The ship was bookmarked on 25 on June 1931 of the year, on 1 of April on 1933 of the year it was launched, and on November 12 of 1934 was commissioned. The cruiser was designed taking into account the rather harsh conditions of the Versailles Treaty, according to which post-war Germany could not have more than 6 ships in the class of battleships. At the same time, newly built ships could not exceed the tonnage 10 thousand tons, and the caliber of the guns mounted on them was limited to 11 inches - 280 mm. In total, three ships of the type “Deutschland” were built - Deutschland itself, Admiral Scheer and Admiral Count Spee himself. The ships were slightly different from each other. Each subsequent ship of the series was slightly wider and exceeded the Deutschland displacement.
The main task that stood before the German designers in the implementation of this project was the creation of a powerful warship - the ocean raider, which would not go beyond the Versailles Treaty. The most severe restriction imposed on the displacement of the ship, which should not exceed 10 thousand tons. The German engineers managed to solve this problem, thanks to their inclination towards various innovations. When building a ship, arc welding of body parts was widely used (instead of the traditional use of rivets). MAN's installed diesel engines proved to be significantly lighter than steam boilers and turbines that were used on heavy ships. The three-gun turrets of the main caliber allowed six 283-mm guns to be placed on board the heavy cruiser, slightly increasing the weight of the turret compared to the two-gun. All of these decisions allowed us to limit the displacement of the ship. But even despite all the efforts of engineers, the ship still came out of the restrictions allowed to it. The ship's standard displacement was 11 550 tons, full - 15 180 tons. At the same time, according to official documents, the ship passed as if it did not violate the conditions of the Versailles Treaty.
Admiral Scheer project features
The ship’s armament was pretty powerful. The artillery of the main caliber was represented by six SK L / 283 C52 28-mm guns, which were placed in two three-gun turrets - one in the bow and one at the stern. Each tower weighed about 590 tons and provided guns with reliable protection. The thickness of the frontal armor was 160 mm, the back - 170 mm, on the sides of the reservation of the towers was 85 mm, the top of the 105 mm. The technical rate of fire of the mounted guns allowed an 3 shot per minute, but in practice, the rate of fire rarely exceeded the 2 shot per minute. The main-caliber ammunition ammunition consisted of three types of shells weighing 300 kg. Among them were armor-piercing, armor-piercing-high-explosive (with retardation) and high-explosive.
Auxiliary caliber artillery included 8x150-mm SK L / 55 C28 guns located in 8 towers along the sides of the cruiser. Compared with the guns of the main caliber protected they were significantly worse. The calculations of these guns were covered with armor the thickness of the entire 10 mm, moreover the turrets of auxiliary caliber guns were close and inconvenient for calculations. The technical rate of fire of the 150-mm guns was 10 rounds per minute, but in practice it rarely exceeded the 5-7 rounds per minute and was highly dependent on the power supply conditions for the ammunition. The ammunition of these guns included armor-piercing and high-explosive shells, weighing 42 kg.
Anti-aircraft artillery was presented separately. For the ship, which was designed in the 1930s, the weakness of anti-aircraft weapons was commonplace. Few could then predict that one of the main enemies of warships would be aviation. The Admiral Speer’s initial anti-aircraft weapons were already reinforced as compared to the Deutschland cruiser, it consisted of six 88-mm L / 78 C / 31 guns, as well as eight 37-mm automatic L / 83 C / 30 guns, four paired installations. Also on the cruiser there were 8 small-caliber 20 mm L / 65 submachine guns located in quad installations. In 1939, all 88-mm anti-aircraft guns were replaced with more powerful 105-mm guns L / 65 C / 33. The number and location of small-caliber anti-aircraft guns was constantly changing and by the end of the war amounted to 33 units located in single, twin and quad installations.
The power plant of heavy cruisers was traditionally represented by several steam turbines (usually one per screw), the steam into which came from steam boilers (2-4 boiler to each turbine). Such a scheme was heavy and cumbersome. In connection with the Versailles restrictions for "pocket battleships" she did not fit. Therefore, on heavy cruisers of the “Deutschland” type, German engineers for the first time used a diesel propulsion system, which consisted of 4-groups of engines. In each group there were two MAN M-9Zu9 / 42 58-cylinder diesel engines, each of which developed power up to 7100 hp. The total power of all 8 diesel engines was 56 800 hp, which provided the ship with a maximum travel speed in 28 nodes.
Innovation and booking of the cruiser. It departed from the generally accepted rules of both world and German shipbuilding. On the heavy cruiser “Admiral Scheer”, the more powerful “Wotan” armor was widely used, which was created at the Krupp plants. On the cruiser "Deutschland" this armor has not yet been used. The main elements of the heavy cruiser reservation system were belt armor, armor and armor bulkheads. Belt armor was located at an angle 13 °, it consisted of two belts of armor plates - lower (80 mm) and upper (50 mm). The upper armor belt rang higher than on the series head cruiser, reaching the middle deck. The thickness of the armor gradually fell to the nose, and the cruiser’s nose itself was not even booked at all. At the same time, the aft booking was strengthened and reached 45 mm. This was done in order to provide more vitality to the steering. The thickness of the armored decks and the anti-torpedo bulkhead was 40 mm, and between the upper armored bulkheads - just 20 mm. An interesting and not entirely unambiguous decision of the designers was the installation of a longitudinal armored 40-mm bulkhead. On the one hand, it was an important supporting element of the cruiser armor-decks, and also protected from direct hits to the nose, which were particularly dangerous due to weak protection. But on the other hand, such a bulkhead unjustifiably weighed and imbalanced the "Admiral Scheer."
Naturally, the ship, which they tried to fit into the rigid framework of restrictions at the design stage, had both its advantages and disadvantages. Among the obvious advantages of the Doyland-type cruisers were, above all, their main-caliber artillery, which was supplemented with a fairly sophisticated fire control system. Anyone, even the most well-defended heavy cruiser of those years, was vulnerable to the shelling of 283-mm guns of German raiders. The second important advantage of the German "pocket battleships" was the use of diesel engines as a power plant. Such shortcomings as vibration and noise were more than compensated for by the huge cruising range that made these heavy cruisers excellent ocean raiders.
However, the Admiral Scheer’s power plant also had shortcomings. The maximum speed of the ship was insufficient, it was significant - on the 4-5 nodes it was inferior to the indicators of the British cruisers of those years. At the same time the ship was built in strict accordance with the requirements of the Kriegsmarine. In speed, he surpassed the enemy’s battleships, and in firepower, the cruiser. Theoretically, this allowed the heavy cruiser to successfully lead a raider war, attacking the enemy guards poorly guarded and departing from the battle with his battleships. In practice, it turned out that even a group of cruisers was able to drive a “pocket battleship” into a corner without the involvement of battleships for this. An example was the death of the heavy cruiser Admiral Count Spee, which was sunk by the 17 team of its own on December 1939 of the year, being blocked by the British in the estuary of the La Plata River.
Another weak point of the Deutschland heavy cruisers was their armor. The booking did not at all correspond to the offensive capabilities of these ships, even the most advanced Admiral Count Spee in this regard was not adequately protected from the fire of a potential enemy 203-mm guns. The restriction on the displacement of the ship said its role. Also among the project’s drawbacks were the presence on the ship of two auxiliary calibers - anti-mine and anti-aircraft. In real conditions, 150-mm guns were poorly protected and ineffective, and heavy anti-aircraft artillery was present in insufficient quantities. According to experts, the preferred solution would be to install a universal caliber 120-127-mm on an artillery ship, as was provided for by the initial project.
Captain Cranke's Raid
The heavy cruiser "Admiral Scheer" was actively used by Kriegsmarine during the Second World War. Already 4 September 1939, he became the object of attack by the British Air Force. Three 227-kg bombs hit the ship, but all of them, because of the low height, did not cock and did not cause serious damage to the ship. The ship was killed at the very end of the war, on the night of 9 on 10 on April 1945, while at the dock at the shipyard in Kiel, he was again bombed by British aircraft. The ship received 5 bombs hits, rolled over and sank upward with a keel. AT history the same cruiser entered mainly two raider operations. The first of these, known as Captain Kranka’s raid, was successful, but participation in Operation Wonderland in the summer of 1942, when the cruiser bombed Dixon, did not bring any special laurels to the ship.
"Admiral Scheer" in Gibraltar
Captain Theodore Cranke's raid from 23 October 1940 of the year to 1 of April 1941 made this ship famous, having passed more than 46 thousands of nautical miles, it sank and captured the enemy's 16, with a total displacement of 99 of thousands of registered tons. This raid allowed the ship to go down in history as the most successful Kriegsmairne raider, operating up to the Indian Ocean.
October 23 The Admiral Scheer, commanded by Captain I rank Theodore Cranke, left Gotenhafen and headed for Brunsbüttel at the mouth of the Elbe, the starting point of his long march. On October 1940, the ship passed the Danish Strait unnoticed and sailed into the North Atlantic. The fact that the German "pocket battleship" went to sea, in England, they learned only at the end of October. Conventionally, the ship raiding could be divided into three stages: the attack on the convoy “HX-30”, which went from Halifax to the UK, actions in the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.
On November 5 “Admiral Scheer” sank its first victim - the English ship Mopan (5389 gross registered tons, grt). Bananovoz obediently stopped and 105-mm shells were sunk in 40 minutes after his crew sank into the boats. The evening of the same day at the coordinates 52 ° 45 'N and 32 ° 13 'W.D. German ocean raider attacked the HX-84 convoy, consisting of 37 ships. The security of the convoy was provided by only one auxiliary cruiser “Jervis Bay”, which was an armed cargo-passenger ship (14 164 brt). The convoy commander, Admiral Moltby, immediately after the discovery of a large warship, ordered the ships to disperse, and the captain of the auxiliary cruiser entered into an unequal battle with the Admiral Scheer. The outcome of the battle was predetermined even before its commencement; Jervis Bay was sunk in 20 minutes. But even such a small delay allowed the convoy ships to disperse and put smoke screens. Before nightfall, the German heavy cruiser managed to launch the convoy ships 5 to the bottom, but the bulk of the ships managed to escape. The victims of the “pocket battleship” were the Beaverford transports (10042 brt), Meydan (7908 brt), Kiebane Head (5225 brt), Trevellard (5201 brt) and Fresno City (4955 brt) The German cruiser did not succeed in completely crushing the convoy, but its actions forced the British to stop the movement of trans-Atlantic convoys for two weeks (until November 17), which was a success during the war. At the same time, the fact that it was impossible to destroy a large convoy of ships that are scattered in different directions by the forces of one ship became obvious.
The British quickly responded to the attack of the convoy: the battleships Nelson and Rodney blocked the Danish strait, and the Reyles and Hood battlecruisers approached the Bay of Biscay, blocking the routes to the bases for the German heavy cruiser. Perhaps it was these actions that led Admiral Scheer to go south. On November 24, he captured and then sank the English transport Port Hobart (7448 brt), en route to Auckland with cargo, which included 5 light training aircraft. The ship managed to signal a meeting with the German "pocket battleship", so the cruiser again changed course and went east to the Cape Verde Islands.
1 December 1940 of the Year “Admiral Scheer” attacked and sank another British transport “Tribsmen” (6242 brt), which was heading from Liverpool to Calcutta. Since the boat with the captain of the ship could not be intercepted, Crank again decided to change course, again sending the cruiser to the Central Atlantic. In the afternoon of December 18, he managed to capture the large transport of Dukesa (8652 brt), on board of which were 3500 tons of frozen meat and 13 million eggs. The captured ship was decided to use as a floating warehouse until its coal reserves were exhausted. At the same time, Theodore Kranke intentionally gave the ship the opportunity to transmit a radiogram of a meeting with a raider. By this time, he received a message saying that far to the north, the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper had begun his first voyage into the ocean. The trick of the German captain was successful, the British sent three ship groups to the south to intercept the Admiral Scheer, but the cells of the “net” spread out against him were very large and the “pocket battleship” escaped without any problems, making it easier for another German raider.
In the second half of December, the cruiser cruised in the South Atlantic, where 8 January replenished fuel supplies and headed for the line between Cape Town and Freetown. Here, on January 17, he captured the Norwegian tanker Sandefjord (8038 brt), which transported approximately 11 000 tons of crude oil from the Persian Gulf region to England. On board the captured tanker, 250 prisoners were transferred and sent as a prize ship to Bordeaux. At this time, the captain of the "Admiral Scheer" decided to change tactics, he began to converge with the transports during the day, not at night. To disguise, he began to use the call signs of the English warship. The reception was a success, 20 January captured and then sank the Dutch transport Barnveld (5597 brt), which carried 5 light bombers for the South African Air Force, 86 trucks and more 1000 tons of ammunition and other military equipment. A few hours later, he sank the British transport Stanpark (5103 brt) with a load of cotton on board. Both sunk ships did not have time to give a distress signal.
Raider actions in the Atlantic showed that a single ship that does not have information about the paths of the enemy ships finds them relatively rarely (6 cases in the 2,5 month). Moreover, these actions require special measures to ensure his life, during which time the heavy cruiser 4 once replenished its reserves with the help of a supply vessel.
3 February 1941, the ship circled the Cape of Good Hope, heading for Madagascar. February 20 captured the British Advocate tanker (6994 brt), which carried almost 10 000 tons of oil and gasoline, and later captured and sank the Greek transport Gregorios (2546 brt). On February 21, the ocean raider managed to capture and sink the Canadian transport Kenediien Cruiser (7178 brt) carrying ilmenite (raw material for titanium production), and on February 22 the Dutch steamer Rantaupajang (2452 brt), which delivered coal from Durban to Singapore. From the last two ships, victims of the German "pocket battleship", radiograms were received. Therefore, the British have taken steps to neutralize the heavy cruiser. On board the English cruiser Glasgow, which was 140 miles from Rantaupajang, a plane was raised that was able to detect a German raider. The pursuit organized by the British could not lead to the destruction of the ship or the establishment of permanent visual contact with it, however, it forced the Admiral Scheer to return to the Atlantic again. Raider actions in the Indian Ocean have shown that in a zone of intensive navigation a ship can act effectively - intercepted the ship's 4 in 18 days, but only for a limited time. In fact, the cruiser was pushed out of range in less than 3 weeks.
1 April 1941, the ship without special adventures entered Kiel. During the 155 days of the cruise, he passed 46 419 nautical miles, sank one auxiliary cruiser and captured and sank 16 of merchant ships with a total displacement of 99 059 tons, while the cruiser commander himself insisted on the number 151 000 tons. Of the three German “pocket battleships” of the “Deutschland” type, he became the most successful raider. For the commission of this raid, the crew of the ship was presented to the awards, and the captain of the cruiser received the rank of Rear Admiral.
The end of the heavy cruiser "Admiral Scheer"
Modern historians estimate the raid "Admiral Scheer" is not so clear. Of course, the actions of the ocean raider caused interruptions and nervousness in the Allied shipping, diverted large surface forces to organize escorting convoys, but the practical result did not justify the effort expended. German auxiliary cruisers, which were disguised as civilian ships, moved with less risk along the sea routes, and sometimes even a heavy cruiser was bypassed through the sunk tonnage. Their use was more effective for raider actions. In addition, the actions of surface ships were incomparable with the actions of German submarines, which forced Kriegsmarine with time to abandon this tactic.
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