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Prinz Eugen - Heavy Cruiser


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

Heavy Cruiser Prinz Eugen, Spring 1941


Named after Prinz Eugen von Savoyen-Carignan (1663-1736) who was victorious in various battles against Turkey, France and Spain.

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.

Prinz Eugen , often called the "lucky ship" was the only major german warship that survived the war and was sunk after atomic bomb test in the Kwajalein Atoll. Some parts of the ship's equipment is still existing today: One of its float planes, the T3 + BH, is now in the Silverhill Storage Facility of the Smithsonian. The ship bell is now in the US Naval Museum at Washington, the guns of turret Anton (which were removed before the atomic bomb tests) are still at weapons Testing Facility in Dahgren, Virginia. One of the props was salvaged from the wreck and is now on display at the Marineehrenmal in Laboe, Germany.


Construction Data Dimensions Commanders
Laid down:     Germaniawerft Kiel, 23.04.1936
Launched:     22.08.1938
Commissioned:     01.08.1940
Fate:     sunk summer 1946 (Kwajalein-Atoll)
Costs:     104,5 Mio Reichsmark
Size (Max):     18400 t
Length (Total):     212,5 m
Length (Waterline):     
Beam:     21,8 m
Draft:     7,2 m
Crew:     ~1600
KptzS Hellmuth Brinkmann:     01.08.1940 - 31.07.1942
FKpt Neubauer:     25.06.1942 - 30.06.1942
KKpt Beck:     01.07.1942 - 08.10.1942
KptzS Hans-Erich Voß:     09.10.1942 - 28.02.1943
KptzS Werner Ehrhardt:     29.02.1943 - 05.01.1944
KptzS Hans-Jürgen Reinicke:     06.01.1944 - 07.05.1945
Capt. A.H. Graubart (USN):     1945 - 1946



Armour and Aircraft

Engines & Performance

20,3cm SK (8"):     8
10,5 cm L/65 C/33:     12
4 cm Flak:     17
3,7 cm L/83:     
2 cm MG L/64:     28
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:     Germania
Total Performance:     136000 shp
Speed:     33,5 kn
Range:     7200 miles at 20 kn

Operational History

July 1940:   Before commissioned, the Prinz Eugen was twice hit by British bombs in the Germaniawerft, Kiel
01.08.1940:   Commissioned
- December 1940   Trials and training in the Baltic Sea, battle drills.
December 1940:   Final construction work in Kiel.
January - April 1941   Training in the Baltic Sea.
18.05.1941   Operation "Rheinübung":
Leaves Gotenhafen together with battleship Bismarck .
21.05.1941   Anchoring in the Kors Fjord, Prinz Eugen and Bismarck are spotted by British air reconnaissance.
24.05.1941   Battle with British battlecruiser Hood and battleship Prince of Wales .
Prinz Eugen scores the first hit on the Hood which later explodes in the battle. After the Battle, in which the Prince of Wales is damaged too, the Prinz Eugen is sent off in the North Atlantic while the Bismarck tried to escape to France.
29.05.1941   Returns to Brest because of engine problems.
02.07 1941   Hit by a bomb in dock in Brest.
11.02.1942   Operation "Cerberus":
Returns to Germany via the British Channel together with battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisneau , escorted by by 6 destroyers (Paul Jakobi , Richard Beitzen , Friedrich Ihn , Hermann Schoemann , Z25 , Z29 ) and 14 torpedo boats (e.g. Kondor , Jaguar , T12 , T13 )
23.02.1942   Lost stern after a torpedo hit from the British submarine Trident outside the Drontheim Fjord while on transfer to Norway.
May - October 1942   Repairs in Kiel.
November 1942   Battle training in Baltic Sea together with Panzerschiff Lützow .
January 1943   Two unsuccessful transfer attempts to Norway.
May 1943   Used as a training ship.
July 1944   Stationed at the Finnish coast.
October 1944   Shore bombardment at the Kurland front line.
October 1944   Supported retiring German Army at Memel.
15.10.1944   Collides with light cruiser Leipzig north of Hela, only light damage at the Prinz Eugen .
11.1944 - 04.1945   Continued support of the German Army.
08.04.1945   Prinz Eugen sails to Copenhagen.
May 1945   Placed under British command.
December 1945   Handed over to the U.S., renamed as USS IX 300 .
13.01.1946   Sails to the United States.
10.05.1946   Transferred to Honolulu.
01.07.1946   Used in atomic bomb test "Able", only light damage.
25.07.1946   Used in atomic bomb test "Baker", ship took some damage below the waterline. After the tests, the Prinz Eugen is towed to the Kwajalein Atoll.
22.12.1946   After six days of increased list, the Prinz Eugen capsized and sinks.