German training cruiser Deutschland (A59)

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Deutschland (A59) in New York City harbor
West Germany
Name: Deutschland
Ordered: 1958
Builder: Nobiskrug, Rendsburg
Laid down: 11 September 1959
Launched: 5 November 1960
Acquired: 10 April 1963
Commissioned: 25 May 1966
Decommissioned: 28 June 1990
Fate: Sold for scrap, October 1993
General characteristics
Class and type: Type 440 cruiser
  • 4,880 long tons (4,958 t) standard
  • 5,684 long tons (5,775 t) full load
  • 130 m (426 ft 6 in) w/l
  • 138.2 m (453 ft 5 in) o/a
Beam: 16.1 m (52 ft 10 in)
Draft: 5.1 m (16 ft 9 in)
Speed: 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)
Range: 3,800 nmi (7,000 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
Complement: 172 officers and men, and up to 250 cadets
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Radar: LW-08, SGR-114, SGR-105, SGR-103, M-45
  • Sonar ELAC 1BV
  • 4 × 100 mm/55 main guns (4 × 1)
  • 6 × 40 mm/70 AA guns (2 × 2, 2 × 1)
  • 2 × fixed 533 mm torpedo tubes aft (removed in the mid-1970s)
  • 4 × trainable 533 mm anti-submarine torpedo tubes
  • 2 × 375 mm anti-submarine mortars
  • Mine laying capability
Notes: 2 cranes; 3 anchors (one aft, two fore)

Deutschland (A59) was a naval ship of the Bundesmarine, the West German Navy. She was constructed and used as a training cruiser ("Schulschiff") in peacetime and planned for multi-role missions in the event of war: troop ship, hospital ship, minelayer, and escort. For this reason the ship was only lightly armed for its size (no guided missiles), the machinery was rather impractical and diverse, and large teaching rooms were included. Also, civilians served alongside military personnel.

In her time Deutschland was the largest naval vessel of West Germany. Permission to build the ship was granted despite being larger than allowed by tonnage restrictions imposed by the WEU on West Germany. (The later Berlin class replenishment ships of the reunited Germany are much larger.) Like most German post-war naval ships she was completely NBC protected. Deutschland was the smallest German cruiser since the 4,385-ton SMS Brummer and Bremse of 1915.

This one-ship class, Type 440 of the German designation system, cost 95 million DM.

Service career and fate[edit]

Ordered in late 1958, the training ship Deutschland was laid down at Nobiskrug shipyard in Rendsburg on 11 September 1959. Launched on 5 November 1960, it was originally intended to name the Federal German Navy's training ship Berlin. For obvious political reasons however (Germany and Berlin being divided and the latter existing under the four power status, and the allies objecting the name chosen), the plan was abandoned and the vessel named after the German nation - "Deutschland" for Germany.

Delivered 10 April 1963, Deutschland was commissioned on 25 May 1966 and, like the sail training ship Gorch Fock, attached to the Naval Academy Mürwik in Flensburg-Mürwik. During her active service, thousands of cadets of the post-war West German navy completed the three-month practical part of their officer's training on board Deutschland. The ship remained in active service until she was decommissioned on 28 June 1990. Notwithstanding the prominent role that the ship had played in the naval officer training of the Bundesmarine from the mid-1960s for nearly 25 years, all attempts to preserve the ship, e.g. as a museum, failed. FGS Deutschland was finally sold in October 1993 for scrap, and in January 1994 she was towed to Alang, India to meet her fate.


Namesakes in German naval service[edit]

Prior to the Type 440 class training ship Deutschland, other surface warships in German naval service were carrying the same name.

Imperial German Navy

1.) The ironclad SMS Deutschland, launched in 1874,

2.) The pre-dreadnought battleship SMS Deutschland, launched in 1904

3.) The auxiliary minelayer SMS Deutschland, launched in 1909 as a civilian ship and commissioned in 1914


4.) The pocket-battleship Deutschland, launched in 1931 and renamed Lützow in 1940.