 Erich Koellner Laid down: Germaniawerft Kiel, 12 October 1935

Launched: 18 March 1937
Commissioned: 28 March 1939
Fate: sunk 13 April 1940
Named after Erich Koellner

Z14 Friedrich Ihn Laid down: Blohm & Voss Hamburg, 30 March 1935

Launched: 5 November 1935
Commissioned: 6 April 1938
Fate: Transferred to the Soviet Union, served in the Baltic Fleet as the Prytkiy (Прыткий) scrapped 1952
Named after Friedrich Ihn

Z15 Erich Steinbrinck Laid down: Blohm & Voss Hamburg, 30 March 1935

Launched: 24 September 1936
Commissioned: 31 May 1938
Fate: Transferred to the Soviet Union, served in the Baltic Fleet as the Pylkiy (Пылкий) scrapped 1958
Named after Erich Steinbrinck

Z16 Friedrich Eckoldt Laid down: Blohm & Voss Hamburg, 14 November 1935

Launched: 21 March 1937
Commissioned: 28 July 1938
Fate: sunk 31 December 1942 by HMS Sheffield during battle of the Barents Sea
Named after Friedrich Eckoldt

Zerstörer 1936[edit]

Class overview
Builders: DeSchiMAG
Operators:  Kriegsmarine
 Soviet Navy
Preceded by: Type 1934A class
Succeeded by: Type 1936A class
Built: 1936–1939
In service: 1938—1956
In commission: 1938–1949
Planned: 26
Completed: 6
Lost: 5
Scrapped: 1
General characteristics
Class & type: Type 1936-class destroyer
Displacement: 2,806 tonnes (2,762 long tons) (standard)
Length: 123.4–125.1 meters (404 ft 10 in–410 ft 5 in) o/a
Beam: 11.75 m (38 ft 7 in)
Draft: 4.5 m (14 ft 9 in)
Installed power: 70,000 shp (52,000 kW)
Propulsion: 2 shafts
2 × Wagner geared steam turbine sets
6 × Wagner water-tube boilers
Speed: 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)
Range: 2,090 nmi (3,870 km; 2,410 mi) at 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph)
Complement: 323
Armament: 5 × 1 - 127 mm (5 in) guns
2 × 2 - 37 mm guns
7 × 1 - 20 mm guns
2 × 4 - 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes
60 mines

These 6 ships (of 26 planned) ordered under the 1935 Program were improved and enlarged versions of the 1934 and 1934A classes. Most of the serious faults of the earlier ships had been resolved: engine reliability and the structural integrity was much improved and they were much better seagoing ships, shipping less water through an improvement in the design of the bows. Despite this, five of this newer type were also lost at Narvik in April 1940.

Z17 Diether von Roeder Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 9 September 1936

Launched: 19 August 1937
Commissioned: 29 August 1938
Fate: sunk 13 April 1940 (Narvik)
Named after Diether von Roeder

Z18 Hans Lüdemann Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 9 September 1936

Launched: 1 December 1937
Commissioned: 8 October 1938
Fate: scuttled on 13 April 1940
Named after Hans Lüdemann

Z19 Hermann Künne Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 5 October 1936

Launched: 22 December 1937
Commissioned: 12.01.1939
Fate: beached on 13 April 1940
Named after Hermann Künne

Z20 Karl Galster Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 14 September 1937

Launched: 15 June 1938
Commissioned: 21 March 1939
Fate: Transferred to the Soviet Union, served in the Baltic Fleet as the Prochnyi (Прочный) scrapped 1956
Named after Karl Galster

Z21 Wilhelm Heidkamp Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 15 December 1937

Launched: 20 August 1938
Commissioned: 10 June1939
Fate: sunk on 10 April 1940
Named after Wilhelm Heidkamp

Z22 Anton Schmitt Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 3 January 1938

Launched: 20 September 1938
Commissioned: 24 September 1939
Fate: sunk on 10 April 1940
Named after Anton Schmitt

Zerstörer 1936A "Narvik"[edit]

Narvick-1.jpg
Class overview
Builders: DeSchiMAG
Built: 1938–1941
In commission: 1940–1958
Completed: 8
Lost: 4
General characteristics
Class & type: Zerstörer 1936A (Narvik-class)
Displacement: 3,605 long tons (3,663 t) maximum
Length: 127 m (416 ft 8 in) o/a
121.9 m (399 ft 11 in) w/l
Beam: 12 m (39 ft 4 in)
Draught: 4.65 m (15 ft 3 in)
Propulsion: 2 × Wagner geared turbines, 70,000 shp
2 shafts
Speed: 37.5 knots (43.2 mph; 69.5 km/h)
Range: 2,180 nmi (4,040 km) at 19 kn (35 km/h)
Complement: 330
Armament: • 4 or 5 × 150 mm (5.9 in) guns
• 4 (later 10) × 37 mm guns
• 8 (later 20) × 20 mm guns
• 8 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes
• 60 mines
• 4 × depth charge launchers

Eight destroyers intended to carry new 150 mm (5.9 inch) guns in single turrets with a twin turret at the bow. The twin mountings were not ready in time and so singles were first used, and the twins fitted later (only to four ships: Z-23, Z-24, Z-25, Z-29). Anti-aircraft armament was substantially improved.

Despite reusing earlier ship designs as a basis, with modifications to improve seaworthiness, the ships were wet in heavy seas, especially fitted with heavy turrets. After much effort, the problem was traced to a newly designed stern. However, this problem was somewhat offset by the fact that the twin mount was fully enclosed and had a high maximum elevation, allowing limited use against aircraft.

These ships reverted to the traditional German practice of giving torpedo ships numbers rather than names. Four survived the war.

Z23 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 15 November 1938

Launched: 15 December 1939
Commissioned: 15 September 1940
Fate: scrapped after 1951

Z24 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 2 January 1939

Launched: 7 March 1940
Commissioned: 26 October 1940
Fate: sunk 25 August 1944

Z25 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 15 February 1939

Launched: 16 March 1940
Commissioned: 30 November 1940
Fate: scrapped 1958

Z26 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 1 April 1939

Launched: 2 April 1940
Commissioned: 11 January 1940
Fate: sunk 29 March 1942 by British cruiser Trinidad and destroyers Eclipse and Fury

Z27 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 27 December 1939

Launched: 1 August 1940
Commissioned: 26 February 1941
Fate: sunk 28 December 1943

Z28 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 30 November 1939

Launched: 20 August 1940
Commissioned: 9 August 1941
Fate: sunk 6 March 1945

Z29 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 21 March 1940

Launched: 15 October 1940
Commissioned: 25 June 1941
Fate: scuttled 16 December 1946

Z30 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 15 April 1940

Launched: 8 December 1940
Commissioned: 15 November 1941
Fate: scrapped 1949

Zerstörer 1936A (Mob)[edit]

Z39-Zerstoerer1936modA-USN-Photo.jpg
Z39 under US flag as DD-939 in 1945
Class overview
Builders: DeSchiMAG
Germaniawerft, Kiel
Built: 1940–1943
In commission: 1942–1964
Completed: 7
Lost: 1
General characteristics
Class & type: Zerstörer 1936A (Mob)
Displacement: 3,700 long tons (3,800 t) maximum
Length: 127 m (416 ft 8 in) o/a
121.9 m (399 ft 11 in) w/l
Beam: 12 m (39 ft 4 in)
Draught: 4.62 m (15 ft 2 in)
Propulsion: 2 × Wagner geared turbines, 70,000 shp
2 shafts
Speed: 37.5 knots (43.2 mph; 69.5 km/h)
Range: 2,240 nmi (4,150 km) at 19 kn (35 km/h)
Complement: 330
Armament: • 5 × 150 mm (5.9 in) guns
• 4 (later 14) × 37 mm guns
• 12 (later 18) × 20 mm guns
• 8 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes
• 60 mines
• 4 × depth charge launchers

When war broke out in 1939, planned new destroyer classes were cancelled and twelve additional 1936A vessels (Z.31 to Z.42, although the last three were to be cancelled) were ordered with slight modifications to speed construction and save materials. The 150 mm twin turrets had been manufactured for planned, but never built, "O" class battlecruisers. In war service, the engines were more reliable than in earlier ships but at the end of the war, heavy corrosion was discovered.

Seven of this sub-class were built: one was sunk, another two were severely damaged and not repaired. The remaining four were war booty allocated to the Allies.

Z31 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 1 September 1940

Launched: 15 April 1941
Commissioned: 11 April 1942
Fate: scrapped 1958

Z32 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 1 November 1940

Launched: 15 August 1941
Commissioned: 15 September 1942
Fate: sunk 9 June 1944
destroyers Ashanti, Tartar, HMCS Haida

Z33 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 22 December 1940

Launched: 15 September 1941
Commissioned: 6 February 1943
Fate: Transferred to the Soviet Union, served in the Baltic Fleet as the Provornyi (Проворный), sunk as target ship 1961

Z34 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 14 January 1941

Launched: 5 May 1942
Commissioned: 5 June 1943
Fate: scuttled 26 March 1946

Z37 Laid down: Germaniawerft Kiel, 1940

Launched: 24 February 1941
Commissioned: 16 July 1942
Fate: scrapped 1949

Z38 Laid down: Germaniawerft Kiel, 1940

Launched: 5 August 1941
Commissioned: 20 March 1943
Fate: transferred to Britain at the end of the war; renamed HMS Nonsuch; scrapped 1949

Z39 Laid down: Germaniawerft Kiel, 1940

Launched: 5 August 1941
Commissioned: 21 August 1943
Fate: scrapped February 1964

Zerstörer 1936B[edit]

Class overview
Builders: DeSchiMAG
Built: 1941–1945
In commission: 1943–1964
Planned: 8
Completed: 3
Cancelled: 3
Lost: 3
General characteristics
Class & type: Zerstörer 1936B
Displacement: 3,540 long tons (3,600 t) maximum
Length: 127 m (416 ft 8 in) o/a
121.5 m (398 ft 7 in) w/l
Beam: 12 m (39 ft 4 in)
Draught: 4.21 m (13 ft 10 in)
Propulsion: 2 × Wagner geared turbines, 70,000 shp
2 shafts
Speed: 36.5 knots (42.0 mph; 67.6 km/h)
Range: 2,600 nmi (4,800 km) at 19 kn (35 km/h)
Complement: 330
Armament: • 5 × 127 mm (5 in) guns
• 4 (later 10) × 37 mm guns
• 16 × 20 mm guns
• 8 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes
• 76 mines
• 4 × depth charge launchers

The main armament of this class reduced back to single mounted 127 mm guns and the anti-aircraft armament was increased. The efficacy of this change was not proven in high seas as this sub-class only operated in the Baltic and coastal waters.

Eight ships to this design were ordered, but the orders for Z.40, Z.41 and Z.42 (all three ordered from Germaniawerft at Kiel) were replaced by orders for three Spähkreuzer ("scout cruisers"), to be numbered Sp.1, Sp.2 and Sp.3 respectively. Two ships (Z.44 and Z.45) were never completed, being suspended in 1944 and scuttled incomplete after the war. The three that were commissioned were all lost.

Z35 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 6 June 1941

Launched: 2 October 1942
Commissioned: 22 September 1943
Fate: sunk 12 December 1944
mine, Gulf of Finland

Z36 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 15 September 1941

Launched: 15 May 1943
Commissioned: 19 February 1944
Fate: sunk 12 December 1944
mine, Gulf of Finland

Z43 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 1 May 1942

Launched: 22 September 1943
Commissioned: 24 March 1944
Fate: scuttled 3 May 1945

Z44 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 1942

Launched: 20 January 1944
Commissioned:
Fate: scuttled incomplete 20 July 1946

Z45 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 1942

Launched: 15 April 1944
Commissioned:
Fate: scuttled incomplete 20 July 1946

Zerstörer 1936C[edit]

Five ships of this class were ordered in 1942 and 1943 (Z.46 - Z.50), all from A.G. Weser at Bremen; none were launched, just two were started - Z.46 and Z.47 - and both were bombed by Allied aircraft while under construction and were scrapped on the slipways in 1945. This design was a response to the vulnerability to air attack of early German destroyers and would have used six new 128 mm Flak 40 guns (originally designed for the Luftwaffe) as dual purpose weapons in twin mountings. The number of smaller caliber anti-aircraft guns would have also been increased.[5][6]

Zerstörer 1938A/Ac[edit]

In order to provide support for larger German warships operating far from their bases, the development of large ocean going destroyers started in the late 1930s. They would have had dual power systems to enable long endurance cruises. Twenty-four of these were planned under Plan Z but were not actually ordered - the concept was developed further into the Spähkreuzer (see Type 1936B above).

Zerstörer 1938B[edit]

Ships of this class would have been small destroyers designed to patrol and operate in Baltic and coastal waters, but would have had quite big operational range for such purpose, and could have also been used in high seas. Twelve ships were ordered in the summer of 1939, but after the start of World War II, all were cancelled.

Zerstörer 1942[edit]

Class overview
Builders: Deschimag, Bremen
Planned: 1
Completed: 0
Lost: 1
General characteristics [6]
Class & type: Zerstörer 1942
Displacement: 2,330 long tons (2,370 t) standard
Length: 114.30 m (375 ft 0 in) o/a
108.00 m (354 ft 4 in) w/l
Beam: 11.00 m (36 ft 1 in)
Draught: 4.00 m (13 ft 1 in)
Propulsion: 6 × 24 cylinder MAN diesel engines, 57,120 bhp (42,590 kW)
3 shafts (4 diesels on centre shaft, 1 on each wing shaft)
Speed: 36 knots (41 mph; 67 km/h)
Range: 13,500 mi (11,700 nmi; 21,700 km) at 19 kn (35 km/h)
Complement: 235
Armament: 4 × 127 mm (5 in) guns
8 × 37 mm guns
12 × 20 mm guns
6 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes
50 mines

Experimental test-bed destroyer powered by diesel engines for long-range operations. Based on design of unbuilt Type 1938B destroyer, with six diesels driving three shafts, with an estimated speed of 36 knots (67 km/h) and an operating radius of 11,700 nautical miles; 21,700 kilometres (13,500 mi).[7] One example (Z.51) was laid down in 1943 and launched in 1944, but was sunk by Allied bombers on 21 March 1945 while fitting out.[6]

Zerstörer 1942C[edit]

While Z.51 was a testbed for diesel propulsion, the Type 1942C destroyer was a production class of large, diesel powered destroyers. They were planned to have a revised armament, with six 128 mm C/41M dual purpose main guns, and an all-new anti-aircraft armament, with three 5.5 cm Gerät 58 intermediate calibre anti-aircraft guns and a close-in armament of 14 30-mm cannon in seven twin mounts, with eight torpedo tubes.[8][9]

Five of these ships (Z.52Z.56) were ordered from A.G. Weser at Bremen and were laid down in 1943, but none were completed, being cancelled in July 1944 and broken up on the slips.[8] A further two ships (Z.57 and Z.58) were ordered from Germania Werft at Kiel, but were cancelled before construction started.[9]

Zerstörer 1945[edit]

Project for high-speed design reverting to steam-turbine propulsion. Unbuilt.[10]

Destroyer sized craft[edit]

Class overview
Name: Flottentorpedoboot 1939 (Elbing-class)
Builders: Schichau
In commission: 1941–1944
Completed: 15
Lost: 11
General characteristics
Displacement: 1,755 long tons (1,783 t) maximum
Length: 102.5 m (336 ft 3 in) o/a
97 m (318 ft 3 in) w/l
Beam: 10 m (32 ft 10 in)
Draught: 3.22 m (10 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × Wagner geared turbines, 32,560 shp
2 shafts
Speed: 32.5 knots (37.4 mph; 60.2 km/h)
Range: 2,400 nmi (4,400 km) at 19 kn (35 km/h)
Complement: 205
Armament: • 4 × 105 mm (4 in) guns
• 4 × 37 mm guns
• 9 × 20 mm guns
• 6 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes
• 50 mines

The German Navy had several torpedo boat classes with displacements between 1,000 and 1,300 tons (for example the Mowe-class Fleet Torpedo boats and Torpedo boat type 35). They sat between torpedo-equipped fast attack boats (known to the Allies as E-boats) and the destroyers. In 1939, the Germans started work on new designs that were a response to the weaknesses of earlier designs. These "Fleet Torpedo Boats" (Flottentorpedoboot) were large, 1,755 tons, and more able as escorts and for anti-aircraft defence as well as torpedo attacks and they were comparable in most respects to some of the British destroyer classes. They were all laid down during the war.

Flottentorpedoboot 1939 (Elbing class)[edit]

The first of the fleet vessels, they were comparable in most respects - size, armament, and use - to standard British destroyer types. Fifteen were laid down between 1940 and 1942, in the Schichau shipyard in Elbing (now Elbląg) and from that the Allies referred to them as the Elbing-class.

The last was commissioned at the end of 1944; three survived the war and served in Allied navies. The ships were numbered T22 to T36.

Flottentorpedoboot 1940[edit]

Following the capitualation of the Netherlands, Dutch shipyards were contracted to build 24 boats based on a Dutch design. Only three of these 2,600 ton vessels were launched. The three that were launched were moved to the Baltic in 1944 for work but none were completed.

Flottentorpedoboot 1941[edit]

This was a development of the 1939 class, with bigger engines and more anti-aircraft weapons. Fifteen were laid down or launched from 1942 but by the end of the war none had been completed.

Flottentorpedoboot 1944[edit]

These were to have been ocean-going vessels, as opposed to North Sea or coastal vessels, capable of operating with the fleet, with greater range and an emphasis on anti-aircraft weaponry. Nine were ordered in March 1944, the order was subsequently cancelled without any building having started.

Torpedoboot Ausland[edit]

Several destroyer sized ships were captured by the Germans and put into service as Torpedoboot Ausland

Captured ships[edit]

Some destroyers were captured and used by the Germans.

ZH1[edit]

The Dutch destroyer Hr.Ms. Gerard Callenburgh was built by RDM Rotterdam and launched 12 October 1939. The Dutch attempted to scuttle this ship during the German invasion but the destroyer was salvaged and completed under German control with technical guidance from Blohm & Voss. Commissioned as the ZH1 on 11 October 1942. The Germans retained most of the Dutch armament and equipment. The ZH1 spent most of its life on trials in the Baltic but transferred to Western France via the English Channel in November 1943. When the western allies invaded Normandy in 1944 the German destroyers based in western France attempted to interdict the invasion armada. The German squadron was intercepted by an Allied force - the 10th Destroyer Flotilla (HMS Tartar, Ashanti, Eskimo, Javelin, HMCS Haida, Huron, and ORP Błyskawica, Piorun). In the night action ZH1 was torpedoed and sunk by Ashanti on 9 June 1944, 33 men were lost.

ZF2[edit]

The hull of the French Le Hardi-class destroyer L'Opiniatre was captured intact and 16% complete in Bordeaux and the Kriegsmarine intended to complete her for service. Since French armament was not available and for standardisation with the rest of the German Navy, 12.7mm guns and German pattern torpedo tubes were ordered. Work proceeded tardily until all progress was abandoned in July 1943. The hull was eventually broken up on the slip [11]

ZG3 (Hermes)[edit]

The Greek destroyer Vasilefs Georgios was captured in damaged condition after the fall of Greece, then repaired in Greece with assistance from the Germaniawerft and commissioned by the Kriegsmarine as the ZG3 or the Hermes. She was the only major Kriegsmarine surface ship in the Mediterranean Sea during World War II, and she was involved in escorting convoys to North Africa and the Aegean Islands.

Hermes detected and depth charged the Royal Navy submarine HMS Splendid off Capri, Italy, on 21 April 1943 forcing it to surrender; Splendid was scuttled by her crew. Hermes was damaged by air attacks off Tunisia. Hermes had to be scuttled in La Goulette, Tunis on 7 May 1943.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ By comparison, the Royal Navy -with its global commitments - had 173 destroyers of all types both modern and older and another 52 on the way.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Data summarised from Whitley, pp56-75
  2. ^ British and Commonwealth Navies at the Beginning and End of World War 2
  3. ^ Whitley, pp76-81
  4. ^ a b "Unternehmen Wikinger". German Kriegsmarine Encyclopedia. 26 August 2003. 
  5. ^ Lenton 1975, p. 79.
  6. ^ a b c Gardiner and Chesneau 1980, p. 235.
  7. ^ Lenton 1975, p. 80–81.
  8. ^ a b Gardiner and Chesneau 1980, p. 236.
  9. ^ a b Lenton 1975, pp. 81–82.
  10. ^ Lenton 1975, p. 82.
  11. ^ ZF2 german-navy.de
  • Gardiner, Robert; Chesneau, Roger. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7. 
  • Lenton, H.T. (1975). German Warships of the Second World War. London: Macdonald and Jane's. ISBN 0356046613. 
  • Whitley, M J (2000). Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 1-85409-521-8. 

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