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German Armed Forces Research 1918-1945

WW2 German Destroyer Z4 Richard Beitzen


07 Jan 35: Laid down at Deutscher Werke, Kiel

30 Nov 35: Launched.

13 Apr 37: Completed.

01 Sep 39: Poland with Recon force (Nurnberg, Leipzig, Koln and 10xDD total)

03 Sep 39: To North Sea.

03-20 Sep 39: Participates in laying of Westwall mine barrage with 1st DD FLOT.

12-14 Sep 39: Conducts merchantile warfare in Kattegat with T107. No results: the Polish SS Wilk is sighted, but mistaken for a Swedish vessel.

12-13 Dec 40: Offensive mining operation off Newcastle with four other DDs. This field sinks 11 ships, 18,979 tons.

10-11 Jan 40: Offensive mining operation off Newcastle with five other DDs. One trawler sunk 251, tons.

25-26 Jan 40: Sortie into the Skagerrak with 5 other DDs. Operation canceled due to poor weather.

09-10 Feb 40: Offensive mining operation off the Shipwash with 2 other DDs. Six ships, 28,496 tons are sunk in this field.

18 Feb 40: With 2nd FLOT (Z1, Z6, Z13 and Z16) joins operation Nordmark.

19 Feb 40: With 2nd FLOT detached to conduct mercantile warfare in the Skaggerak.

22-23 Feb 40: 1st DD FLOT 6 DD including Z4 conducts operation Wikinger, an offensive sortie intended to attack the British fishing industry in the North Sea. The force is attacked by German aircraft and then runs into a hitherto unknown British minefield resulting in the loss of Z1 and Z3.

Apr 40: Originally allotted to Group 1 in the invasion of Norway, Z4 is held back in reserve.

29 Apr 40: Escorts 4xML along with 1xDD and 4xTB on a minelaying sortie. The TB Leopard is accidently rammed and sunk by the ML Preussen.

09 May 40: Escorts 4xML along with 2xDD and 1xTB on a minelaying sortie. Two British groups unsuccessfully attempt to intercept this force.

20-22 Oct 40: Transfers from Wilhelmshaven to Brest

24/25 Nov 40: Sorties from Brest into the area off Plymouth with Lody and Galster. A fishing fleet is attacked without results. Subsequently a convoy of three ships is located, one of which is sunk (2,156 tons) while another is damaged. An attempt by the RN 5th DD FLOT to intercept the Germans fails.

28/29 Nov 40: Z4 sotries from Brest into the area off Plymouth again with Lody and Galster. The force encounters two tugs pulling a lighter and requires 35 minutes firing at 300-400m to sink the lighter and one of the tugs (424 tons). The RN 5th DD FLOT (5xDD) is alert this night and intercepts the Germans. However, each of the three KMS ships fires four torpedoes before the British are able to open fire. The lead ship in the British FLOT, Javalin, is struck twice on her bow and stern and heavily damaged. The balance of the British force chases the Germans for two and a quarter hours before breaking off. The German force suffers very minor damage and no casualties.

23/24 Jan 41: Escorts 2xML with 2xTB on offensive minelaying operation in the English Channel.

18 Mar 41: To Kiel for refit.

10 Jul 41: Arrives in Kirkenes with 6th DD FLOT (Lody, Galster, Schoemann, Eckoldt and Bietzen.

12 Jul 41: 6th FLOT sorties along the coast of the Kola Peninsula and encounters a small Soviet convoy of two trawlers escorted by a patrol ship. One of the trawlers escapes.

24/25 Jul 41: 6th DD FLOT sinks a Soviet survey ship in the Arctic ocean.

09/10 Aug 41: 6th DD FLOT (Lody, Eckoldt and Beitzen) sortie toward the mouth of the Kola inlet. They sink the Soviet patrol ship Tuman and are shelled by Soviet shore batteries. Z4 is damaged by near misses.

14/17 Jan 42: Escorts Tirpitz from Wilhelmshaven to Trondheim (with three other DDs.)

12 Feb 42: Participates in the "Channel Dash" escorting the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen from Brest to Germany.

21-23 Feb 42: Escorts Scheer and Prinz Eugen (with four other DDs from Brunsbuttelkoog to Grimstadfjord.

15/17 May 42: Escorts Lutzow (with three other DDs and one FF) from Swineminde to Kristiansand.

18/20 May 42: Force moves from Kristiansand to Trondheim.

03 Jul 42: Escorts Lutzow and Scheer (with five other DDs) from Narvik to Altafjord.

04-08 Sep 42: Conducts offensive mining operation in Kara Strait with Z29 and Z30.

24-28 Sep 42: Conducts offensive mining operation off Novaya Zemlya with Hipper, Z23, Z28, Z29 and Z30.

13-15 Oct 42: Conducts offenisve mining operation off Kanin Nos with three other DDs.

05 Nov 42: In company with Hipper and balance of 5th DD FLOT (Z27, Z3j0, Eckoldt) sorties against convoy traffic proceeding to Murmansk. One Soviet tanker and escort are sunk on 7 Nov.

31 Dec 42: Participates in convoy attack with Hipper, Lutzow 5th DD FLOT (6xDD total). Assists in the sinking of the minesweeper Bramble.

23 Jan 43: Departs Altafjord with Z29 and Z30 escorting Hipper and Koln back to Germany.

06 Feb 43: Arrives Kiel.

06-12 Mar 43: Participates in Opertion Paderborn, the transfer of Scharnhorst to Narvik. (With 3xDD and 5xTB). Extreme weather conditions damage Z4.

27 Apr 43: Escorts Nurnberg with 2xTB from Harstad.

29 Apr 43: Arrives Trondheim

04 May 43: Arrives Kiel.

19 Sep 44: With Emden, 1xML, and 3xDD lays Klaudius minefield in the Skagerrak

01 Oct 44: With Emden, 1xML, and 3xDD lays Kaligula minefield in the Skagerrak

05 Oct 44: With Emden, 1xML, and 3xDD lays Vespasian minefield in the Skagerrak

1945: War Prize to Britian - target service.

10 Jan 49: Arrived Gateshead for breaking up


Length, oa, wl: 119.3/116.3m
Beam/draught: 11.3/4 m
Machinery: 2 shafts, geared turbines, 6 boilers 70,000shp, 38.2 knots
Main Battery: 5x127mm/45 C34 (5x1) (120rpg)
Anti Air Battery: 4x37mm/83 C30 (2x2), 4x20mm C38 (4x1) (2,000 rpg)
Torpedo/Mines: 8x533mm (4x3) 60 mines.
Fuel/Endurance: 670 ton - 1,530 nm @ 19 knots.
Crew: 315