Destroyer Z11 Bernd von Arnim


01 Apr 35: Laid down at Germaniawerft, Kiel

14 May 36: Launched

13 Sep 38: Completed

01 Sep 39: Attached to the Reconnaissance Force (Viceadmiral Densch).This force included: light cruisers Nurnberg (FS) Leipzig, Koln,destroyers (Konteradmiral Lutjens) Z1 (FS) Z2, Z4, Z8, Z9, Z10, Z11,Z14, Z15, Z16, 6xS-Boats, 21xMS, 5xEscorts and 10xUB. This force wasexcessive for the mission of containing the Polish naval units in homewaters (destroyer Wicher, ML Gryf and 5xss with smaller auxiliaries.)and was quickly allocated other tasks after the war’s first day.

03-20 Sep 39: Z11 deployed to the North Sea with forces gathered to laythe West Wall mine barrage. Ships involved in one or more operationsincluded Nurnberg, Leipzig, Koln, Konigsbeg and Emden; the 1st DD FLOT(Z2, Z4, Z14, Z15, Z16) 2nd DD FLOT (Z1, Z6, Z7, Z8), 4th DD FLOT (Z10,Z11, Z12) 5th DD DIV (Z17, Z18, Z19 and Z20, 5th TB FLOT (Greif, Mowe,Albatros, Kondor, Falke) and the 6th TB FLOT (Leopard, Seeadler, Ilis,Wolf and Luchs) along with 3xML. On 13 Sep and 15 Sep Z11 with Z6, Z16and 4xML laid 960 and 555 mines respectively. (Z15 participated in the15 Sep mission as well).

28-30 Sep 39: Z11 with Z12, Z17, Z18, Z19, Z20 and Z21, patrolled theSkaggerak, stopping and searching 58 merchant ships, nine of which wereimpounded and escorted into Kiel.

01 Oct 39: Z11 was ordered to Kiel with Z8 and Z12.

07-10 Oct 39: Z11 participated in a major sortie off the southern coastof Norway designed to entice the British fleet out and into anaircraft/submarine trap as well as to relive pressure on the two”pocket-battleships” raiding in the Atlantic. The squadron includedGneisenau (FS Admiral Boehm), Koln and twelve destroyers (Z3, Z4, Z6,Z11, Z12, Z14, Z15, Z16, Z17, Z19, Z20, Z21). This force sailed fromthe Blight and was not sighted until 1320 (London Time) on the 8th offLister Light, about fifty miles west of Kristiansand. This sightingelicited the desired result when three major British squadrons, thebattlecruiser force, the light cruiser force and the Home Fleet sailedto intercept and prevent the Germans from breaking out into the Atlantic(which the British assumed was the German intention). The Germanscontinued north until night when they reversed course. Neither BomberCommand nor any of the British warships managed to make contact with theGermans; however, large scale German air attacks by He 111s (127) and Ju88s (21) were also without results. The German force returned to Kielearly on the 10th.

22-24 Oct 39: Z11 with Z3, Z10, Z12, Z14 and Z15, conducted ananti-shipping patrol in the Skaggerak.

27-29 Oct 39: Z11 with Z3, Z10, Z14, Z15 and Z20, attempted ananti-shipping patrol in the Skaggerak, but the mission was canceled dueto bad weather. Some of the units involved suffered weather damage.

17-18 Nov 39: Z11 with Z19 (FS Cdr. H. Hartmann) and Z21 conducted anoffensive mining operation off the Thames Estuary. The RN destroyerGipsy and eight ships of 27,565 tons were sunk by this field.

24-25 Nov 39: Conducted mercantile warfare in the Skagerrak with Lutzow,Koln, Leipzig, Z8, Z14, Z15, Z20, and the TBs Leopard, Seeadler, Iltisand Wolf.

27-28 Nov 39: Z11 conducted an anti-mercantile sweep off the southerncoast of Norway with, Z10, Z20, Z14, Z3 and Z15. Heavy weather causedthe operation to be aborted and Z3 suffered serious damage whilereturning to port.

06-07 Dec 39: Z11 was to accompany Z10 and Z12 on a mining operation offCromer, however, boiler problems forced her to return to port leavingthe other two ships to complete the mission.

06-07 Apr 40: Part of Group 1 (Narvik) in invasion of Norway with Z9,Z12, Z13, Z17, Z18, Z19, Z21 and Z22. The force assembled at Wesermundeat the beginning of April to embark supplies and troops. Z11 took aboardapproximately 200 troops of the 139th Regiment. Group 1 departedWesermunde at 2300 hours on the 6th and rendezvoused with the HipperGroup. The force underwent an ineffective air attack on the 7th.Throughout the 7th weather conditions deteriorated, winds reaching force7 that night. A number of crew and soldiers were washed overboard inthe heavy seas.

08 Apr 40: At 0900 hours Z11 encountered the British destroyer Glowwormwhich had become separated from Renown’s escort while searching for aman overboard. The two ships exchanged fire as Z11 turned away andsignaled to Hipper for support. Glowworm obligingly chased Z11 and paidthe price when Hipper came up and sank her.

09 Apr 40: Group 1 entered Ofotfjord early on the 9th brushing aside twosmall Norwegian patrol boats. Z11 along with Z2 pushed ahead all theway to Narvik harbor where they encountered the old coast defense shipNorge. Forwarned by the reports of the picket ships and the sinking ofher sister, Eidswold by Z21, at 0525, Norge opened fire with her 210mmmain battery. The initial salvo landed in the water just short ofZ11. The German ship came along a pier, quickly disembarked her troopsand then began trading salvos with Norge. Norge overcompensated on therange and most of her subsequent shoots were overs that landed in thetown. At 0530 Z11 fired a spread of seven torpedoes. Fivemalfunctioned and missed; the other two ran on the surface, butnevertheless managed to hit Norge; she rolled over and sank with heavyloss of life.

10 Apr 40: First battle of Narvik. Z11 and Z2 were anchored inBallangenfjord, west of Narvik harbor almost half way down Ofotfjordtoward the sea. After the British destroyers shot up Narvik harborinflicting serious damage on the five destroyers anchored there, theywithdrew west up the fjord, pursued by Z9, Z12 and Z13. Heavy fogprevented Z11 and Z2 from immediately reacting to reports of the battle,but when they were able to get underway, they emerged into the mainfjord at about 0650 less than 5,000m ahead and to the flank of theretreating British destroyers. Hunter and Hardy were sunk in this actionlargely by Z2. She also damaged Hotspur, causing her to collide withHunter. Z11 fired one torpedo, was hit five times by British shells,but was only lightly damaged.

11 Apr 40: Z11 repaired damage suffered the day before. By 12 Apr shewas in good condition, capable of 33 knots with all guns functional andsix torpedoes aboard.

13 Apr 40: Second Battle of Narvik. Z11 along with Z9 and Z18 andsailed from Narvik harbor at 1215 upon receiving word from Z19, actingas picket ship, that a large British force was sailing up Ofotfjord.They were joined by Z19 and then confronted the British destroyers in anindecisive action, exchanging gunfire and torpedoes as they maneuveredthrough snow squalls at high speeds. Finally, at 1350 when most of hisammunition was expended, Bey ordered his ships, joined by Z2 fromNarvik, to retreat up Rombaksfjord. Z19 went up Herjangsfjord instead,but Z11 with Z2, Z9 and Z18 complied with this order. Z2 and Z18covered Z11 and Z9, both of whom were completely out of ammunition bythis time. Z2 managed to hit Eskimo with a torpedo as the Britishdestroyer nosed up the narrow fjord. However, this was just a momentaryvictory. Z11, along with her three companions, set demolition chargesand her crew abandoned ship.


K.Kpt K Rechel from commissioning in 1938 until 13 Apr 40when the ship was scuttled.