Cruiser Admiral Scheer

German cruiser Admiral Scheer

German cruiser Admiral Scheer

The Admiral Scheer was a heavy cruiser that served in the German Kriegsmarine during World War II, it was the second unit of the Deutschland class.

The Germans initially classified as an armored ship (Panzerschiff in German), and then riclassificarla as heavy cruiser (Schwere Kreuzer) in 1940, the British, however, classified the ship as a pocket battleship (Pocket Battleship in English), a name which has since been as characteristic of the ships of this class.

Operating life

Set on building Marinewerft Wilhelmshaven June 25, 1931, it was launched on 1 April 1933 under the name of Admiral Scheer, in honor of Admiral Reinhard Scheer, commander of the German fleet at the Battle of Jutland. The ship entered service November 12, 1934.

The first use of the cruiser took place during the Spanish Civil War, together with other German warships, United Kingdom, Franceand Italyit, the Admiral Scheer was sent in Spanish waters to combat the smuggling of weapons. On May 29, 1937 Republican planes bombed by mistake the cruiser Deutschland, Scheer’s sister, causing the death of 20 sailors Germans in retaliation, May 31, 1937 the Scheer bombarded the defenseless town ofAlmería, firing more than 200 rounds of caliber that caused 20 deaths and 50 wounded among the civilian population.

Operations in the

At the outbreak of World War I, Scheer was in the yard in Kiel for extended work of renovation: among other things, the bow was lengthened and made more arched, the bridge and the mast were redesigned, and the enhanced anti-aircraft weapons. The ship, under the command Captain Theodor Krancke left theport ofGotenhafen October 29, 1940 and headed for the Atlantic, with the task of direct attack merchant shipping in theUK.

After the Denmark Strait (not without difficulty because of severe storms), the Scheer made refueling tankers German and headed for the central Atlantic. On the morning of November 5, 1940, the reconnaissance seaplane from the cruiser intercepted a large British convoy, the convoy HX84 started from the Canadian port of Halifax. The Scheer headed at full speed towards the convoy, sinking the way the merchant Mopan, sailing isolated. Shortly before 16:30, the Scheer intercepted the British convoy, consisting of 37 merchant ships escorted by different types of ‘auxiliary cruiser HMS Jervis Bay, while the cruiser was carrying a shot, a small Jervis Bay began to lay a smokescreen for cover the merchant, then head at full speed against Scheer. Riddled with bullets, the Jervis Bay sank with the loss of almost all his crew, but his sacrifice was able to give a lead of 22 minutes the rest of the convoy. With the sun was setting, the Scheer went in pursuit of the convoy, and with the help of reflectors, radar and rockets lit, tracked down one by one merchant. At 20:40, when Krancke suspended tracking, Scheer had fired nearly half of spare ammunition, sinking five merchant ships (including an oil tanker) and damaging three others.

Escaping the hunt for a British naval formation, the Scheer headed for the south Atlantic. On November 14, he met with the tanker Nordmark, the replenishment of ammunition and fuel. On 25 November, intercepted and sank a pair of British merchant off the Cape Verde islands. On December 18, captured intact reefer Duquesa, full of large quantities of fruit, vegetables, frozen meat and eggs with a German crew, la Duquesa was transformed into auxiliary vessel, supplying both Scheer that other German raiders in the area of fresh food. The Scheer adopted a series of measures have already been tested by other raiders German: the ship was painted in the colors of the British cruisers, and to make the camouflage credibilie the cannon center of each tower was held down (the British cruisers had no towers trinate). With these tricks the Scheer was able to capture and sinking two merchant ships (the British Stanpark and ‘Dutch Beneverd) without sending signals that could help.

On 2 February 1941, Scheer rounded the Cape of Good Hope and entered in the ‘Indian Ocean, where in the days after it sank four merchant ships. The danger posed by the cruiser was such that the British allestirono a large squadron to intercept, composed of the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes and nine cruisers, but to no avail. Given this situation, in early March, the German command ordered all’incrociatore to return home, 2 April 1941 the Scheer arrived at the port of Kiel, being warmly welcomed by the commander of the Kriegsmarine, Großadmiral Erich Raeder. The mission of the Admiral Scheer had lasted around 161 days and 46,000 miles of driving, and had led to the sinking or capture of 17 enemy merchant ships, totaling 113,000 GRT.

Operations in the Arctic

After a new series of works, the Admiral Scheer was given in the summer of 1942 the fleet operating in the Baltic Sea. When this cycle of operations, Scheer was sent to Norway to take part in the German attacks against convoys to the Soviet Union through the Arctic Ocean. July 2, 1942 tried to attack the British convoy PQ17 (Operation Rösselsprung), but the adverse sea conditions prevented the interception. On 19 August, the Scheer entered in the Barents Sea in search of merchant Soviets (Operation Wunderland) did not find a trace of enemy ships headed for theport ofDikson, bombarding it with its big guns and damaging some Soviet ships anchored in harbor. On August 24, he returned to Narvik without having intercepted any large convoy.

When this cycle of operations, the ship returned toGermany, where it was used only for training activities.

Operations in the Baltic

During the ‘autumn of 1944, the ship was called into service in the Baltic, and have many missions of fire support to troops deployed on the Eastern Front, and also acting as a transport ship for transfer to the west and refugees fleeing the advancing troops Soviet Union. During this period, the Scheer fired more shots than in all the previous operations, so much so that it became necessary to replace the main guns, worn out by the intense use.

On 9 April 1945, while he was in a dry dock at the portof Kiel, the Admiral Scheer underwent heavy bombardment by British planes, hit several times, capsized and sank. At the end of the war, after a partial demolition, what was left of the hull was filled during the renovation of the port.

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