The pocket battleship
's answer to the Treaty of Versailles
restrictions on warship
The Treaty of Versailles
specified that Germany
could not construct a warship of more than 10,000 tons. This excluded proper battleship
s, as they generally had a displacement
of a far greater proportion. So, to counter this restriction, they commissioned a design that became known as the pocket battleship.
It was heavily armed, with 6 11-inch guns, and fast, with a top speed of 26 knots
. It was built with very advanced technology of the day, using diesel engines instead of the more traditional coal
fired design, as used an electrically welded hull design that was far ahead of its time.
Officially designated the Deutschland
) class, three of these powerful ships were built.
Specifications of the Deutschland Class Pocket Battleship:
- Deutschland - The Deutschland was laid down on the 5th of Febuary 1929, launched on the 19th of May 1931, and commissioned on the 1st of April 1933. She saw action during World War II, where it was torpedoed twice, in 1940 then again in 1941. She took part in the Battle of The Barents Sea, and was used as a training ship until 1944. She aided in the evacuation of the eastern provinces, and was sunk by bombs on the 16th of April 1945. She was raised and used as a stationary gunnery platform after that, until her scuttling was forced on the 4th of May, 1945.
- Admiral Scheer - The Admiral Scheer was laid down on the 25th of June 1931, launched on the 12th of April 1933, and commissioned on the 12th of November 1934. She was a comerce raider in the Indian Ocean between 1940 and 1941, during which time she distinguished herself by sinking 19 allied merchantmen. She took part on few actions after that, and was sunk by bombing on that 9th and 10th of April, 1945.
- Admiral Graf Spee - The Graf Spee was the most famous of the Deutschland class, and met a spectacular end during the Battle of The River Plate. Laid down on the 1st October 1932, launched on the 30th of June 1934, and commissioned on the 6th of January 1936. She adopted the role of a commerce raider in the Atlantic during 1939, and continued this until she was scuttled in Montevideo harbour on the 17th of December, 1939.