Heavy Cruiser / Schwere Kreuzer Admiral Hipper

Schwere Kreuzer Admiral Hipper
Schwere Kreuzer Admiral Hipper

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

06 Feb 37: Launched.

29 Apr 39: Commissioned as the Schwere Kreuzer AdmiralHipper.

Jul 39: Returns to dock to correct numerous design faults discoveredduring 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 againstconvoy traffic. They probe north to the passage between Shetland andNorway, but do not encounter any targets. Admiral Hipper experiencestrouble 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 fromCuxhaven with 4xDD to capture Trondheim. Joins Scharnhorst andGneisenau early morning 07 Apr for passage north.

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

09 Apr 40: Forces the entrance to Trondheimsfjord. At 0404 a coastalbattery at Hysnes fires three rounds at Hipper, all of which miss, andis silenced in turn by Hipper’s return salvo of eight rounds. Sheanchors off the town of Trondheim at 0525 hours.

10-11 Apr 40: Admiral Hipper escapes from Trondheim with 1xDD (whichhas to turn back due to bad weather). She passes within 30 nm of thehome fleet. (3xBB, 2xCV, 3xCA) but is not detected. She joinsGneisenau, and Scharnhorst and is sighted by the British, but a largeair strike fails to find her. She reaches the Jade that evening withoutfurther 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 attackHarstaad in order to relieve pressure on the embattled German forces atNarvik.

08 Jun 40: The combined KMS force sinks three ships of 26,000 tonstotal, but misses the main evacuation convoy. Hipper expends 97 roundsof 105mm to sink a 500 ton trawler from close range. Later thatmorning, she expends 54 rounds of 203mm to sink a 19,840 ton steamer.That afternoon Hipper and the destroyers break off for Trondheim whileGneisenau, 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 theIceland-Faeroes passage to divert attention from the operation intendedto pass the damaged Scharnhorst back to Germany. However, Gneisenau istorpedoed by RN SS Clyde and the mission is aborted.

27 Jul-6 Aug 40: Operates between Tromso and Spitzbergen againstmerchant shipping, but only sizes one steamer with contraband as aprize. Her engines are in poor condition by this time limiting hereffectiveness.

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

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

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

26 Sep 40: Puts into Kristiansand for emergency repairs. She makesanother attempt to break out into the Atlantic late on the 27th, but onthe 28th in heavy seas the main lubricating-oil supply pipe fractures,starting a fire and taking her turbines off line. She puts into Bergenand jury-rigs repairs, but these don’t last, failing on the returnjourney 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 foradditional 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 inextremely heavy seas and experiences a number of mechanical andelectrical failures due to the pounding. She refuels on the 12th and16th, and 22nd. She discovers a convoy with her radar the night of the24th and shadows it to attack at first light, believing it to be lightlyescorted.

25 Dec 40: Attacks British troop convoy WS 5A consisting of 20 MS andescorted by RN CA Berwick, and CLs Bonaventure and Dunedin with CVFurious loaded with crated aircraft about 700 nm W of Cape Finisterre.Spots Berwick while still unseen herself. Closes Benwick opening firewith her main battery at 0639. Benwick replies two minutes later.Hipper engages the other cruisers and some mercantile targets with her105mm secondary battery. The conditions hampered sighting efforts, butat 0705 she hits Benwick’s X turrent and at 0708 scores again with a hitbelow Berwick’s waterline causing flooding. She got two more hitsbefore breaking off action at 0714 in a rainsquall. Benwick’s fire isineffective. Hipper also damages two of the convoy’s merchant ships,principally the 13,994 ton transport Empire Trooper. She fired 174 mainbattery rounds in this action.

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

27 Dec 40: Arrives Brest.

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

01 Feb 41: Departs Brest for another Atlantic foray. She loiters in themid-Atlantic awaiting the appearance of a suitable target, refueling onthe 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th. She is released to conduct operations on the9th against convoy HX.53. She attempts to close this convoy on the 10thand 11th, but her only success occurs on the afternoon of the 11th whenshe encounters and sinks a 1,236 ton straggler loaded with oranges.Shortly before midnight, Hipper’s radar obtains a contact at 15,000meters.

12 Feb 41: Hipper shadows her contact until dawn, determining it to be asmall, lightly escorted convoy. She was wrong on both counts: therewas no escort at all and, with 19 ships, convoy SLS.64 was ratherlarge. Finding herself in heavy cruiser heaven, (but not believing it)Hipper commences action at 0618. The convoy scatters in panic. By 0740rain and fog obscure the area and she breaks off action, having expendedalmost all of her 203mm ammunition and having learned it was almostimpossible to reload her torpedoes under battle conditions. Sheclaimed 13 ships sunk, but her actual score was seven ships displacing atotal 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 Straiton 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 fitdegaussing cables and receive new camouflage.

01 Mar 42: Arrives in Brunsbuttel, on the Heligoland Blight. Shereturns to Kiel shortly after to repair ice damage to hull andpropellers.

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

02 Jul 42: Departs Trondheim in company with Tirpitz, 4xDD and 2xTB fornorthern Norway in anticipation of attack against convoy PQ.17. ArrivesAltafjord 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 earlySeptember.

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

24-28 Sep 42: Conducts an offensive mining operation off the coast ofNovaya Zemlya in company with 5xDD. This is the only occasion in whicha 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 withLutzow 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 andobtains one non-vital hit with five salvos before turning to engageOnslow and Orwell. These destroyers manage to keep Hipper occupieduntil 1020 when Hipper scores four hits from 48 main battery shellsfired at a range of 8,500 meters, seriously damaging Onslow and forcingthe destroyers to turn away. Hipper next encounters the MMS Bramble andfatally damages her with her third salvo from 5,500 meters. She closedthe convoy and takes Achates under fire once again, hitting her with herfirst salvo, leaving her on fire and listing seriously. Obedient,Obdurate and Orwell counterattack, forcing Hipper to turn away from theanticipated torpedo attack. The time is now 1130 and the cruisersSheffield and Jamaica finally arrive surprising Hipper with their firstsalvos from 10,500 meters. Hipper is hit shortly thereafter and suffersa flooded boiler room. She takes the cruisers under fire at 1134, butis hit twice more a minute latter, with more flooding and a fire in heraircraft hanger resulting. Hipper turns away in consideration of herorders to avoid action with enemy forces nearly equal to her in strengthand because of the damage sustained. The British destroyers chase theGermans and more shots are exchanged until 1400 when contact isdefinitively broken off. Achates and Bramble sink, but the Britishrightly claim victory in this action, saving their convoy from a vastlysuperior force and sinking a German destroyer in the bargain. Hipperis seriously damaged, suffering more flooding and a series of enginefailures before she manages to limp back to Kaafjord at 0542 on 1 Jan43.

23 Jan 43: Departs Altafjord in company with Koln and 3xDD for transferto 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 wasseriously disappointed by the results of the 31 Dec action. Thedoldrums Hipper suffered through for the next year was a directexpression of this disappointment.

17 Apr 43: Towed to Pillau.

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

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

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

30 Jan 45: Sails from Gotenhafen carrying 1,700 refugees. Her limitedoperational status and the danger from Soviet submarines forces her tosail past the torpedoed liner WilhelmGustloff without conducting rescueoperations.

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.


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


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 (4×2)
Duel Purpose Battery: 12x105mm/65 C33 (6×2)
Anti Air Battery: 12x37mm/83 C34 (6×2); 8x20mm C30
Torpedo: 12x533mm (4×3)
Aircraft: 3
Crew: 1,600
Range: 6,100 nm at 15 kts.