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Admiral Hipper - Heavy Cruiser


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 Special thanks to Michael Emmerich of for the use of images and information in this section.

Schwerer Kreuzer Admiral Hipper 1944


Named after Admiral Fritz Ritter von Hipper (1863-1932), commander of the reconnaissance forces during the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

The heavy cruisers of the Kriegsmarine were a result of the Washington Fleet Treaty of 1921, so called "Washington Cruisers". Their displacement was not to exceed 10.000 tons and their main artillery was limited to 8" (20,3 cm) guns, but in reality they were up to 60% bigger than allowed.

Between 1935 and 1937 the keels of five of this ships were laid down which belonged to two slightly different classes of ships: The Admiral Hipper and her sister Ship Blücher , the improved second batch consisting of the Prinz Eugen , Seydlitz and Lützow . The last two were originally planned to be big CLs with an armament of twelve 15 cm guns, but due to the lack of guns and turrets and the threat of a new class of Soviet cruisers, the ships were built as additional ships of the Prinz Eugen design. Those ships were designed with the idea of commerce war in mind, they should attack allied merchant shipping and evade allied warships, but it soon got obvious that they were not ideal for this task. With their high-pressure steam engine their fuel consumption was too high and their operational range was not big enough to be used in the North Atlantic. In addition, the complicated engine construction often broke down. Of the five ships, only three got completed at all.

The Admiral Hipper was destroyed by her own crew in the final days of the war.


Construction Data Dimensions Commanders
Laid down:     Blohm & Voß Hamburg, 06.07.1935
Launched:     06.02.1937
Commissioned:     29.04.1939
Fate:     blown up 03.05.1945 (Kiel Shipyard)
Costs:     85,8 Mio Reichsmark
Size (Max):     18200 t
Length (Total):     205,9 m
Length (Waterline):     
Beam:     21,3 m
Draft:     7,7 m
Crew:     ~1600
KptzS Hellmuth Heye:     29.04.1939 - 03.09.1940
KptzS Wilhelm Meisel:     04.09.1940 - 10.10.1942
KptzS Hans Hartmann:     11.10.1942 - 16.02.1943
KzS Fritz Kraus:     Feb. 1943
KptzS Hans Henigst:     Mar 1944 - May 1945



Armour and Aircraft

Engines & Performance

20,3cm SK (8"):     8
10,5 cm L/65 C/33:     12
4 cm Flak:     6
3,7 cm L/83:     8
2 cm MG L/64:     32
53,3 cm Torpedoes:     12
Deck:     12-50 mm
Belt:     70-80 mm
Command Tower:     50 - 150 mm
Turrets:     70 - 105 mm
Arado Ar 196:     3
Shafts:     3
Turbines:     3
Type:     Blohm & Voß
Total Performance:     132000 shp
Speed:     32,5 kn
Range:     8000 miles at 20 kn

Operational History

March 1939:   Final Trials.
29.04.1939:   Commissioned.
June - August 1939:   Training and trials.
July 1939:   Training voyage to Sweden and Estland.
August 1939:   Patrols in the Baltic Sea.
06.11.1939-12.01.1940:   Final construction in Hamburg: New bow and funnel cap added.
January 1940:   Trials and training in the Baltic Sea.
17.02.1940:   Admiral Hipper is put into active fleet service.
18.02.1940:   Together with BCs Scharnhorst , Gneisenau and several destroyers, the Admiral Hipper operated between Britain and Scandinavia to attack allied convoys. No enemy ships were found during this operation.
08.04.1940:   Operation "Weserübung":  
Heading to Drontheim, Admiral Hipper and the destroyers Bernd von Arnim and Hans Lüdemann engaged the British destroyer Glowworm . The Glowworm was sunk, but Admiral Hipper collided with the wreck.
10.04.1940:   After landing troops in Drontheim, Admiral Hipper joins BCs Scharnhorst , Gneisenau on their way back to Germany. Although the British Home fleet is also operating in the same area, both sides do not meet.
April - June 1940:   Repairs in Wilhelmshaven.
04.06.1940:   Operation "Juno"  
Along with BCs Scharnhorst , Gneisenau and the destroyers Karl Galster , Hans Lody , Erich Steinbrinck and Hermann Schoemann , Admiral Hipper raids the area of Hastad, Norway  and sink the troop transport Orama , the tanker Oil Pioneer and the submarine hunter Juniper.
20.06.1940:   Admiral Hipper and BC Gneisenau start an operation against the British northern Patrol, but the operation is canceled after Gneisenau is hit by an torpedo the next day.
25.07 - 09.08.1940:   Operation against allied merchant shipping in the Arctic sea, only neutral ships are detected.
12.08 - 07.09.1940:   Repairs in Wilhelmshaven.
12.09 - 18.09.1940:   Admiral Hipper is planned to be used for support operation for "Operation Seelöwe".
30.09 - 28.10.1940:   Repairs in Hamburg after engine failure.
01-27.12.1940:   Operation "Nordseetour":  
First Atlantic mission: Attacks convoy WS5A about 700 miles west of Cape Finestre and engages British CA Berwick and DDs. Berwick and one merchant were severely damaged, another merchant sunk. Admiral Hipper returns to Brest, France.
01.02 - 14.02.1941:   Second Atlantic Mission: On Feb. 11, Admiral Hipper attacks the unprotected convoy SLS64 at 37°12'N, 21°20'W, sinking 7 of the 19 merchants and damaging several others. Due to fuel shortage, Admiral Hipper has to return to Brest, France.
15-28.03.1941:   Returns to Kiel via the Denmark Street.
- November 1941:   Repairs in Kiel, several water tanks are modified to oil tanks to enlarge the operational radius.
19.03.1942:   Escorted by the destroyers Z24 , Z26 , Z30 and the torpedo boats T15 , T16 and T17 , Admiral Hipper is sent to Drontheim, Norway.
05.07.1942:   Operation "Rösselsprung":  
Together with BB Tirpitz , CA Admiral Scheer , escorted by the destroyers Karl Galster , Theodor Riedel , Friedrich IhnHans Lody , Z24 , Z27 , Z28 , Z29 , Z30 and the torpedo boats T15 and T7, the Admiral Hipper searches for the convoy PQ17 in the arctic sea. Although no contact was made, two third of the convoy is destroyed by U-boats and aircraft.
10.09.1942:   Admiral Hipper , Admiral Scheer , the CL Köln and several destroyers relocate to the Altafjord.
24-28.09.1942:   Along with the destroyers Z23, Z28 , Z29 and Z30 , Admiral Hipper is doing the offensive mine operation "Zarin" off the north west coast of Novaja Semlija.
December 1942:   Battle in the Barents Sea:  
Admiral Hipper , CA Lützow and the six destroyers Richard Beitzen , Theodor Riedel , Friedrich Eckoldt , Z24 , Z30 and Z31 , attacks convoy JW51B at 73°N, 29°E. Hipper sinks mine seeker Bramble and damages DD Achates (which is later sunk)  but the attack is aborted after the British CL Sheffield and Jamaica archive one hit on the Admiral Hipper . During the battle, in which only one merchant is damaged, DD Friedrich Eckoldt is sunk.
February 1943:   After provisorical repairs, the Admiral Hipper is sent back to Germany via Drontheim.
07.02.1943:   Arrived in Kiel.
28.02.1943:   Transferred to Wilhelmshaven and put out of service.
01.04.1943:   Because of the increasing air threats, Admiral Hipper is  town to Pillau.
01.03 1944:   Admiral Hipper recommissioned.
Autumn 1944:   Used as a training ship.
15.01.1945:   Repairs in Gotenhafen.
30.01.1945:   Admiral Hipper leaves Gotenhafen with 1529 refugees on board following the passenger ship Wilhelm Gustloff to Kiel. The Wilhlem Gustloff was torpedoed by a Russian submarine, but Admiral Hipper arrived at Kiel unharmed on 02.02. 1945.
03.04.1945:   Admiral Hipper is hit by bombs during a British air attack. The ship is heavily damaged.
09.04.1945:   Again hit during an air attack, superstructures heavily damaged.
03.05.1945:   Blown up in the dock of Deutsche Werke, Kiel.
1948/49   Moved to Heikendorf Bight and scraped by the British.