Prinz Eugen at Copenhagen, 1945

Prinz Eugen at Copenhagen, 1945

Prinz Eugen at Copenhagen, 1945

Here we see the German cruiser Prinz Eugen at Copenhagen after she surrendered to the Allies.


What if: Rädda Danmark ("Save Denmark") in 1945

Operation Rädda Danmark was, unfortunately, the navy's pipe dream.

Sweden at this time had no landing ships at all. The crossing was supposed to be done in converted trawlers.

Lieutenant Colonel Karl Wärnberg, the army's planner for the operation, kept pestering the Chief of the Navy, Admiral Fabian Tamm with the question "How do we get ashore?" over and over and over and over again. The navy could never answer that - Sweden did not have the capacity to land against defended beaches, and the plans remained plans because of it.

Operation Rädda Norge, on the other hand, was a much more realistic thing.

True dat. Also, I just looked over the wiki for the Swedish navy of 1945. If the Germans had ammo and fuel enough for Prinz Eugen, Nürnberg, the 4 destroyers etc. then the Swedes would have been in for a warm welcome indeed. The Swedes'd have to go Alexandria or Taranto on the German squadron before crossing the Øresund, if that was even possible for them. But if they have only these trawlers you mention, I suppose the point is moot anyway.

But I do really like this idea for this particular POD. I had absolutely no idea until now that there was a "Rädda Danmark"-discussion in '45. Interesting! It would be cool to make it work in a TL. The timing is essential. Could the Brits for example get ships over there to help the Swedes? They could at the very least bomb the German ships from the air (trying not to hit too many harbor facilities the Swedes might wanna use).

Lordroel

True dat. Also, I just looked over the wiki for the Swedish navy of 1945. If the Germans had ammo and fuel enough for Prinz Eugen, Nürnberg, the 4 destroyers etc. then the Swedes would have been in for a warm welcome indeed. The Swedes'd have to go Alexandria or Taranto on the German squadron before crossing the Øresund, if that was even possible for them. But if they have only these trawlers you mention, I suppose the point is moot anyway.

But I do really like this idea for this particular POD. I had absolutely no idea until now that there was a "Rädda Danmark"-discussion in '45. Interesting! It would be cool to make it work in a TL. The timing is essential. Could the Brits for example get ships over there to help the Swedes? They could at the very least bomb the German ships from the air (trying not to hit too many harbor facilities the Swedes might wanna use).

Christopher Marcus

Well, I guess eventually they might succumb to Swedish numbers, or a lucky torpedo hit, but the Swedes would pay a heavy price. For example, Tapperheten apparently had only two 8"/21 cm guns installed in 1940 and it could sail all of a whopping 16 knots. PE in comparison had eight 8" guns and could go at 32 knots.

I can kind of understand the Swedish captains if they went: "So you want us to risk half our ships so we in return can have champagne with Montgomery after his victory parade in Copenhagen? Er . no."

But it would make for a great movie

Lordroel

Well, I guess eventually they might succumb to Swedish numbers, or a lucky torpedo hit, but the Swedes would pay a heavy price. For example, Tapperheten apparently had only two 8"/21 cm guns installed in 1940 and it could sail all of a whopping 16 knots. PE in comparison had eight 8" guns and could go at 32 knots.

I can kind of understand the Swedish captains if they went: "So you want us to risk half our ships so we in return can have champagne with Montgomery after his victory parade in Copenhagen? Er . no."

But it would make for a great movie

Von Adler

True dat. Also, I just looked over the wiki for the Swedish navy of 1945. If the Germans had ammo and fuel enough for Prinz Eugen, Nürnberg, the 4 destroyers etc. then the Swedes would have been in for a warm welcome indeed. The Swedes'd have to go Alexandria or Taranto on the German squadron before crossing the Øresund, if that was even possible for them. But if they have only these trawlers you mention, I suppose the point is moot anyway.

But I do really like this idea for this particular POD. I had absolutely no idea until now that there was a "Rädda Danmark"-discussion in '45. Interesting! It would be cool to make it work in a TL. The timing is essential. Could the Brits for example get ships over there to help the Swedes? They could at the very least bomb the German ships from the air (trying not to hit too many harbor facilities the Swedes might wanna use).

Not really. Sweden had plenty of coastal artillery that could take on those ships:

On the western Scanian coast, 1945, Sweden had gathered:

South of Malmö:
12x15,2cm m/37 and 21cm m/42 mobile artillery guns (the 21cm was mobile but not tactically so, which the 15,2cm was).
HMS Äran (the armoured ship HMS Äran's engines were worn out and she could not move by her own power, but she was towed and used as a floating coastal battery. she had 2x1x21cm and 6x1x15,2cm).

At Landskrona (about halfway between Malmö and Helsingborg):
4x15,2cm m/37 guns

North and south of Helsingborg:
16x15,2cm emplaced heavy coastal artillery guns (4 in each Batteri Helsingborg, Batteri Viken, Batteri Trelleborg and Batteri Ystad).
9x21cm m/42 guns (3 batteries of 3 guns each)
18x15,2cm m/37 (2 battalions of 9 guns each)

The mobile guns were from I/KA2 and I/KA4 (KA = Kustartilleri, coastal artillery regiment).

HMS Oscar II and HMS Tapperheten were to provide mobile fire support for the landing. They were to be protected by 7 destroyers, 6 MTBs, 16 minesweepers and 6 patrol boats.

For naval support and taking out enemy ships most of the Swedish navy would be available, including the three Sverige class armoured ships and 10 destroyers.

Christopher Marcus

I'm not disputing the German ships would be sunk, but the coastal batteries will likely play only a minor role to that end - if the Germans sortie at all.

IIRC, all of the Swedish guns, including the 11inchers on the Sverige class, are older and have less range than Prinz Eugen's 8 inch guns. And the Swedish ships are generally slower - much slower. So in a direct firefight with the entire German squadron the Swedes might easily lose several destroyers, one of Oscar II and Tapperheten very likely and at least one Sverige class heavily damaged, along with whatever coastal batteries were reduced, as well.

If the Germans do manage to sortie, the Swedes' best tactics as I see it (if they would like to keep one of their capital ships from being lost) would then be to go in first with a concerted destroyer attack. The goal would be to risk that to get the two big German ships with a barrage of torpedoes . all while the Sverige class ships and the bigger coastal batteries fire at the Germans from their best distance in order to restrict the German squadron's searoom - more than it already is in the narrows of Øresund!

As said, most of the Germans ships will almost certainly be sunk but the Swedes will take casualties in ships (added to the many soldiers in the invasion force), and all of which will be missed very much after the war and with a very confident Soviet neighbor across the Baltic - and for what? Champagne with Montgomery in the city hall of Copenhagen?

If they wanted that champagne it would be far less costly to bomb the Germans ships to wrecks while in harbor or perhaps even organize a sabotage mission along with the Danish resistance. Or just stay out until the British had done the job?

As the OP says: Only on 4 May the Swedes had set the "earliest date" for the invasion at May 18. I wonder why .

Arctic warrior

The Germans lacked fuel for their ships so PE and N would be of limited operational effect except as floating batteries. Both were at Copenhagen harbour.
The third cruiser Leipzig had been badly damaged in a collision with PE being present in Haderslev but not of much fighting value. It was offered to the Danish Navy post war which didn't want it due to needed repairs and lack of crew seamen then loaded with chemical weapons and scuttled in the North Sea.
The German Navy may have had a number of light forces probably being as aggressive as ever which would frustrated Swedish operations if they could get fuelled.

The Luftwaffe had more then 1000 aircraft in Denmark at the time of surrender though quite a number were fugitived from other areas of operations. This may provide the real obstacle to operations in Denmark though it will be hampered by lack of fuel.

The Heer had some 300,000 troops in place. 1 reserve Pz Division, 5 Infantry divisions of varying standart and some Hugarian troops and a Russian brigade. Most of the troops were in Jutland.

I don't see the Germans expecting much happening in the East of Denmark and then you have the 1. Para Brigade in Britain waiting to be dropped on Copenhagen Airport to seize that and recieve the surrender of the Germans in Denmark.

Christopher Marcus

I figured as much . and what the hell can they do if the war draws out and there is fighting in Denmark mid-May? Sail out and get sunk? IIRC they had block ships, so if the Germans had the motivation to fight at all, they'd use those to close some harbor entrances and then let the ships fire as long as possible against invaders.

By the way, what kind of POD would we need to have the Germans continue fighting in Denmark and Norway? Hitler going to his Alpenfestung instead of dying in Berlin, and then issuing a plethora of 'stand fast'-directives every day he is still in radio contact with his scattered forces?

EAF602Whizz

Arctic warrior

Arctic warrior

The Allied airforces had 708 bombers and 618 fighters flying across the North Sea on 2. April 1945 to take out the Luftwaffe bases in Denmark and bomb the major Kriegsmarine units at Copenhagen but the operation was cancelled due to bad weather. However such an operation could be carried out to aid the Swedish landing and airlifting 1. Para Brigade to Copenhagen Airfield. Then the Swedish would probably be landing with the Germans surrendering all around them.
There would be glory for the Swedes even in such a scenario they had managed to take part in the showdown even if in the eleventh hour.

I don't know about Swedish ability to build and assemble an invasion fleet though they did have lots of difficulties in procuring the hardware for the expansion of the airforce and during the war constantly tried making deals with Germany for procurement of modern aircraft or at least getting licences for building modern engines like the DB605 which eventually was used in the J21 in 1945.

Von Adler

I'm not disputing the German ships would be sunk, but the coastal batteries will likely play only a minor role to that end - if the Germans sortie at all.

IIRC, all of the Swedish guns, including the 11inchers on the Sverige class, are older and have less range than Prinz Eugen's 8 inch guns. And the Swedish ships are generally slower - much slower. So in a direct firefight with the entire German squadron the Swedes might easily lose several destroyers, one of Oscar II and Tapperheten very likely and at least one Sverige class heavily damaged, along with whatever coastal batteries were reduced, as well.

If the Germans do manage to sortie, the Swedes' best tactics as I see it (if they would like to keep one of their capital ships from being lost) would then be to go in first with a concerted destroyer attack. The goal would be to risk that to get the two big German ships with a barrage of torpedoes . all while the Sverige class ships and the bigger coastal batteries fire at the Germans from their best distance in order to restrict the German squadron's searoom - more than it already is in the narrows of Øresund!

As said, most of the Germans ships will almost certainly be sunk but the Swedes will take casualties in ships (added to the many soldiers in the invasion force), and all of which will be missed very much after the war and with a very confident Soviet neighbor across the Baltic - and for what? Champagne with Montgomery in the city hall of Copenhagen?

If they wanted that champagne it would be far less costly to bomb the Germans ships to wrecks while in harbor or perhaps even organize a sabotage mission along with the Danish resistance. Or just stay out until the British had done the job?

As the OP says: Only on 4 May the Swedes had set the "earliest date" for the invasion at May 18. I wonder why .

The 28cm M/12 on the Sverige class had a range of 29 000 meters after the 1938-39 refit. The 15,2cm M/40 of the fixed batteries had a range of 24 000 meters.
The 21cm M/42 mobile coastal artillery had a range of 30 000 meters. The 15,2cm M/37 mobile coastal artillery had a range of 23 000 meters.

All of those could do serious damage to the Prinz Eugen, especially the 28cm M/12 - since they could fire 4 shots per minute, the amount of shells per minute from the three Sveriges would quickly overwhelm Prinz Eugen in any kind of fight.

The Swedish artillery had prepared calculations for the German ships in the port of Copenhagen, the German coastal artillery and many of the defensive installations - remember that Öresund is 3 500 to 20 000 meters wide at the releveant section.

The German coastal artillery:
At Helsingör:
1x10,5cm coastal gun
1x15cm coastal gun

At Hesbjerg:
4x15cm coastal guns

At Hornbaek:
4x12cm coastal guns

The invasion is stupid because Sweden lacks the ability to land in face of any kind of resistance. German ships and coastal artillery are not a problem.


Maintenance of tradition

After the " Anschluss " to the German Reich, named after an Austrian generals ship was given the task, the tradition of earlier in the German Navy Imperial and Royal Navy continue.

For this reason, on the Prinz Eugen , the historical k. u. k. The war flag was set and the Tegetthoff 's ship's bell was carried.

Originally the cruiser was to be named after the Austrian admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff , but it was feared that this naming would make the kingdom of Italy , which was allied with the National Socialist German Reich, miserable, which is why the ship was named Prinz Eugen .


Bismarck and Prinz Eugen

The 18th May 1941 departed from the military port of Gotehafen a combat group formed by two splendid and modern warships, the battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, to start the Operation Rheinubung, a raid against the British supply lines in the Atlantic. Then probably nobody thought that for the Bismarck this one would be her last mission. A week later, of the superb battleship would remain only a pile of scrap and few dozens of shipwrecked mariners. But at the moment, the Bismarck and the Prinz Eugen were the pride of the new Germany, powerful and confident. Excessively confident of itself and its powerful armament. Despite of the encrypted order prohibiting the navigation to any military or civil ship in wide sectors of the Baltic, another encrypted message arrived to the British Admiralty, immediately setting into alarm the entire Home Fleet. In that moment it would start a dramatic prosecution that would end with the sinking of the Bismarck little less than 400 miles west of Brest. When the Bismarck, hit by the Swordfish torpedo bombers, resulted with her rudder blocked, she was forced to turn around without being able to maneuver. Practically immobilized, the superb battleship was totally dismantled by the British artillery fire.

The forced interruption that Germany suffered regarding naval projects at the end of the First World War affected all the German ships used during the Second World War. The naval architects could not benefit from the lessons learned during 1914-18. Neither were they capable to give continuity to their experience in designs, essential for the creation of new projects, nor to extract conclusions from the destruction of ships built by other countries as the Allies had done in the early 1920s. Because of this the German experts in naval construction started to work in the late 1920s with a considerable disadvantage in respect of the other nations. Consequently, the Bismarck and Tirpitz were poorly protected ships with problems in their communication systems and deficiencies in the disposition of their secondary and anti-aircraft armaments. And this despite of these ships having a displacement that exceeded the limitations imposed by any former treaties, of which Hitler no longer worried.

The technical studies about battleships started in 1933 and, the 18th June 1935, the Anglo-German Naval Treaty granted to Germany enough supplementary tonnage for battleships as to built three units of 35560 tonnes of standard displacement. The contracts for the construction of two of them were signed in the early 1936. Facing this emergency situation, the German naval architects used as base for the new battleships the Baden class from the First World War. But it was necessary to increase the size to satisfy the current requirements: increase of speed of six knots, large increment of anti-aircraft artillery and installation of anti-torpedo armored protection. This latter was favored by a draught as short as possible to face the agitated waters on the German coasts. As in the Japanese Yamato class, the result was to increase the width of the hull to incorporate an excellent anti-torpedo system. On the other hand, a notable difference in respect of the Tirpitz was the lack of torpedo launchers in the Bismarck.

Albeit the result of these efforts was an undoubtedly powerful battleship, the Bismarck class was not as much as it should have been. The difficulties in the investigation of the protection caused that the communication systems were left practically unprotected at the bottom of the belt armor, while the contemporary battleships of other nations had them installed between the upper part of the belt and the armor of the main deck. This deficiency contributed to the quick and easy destruction of the Bismarck. The maneuvering was excellent thanks to a special type of rudder but this would be precisely the Achilles heel of the Bismarck. The same deficiency in the protection of the rudders that impossibilited the escape of the Bismarck had come to light in the German ships already in the Battle of Jutland, twenty-five years before. The lack of investigation in secondary armament of double purpose caused that the Bismarck had separated anti-ship and anti-aircraft artillery, rendering her unnecesarily large.

The lack of investigation caused as well that the German armor did not surpass the American or British counterparts. Her conning tower, in theory protected against projectiles fired from battleships, was destroyed by a 203-millimeter projectile at the beginning of the last confrontation. Besides, too many German projectiles did not explode. Only one, which hit the Prince of Wales, actually exploded. Still, the design had positive traits. Fire control was excellent in general, specially regarding anti-aircraft artillery. She had been fitted as well with radar for navigation, localization and artillery. Besides, a notable operational range rendered the Bismarck as a fearsome long-range weapon. She was actually extremely difficult to sink, but this trait can lose importance given how easy was to put her out of action. She did not sink until the crew exploded the hull with specially disposed charges and the Dorsetshire launched torpedoes against her. On the other hand, the Tirpitz was very similar to the Bismarck, from which she differentiated mainly for having larger operational range and different cranes and mainmast. She resulted severely damaged by British midget submarines the 22nd September 1943 and never was adequately repaired. She survived to several attacks to finally being sunk near Tromso by the 5.6-ton bombs that fell over her.

The Bismarck as she was just before her last mission. She has installed the fire control system and artillery radar. The camouflage pattern was painted in the early 1941 and it was replaced in May of the same year by a totally grey scheme.


Let's Build: Schwerer Kreuzer Prinz Eugen

Post by Marcus » 18 Oct 2003, 14:39

In an effort to improve and expand the unit histories on the site, we will be launching a new series of "Let's Build" threads.
The object is to pool our collective knowledge and reconstruct these units. No contribution is too small, no fact too obscure, equipment, armament, manpower strength, high award holders, biographical information, photographs or combat reports, everything is welcome, just remember to mention the source of your information.

This thread is dedicated to information on Schwerer Kreuzer Prinz Eugen.

Post by Marcus » 18 Oct 2003, 14:39

An interesting piece of trivia: Schwerer Kreuzer Prinz Eugen took the tradition of the Austro-Hungarian Navy by an order dated 12 June 1940 and was permitted to fly the War flag of Austro-Hungary, though this only happened once due to the war.

Post by varjag » 22 Oct 2003, 12:07

Post by varjag » 24 Oct 2003, 12:34

Prinz Eugen's commanding officers from her commissioning into the Kriegsmarine on 1.8.40 were

1. 8. 40 - 4. 8. 42 Helmuth Brinkmann
8. 9. 42 - 28. 2. 43 Hans Eric Voss
28. 2.43 - 5. 1. 44 Werner Erhardt
5. 1.44 - 8.5. 45 Hans Reinicke

They all held the of Captains (Kapitän zur See)
Brinkmann and Voss were promoted to Rear-Admirals (Konteradmiral), Voss was in the Bunker entourage in April 1945 and said to have been the man that told the Russians, the Hitler look-alike corps found in a fire-cistern in the Reichskanzlei-gardens - was definitely NOT Hitlers. Erhardt was a Training officer, reflecting the cruisers relegation to training duties in the Baltic for all of 1943 and early 1944. With Capt. Reinicke - she again became a fighting ship performing mostly against the Russians in an artillery support role until she sailed into Copenhagen on Hitlers birthday, April 20th 1945, which ended her war.

Post by Andy H » 26 Oct 2003, 21:50

Whilst fitting out in July 1940 she was hit by several aerial bombs, and then hit a magnetic whilst going through working up trials with Bismarck.

After the sinking of Bismarck, she returned to Brest due to machinery problems and again was hit by several bombs on July 2nd 1941 which caused severe internal damage.

She remained in Brest till the famous Channel Dash (Op Cerberus) of Feb'42, which saw her head home to Germany and then onto Norway. Whilst heading for Norway she was torpedoed by HMS Trident, which caused her to lose part of her stern. Makeshift repairs were undertaken in Trondhiem before heading for Kiel, which she reached on Feb 18th.

She was finally repaired in the October and twice unsuccessfully tried to make her way to Norway, but then moved into the Baltic for the rest of the war. Firstly as a training ship, then as the Russian army advanced westwards she bombarded enemy shore posistions, operating as part of 2nd Task Force. She surrendered in Copenhagen in May 1945, handed over to the USA in 1946 and used on the Bikini atoll atomic bomb trials, finally foundering on December 22nd 1946.

Info from Cruisers of WW2 by M.J.Whitley

Post by Xavier » 26 Oct 2003, 21:58

this site is dedicated almost entirely to the Prinz Eugen, with a link to the actual resting place of the wreck (with pics)

most forum members know the site, but is worth mentioning.

http://www.prinzeugen.com (as yet unfinished, but lots of photos)

Xavier
the (isn't obvious?) link scrounger

Post by varjag » 30 Oct 2003, 12:55

Post by varjag » 05 Nov 2003, 06:24

Post by Letland » 06 Nov 2003, 01:21


  • Designation 20.3cm (8") SK.C/34 in Drehturm T.L/C/34
    Mechanism Electric training, hydraulic elevation
    Turret Weight A & D Turrets: 249 tons B & C Turrets: 262 tons
    Armor Front 160mm Sides 70mm Top 70mm Rear 90mm (A & D) 60 mm (B & C)
    Elevation/Depression +37/-10 degrees
    Rate of Fire 4 - 5rpg/min (loading at 3 degrees elevation only)
    Muzzle Velocity 925 m/s
    Shell Weight 122 kg (269 lbs)
    Maximum Range 33,500 meters
    Ammunition Approximately 320 HE shell with nose fuze 320 HE with end fuze 320 AP 60 rounds star shell
    Approximate Barrel Life 300 - 500 rounds
    Service On Board Continuous
    Number 8 guns in four turrets



Image Source - Military Art Image Homepage @ http://www.military-art.com/

Post by varjag » 07 Nov 2003, 12:45

Post by varjag » 09 Nov 2003, 13:23

On the 8th of May PRINZ EUGEN was handed over to the British who were already in Copenhagen. Liason officers from the Royal Navy came onboard but seem to have left the running of the ship to the Germans. Admiral Holt, in charge of R.N. affairs in Denmark gallantly ordered that officers and warrant officers were to be allowed to keep their swords, presumably the same order also covered the same ranks in the NÜRNBERG and perhaps other Kriegsmarine ships (minsweepers etc.) then in Copenhagen. The cruiser was de-ammunitioned in the next days. Most contemporary pictures of both PRINZ EUGEN and NÜRNBERG shows aspects of this process. The picture texts commented mainly on the absence of the hated swastika-flags on the ships. Yet there was little public gawking - the quaysides were tightly cordoned off and guarded by German sailors with steel helmets and rifles. Of some note are the pictures of the PRINZ EUGEN's moored port side, taken after May 8th in Copenhagen. Given her logbook entries in March and April of repeated and heavy air-attacks by Russian aircraft - one would have expected her hull and upperworks to show - if not a Swiss cheese appearence,at least signs of blisters from Mg and cannon-fire. Surprisingly - the pictures show no such damage evident. (I can't believe that Soviet pilots were totally focussed on her starboard side. ) Could those 'wasted days' between Hela and Copenhagen have been used to repair and spruce her up to show the stiff upper lip?
On the 26th of and still under the command of Capt. Reinicke, the PRINZ EUGEN left Copenhagen with the NÜRNBERG for Wilhelmshafen. What flag, if any, she flew then I do not know. But she was 'escorted' by the RN cruisers HMS DIDO and DEVONSHIRE with attendant destroyers. When they arrived on the 28th of May 1945 outside the Jade and the British force detached, DIDO's Captain flashed a signal to PRINZ EUGEN

"Captain to Captain - May we meet again in happier circumstances"


Most of the narrative in above posts about the PRINZ EUGEN, but including occasional comments of my own, were taken from the book
'Prinz Eugen'(Futura, 1975) by Fritz-Otto Busch. The author was a naval officer, Editor of the journal 'Der Kriegsmarine' and served as an observer on the PRINZ EUGEN during the Rheinübung Operation with the Bismarck 1941. It would appear that his book is largely based on close study of the Prinz Eugen's war-log.

Post by Peter » 14 Dec 2003, 15:24

I see that somebody has posted the names of the Captains, so here are the other senior officers:

F.Kapt. Otto Stooss Aug 40 – Jul 41
F.Kapt. Bodo-Heinr.Knoke (temp) Dec 40 – Feb 41
None
F.Kapt. Karl Heinz Neubauer Oct 41 – Jan 43
K.Kapt. Wilhelm Beck (temp) Jul 42 – Sep 42
Kapt z.S. Wilhelm Beck Jan 43 – Oct 44
F.Kapt. Bernhard Busse Oct 44 – May 45

K.Kapt. Wilhelm Beck Aug 40 – Jan 43
F.Kapt. Hans-Eberhard Busch Feb 43 – Mar 43
K.Kapt. Oscar Brödermann Apr 43 – Jun 43
K.Kapt. Frhr v.d.Recke Jun 43 – Oct 43
K.Kapt. Hansfrieder Rost Oct 43 – Jun 44
K.Kapt. Heinr. Bredemeier Jun 44 – Oct 44
F.Kapt. Hans v. Salisch Oct 44 – Jan 45
Oblt z.S. Graf Saurma-Jeltsch Jan 45 – Mar 45 (temp)
K.Kapt. Wilhelm Wolf Mar 45 – May 45

K.Kapt. Paul Jasper Aug 40 – Jul 42
K.Kapt. Alfred Gohrbrandt Aug 42 – Mar 43
K.Kapt. Paul Schmalenbach Mar 43 – May 45


Chief Engineering Officer

F.Kapt. Walter Graser Aug 40 – Apr 42
K.Kapt. Karlheinz Kurschat Apr 42 – Nov 43
K.Kapt. Guenter Hielscher Nov 43 – May 45.


_____________________
The Last member of her crew killed aboard ship was

Heinrich Botterbusch
Oberbootsmannsmaat
Born 21 Feb 1920 Löhne
Killed 8 Apr 1945
Buried at War Cemetery Kamminke-Auf dem Golm (Germany) .
Grave 1333


From the archive, 8 May 1945: VE Day - two German cruisers await surrender

Copenhagen, May 7.
Germany’s last two seaworthy big warships, the cruisers the Prinz Eugen and the Nuremberg, are lying in the north port here with their German crews aboard, having apparently made no attempt to flee when Denmark was liberated.

With them are various anti-submarine craft and 54 German merchant ships aggregating some 150,000 tons.

Crowds greet Field Marshal Montgomery, Copenhagen, May 1945. Photograph: Keystone/Getty Images

The entrance to the docks where the ships lie is still guarded by German soldiers armed with tommy guns and rifles, and in streets around the dock area German soldiers come and go pretty much as they please, brushing shoulders with British paratroops the Germans ostentatiously ignore their ex-enemy’s presence, but the British and Danes are in a position to find the whole situation ridiculous.

Meanwhile discipline in some of the German warships has suffered in a fashion reminiscent in a small way of what happened in October, 1918. On the deck of a minesweeper I saw a crowd of German sailors gathered drinking, singing, and playing an accordion.

When they caught sight of me they started cheering and yelling “Hullo, Tommy,” “Good old Tommy, come and have a drink.” I walked over to their ship and started to talk to them from the quayside when a petty officer appeared on deck with a tommy-gun in his hand which he pointed at me whilst ordering the men below.

A small, pale, harassed-looking German naval commander had driven up to the Hotel Angleterre in a Volkswagen and announced to the hall porter and to me that he had come to discuss the surrender of the German warships with the competent British officer.

NO INTEREST IN SHIP
This officer was not in the hotel at the time, so that for a while there was to be observed the ridiculous spectacle of a German officer roaming through the corridors of the hotel from room to room trying to find someone competent to receive him.

For five years the British Navy and the R.A.F. had been hunting the Prinz Eugen, and under and above the seas hundreds of lives had been lost. Now suddenly there was just no interest in the ship at all.

All this business of the German crews remaining in the ships and the German troops in Denmark retaining their arms is part of a very complicated situation rising out of the fact that there are 300,000 German troops in the country and very few British to whom they can surrender.

Considerations of prestige, they say, forbid them to surrender to the Danes though when they leave the country they have agreed to leave behind their heavy weapons. Neither the Danes nor the British are much interested in German ideas of prestige and have only one concern – to get the Germans put out of the country as quickly as possible.

If this can be done by allowing the Germans to march out armed until they reach the British lines where the weapons can be collected they are willing to agree.


Prinz Eugen at Copenhagen, 1945 - History

(IX-300: dp. 19,250 (f.) 1. 655' b. 71', dr. 15', s. 32 k., cpl. 830 a. 8 8", 12 4.1", 12 37mm., 12 21" tt., 4 aircraft, 1 catapult cl. Prinz Eugen)

Prinz Eugen was laid down in 1936 by the Krupp Germania Werft Yards, Kiel, Germany, Iaunehed 20 August 1938 and commissioned in the German Navy 1 August 1940.

After shakedown in the Baltie Sea, Prinz Eugen entered the North Atlantic with the German battleship Biemarek in May 1941. Her guns set HMS Nood afire, shortly before Bismarek's gunfire exploded Hood's magazine, causing Nood to sink immediately 24 May 1941, leaving only three survivors. Detsehed from Bismarck 24 May under orders from Admiral Lutjens, she was operating in mid-Atlantic when British aircraft sank Bismarek 27 May. After an unsueeessful search for enemy targets off the Azores, she returned to her base at Brest, France, 1 June, for overhaul.

While at Brest, an Allied air strike destroyed her damage control center and her main gunnery control room, killing 52 of the crew 2 July 1941. Still vulnerable to Allied air attacks upon Brest, she escaped from that port with battle cruisers Gneisenau and Sr.)u

t 11 February 1942, and returned via the English Channel to Germany, arriving on the 13th.

Commencing operations in Norwegian waters in February 1942, she was entering Trondheim Fjord, Norway, when her stern was heavily damaged by a torpedo from British submarine Trident. After the removal of 40 feet of her stern and the installation of two temporary rudders, she departed Trondheim Fjord 16 May, fought off a sizeable air attack, and arrived without further damage at Kiel 18 May for completion of repairs.

Ready for battle by 1943, she served as a training ship, and then patrolled with Seharnhor

t. In October 1943 she became flagship for German forces in the Baltie Sea. She provided fire support for Panzer operations against the Russlan Army at Tukums, Gulf of Riga, 19 August 1944. Her bow was replaced following a collision with light cruiser Leipzig in October 1944. During the remainder of the war, she provided fire support for German ground forces along the Baltic coast.


World War II Database


ww2dbase The Prinz Eugen was launched in 1938 as part of an ambitious peacetime building program intended to bring the Kriegsmarine to equal terms with the Royal Navy. But in 1941 she commissioned into a fleet unprepared for war, facing a vastly superior enemy.

ww2dbase Her career epitomized the difficulties faced by the German surface fleet in WW2. Victories in the spirit of her namesake, Prinz Eugen of Savoy, would elude her. Her North Atlantic sortee with Bismarck and the sinking of the Hood in April 1941 earned her a place in history, but the destruction of the Bismarck left no real cause for celebration. The daring dash through the English Channel may have been a moral victory but it was no great contribution to the war effort.

ww2dbase After participating in Bismarck's Atlantic Sortie, Prinz Eugen returned to the port of Brest due to engine trouble. While at Brest, she was damaged by a bomb on 2nd July 1941 causing major damage. She was repaired in time to take part in Operation Cerberus, the famous 'Channel Dash' in February 1942. After this, she was transferred to Norway, but was soon torpedoed by the British submarine Trident on 23rd February 1942. Repairs were completed in October, and she was then used as a training ship in the Baltic until mid-1944. With the Russians advancing, she was then used for shore bombardment supporting the army until she surrendered at Copenhagen in May 1945.

ww2dbase In 1946, she was allocated to America, and was used as a target at the Bikini Atoll atom bomb trials, and later sank due to damaged received in the tests.

ww2dbase Please visit this website for an excellent collection of history and photographs on this ship.

ww2dbase Source: Naval Historical Center, Prinz Eugen: An Illustrated Technical History

Last Major Revision: Jan 2005

Heavy Cruiser Prinz Eugen Interactive Map

Prinz Eugen Operational Timeline

16 Nov 1935 The order for the construction of Prinz Eugen was awarded to Germaniawerft of Kiel, Germany.
23 Apr 1936 The keel of Prinz Eugen was laid down by Germaniawerft in Kiel, Germany.
22 Aug 1938 Prinz Eugen was launched at the Germaniawerft yard in Kiel, Germany.
1 Aug 1940 Prinz Eugen was commissioned into servce with Helmuth Brinkmann in command.
13 May 1941 Battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen conducted refueling exercises.
18 May 1941 Prinz Eugen departed for Operation Rheinübung.
19 May 1941 Heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen made rendezvous with battleship Bismarck off Rügen Island at 1200 hours.
20 May 1941 Swedish cruiser Gotland detected German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen in the Kattegat at 1300 hours.
21 May 1941 The German fleet containing Prinz Eugen was spotted by a British Coastal Command Spitfire aircraft at 1315 hours in the Korsfjord. It departed Korsfjord at 2000 hours.
24 May 1941 Prinz Eugen engaged in combat with HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Hood alongside of German battleship Bismarck. She scored the first hit on HMS Hood.
29 May 1941 Prinz Eugen arrived at Brest, France.
1 Jun 1941 German cruiser Prinz Eugen arrived in Brest, France to join battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau docked there for refits.
2 Jul 1941 While in the dock at Brest, France, Prinz Eugen was hit by a bomb during an Allied air raid.
11 Feb 1942 Prinz Eugen departed Brest, France as a part of Operation Cerberus.
12 Feb 1942 2 RAF Spitfire fighters on patrol unexpectedly spotted a large German fleet escorted by torpedo boats sailing through the English Channel at 1042 hours. British coastal guns at South Foreland, England, United Kingdom fired 33 rounds at the fleet, all of which missed. A number of aircraft were launched to attack, which failed to destroy the fleet, while 37 aircraft were shot down in the process, killing 23 airmen. The only damage sustained by the Germans were by mines Scharnhorst struck two and Gneisenau struck one.
13 Feb 1942 Prinz Eugen arrived at the Brunsbüttel North Locks of the Kiel Canal, successfully completing Operation Cerberus. One man was killed by British air attack during the operation.
23 Feb 1942 British submarine HMS Trident attacked German cruiser Prinz Eugen with a torpedo, destroying her stern with a hit. Prinz Eugen was able to later reach Trondheim, Norway for temporary repairs.
16 May 1942 Prinz Eugen departed Trondheim, Norway for Kiel, Germany to receive further repairs.
17 May 1942 The British RAF launched two strikes against German cruiser Prinz Eugen while she was sailing toward Kiel, Germany. The first wave of 18 aircraft reached the ship but scored no hits 3 aircraft were shot down. The second wave of 30 aircraft was intercepted by German fighters mid-way 4 British bombers and 3 German Bf 109 fighters were shot down in action.
18 May 1942 Prinz Eugen arrived at Kiel, Germany to receive a new stern, which was destroyed on 23 Feb by a torpedo from HMS Trident.
1 Aug 1942 Wilhelm Beck was named the commanding officer of German cruiser Prinz Eugen.
8 Oct 1942 Hans-Erich Voß was named the commanding officer of German cruiser Prinz Eugen.
28 Feb 1943 Werner Ehrhardt was named the commanding officer of German cruiser Prinz Eugen.
5 Jan 1944 Hansjürgen Reinicke was named the commanding officer of German cruiser Prinz Eugen.
5 Aug 1944 Z35 and Z36 escorted heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen off the Estonian island of Saaremaa (German: Ösel).
20 Aug 1944 Z35 and Z36 completed the escorting of heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen off the Latvian coast. Z35 damaged her propellers on a rock, thus requiring her to sail to Gotenhafen, Germany (occupied Gdynia, Poland) for repairs.
10 Oct 1944 Z35 and Z36 began escorting heavy cruisers Lützow and Prinz Eugen as the cruiser shelled Soviet targets in the areas of Klaipėda (German: Memel) and Liepāja (German: Libau), Latvia.
15 Oct 1944 Prinz Eugen collided with light cruiser Leipzig by accident north of Hela (Hel, Poland) in the Baltic Sea, causing light damage.
15 Oct 1944 Z35 and Z36 completed the escorting of heavy cruisers Lützow and Prinz Eugen as the cruiser shelled Soviet targets in the areas of Klaipėda (German: Memel) and Liepāja (German: Libau), Latvia.
20 Nov 1944 Admiral Scheer, Prinz Eugen, Z35, Z36, and Z43 began shelling Soviet positions during the evacuation of the Sõrve (German: Sworbe) peninsula on the Estonian island of Saaremaa (German: Ösel).
24 Nov 1944 Admiral Scheer, Prinz Eugen, Z35, Z36, and Z43 completed shelling Soviet positions during the evacuation of the Sõrve (German: Sworbe) peninsula on the Estonian island of Saaremaa (German: Ösel).
8 Apr 1945 Prinz Eugen set sail for Copenhagen, Denmark.
9 May 1945 German cruiser Prinz Eugen surrendered to the Allied forces in Copenhagen, Denmark.
1 Dec 1945 During this month, former German Navy cruiser Prinz Eugen was renamed USS IX 300 of the US Navy.
1 Jan 1946 Arthur Harrison Graubart of the US Navy was named the commanding officer of the captured German cruiser USS IX-300 (formerly Prinz Eugen).
13 Jan 1946 USS IX-300 (former German cruiser Prinz Eugen) departed from Copenhagen, Denmark.
10 May 1946 USS IX-300 (former German cruiser Prinz Eugen) departed for Honolulu, Hawaii.
1 Jul 1946 USS IX-300 (former German cruiser Prinz Eugen) was a target ship during the Able atomic test of Operation Crossroads, sustaining light damage.
25 Jul 1946 USS IX-300 (former German cruiser Prinz Eugen) was a target ship during the Baker atomic test of Operation Crossroads, sustaining damage below the waterline.
29 Aug 1946 Prinz Eugen was decommissioned from service by the US Navy at Kwajalein, Marshall Islands.
21 Dec 1946 Prinz Eugen began to list severely at Kwajalein, Marshall Islands.
22 Dec 1946 Prinz Eugen capsized at Kwajalein, Marshall Islands.

Did you enjoy this article or find this article helpful? If so, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.


Prinz Eugen

The heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen entered service in 1940. Along with the Bismarck she left port on 18th May 1941 but it was not until 21st May that British intelligence was informed that the ships were refuelling in Bergen Fjord in Norway. Afterwards the ships headed for the Denmark Straits in an attempt to avoid the Royal Navy based at Scapa Flow. However, Admiral John Tovey had been informed of its position and he called up every available warship to destroy Germany's most powerful battleship.

On 23rd May the Bismarck was spotted by the heavy cruiser Suffolk. Using its recently installed radar to track the German ship it was soon joined by the Norfolk. At the same time the Hood and Prince of Wales moved in from the other direction to tackle the German ships head-on.

The warships went into battle on the morning of 24th May. The engagement began when the Hood began firing at the more advanced Prinz Eugen . When the Bismarck arrived it used its 15-inch guns and after taking several direct hits the Hood exploded before sinking. Only three out of a crew of 1,421 survived. After the Bismarck was sunk on 26th May 1941, Prinz Eugen was able to get back to Brest.

The target of repeated attacks by the Royal Air Force, she fled from Brest with the Scharnhorst on 12th February 1942. Protected by the Luftwaffe, both ships ran the gauntlet of the English Channel to successfully reach Wilhelmshaven in Germany.

In 1943 she was sent to the Baltic for training duty and in support of land operations. The Prinz Eugen was the only major German warship still afloat at the end of the Second World War. She was eventually captured by the Allies at Copenhagen in May 1945. The Prinz Eugen was scuttled in April 1945.


Watch the video: Bismarck Sinking Simulation