Initial design work started in May 1936 for the M class light cruisers. They were intended to be used for hunting merchant ships in the oceans.
Orders for the M through P were placed on May 24, 1938. The Q and R were ordered on August 8, 1939. There was however a shortage os slips to construct the ships. The M was placed in the slip that formerly held the Graf Zeppelin.
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.
Once World War II started it was realized that there were other priorities and they were cancelled on September 19, 1939.
There would have been one catapult to launch the aircraft.
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The M and N were to have Deschimag AG boilers, Brown-Boverie turbines, and MAN diesels.
The O and P were to have Germania boilers and turbines, and MAN diesels.
The turbines would drive the outer shafts and the diesels would drive the middle shaft. All could be run to attain maximum speed.