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WW2 German Heavy Cruiser / Schwere Kreuzer Admiral Hipper


Schwere Kreuzer Admiral Hipper
Schwere Kreuzer Admiral Hipper

06 Jul 35: Laid down at Blohm and Voss, Hamburg, as Schwere Kreuzer H.

06 Feb 37: Launched.

29 Apr 39: Commissioned as the Schwere Kreuzer Admiral Hipper.

Jul 39: Returns to dock to correct numerous design faults discovered during her initial trials.

01 Sep 39: Running trials out of Kiel.

Nov 39: Returns to dock for additional corrections.

08 Jan 40: Running trials out of Kiel.

31 Jan-17 Feb: At Wilhelmshaven. Receives radar.

18-20 Feb 40: Sorties with Gneisenau, Scharnhorst and 3xDD against convoy traffic. They probe north to the passage between Shetland and Norway, but do not encounter any targets. Admiral Hipper experiences trouble with her boilers and starboard turbine.

21 Feb-20 Mar: At Wilhelmshaven.

20 Mar 40: Sails for Cuxhaven escorted by 2xTB.

Apr 40: Brief refit. Has two 20mm C/30 guns added.

067 Apr 40: Invasion of Norway. Admiral Hipper leads Group 2 from Cuxhaven with 4xDD to capture Trondheim. Joins Scharnhorst and Gneisenau early morning 07 Apr for passage north.

08 Apr 40: 100 miles west of Trondheim Fjord, Admiral Hipper is sent to assist DD Berndt von Arnim. She is being chased in heavy seas by RN DD Glowworm. At 0957 Admiral Hipper opens fire at Glowworm with her main armament. She obtains several hits and avoids both of Glowworm's torpedo attacks. Finally, with her 105mm guns firing as well, she enters Glowworm's smoke screen to finish off the British destroyer. Glowworm manages to ram Hipper, however, before she sinks causing a 40m rip in her bow, some flooding and internal damage.

09 Apr 40: Forces the entrance to Trondheimsfjord. At 0404 a coastal battery at Hysnes fires three rounds at Hipper, all of which miss, and is silenced in turn by Hipper's return salvo of eight rounds. She anchors off the town of Trondheim at 0525 hours.

10-11 Apr 40: Admiral Hipper escapes from Trondheim with 1xDD (which has to turn back due to bad weather). She passes within 30 nm of the home fleet. (3xBB, 2xCV, 3xCA) but is not detected. She joins Gneisenau, and Scharnhorst and is sighted by the British, but a large air strike fails to find her. She reaches the Jade that evening without further adventure.

Apr-May 40: In dock repairing damage inflicted by Glowworm.

08 May 40: Begins post-repairs trials in the Eastern Baltic.

29 May 40: Returns to Kiel.

04-10 Jun 40: Sorties with Gneisenau, Scharnhorst and 4xDD to attack Harstaad in order to relieve pressure on the embattled German forces at Narvik.

08 Jun 40: The combined KMS force sinks three ships of 26,000 tons total, but misses the main evacuation convoy. Hipper expends 97 rounds of 105mm to sink a 500 ton trawler from close range. Later that morning, she expends 54 rounds of 203mm to sink a 19,840 ton steamer. That afternoon Hipper and the destroyers break off for Trondheim while Gneisenau, and Scharnhorst encounter and sink RN CV Glorious and 2xDD.

10-11 Jun 40: With Gneisenau and 4xDD sorties north from Trondheim, without results.

20 Jun 40: Sotries from Trondheim with Gneisenau toward the Iceland-Faeroes passage to divert attention from the operation intended to pass the damaged Scharnhorst back to Germany. However, Gneisenau is torpedoed by RN SS Clyde and the mission is aborted.

27 Jul-6 Aug 40: Operates between Tromso and Spitzbergen against merchant shipping, but only sizes one steamer with contraband as a prize. Her engines are in poor condition by this time limiting her effectiveness.

11 Aug 40: Arrives Wilhelmshaven. Docks for machinery overhaul until late September.

24 Sep 40: Departs Kiel to conduct mercantile warfare in the Atlantic. Part of her function is to divert British naval strength from the English Channel to facilitate the invasion of Britain.

25 Sep 40: West of Stavanger, her starboard main cooling-water pump breaks down.

26 Sep 40: Puts into Kristiansand for emergency repairs. She makes another attempt to break out into the Atlantic late on the 27th, but on the 28th in heavy seas the main lubricating-oil supply pipe fractures, starting a fire and taking her turbines off line. She puts into Bergen and jury-rigs repairs, but these don't last, failing on the return journey to Kiel.

30 Sep 40: Returns to Kiel. She continues on to Hamburg for repairs.

28 Oct 40: Departs Hamburg for trials in the Eastern Baltic.

18 Nov 40: Returns to Kiel, having completed trials. She docks for additional repairs that are completed by 25 Nov.

30 Nov 40: Departs Kiel to conduct mercantile warfare in the Atlantic.

6-7 Dec 40: "Breaks out" unseen through the Denmark Strait into the N. Atlantic.

10-24 Dec 40: Searches unsuccessfully for several reported convoys in extremely heavy seas and experiences a number of mechanical and electrical failures due to the pounding. She refuels on the 12th and 16th, and 22nd. She discovers a convoy with her radar the night of the 24th and shadows it to attack at first light, believing it to be lightly escorted.

25 Dec 40: Attacks British troop convoy WS 5A consisting of 20 MS and escorted by RN CA Berwick, and CLs Bonaventure and Dunedin with CV Furious loaded with crated aircraft about 700 nm W of Cape Finisterre. Spots Berwick while still unseen herself. Closes Benwick opening fire with her main battery at 0639. Benwick replies two minutes later. Hipper engages the other cruisers and some mercantile targets with her 105mm secondary battery. The conditions hampered sighting efforts, but at 0705 she hits Benwick's X turrent and at 0708 scores again with a hit below Berwick's waterline causing flooding. She got two more hits before breaking off action at 0714 in a rainsquall. Benwick's fire is ineffective. Hipper also damages two of the convoy's merchant ships, principally the 13,994 ton transport Empire Trooper. She fired 174 main battery rounds in this action.

25 Dec 40: Given her engine problems and lack of fuel, Hipper shapes course for Brest. That afternoon she encounters a steamer of 6,078 tons displacement and sinks her with two torpedoes.

27 Dec 40: Arrives Brest.

27 Jan 41: Completes repairing her machinery and the sea damage sustained during her stormy North Atlantic soirte.

01 Feb 41: Departs Brest for another Atlantic foray. She loiters in the mid-Atlantic awaiting the appearance of a suitable target, refueling on the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th. She is released to conduct operations on the 9th against convoy HX.53. She attempts to close this convoy on the 10th and 11th, but her only success occurs on the afternoon of the 11th when she encounters and sinks a 1,236 ton straggler loaded with oranges. Shortly before midnight, Hipper's radar obtains a contact at 15,000 meters.

12 Feb 41: Hipper shadows her contact until dawn, determining it to be a small, lightly escorted convoy. She was wrong on both counts: there was no escort at all and, with 19 ships, convoy SLS.64 was rather large. Finding herself in heavy cruiser heaven, (but not believing it) Hipper commences action at 0618. The convoy scatters in panic. By 0740 rain and fog obscure the area and she breaks off action, having expended almost all of her 203mm ammunition and having learned it was almost impossible to reload her torpedoes under battle conditions. She claimed 13 ships sunk, but her actual score was seven ships displacing a total of 32,806 tons with three ships damaged.

14 Feb 41: Returns to Brest.

15-28 Mar 41: Sails from Brest to Kiel, transiting the Denmark Strait on 23 Mar, undetected by the British. She arrives at Kiel on 28 Mar.

Apr-Oct 41: Refit at Kiel.

Nov 41-Jan 42: Works up in Baltic and trains crew.

Feb 42: Returns to Kiel and spends three weeks in dock to fit degaussing cables and receive new camouflage.

01 Mar 42: Arrives in Brunsbuttel, on the Heligoland Blight. She returns to Kiel shortly after to repair ice damage to hull and propellers.

19-20 Mar 42: Moves to Trondheim with 3xDD and 2xTB.

02 Jul 42: Departs Trondheim in company with Tirpitz, 4xDD and 2xTB for northern Norway in anticipation of attack against convoy PQ.17. Arrives Altafjord 3 July and is joined by Lutzow, Admiral Scheer and 6xDD.

05 Jul 42: Sorties against scattered convoy in company with Tirpitz, Admiral Scheer, 7xDD and 2xTB. Returns to Kaafjord on 06 Jul.

08 Jul 42: Relocates to Narvik. Hipper remains here until early September.

10 Sep 42: Sails with Scheer, Koln and 5xDD from Narvik. Arrives in Altafjord 11 Sep. RN SS Tigris makes an unsuccessful attack against the squadron.

24-28 Sep 42: Conducts an offensive mining operation off the coast of Novaya Zemlya in company with 5xDD. This is the only occasion in which a heavy cruiser is employed in such an operation.

05 Nov 42: Sorties against merchant traffic in the Arctic with 5xDD.

30 Dec 42: Sorties against convoy JW.51B in the Arctic in company with Lutzow and 6xDD.

31 Dec 42: The squadron finds the convoy and attacks it on 31 Dec. Hipper makes visual contact at 0720. At 0939 she engages Achates and obtains one non-vital hit with five salvos before turning to engage Onslow and Orwell. These destroyers manage to keep Hipper occupied until 1020 when Hipper scores four hits from 48 main battery shells fired at a range of 8,500 meters, seriously damaging Onslow and forcing the destroyers to turn away. Hipper next encounters the MMS Bramble and fatally damages her with her third salvo from 5,500 meters. She closed the convoy and takes Achates under fire once again, hitting her with her first salvo, leaving her on fire and listing seriously. Obedient, Obdurate and Orwell counterattack, forcing Hipper to turn away from the anticipated torpedo attack. The time is now 1130 and the cruisers Sheffield and Jamaica finally arrive surprising Hipper with their first salvos from 10,500 meters. Hipper is hit shortly thereafter and suffers a flooded boiler room. She takes the cruisers under fire at 1134, but is hit twice more a minute latter, with more flooding and a fire in her aircraft hanger resulting. Hipper turns away in consideration of her orders to avoid action with enemy forces nearly equal to her in strength and because of the damage sustained. The British destroyers chase the Germans and more shots are exchanged until 1400 when contact is definitively broken off. Achates and Bramble sink, but the British rightly claim victory in this action, saving their convoy from a vastly superior force and sinking a German destroyer in the bargain. Hipper is seriously damaged, suffering more flooding and a series of engine failures before she manages to limp back to Kaafjord at 0542 on 1 Jan 43.

23 Jan 43: Departs Altafjord in company with Koln and 3xDD for transfer to Germany. Arrives Narvik 25 Jan.

30 Jan-02 Feb 43: At Trondheim searching for Norwegian blockage runners.

08 Feb 43: Arrives Kiel.

01 Mar 43: Decommissioned at Wilhelmshaven, unrepaired. Hitler was seriously disappointed by the results of the 31 Dec action. The doldrums Hipper suffered through for the next year was a direct expression of this disappointment.

17 Apr 43: Towed to Pillau.

Mar-Nov 44: Docked at Gotenhafen for repairs. After June, the pace of work is extremely slow and she is still not operational by the beginning of 1945.

Jan 45: A more serious attempt is made at Gotenhafen yard to ready Hipper for operations.

19 Jan 45: The deteriorating conditions on the Eastern Front require Hipper to be prepared for action in a semi-operational state. . By this time her anti air armament consisted of 6x40mm, 8x37mm, 28x20mm.

30 Jan 45: Sails from Gotenhafen carrying 1,700 refugees. Her limited operational status and the danger from Soviet submarines forces her to sail past the torpedoed liner Wilhelm Gustloff without conducting rescue operations.

02 Feb 45: Hipper docks at Kiel to continue her refit.

09 Apr 45: Badly damaged in an RAF air attack on Kiel while in drydock.

02 May 45: Scuttled by explosive charges.

1946: Refloated and towed to Heikendorf Bay. Broken up 1948-49.

Commanders

Kpt.z.S. Helmuth Heye 4.29.39 - 9.03.40
Kpt.z.S. Wilhelm Meisel 9.04.40 - 10.10.42
Kpt.z.S. Hans Hartmann 10.11.42 - 2.16.43
Kpt.z.S. Hans Henigst 1944 - 1945

Stats

Stats
Displacement, standard/full load (tons): 14,247/18,208
Length, oa, wl: 205.9/194.6m
Beam/draught: 21.3/7.7m
Machinery: 3 shafts, geared turbines, 12 boilers 132,000shp, 32.5 knots
Max Armor, belt/deck/CT/turrents: 80/30/150/105 mm
Main Battery: 8x203mm/60 C34 (4x2)
Duel Purpose Battery: 12x105mm/65 C33 (6x2)
Anti Air Battery: 12x37mm/83 C34 (6x2); 8x20mm C30
Torpedo: 12x533mm (4x3)
Aircraft: 3
Crew: 1,600
Range: 6,100 nm at 15 kts.