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Blucher - Heavy Cruiser


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

Schwerer Kreuzer Blücher 1940


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.

Blücher was sunk on April 9th 1940 in the Oslo fjord.


Construction Data Dimensions Commanders
Laid down:     Deutsche Werke Kiel, 15.08.1935
Launched:     08.06.1937
Commissioned:     20.09.1939
Fate:     sunk 09.04.1940 (Oslo Fjord)
Costs:     87,8 Mio Reichsmark
Size (Max):     18200 t
Length (Total):     205,9 m
Length (Waterline):     
Beam:     21,3 m
Draft:     7,7 m
Crew:     ~1600
KzS Heinrich Woldag:     20.09.1939 - 09.04.1940



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

20.09.1939:   Commissioned.
Sep 1939 - Apr 1940:   Training in the Baltic Sea.
April 1940:   Operation "Weserübung":  
Loads army troops in Swinemünde. Together with Lützow , Emden , the torpedo boats Albatros , Möwe and Kondor and the 1st R-Flottilla, the Blücher forms Squadron 5 heading for Oslo.

As the squadron reaches the Oslo Fjord, the ships want to proceed to Oslo without any delay. At 5:20 am the lead ship Blücher enters the narrowest part of the Fjord, the Dröbak Narrows as the fortress of Oskarborg opens fire with its 28cm (11") guns.  The ship is heavily damaged at its superstructure and fire spreads. After two hits by Norwegian torpedo batteries the ship sinks at 7:23 am.  
Even today, the wreck is still loosing oil and endangers the environment of the Oslo Fjord.