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German Destroyers [NAVY]


'Type 34' or 'Maass' class



When the keels of the first 'Type 34' class destroyers were laid in late 1934 for launch between 1937 and 1939, the Germans had had virtually no experience in the production of true destroyers since the end of World War I. This lack of continuity was to result in the incorporation of much that was untried, particularly with respect to boilers and machinery, and the ships thus gained a reputation for unreliability. Despite this, they were of conventional layout and more than a little influenced by contemporary British fleet destroyers. Advantage was conferred by extra length, though this was offset by a poorly-designed forward end which, lacking sufficient freeboard and flare, left them very wet ships in any sea, A new 127-mm (5-in) calibre was selected rather than the better-tried 105-mm (4,13-in) size in order to match the weight of standard French projectiles. The new gun proved a reliable weapon but was not dual purpose. Five were carried (three singles aft and two singles forward), each group being capable of separate control with its own rangefinder. Two quadruple banks of 533-mm (21-in) torpedo tubes were shipped, Like the Japanese, the Germans believed in the weapons, trained in them and used them to good effect when allowed. Four reloads could be carried. The ships were also tracked along both sides of the upper deck to give capacity for 60 mines. In all, there were 22 named destroyers of fairly homogeneous design but, of these, only the first four were 'Type 34s'. Officially, the next 16 were 'Type 34A' class ships and the remainder 'Type 36' class units. There were few differences externally and these went across type boundaries as did the several small changes in hull length, though it is noteworthy that the final group of four featured a hull some 6 m (19.7 ft) longer than that of the original quartet, This increase partly met the type's poor endurance figures, which were due to the fact that their stabilityrange did not allow running at below 30 per cent bunker capacity, It was the misfortune of the group to lose 10 of its number at Narvik, mainly through poor leadership. Another five were lost later in the war. During the first couple of months of the war, these ships had contributed greatly to the mining campaign off the east coast that cost the British dear. The ships in the class were the Leberecht Maass (Zl), Georg Thiele (Z2), Max Schultz (Z3), Richard Beitzen (Z4), Pauljacobi (ZS), Theodor Riedel (Z6), Hermann Schumann (Z7), Bruno Heinemann (Z8), Wolfgang Zenker (Z9), Hans Lody (ZIO), Bernd von Ärnim (ZU), Erich Giese (Z12), Erich Köllner (ZI 3), Friedrich Ihn (Z14), Erich Steinbrinck (ZI 5), Friedrich Eckoldt (ZI 6), Diether von Roder (ZI 7), Hans Lüdemann (Z18), Hermann Küne (Z19), Karl Galster (Z20), Wilhelm Heidkamp (Z21) and Anton Schmitt (Z22). Karl Galster shows off her clipper bow, which was fitted to all subsequent German destroyers. Her machinery was theoretically capable of 40 kts, but wartime shortages of material made maintenance increasingly difficult.



'Type 34' class (as built)
Displacement: 2,230 tons standard and 3,160 tons full load
Dimensions: length 119,0 m (390.4 ft); beam 11.3m (37,1 ft); draught 3,8 m (12.5 ft)
Propulsion: two seats of geared steam turbines delivering 52199 kW (70,000 shp) to two shafts
Speed: 38 kts
Endurance: 8150 km (5,064 miles) at 19 kts
Armament: five single 127-mm (5-in), two twin 37-mm AA and six single 20- mm AAguns, two quadruple 533-mm (21-in) torpedo tube mountings, and up to 60 mines
Complement: 315



'Type 36A' or 'Z23' class



The 'Type 36A' class destroyers were war-built and launched in 1940-2, and while the fleet would have preferred a ship enlarged from the 'Type 34' and capable of long-range operation, it received another slight stretch of the original design with the major difference of an increase in main battery calibre to 150mm (5.91 in), This had 60 per cent greater weight of shot and a better range, but was difficult and slow for handworking. The weight of the two forward superimposed guns was to be cut by substituting a twin turret, but this was long in development and troubleprone when it finally entered service, and most of the class started their lives with only one single mounting forward which, if it did nothing for their fighting potential, certainly improved their seakeeping. Those that were retrofitted with the twin turret experienced severe green water effects forward in heavy weather. A problem with the earlier class, poor manoeuvrability, was met by a redesign of the area of the cut-up and the provision of twin rudders but, overall, the 'Type 36A did not appeal to a seaman. The initial order for the Type 36A comprized Z23 to Z30, seven more, Z31 to Z34 and Z37 to Z39 (to a slightly modified design) were later added. These ships, though unnamed, were popularly known as the 'Narvik' class, the name originating with the Germans themselves, their Norwegian-based units adopting something of the earlier ships that had been destroyed there in April 1940. Perhaps surprisingly, only six of the 15 'Type 36As' were lost during the war. Two of the survivors gave the French fleet over a decade of post-war use while another, the Z38, was actualy commissioned into the post-war Royal Navy as HMS Nonsuch for machinery evaluation and 'special trials'. The Z26 was lost in March 1942 during the destroyer attack on convoy PQ13; it was in launching a salvo of torpedoes to finish off this ship that the British cruiser HMS Trinidad hit herself with a 'rogue' runner: the three German ships involved had already launched about 20 torpedoes in a fruitlessattempt to secure the same result!



Type 36A' class
Displacement: 2,600 tons standard and 3,600 tons full load
Dimensions: length 127.0 m (416,67 ft); beam 12,0 m (39.4 ft); draught 3.9 m (12.8ft)
Propulsion: two sets of geared steam turbines delivering 52199 kW (70,000 shp) to two shafts
Speed: 36 kts
Endurance: 10935 km (6,795 miles) at 19 kts
Armament: three single and one twin 150-mm (5.9-m), two twin 37-mmAA and five single 20-mm AA guns, two quadruple 533-mm (21-in) torpedo tube mountings and up to 60 mines
Complement: 321



'Type 36B' or 'Z35' class




Early experience with their 150-mm (5.91-in) gunned destroyers convinced the German naval planners of their mistake, and seven ships (Z35, Z36 and Z43 to Z4T) of the same basic hull and machinery were redesigned around the earlier 127-mm (5-in) single mountings. These ships were known as the 'Type 36B' class but, confusingly, the last two of the group were again relabelled the 'Type 36C' class when yet another proposed design would have introduced a new twin 127-mm turret and uprated machinery performance. The confusion of types and pennant number sequences about this time were symptomatic of ambitious naval plans running foul of day-to-day priorities in meeting an overextended range of construction and repair demands. In short, the system could not cope, and the Z43 was the last destroyer actually completed for German service. This was in March 1944 but it was of only academic importance as, by this stage of the war, ocean operations had effectively ceased for the surface fleet, which existed largely in the relative safety of the Baltic. The three units actually completed (Z35, Z36 and Z43) had a main battery disposition identical with that of the earlier 'Type 34s', but were given a greatly enhanced AA outfit, By virtue of the lower topweight of the 127-mm armament it was possible to ship two twin 37-mm, and three quadruple and three single 20-mm guns, the generosity of which scale reflected the aerial threat at this stage in the war. As all German destroyers could lay mines, the possible increase in capacity to 76 was important. The minelaying capacity of all three was being utilized on the night of 11/12 December 1944 when, accompanied by a pair of torpedo boats, they were due to lay a field west of the Estonian port of Rêvai. A combination of faulty navigation and a desire to 'press on' despite darkness and very poor weather conditions found the group straying into an earlier field. Both the Z35 and Z36 were blown up with their full loads and their complete crews. The Z43 survived to support the northern flank of the retreating German armies in the last desperate weeks of early 1945. Finally, damaged by ground mines and bombing, she was scuttled in the Geltinger Bucht.



'Type 36B'class
Displacement: 2,525 tons standard and 3,505 tons full load
Dimensions: length 127.0 m (416.67 ft); beam 12.0 m (39.4 ft); draught 3.52 m (11.55ft)
Propulsion: two sets of geared steam turbines delivering 52199 k W (70,000 shp) to two shafts
Speed: 36 kts
Endurance: 11120 km (6,910 miles) at 19 kts
Armament: five single 127-mm (5-in), two twin 37-mm AA, and three quadruple and three single 20-mm AA guns, two quadruple 533-mm (21-in) torpedo tube mountings and up to 76 mines
Complement: 321



'SP1' or 'Z40' class


The Germans seemed concerned at the potential firepower of the big French destroyers and, perceiving a requirement for ships of their own capable of a degree of independent action, initiated the Spähkreuzer (scout cruiser) or SP concept. At the beginning of World War II, however the planned number of destroyers was trimmed in view of other priorities. Of the five stricken from the 'Type 36A' programme three (Z40 to Z42) were reinstated early in 1941 as an enlarged trio, which were to be followed by another with hull number unspecified. The design passed through several phases before losing favour and being recast into the so-called 'Zerstörer 1941', construction being suspended in 1942 and the incomplete hulls being scrapped in 1943. With range a problem in earlier destroyers, the SPs would have had better endurance conferred by a three-shaft layout, with steam turbines on the wing shafts and cruising-diesel drive on a centreline shaft. They would have been nearly 10 m (32.8 ft) longer than the comparable 'Capitani Romani' of the Italian fleet and, while lacking the latters' speed, would have been still more truly destroyers in concept. Their extra size would have made for steadier gun platforms and justified the 150-mm (5.91-in) main battery. Final innovations were the uprated torpedo tube battery and mine stowage, Beyond the SPs the Germans worked on a couple of ali-diesel designs. The multi-diesel layout was a popular concept with their designers since the proven reliability and economy of those in the Panzerschiffe. Lighter distillate fuels were more readily available in Germany by synthesis than heavy bunker oils, which had to be imported. The 'Type 42' class embraced initially only one prototype, Z51, a small (114-m/374-ft) ship of only 2,050 tons standard displacement and a four 127-mm (5-in) gun armament. Lack of supply caused the srx-diesel/ three-shaft layout to be truncated to a four-diesel/single-shaft arrangement. Her value was never known as she waswrecked by bombing while fitting out in 1945, Plans for larger diesel destroyers never reached the metalcutting stage.



SPr class
Displacement: 4,540 tons standard
Dimensions: length 152.0 m (498.7 ft); beam 14.6 m (47.9 ft); draught 4.6 m (15,1ft)
Propulsion: two sets of geared steam turbines delivering 57792 kW (77,500 shp) to the two wing shafts and one diesel delivering 10813 kW (14,500 bhp) to one centreline shaft
Speed: 36 kts on steam power
Endurance: 22250 km (13,826 miles) at 19 kts
Armament: three twin 150-mm (5.91- in), one twin 88-mm (3.46-in) DP, four twin 37-mm AA and three quadruple 20-mm AA guns, two quintuple 533- mm (21-in) torpedo tube mountings, and up to 140 mines
Complement: not known



'T22' or 'Elbing' class


In both world wars the German navy operated so-called 'torpedo boats' which were diminutive destroyer-type ships which, spared the need to operate as units of the main fleet, could be considerably smaller while being capable of carrying the same scale of torpedoes or mines. All wore flag superior T as opposed to the 'Z' of destroyers, Despite their stature they were capable of giving a good account of themselves. During the 1920s, among the new German fleet's first ships, were built the dozen 'Albatros' and 'Iltis' class units. These carried not only their torpedoes but three of the still-potent 105- mm (4.13-in) guns, and proved most versatile in war. These were followed by 21 numbered ships of the 'Type 35' and 'Type 37' classes. Here the planners had got it wrong, shrinking the size of the craft and their armament until the ships exhibited all the weaknesses of the smaller 'S' boats while having few of their virtues. The nearcommon design was characterized by a single heavily-trunked funnel that served both boiler rooms. These unpopular ships were followed by a very different vessel in the 'Type 39' class, in which a 15-ship group (T22 to T36] was built by the experienced Schichau yard at Elbing, the town giving the ships their popular name, the 'Elbing' class. They readopted the two-funnelled layout and, despite their lack of raised forecastle, were imposing enough often to be mistaken for fleet destroyers. With an extra 17 m (55.8 ft) of length they could accommodate four single 105-mm guns along the centreline as well as the usual two triple banks of torpedo tubes. The ships were launched in 1942-4. Like most of the torpedo boats, the 'Elbings' were used widely in French waters. They tangled several times with Plymouth-based Tribals' off the Breton coast. The T27 and T29 were both thus sunk in April 1944, though the
T24 levelled the score by torpedoing and sinking HMCS Athabaskan. Two more, the T25 and T26, had already been sunk in the extraordinary daylight action of December 1943 when a mix of 11 German ships, hampered by heavy seas, were savaged by two British cruisers in the Bay of Biscay.



T22' class
Displacement: 1,295 tons standard and 1,755 tons full load
Dimensions: length 102.0 m (334,6 ft); beam 10.0 m (32.8 ft); draught 2,6 m (8.5ft)
Propulsion: two sets of geared steam turbines delivering 23862 kW (32,000 shp) to two shafts
Speed: 33.5 kts
Endurance: 9300 km (5,789 miles) at 19 kts
Armament: four single 105-mm (4.13- in), two twin 37-mm AA and six single 20-mm AA guns, two triple 533-mm (21-in) torpedo tube mountings and up to 50 mines

Complement: 198





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  • 3 weeks later...

But not so many - only 5 classes.


Regia Marina had 13 classes (most of them were Navigatori / Soldati classes)

Japanese Navy have 16 types of destroyers.


Someone suggested to add Italian ships to Italian-German tree. Not so bad idea.

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