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Research on the German Armed Forces 1918-1945

Schwere Kreuzer Blücher

History


15 Aug 36: Laid down at Deutsche Werke, Kiel, as Schwere Kreuzer G.

08 Jun 37: Launched.

20 Sep 39: Commissioned as the Schere Kreuzer Blücher. Completion was delayed by numerous modifications to the design including an altered bow and reconstructed funnel.

Mid Nov 39: Begins trials and the working up process around Kiel. She spends much of the month in dock having minor problems corrected.

27 Nov 39: Leaves Kiel for Gotenhafen. For the next two weeks she conducts trials with her machinery and guns in the Eastern Baltic. These reveal problems that require another dockyard spell so she returns to Kiel

07 Jan 40: Leaves Kiel to work-up and train in the Eastern Baltic. The severity of the winter and the ice bound conditions that result hinders this process.

17 Jan 40: Returns to Kiel. Trapped at her buoy by ice until 27 Jan when she returns to dock for more work. After five months in commission, her crew has only benefited from 19 days training at sea.

06 Apr 40: Embarks 800 men of the 163rd Infantry Division, ammunition and supplies. She has not conducted any main battery, damage-control, nor action station drills and is not considered fully operational. None-the-less, the requirements of the Norwegian invasion and the shortage of KMS heavy units compel her participation in operation Weserubung.

07 Apr 40: Departs Swinemunde as the lead ship in Group Five with Emden and 3xTB. Joined by Lutzow.

08 Apr 40: Group Five is attacked by RN SS Trition. All British torpedoes are avoided.

09 Apr 40: 0000 hours, approaches Oslofjord. Seven rounds are fired by the Norwegian batteries at the mouth of the fjord, but no hits are obtained. The Germans do not return fire and their column is pass the batteries by 0045.

09 Apr 40: 0440: Illumination by search lights while proceeding up fjord. 0521, the Oskarsborg battery (2x280mm and 1x305mm not operational) opens fire at 1,700m. The first round strikes Blucher's flak control platform. Her antiaircraft guns return fire ineffectively. A second 280mm shell hits the aircraft hanger and starts a serious fire. Then the 150mm battery at Drobak opens up from 400-600 meters to starboard and scores 20 hits from 25 rounds fired. Finally, two torpedoes from the Kaholmen Island battery strike the ship.

09 Apr 40: 0530. Blucher passes the batteries at 15 knots on emergency steering. However, the torpedo hits are serious, eventually causing the loss of all power and forcing her to anchor up the fjord. Moreover, the fire from the aircraft hanger begins to ignite army ammunition stored about the ship, setting off an enormous fire midships and isolating the stern from the bow. The rest of the force does not attempt the passage, leaving Blucher alone. The explosion of the 105mm magazine provides the final blow, creating a list of 45. She capsizes and sinks at 0722.
Commanders Kpt.z.S. Heinrich Woldag 9.20.39 - 4.09.40
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.