In March 1935, she sailed as far as the Caribbean and South American waters. Deutschland was laid down at the Deutsche Werke shipyard in Kiel on 5 February 1929, under the contract name Panzerschiff A, as a replacement for the old battleship Preussen. Meanwhile, on 14 October, Deutschland encountered and sank the Norwegian transport Lorentz W Hansen,[10] of some 1,918 GRT. [10], Following the outbreak of war between Germany and the Allies in September 1939, Adolf Hitler ordered the German Navy to begin commerce raiding against Allied merchant traffic. Work began under construction number 219. Lützow and the remaining three destroyers would then attack the undefended convoy from the south. [2] Radar consisted of a FMG G(gO) "Seetakt" set;[5][a] Admiral Graf Spee was the first German warship to be equipped with radar equipment. The vessel was named after Admiral Maximilian von Spee, commander of the East Asia Squadron who fought the battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands, where he was killed in action, in World War I. [27] Doric Star was able to send out a distress signal before she was sunk, which prompted Harwood to take his three cruisers to the mouth of the River Plate, which he suspected might be Langsdorff's next target. At 05:52, however, the ship was identified as HMS Exeter; she was accompanied by a pair of smaller warships, initially thought to be destroyers but quickly identified as Leander-class cruisers. She returned to Norway in early November with a destroyer escort, arriving in Narvik on the 12th. [32] The respite allowed Exeter to withdraw from the action; by now, only one of her gun turrets was still in action, and she had suffered 61 dead and 23 wounded crew members. Lützow was referenced once in the Wehrmachtbericht, an information bulletin issued by the headquarters of the Wehrmacht. Fuel shortages restricted operations, although Lützow and Admiral Scheer were able to conduct limited battle training exercises. The class comprised Deutschland, Hannover, Pommern, Schlesien, and Schleswig-Holstein. The ship was equipped with two Arado Ar 196 seaplanes and one catapult. [10], On 24 August 1939, a week before the German invasion of Poland, Deutschland set sail from Wilhelmshaven, bound for a position south of Greenland. Two days later, she encountered and sank the merchant ship Ashlea. [15] The cruiser then fired 30 rounds from her 28 cm and 15 cm guns and two torpedoes at the cargo ship, which broke up and sank. [17] In 1940, the ship underwent a major overhaul, during which a raked clipper bow was installed to improve the sea-keeping qualities of the ship. The supply ship Westerwald was assigned to support Deutschland during the operation. By this time, Admiral Graf Spee had cruised for almost 30,000 nautical miles (56,000 km; 35,000 mi) and needed an engine overhaul. [36] The water was shallow enough that her main deck was still 2 m (6 ft 7 in) above water, permitting her use as a stationary gun battery against advancing Soviet forces. Four men were wounded. [19] The refit lasted until March 1940,[17] after which it was intended to send the ship on another commerce raiding operation into the South Atlantic. By the end of the war, her anti-aircraft battery had again been reorganized, consisting of six 4 cm (1.6 in) guns, ten 3.7 cm guns, and twenty-eight 2 cm guns. [9] Two bombs struck the ship; the first penetrated the upper deck near the bridge and exploded above the main armored deck while the second hit near the third starboard 15 cm gun, causing serious fires below decks. She was joined by her newly commissioned sister ship Admiral Scheer for a cruise into the mid-Atlantic, which included a stop in Madeira. [15] In early November, the Naval High Command recalled Deutschland; she passed through the Denmark Strait on 15 November and anchored in Gotenhafen on the 17th. Force G was reinforced by the light cruisers Ajax and Achilles; Harwood detached Cumberland to patrol the area off the Falkland Islands while his other three cruisers patrolled off the River Plate. [31] The German ship opened fire with her main battery at Exeter and her secondary guns at the flagship Ajax at 06:17. She made an official visit to Spain following the Nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War 1939. The harsh conditions negatively affected her shooting, which ceased by 12:03 without any hits. [5][38] Historians Hildebrand, Röhr and Steinmetz, in their book Die Deutschen Kriegsschiffe, state that she instead sank off Kolberg, claiming that the Lützow broken up in the late 1940s was instead the Admiral Hipper-class cruiser Lützow that had been sold to the Soviet Union in 1940. They used the knowledge thus acquired to try to develop countermeasures, under the leadership of Fred Hoyle at the British radar project. Deutschland Wehrmacht Oberkommando (1985) (in German). The Deutschland class armored ship were popularly called "pocket battleships". The British Admiralty immediately issued a warning to merchant shipping that a German surface raider was in the area. The British aircraft carriers HMS Hermes, Eagle, and Ark Royal, the French aircraft carrier Béarn, the British battlecruiser Renown, and French battleships Dunkerque and Strasbourg, and 16 cruisers were committed to the hunt. The closest heavy units—the carrier Ark Royal and battlecruiser Renown—were some 2,500 nmi (4,600 km; 2,900 mi) away, much too far to intervene in the situation. He knew that although Uruguay was neutral, the government was on friendly terms with Britain and if he allowed his ship to be interned, the Uruguayan Navy would allow British intelligence officers access to the ship. She then turned north to the Halifax route, where on 9 October, she encountered the American ship City of Flint. She continued in this role until 4 May,[5] by which time she had expended her main battery ammunition. Langsdorff was ordered to avoid combat, even with inferior opponents, and to frequently change position. While en route, she was torpedoed and seriously damaged by a British submarine. The operation was in part being funded by the government of Uruguay, in part by the private sector as the wreck was a hazard to navigation. To be singled out in the Wehrmachtbericht was an honor. In respect of the Versailles Treaty as amended by the 1922 Washington Agreement, German naval architects had apparently put a quart into a pint pot. On 8 October, the following day, she sank Newton Beech,[20] which Langsdorff had been using to house prisoners. [32] Both sides broke off the action, Admiral Graf Spee retreating into the River Plate estuary, while Harwood's battered cruisers remained outside to observe any possible breakout attempts. The work was completed in Kiel by January 1944, after which she remained in the Baltic Sea to conduct training cruises for new naval personnel. Built between 1903 and 1908, the ships closely resembled those of the preceding Braunschweig class, though they had stronger armor protection. Ajax and Achilles moved closer to Admiral Graf Spee to relieve the pressure on Exeter. The formula adopted was six 11 inch guns in two triple turrets on a cruiser size hull with cruiser level protection and diesel propulsion for extended range. Admiral Graf Spee returned to the Atlantic between 17 and 26 November to refuel from Altmark. [9], Admiral Graf Spee spent the first three months of her career conducting extensive sea trials to ready the ship for service. 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