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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's M class cruisers

Design

Initial design work started in May 1936 for the M class light cruisers.1 They were intended to be used for hunting merchant ships in the oceans.1

Orders for the M through P were placed on May 24, 1938.1 The Q and R were ordered on August 8, 1939.1 There was however a shortage os slips to construct the ships.1 The M was placed in the slip that formerly held the Graf Zeppelin.1

Z Plan

The M class fell under the Z Plan that would massively rearm the German Navy and they were to be completed between 1942 and 1947.1

Once World War II started it was realized that there were other priorities and they were cancelled on September 19, 1939.1

Aircraft

There would have been one catapult to launch the aircraft.1

Armament

  Shell Weight Rate of Fire Range Elevation
15 cm Sk C/281       40°1

Engines

The M and N were to have Deschimag AG boilers, Brown-Boverie turbines, and MAN diesels.1

The O and P were to have Germania boilers and turbines, and MAN diesels.1

The turbines would drive the outer shafts and the diesels would drive the middle shaft.3 All could be run to attain maximum speed.3

Ships

M

  • Manufacturer: Deutsche Werke in Kiel1, Wilhelmshaven Dock Yard2
  • November 1, 1938: Laid down.1
  • September 19, 1939: Cancelled.1
  • 1941 - 19432, 1942 or 1943: Broken up.1,2

N

  • Manufacturer: Deutsche Werke in Kiel2, Marinewerft in Wilhelmshaven1
  • 1938: Laid down.1
  • September 19, 1939: Cancelled.1
  • 1941 - 19432: Broken up.1,2

O

  • Manufacturer: Germania Werft in Kiel2, Krupp in Germania1
  • March 10, 1939: Laid down.1
  • September 19, 1939: Cancelled.1
  • 1941 - 19432, 1942 or 1943: Broken up.1,2

P

  • Manufacturer: Germania Werft in Kiel2, Krupp in Germania1
  • September 19, 1939: Cancelled.1

Q

  • Manufacturer: Schichau in Danzig1,2
  • September 19, 1939: Cancelled.1

R

  • Manufacturer: Deutsche Werke in Kiel1,2

Specifications

  M class
Crew 9201,2,3
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 7,800 tons1,2,3
Displacement - Loaded 10,400 tons1,3
Length 600' 3"1, 600' 4"3
183 m1,3
Length - Water Line 580'2, 583' 9"1, 584'3
178 m1,3
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Beam 55' 6"2, 55' 9"1,3
17 m1,3
Draft / Height 17' 9"1,3, 19' 6"2
5.4 m3, 5.42 m1
Draft / Height - Maximum 24'3
7.3 m3
Performance  
Speed 35.5 knots1,2,3
Range at 19 knots 8,000 nautical miles1,2
Armament 5.9" twin turrets: 42
5.9", 15 cm Sk C/28 twin turrets: 41
15 cm L/55 C28 twin turrets: 43
Anti-Aircraft 4.1" twin mounts: 22
8.8 cm L/76 twin mounts: 23
3.5" twin mounts: 21
37 mm twin mounts: 41,2
37 mm L/83 C33 twin mounts: 43
20 mm: 42
Torpedo Tubes 21": 4 tubes in each of 2 mounts1,2
53.3 cm: 2 tubes in each of 4 mounts3
Aircraft 21,2,3
Mines 1602
Armor  
Belt - Main 1.25" - 2"3
3 cm - 5 cm1
Control Tower 0.75" - 4"3
2 cm - 10 cm1
Deck 0.75" - 1.25"3
2 cm - 3.5 cm1
Turrets 0.75" - 3.25"3
2 cm - 8 cm1
Engines  
Boilers Wagner: 41,3
Engines MAN diesel1,2
MAN 12 cylinder diesel: 43
Shafts 31,2,3
Turbines Geared2
Wagner geared3
Wagner SR1
HP 100,0001,2,3
HP - Diesel 16,5001,2,3
Diesel 520 tons1
Oil 1,080 tons1

Sources:

  1. Cruisers of World War Two An International Encyclopedia, M. J. Whitley, 1995
  2. German Warships of World War II, J. C. Taylor, 1966
  3. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
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