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Konigsberg - Light Cruiser


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

Leichter Kreuzer Königsberg in 1930


The three K-class Light Cruisers were the first modern cruisers of the German navy after World War I. For the first time, the main artillery of a German CL was mounted in real turrets and not in single mounts as before.  An interesting detail was that the afterwards turrets were mounted off the centerline to give them a better arc of fire. To preserve weight, about 85% of the hull was welded, but this causes one of the major drawbacks for those ships, their structural weakness.

With the idea of commerce war in mind, those ships should have been used in the North Atlantic, but their much too short endurance and structural problems made this kind of duty impossible. The first of the three ships, the Kreuzer B (later Königsberg ) was laid down on April 12th 1926 and completed three years later. The Kreuzer C (Karlsruhe ) joined the fleet in November 1929 while the Kreuzer D (Köln ) was commissioned in January 1930.

All three cruisers made several voyages in many countries of the world before World War II  to "show the flag". During the war they did see action in the North and Baltic Sea. Two of them were sunk during Operation "Weserübung", the invasion of Norway,  while the third was sunk at the end of the war.


Construction Data Dimensions Commanders
Laid down:     Reichsmarinewerft Wilhelmshaven, 12.04.1926
Launched:     26.03.1927
Commissioned:     17.04.1929
Fate:     sunk by FAA bombers 10.04.1940 (Bergen)
Costs:     38 Mio Reichsmark
Size (Max):     7700 t
Length (Total):     174,0 m
Length (Waterline):     169,0 m
Beam:     15,2 m
Draft:     6,28 m
Crew:     514-850
FK Wolf von Troth:     17.04.1929 - Jun 1929
FK Witthoeft-Emden:     Jun 1929 - Sep 1930
FK Hermann Densch:     Sep 1930 - Sep 1932
FK/KzS Otto von Schrader:     Sep 1932 - Sep 1934
FK/KzS Hubert Schmundt:     Sep 1934 - Sep 1935
FK/KzS Theodor Paul:     Sep 1935 - Feb 1937
KzS Robin Schall- Emden:     Feb 1937 - Nov 1938
KzS Ernst Schürlen:     Nov 1938 - Jun 1939
KzS Kurt Hoffmann:     Jun 1939 - 14.09.1939
KzS Heinrich Ruhfus:     15.09.1939 - 10.04.1940



Armour and Aircraft

Engines & Performance

15 cm C/25 (5,9"):     9
8,8 cm L/45 C/32:     2 (6 since 1940)
3,7 cm L/83 C/30:     8 (since 1934)
2 cm MG L/83:     8 (18 since 1945)
53,3 cm Torpedoes:     12 (50 cm until 1934)
Mines:     120
Deck:     40 mm
Belt:     50-70 mm
Command Tower:     100 mm
Turrets:     20-20 mm
Shafts:     3
Engines:     4
Type:     MAN 10-cyl. diesel
Turbines:     2
Type:     Geared turbines
Total Performance:     68200 shp
Speed:     32,5 kn
Range:     7300 miles at 17 kn

Operational History

17.04.1929:   Commissioned, tests and trials in the North and Baltic Sea.
August 1929:   Final construction in Wilhelmshaven.
02.04 - 19.06.1930:   First international voyage to the Mediterranean, the Königsberg visits Italy, Yugoslavia, Spain and Portugal.
January - March 1931:   Refits in Kiel, followed by a visit to Norway.
Dec 1931 - Feb 1932:   Refits and repairs.
1933:   Fleet operations and trials, a visit to Stockholm.
Jan - Feb 1934:   Refits and trials. After that voyages to Kristiansand, Portsmouth and Reval. At the end of the year, the Königsberg was attached to the torpedo school in the Baltic Sea.
Jan - Feb 1935:   Refits and repairs.
June 1936:   Voyage to Helsinki.
Nov 1936 - 15.01.1937:   Operations at the Spanish coast during the civil war.
Summer 1937:   Visit to Norway.
-September 1939:   The Königsberg is used as a training ship at the torpedo school in the Baltic Sea.
September 1939:   Sent to the Baltic Sea, later this month the cruiser was used for mining operations in the North Sea. (Operation "Westwall")
April 1940:   Operation "Weserübung":  
Part of Squadron 3 together with CL Köln , training ship Bremse and the torpedo boats Wolf and Leopard , transports troops from Wilhelmshaven to Bergen
09.04.1940:   Königsberg and artillery training ship Bremse are damaged by Norwegian shore batteries. CL Köln and the torpedo boats Wolf and Leopard return to Germany while the damaged Königsberg stays in Bergen
10.04.1940:   15 Skua dive bombers of the British Fleet Air Arm, 7 of No 800 Squadron and 9 from No 803 Squadron, launched from Hatston (Orkneys) sink the Königsberg with three direct hits. Although the ship is still afloat for some time, it cannot be saved and capsized in Bergen harbor.
17.07.1942:   Wreck is raised but still capsized.
March 1943:   After the wreck is turned in the upright direction, it is used as a pier for U-Boats.
22.09.1944:   The Königsberg capsized again.
after 1945:   The wreck is broken down in Bergen.