German cruiser Leipzig

The Leipzig was a light cruiser of the German Kriegsmarine, the first unit of the class of the same name, which entered service in 1931 and active during the Second World War.

Operating Life

Set in the yards of Wilhelmshaven Marinewerft April 18, 1928, was launched October 18, 1929 under the name of Leipzig, in honor of the ‘city of the same name, entered service on 8 October 1931. After a long series of tests and exercises in the Baltic Sea and the North Atlantic (as the first unit of its class), the first operational use of the cruiser took place during the Spanish Civil War, when it was part of Leipzig, from ‘August 1936 to June 1937 in three separate rounds, a team of international naval combat arms smuggling in Spanish waters. On 30 May 1937, the German Government argued that an unidentified submarine fired a torpedo at the Leipzig Oran front, without hitting her, the episode was a pretext to withdraw from Germany by the “Committee for the non-intervention”. Following the Leipzig continued operations and patrolling exercise in the Baltic.

At the outbreak of war, the Leipzig was briefly employed in the Baltic Sea in support of the German troops engaged in the campaign of Poland, November 7, 1939 was slightly damaged after a collision with the training ship Bremse. Repaired, was included with the twin with the light cruiser Nürnberg and Köln in the “scout team”, responsible for providing protection and support to the teams of German destroyers engaged to lay minefields off the coast of Great Britain. On the morning of 13 December 1939, Leipzig and his two companions were off the Skagerrak at home waiting to escort five destroyers returning from a night mission mine-laying off Newcastle reunion was to take place in the morning, but the destroyers were long overdue because it kept the fire broke out on one of them. At about 11:30 am, the British submarine HMS Salomon sighted the three German cruisers and lunged at them six torpedoes, one of which struck the Leipzig at the center, by exploding the boiler room of the port side, while another center in Nürnberg at the bow. Achieved by destroyers and other escort ships, two cruisers damaged began a slow return to the homeland; December 15, as they approached the estuary of the ‘Elbe, were spotted by the British submarine HMS Ursula, who fired two torpedoes at the Leipzig, But the ship hitting F9-stock that sailed alongside. The damage done by the Leipzig were so serious that the ship was placed out of service temporarily, returning to the team until 1 December 1940. Even after repairs, the ship did not return fully operational, being used mostly as a training ship, the boiler was turned into a hit for local cadets.

In September 1941 he returned briefly in action as part of the Baltic Fleet, a German naval formation responsible for providing support for the Wehrmacht during the ‘invasion of the Soviet Union, between 13 September and 22 October, the Leipzig gave support and protection to German units impegante occupation of the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, sinking a Soviet torpedo boat. Concluded the cycle of operations, summed up the role of old-school ship, being poorly used in action, in September 1943 he returned to active duty with a small crew.

The Leipzig was sent into the Baltic to provide anti-aircraft protection to ships intent to evacuate German refugees of East Prussia, fleeing from the advancing Soviet. The evening of October 15, 1944, the Leipzig left the port of Gotenhafen to lay a minefield off Swinemünde, off the coast of the peninsula of Hel Peninsula the ship stopped to switch from diesel propulsion to steam propulsion, maneuvering which required 15 minutes. At 20:04, the property was rammed from Leipzig ‘heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, who ran on Gotenhafen at a speed of 20 knots despite the limited visibility, the bow of the Prinz Eugen penetrated deeply into the side of the port side of Leipzig, causing a gash that extending from the upper deck just below the keel. The two ships remained stuck for 14 hours, since any movement of the Prinz Eugen threatened to sink the small Leipzig; just tugs at dawn intervened to separate the two ships. With the high risk of breaking in two, the Leipzig was towed to the port of Gotenhafen for repairs.

The major damage permanently prevented the return to service of the ship, but the guns of Leipzig was however given their contribution to the defense of Gotenhafen, attacked by Soviet forces in March 1945. Between 25 and 29 March, the ship was towed in the Danish city of Aabenraa to prevent it from falling into Soviet hands. At the end of the war was captured by British forces, but given its poor condition it was decided to autoaffondarla December 16, 1946 in the North Sea, with a cargo of munitions containing toxic gases.


•Various Authors, The Third Reich – War of the sea, Hobby & Work, 1993 ISBN 88-7133-047-1

Cruisers of the Kriegsmarine

Military boats of World War II

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