Hipper Class

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Hipper/Prinz Eugen Class  Heavy Cruisers.  Photographs and history of the German heavy cruiser of the Hipper/Prinz Eugen Class, including Admiral Hipper, Bl?her, Prinz Eugen, L?zow and Seydlitz.
Admiral Hipper 6th February 1937 Scuttled in May 1945.
Bl?her 8th June 1937 Sunk on 9th April 1940.
Prinz Eugen 22nd August 1938 Sunk on 22nd December 1946.

L?zow 

1st July 1939 Sold to Russia 1940. bombed at Leningrad 1941/1942
Seydlitz 19th January 1939 1942 work started to convert to aircraft carrier, never completed and Finally Scuttled at Konigsberg 10th may 1945

Bl?her

Hipper/Prince Eugen Class Cruiser  

German Heavy Cruiser

1937-40

Bl?her

The Bl?her was the second ship of five of the Hipper/Prince Eugen class of heavy cruisers.  She was laid down at the Deutche Werke, Kiel on the 15th August 1935 and was launched on 8th June 1937.  After commissioning, Bl?her undertook training exercises in the Baltic, but returned to port on several occasions due to poor maintainability.

On the 6th April 1940 at Swinemunde, she embarked 800 troops, ammunition and supplies for Operation Weser?ung (Weser Exercise), the German assault on Norway.  She was to be the lead ship of Kampfgruppe V (Group 5), the fifth naval Squadron taking part in the action.  The next day Bl?her sailed along with the Emden to rendezvous off Kiel with the rest of Kampfgruppe V, this comprising the heavy cruiser L?zow (originally the Panzerschiffe Deutschland), Torpedo Boats M?e, Albatros, Kondor and the 1st Minesweeper flotilla. Kampfgruppe V?s objective was to take Oslo and, in doing so, capture King Haakon VII, forcing a quick surrender of Norway.

The engagement began on the 9th April 1940 with the Bl?her slowly moving up Oslo fiord.  As she passed the Drǿbak narrows at 05:21, she came under fire from Oscarsborg fortress and the Drǿbakenge batteries.  The fortress scored the first hits to her superstructure and hangar space, the latter causing a serious fire amongst stored fuel and ammunition intended for the assault troops.  Bl?her was the next hit by 2 torpedoes launched from Kaholmen Island, which jammed her rudder and flooded her engine room. She managed to anchor off Askholmene Island in an attempt to carry out damage repair, but she lost all power and the ragging fires caused her 105mm ammunition magazine to explode.  This along with a 45˚ list forced Captain Woldag to abandon ship around 07:00. She capsized and sank (position 59˚44?N, 10˚36?E) in 80 metres of water at approximately 07:23 in the morning.  The remainder of Kampfgruppe V had retreated back down the fiord, deploying their troops, which later neutralised the shore batteries, allowing the advance to continue.

Contributed by Carl Proctor

Blucher, 1939.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price ?25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP5550

Original republished ? MPL Photograph (Postcard Size).  Price ?5 Click here to order.  Order Code  MP5550

L?zow 

Lutzow, 1st April 1939.

Contributed by David Walker.

Lutzow, 1st April 1939.

Contributed by David Walker.

  German Heavy Cruiser /Russian Light Cruiser

1939-60

L?zow

Laid down on the 2nd August 1937, the L?zow was the last of five of the Hipper/Prince Eugen class of heavy cruisers. She was launched on the 1st July 1939.  As part of the Russian/German pact signed on the 23rd August 1939, L?zow was sold to the USSR on the 11th February 1940.  On the 15th April 1940 she was towed to the Ordzhonikidze ship Yard at Leningrad. The agreement was for her to be completed under German guidance no later than 1942.

Petropavlosk / Tallin /Dnepr

The ship (the former L?zow) was initially titled Project 53 but in September 1940 became the Petropavlosk.  By 1941 she began to look like a fighting ship, having main guns in both A and D turrets.  With Germany secretly planning the invasion of Russia (Operation Barbarossa), the technical support slowly dwindled, leaving her around 75% complete by time of the German invasion.  Even at this stage, Petropavlosk was towed to Call harbour on the 15th August 1941 and used as a floating battery, defending Leningrad against advancing German army units.  After firing over 600 rounds she became disabled (after receiving 53 hits) on the 17th September 1941, subsequently she flooded and settled in shallow water. After exactly one year the Petropavlosk was raised in darkness, in the early hours of the 17th September 1942 and towed to Neva, so repairs could be started. By January 1944 she possessed only three serviceable 8in guns, which she put to use to bombard retreating German units (firing over 1000 rounds) during the break out of Leningrad.  In September 1944 she was renamed the Tallin, moving to the Baltic so her planned construction could be completed.  Post war, the Tallin was redesigned, but by 1948 the expense of the modifications was equal to a newly built Sverdlov cruiser.  This was unjustifiable and all further work on her was stopped.  She next became a static training ship under the name of Dnepr before ending her days as the accommodation ship PKZ-112.  The ship was removed from Russian Naval listings in 1958 and broken up in 1960 at the Vtorchermet yards, Leningrad.

Contributed by Carl Proctor

Seydlitz

Seydlitz under construction, April 1939.

Contributed by David Walker.

German Heavy Cruiser

1939-50?s?

Seydlitz

Seydlitz was the fourth ship in her class to be laid down, work starting on the 29th December 1936. She was launched from the Deschimag Slipway (Bremen) on the 19th January 1939.  Like her sister the L?zow, she was considered for sale to the USSR but

Hitler would not allow this.  Work continued on her at a slow pace but by May 1942, she was near completion as a cruiser. In June 1942, all work on here stopped, as the Kriegsmarine decided she was to be transformed into an aircraft carrier (under the project name of Weser 1).  Seydlitz was stripped down to deck level before heavy bombing of the near by U-Boat facilities forced here move to K?igsberg (via Kiel) on the 2nd April 1944.  Following the German defeat at the Battle of the Barents Sea, Hitler postponed all work on naval projects.  From this point on, Seydlitz was not touched, the ship being rated as a hulk and used only for her accommodation by the end of 1944. As the Red Army advanced on K?igsberg, Seydlitz was scuttled at her berth on 29th January 1945. 

Now in Soviet hands, she was raised in early1946 by the Baltic Fleet and renamed Poltava.  Although some believe she never left the Schichau yards at K?igsberg, there is a report that the hulk may have been towed to Leningrad around October 1946, having being spotted in transit by RAF photoreconnaissance aircraft.  This may have some bearing, as she could well have been used as a spares source for the L?zow.  There are no solid dates available, but she is believed to have been scrapped, sometime in the 1950?s.

Contributed by Carl Proctor

Admiral Hipper

 Admiral Hipper  German Heavy Cruiser 1937-49  

Admiral Hipper was laid down at the Blohm and Voss works at Hamburg in July 1935.  She was the first ship of her class, being launched on the 6th February 1937. After she was completed on 29th April 1939, she undertook trials and training in the Baltic before commencing modifications towards the end of the year at Hamburg.  These included the addition of a funnel cap and the increasing of the rake to her bow.  Further changes followed in early 1940 before she joined the active fleet on 17th February 1940.  

Hippers first and uneventful operation (Nordmark) was to hunt down allied merchantmen off Scandinavia, along with the battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in late February 1940.  In April 1940, she participated in Operation Weser (the invasion of Norway). During the capture of Trondheim, Admiral Hipper and her destroyer escort attacked the British destroyer HMS Glowworm.  Damaged, Glowworm rammed the Hipper before she blew up and sank.  The 40-metre hole torn in Hippers hull did not prevent her from completing her mission before repairs were carried out at Wilhelmshaven.  

On the 4th June 1940, Admiral Hipper joined the battlecruisers Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and four destroyers to take part in Operation Juno (strike against allied forces in the Harstadt region).  The group sank the tanker Oil Pioneer, the troop transporter Orama and the trawler Juniper before Hipper withdrew to Trondheim.  The following two months saw the Hipper operating in the arctic region without the aid of the two battlecruisers (withdrawn due to torpedo damage).  She returned to Wilhelmshaven for repairs after sinking the small steamer Ester Thorsen.  She remained in port but at constant readiness to take part in Operation Sealion (invasion of England), which never materialised.  

On 27th November 1940 she participated in Operation Nordseetour (North Atlantic Raid).  She located convoy WS-5A on the 24th December 1940 and sank the merchant cruiser Jumna on Christmas day.  She later damaged another merchantman and scored four hits on the Kent Class cruiser HMS Berwick before withdrawing.  Hipper arrived at the port of Brest (France) on the 27th December.  She left for the Atlantic again on 1st February 1941, being past information on the whereabouts of convoy HG-35 by the shadowing U-Boat U37.  On route, U-37 lost the convoy but Hipper came across the unescorted convoy SLS-64 instead.  Hipper had no trouble in sinking seven out of the nineteen ships in this convoy.  Yet again her thirsty engines forced a re-fuel, this time at Brest (France), after which she sailed for Kiel via the Denmark straits, arriving on 28th March 1941.  

Admiral Hipper spent the next months at Kiel under refit, which included the conversion of water tanks into fuel tanks to improve her range.  On the 21st March 1942 she sailed for Trondheim with an escort of three destroyers and three torpedo boats.  She next set sail in early July 1942 (Operation R?selsprung, the attempt to hunt down the ill-fated convoy PQ-17) in company with the battleship Tirpitz and the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer.  This battle group never sited the convoy but its mere presents in the area forced the convoy to scatter, allowing U-Boats to sink two thirds of the convoy?s number.  Between 24th and the 28th September the Hipper escorted by four destroyers, laid mines off Novoya Zemelya.  

On the 31st December 1942 Admiral Hipper, the pocket battleship L?zow and six destroyers attacked the convoy JW-51B (which later became known as the battle of the Barents Sea).  During the battle, the British destroyers Orwell, Onslow and Achates defended their convoy admirably by engaging Admiral Hipper.  HMS Achates was badly damaged by the heavy cruiser and later sank.  Admiral Hipper next came under fire from the advancing cruisers HMS Jamaica and HMS Sheffield; the serious damage she received below the waterline forced her withdrawal Kaafjord.  When Hitler heard of the outcome of the battle, he uttered the famous orders to scrap all his capital ships!  

After carrying out minor repairs in Norway, Hipper arrived at Kiel on 7th February 1943.  From here she moved to Wilhelmshaven where she was decommissioned on the 28th February.  Adolf Hitler cancelled her proposed repair work and heavy bombing of Wilhelmshaven forced the ship to be towed to Pillau on the 17th April 1943. After many months of inactivity, repairs were granted in late 1943, which required a further move to G?enhaven, followed shortly after by her recommissioning on 30th April 1944.  Work was still outstanding by the end of the year and, as January 1945 came, a more serious effort was made to ready her for operations.   

Due to advancing Russian forces, Hipper was forced to leave G?enhaven on the 30th January, carrying fleeing refugees; she accompanied the Passage Liner Wilhelm Gustloff to Kiel (the later being sunk on route).  On the 3rd February 1945 she was heavily damaged by RAF bombers and again on the 9th.  To prevent her capture, she was blown up and scuttled on 3rd May 1945 in the Deutche Werke dock by her crew.  In 1946 she was raised and moved to Heikendorfer Bay.  She remained there until she was broken up between 1948 and 1949.   

Contributed by Carl Proctor