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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Emden cruiser

Photos

KMS Emden:
KMS Emden
Imperial War Museum, HU-1052
KMS Emden at Trincomalee, Ceylon:
KMS Emden at Trincomalee, Ceylon
Imperial War Museum, HU-1055

Design

The Treaty of Versailles stated that the Germans could have eight 6,000 ton light cruisers with only six in service and could only be replaced after 20 years. This meant that the Germans could replace the 20 year old cruiser Ariadne / Niobe with a 6,000 ton ship in 1921. The Reichsmarine asked for the funds to build the Emden in the 1920 Naval Estimates and it was approved in March 1921. The order was placed on April 7, 1921. She was to be named after the Emden light cruiser lost in World War I.

The Emden was very similar to the World War I era light cruisers then in service as the Ship Test Institute had been closed in 1920.

The Emden was built with electronic welding, a relatively new technique for the time, which allowed for weight savings.

It was difficult to build the Emden as the Ruhrland was still occupied by the Allied Control Commission.

Armament

  Shell Weight Rate of Fire Range Elevation
15 cm L/45 SK     17,600 m 40°

Ships

Emden

  • Manufacturer: Marinewerft-Wilhelmshaven, Marine Werft at Wilhelmshaven, Wilhelmshaven, Wilhelmshaven Navy Yard
  • December 1921, December 8, 1921: Laid down.
  • January 7, 1925: Launched.
  • October 15, 1925: Completed.
  • 1926: Foremast modified.
  • November 14, 1926 - March 1928, November 14, 1926 - March 14, 1928: World cruise.
  • December 5, 1928 - December 13, 1929: World cruise.
  • January 13 - May 13, 1930: Cruise to United States and Jamaica.
  • December 1, 1930 - December 2, 1931: Cruise through Mediterranean to the Far East.
  • 1933 - 1934, April 1, 1933 - September 29, 1934, 1934: Refit. All boilers became oil fired. Funnels and mainmast made shorter.
  • November 11, 1934 - June 14, 1935: Cruise to South Africa, India, and Spain.
  • October 23, 1935 - June 11, 1936: Cruise to Bermuda, South America, Panama Canal, United States, Hawaii, Canada and Spain.
  • October 10, 1936 - April 23, 1937: Mediterranean, Black Sea, Suez, Ceylon, and Far East.
  • November 1937 - April 23, 1938: Cruise to Indian Ocean and patrolled off Spain.
  • 1937 - 1938: Refit. Bow altered.
  • July 26 - October 10, 1938: Cruise to Mediterranean.
  • September 4, 1939: Hit by crashing RAF bomber. Nine crewman killed and twenty wounded.
  • 1940: Added 2 cm Vierling prototype guns.
  • April 1940, April 7, 1940: Supported invasion of Norway. Member of Group 5. Occupied Oslo with 610 troops.
  • February 7 - September 1941: Training duty.
  • 1941, September 25 - 27, 1941: Bombarded Sworbe on the Baltic islands in support of the invasion of the Soviet Union.
  • November 1941: Training duty with Fleet Training Squadron.
  • 1942, November 1942: 15 cm C16 guns replaced by 15 cm L/50 C36.
  • November 7, 1942: Largest ever warship to pass through Entrance IV lock during its opening ceremony.
  • 1944: Three 8.8 cm FlaK replaced by 10.5 cm Sk C/32gE. Light flak replaced by two 4 cm FlaK 28 guns, two 3.7 cm Sk C/30U guns, and twenty 2 cm LM44 twin moutns.
  • September 1944: Arrived in Skagerrak to operate with FdZ (flag officer, destroyers).
  • September 19, 1944: Helped lay Skagerrak Minefield XXXW "Klaudius".
  • October 1, 1944: Helped lay Skagerrak Minefield XXXIIb "Caligula" while under air attack.
  • October 5, 1944: Helped lay Skagerrak Minefield XXXIIa "Vespasia."
  • December 9, 1944, December 10, 1944: Ran aground in Oslofjord.
  • December 25, 1944: Arrived in Königsberg for repairs.
  • January 23, 1945: Left Königsberg due to advancing Soviets.
  • February 2, 1945: Sailed from Götenhafen.
  • March 11, 1945, March 12, 1945: Hit by four incendiaries.
  • April 3, 1945: Bomb penetrated No. 3 Boiler Room.
  • April 9, 1945: Hit by near miss.
  • April 1945, April 13, 1945: Hit by near miss. Seriously damaged during air raid. Beached in Heikendorferbucht / Heikendorf Bay.
  • May 3, 1945: Scuttled.

Usage

After completion the Emden went on nine cruises to visit different countries.

Early in World War II the Emden was damaged by a crashing British aircraft in Wilhelmshaven.

For much of World War II she was used as a training ship.

The Emden transported Feldmarschall Hindenburg's coffin from East Prussia to Germany in January 1945.

 

Specifications

  Emden
Crew 534, 630, 650
Officers: 20
Men: 445
Cadets: 162
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 5,400 tons, 5,600 tons
Displacement - Loaded 6,990 tons
Length 508', 508' 6", 508' 10"
155.1 m
Length - Water Line 493', 493' 6", 493' 9"
150.5 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 492' 6"
150.1 m
Beam 46' 11", 47'
14.3 m
Draft / Height 16' 11", 17' 6", 19'
5.15 m, 5.38 m, 5.8 m
Draft / Height - Maximum 17', 21' 8"
5.93 m, 6.6 m
Performance  
Speed 29 knots, 29.4 knots
Range at 14 knots 6,750 nautical miles
Range at 18 knots 5,290 nautical miles, 5,300 nautical miles
Armament 5.9": 8
5.9" L/45: 8
5.9", 15 cm L/45 SK: 8
15 cm L/55 C16: 8
Armament - 1942 15 cm L/50 C36: 8
Anti-Aircraft 3.5": 3
8.8 cm L/45 C32: 3
37 mm: 4
3.7 cm C30: 4
2 cm C30: 3 - 7, 4
2 cm C30 quad mounts: 2
Machine Guns: 4
Anti-Aircraft - 1944 10.5 cm SKC/32gE: 3
4 cm FlaK 28 Bofors: 2
3.7 cm Fl C/30U: 2
20 mm Fl C/38: 20
Anti-Aircraft - 1945 37 mm L/83 C33 twin mounts: 2
20 mm: 7
Torpedo Tubes 19.7": 4
21", 53.3 cm: 2 mounts with 2 tubes each
Mines 120
Armor  
Belt - Main 1.5", 3" - 4"
5 cm
Control Tower 2" - 4", 3"
2 cm - 10 cm, 10 cm
Deck 0.75"
2 cm - 4 cm
Gunshields 2"
Engines  
Boilers Marine: 10
Navy coal fired: 4
Navy oil fired: 6
Schulz coal fired: 4
Schulz oil fired: 6
Schulz-Thornycroft Marine: 10
Shafts 2
Turbines Brown-Boverie geared
Brown-Boverie SR geared
Geared
HP 45,900, 46,000, 46,500
Coal 875 tons
Oil 1,200 tons, 1,260 tons

Sources:

  1. Cruisers of World War Two An International Encyclopedia, M. J. Whitley, 1995
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  3. German Light Cruisers of World War II, Gerhard Koop, Klaus-Peter Schmolke, 2002
  4. Janes' Fighting Ships of World War II, 1989
  5. German Warships of World War II, J. C. Taylor, 1966
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site