Kriegsmarine
Overview
 
The Kriegsmarine (ˈkʁiːksmaˌʁiːnə, War Navy) was the name of the German Navy
German Navy
The German Navy is the navy of Germany and is part of the unified Bundeswehr .The German Navy traces its roots back to the Imperial Fleet of the revolutionary era of 1848 – 52 and more directly to the Prussian Navy, which later evolved into the Northern German Federal Navy...

 during the Nazi
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 regime (1935–1945). It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine
Kaiserliche Marine
The Imperial German Navy was the German Navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy and Norddeutsche Bundesmarine, which primarily had the mission of coastal defense. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded...

of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and the post-war Reichsmarine
Reichsmarine
The Reichsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Weimar Republic and first two years of Nazi Germany. It was the naval branch of the Reichswehr, existing from 1918 to 1935...

. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.

The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly during German naval rearmaments in the 1930s. In January 1939 Plan Z
Plan Z
Plan Z was the name given to the planned re-equipment and expansion of the Nazi German Navy ordered by Adolf Hitler on January 27, 1939...

 was ordered, calling for the construction of many naval vessels.
Encyclopedia
The Kriegsmarine (ˈkʁiːksmaˌʁiːnə, War Navy) was the name of the German Navy
German Navy
The German Navy is the navy of Germany and is part of the unified Bundeswehr .The German Navy traces its roots back to the Imperial Fleet of the revolutionary era of 1848 – 52 and more directly to the Prussian Navy, which later evolved into the Northern German Federal Navy...

 during the Nazi
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 regime (1935–1945). It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine
Kaiserliche Marine
The Imperial German Navy was the German Navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy and Norddeutsche Bundesmarine, which primarily had the mission of coastal defense. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded...

of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and the post-war Reichsmarine
Reichsmarine
The Reichsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Weimar Republic and first two years of Nazi Germany. It was the naval branch of the Reichswehr, existing from 1918 to 1935...

. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.

The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly during German naval rearmaments in the 1930s. In January 1939 Plan Z
Plan Z
Plan Z was the name given to the planned re-equipment and expansion of the Nazi German Navy ordered by Adolf Hitler on January 27, 1939...

 was ordered, calling for the construction of many naval vessels. The ships of the Kriegsmarine fought during the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The commander-in-chief of the Kriegsmarine was Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, who exercised his authority through the Oberkommando der Marine
Oberkommando der Marine
The Oberkommando der Marine was Nazi Germany's Naval High Command and the highest administrative and command authority of the Kriegsmarine. It was officially formed from the Marineleitung of the Reichswehr on 11 January 1936. In 1937 it was combined with the newly formed Seekriegsleitung...

.

The Kriegsmarine's most famous ships were the U-boat
U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

 wolfpacks, most of which were constructed after Plan Z was abandoned at the beginning of World War II. They were submarine groups which attacked Allied convoys during the Battle of the Atlantic. Along with the U-boats, surface ships (including auxiliary cruisers) were used to disrupt Allied shipping in the early years of the war. However, the adoption of convoy escorts later in the war greatly reduced the effectiveness of naval strikes on convoys. At the end of the Second World War, the Kriegsmarine's remaining ships were divided up amongst the Allied powers and and were used for various purposes including minesweeping.

Command structure

Adolf Hitler was the commander-in-chief of all German armed forces, including the Kriegsmarine. His authority was exercised through the Oberkommando der Marine
Oberkommando der Marine
The Oberkommando der Marine was Nazi Germany's Naval High Command and the highest administrative and command authority of the Kriegsmarine. It was officially formed from the Marineleitung of the Reichswehr on 11 January 1936. In 1937 it was combined with the newly formed Seekriegsleitung...

, or OKM, with a Commander-in-Chief (Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine), a Chief of Naval General Staff (Chef der Stabes der Seekriegsleitung) and a Chief of Naval Operations (Chef der Operationsabteilung).

Subordinate to these were regional, squadron
Squadron (naval)
A squadron, or naval squadron, is a unit of 3-4 major warships, transport ships, submarines, or sometimes small craft that may be part of a larger task force or a fleet...

 and temporary flotilla
Flotilla
A flotilla , or naval flotilla, is a formation of small warships that may be part of a larger fleet. A flotilla is usually composed of a homogeneous group of the same class of warship, such as frigates, destroyers, torpedo boats, submarines, gunboats, or minesweepers...

 commands. Regional commands covered significant naval regions and were themselves sub-divided, as necessary. They were commanded by a Generaladmiral or an Admiral
Admiral (Germany)
Admiral is a rank of the German Navy that first appeared in the 19th century and was expanded in the early 20th century as part of a build-up and mobilization in preparation for the First World War. The rank again saw a resurgence during the Second World War...

. There was a Marineoberkommando for the Baltic Fleet, Nord, Nordsee, Norwegen, Ost/Ostsee (formerly Baltic), Süd and West. The Kriegsmarine used a form of encoding called Gradnetzmeldeverfahren
Gradnetzmeldeverfahren
German Naval Grid Reference, or Gradnetzmeldeverfahren, was a system for referencing the a location on a map. Introduced initially by the German Luftwaffe just before World War II, it was used widely in the German armed forces until 1943...

to denote regions on a map.

Each squadron (organized by type of ship) also had a command structure with its own Flag Officer
Flag Officer
A flag officer is a commissioned officer in a nation's armed forces senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark where the officer exercises command. The term usually refers to the senior officers in an English-speaking nation's navy, specifically those who hold any of the admiral ranks; in...

. The commands were Battleships, Cruisers, Destroyers, Submarines (Führer der U-Boote
Führer der U-Boote
The post of Führer der U-Boote was the senior commanding officer of the submarine service in the pre-World War II German Kriegsmarine, and the title of several senior commands during the war. From January 1936 and until 17 October 1939, Karl Dönitz served in this position...

), Torpedo Boats, Minesweepers, Reconnaissance Forces, Naval Security Forces, Big Guns and Hand Guns, and Midget Weapons.

Major naval operations were commanded by a Flottenchef. The Flottenchef controlled a flotilla and organized its actions during the operation. The commands were, by their nature, temporary.

Post–World War I origins

Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 in 1919, Germany was only allowed a minimal navy of 15,000 personnel, six capital ships of no more than 10,000 tons, six cruisers, twelve destroyers, twelve torpedo boats and no submarines or aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

s. All the ships allowed and personnel were taken over from the Kaiserliche Marine, renamed Reichsmarine
Reichsmarine
The Reichsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Weimar Republic and first two years of Nazi Germany. It was the naval branch of the Reichswehr, existing from 1918 to 1935...

.

Build-up during the interwar period

The launching of the first pocket battleship
Deutschland class cruiser
The Deutschland class was a series of three panzerschiffe , a form of heavily armed cruiser, built by the Reichsmarine officially in accordance with restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles...

, Deutschland
German pocket battleship Deutschland
Deutschland was the lead ship of her class of heavy cruisers which served with the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II. Ordered by the Weimar government for the Reichsmarine, she was laid down at the Deutsche Werke shipyard in Kiel in February 1929 and completed by April 1933...

in 1931 was a sign for the rebuilding of a modern German fleet. Modern destroyers and light cruisers were also built. All of these new ships were built in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles that allowed replacements of the old ships taken over from the German World War I fleet.

Even before the Nazi takeover on 30 January 1933 the German government decided on 15 November 1932 to launch a naval re-armament program that included U-boats, airplanes and an aircraft carrier which were not allowed under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Adolf Hitler soon began to ignore many of the Treaty restrictions and accelerated German naval rearmament
German re-armament
The German re-armament was a massive effort led by the NSDAP in the early 1930s in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.During its struggle for power the National Socialist party promised to recover Germany's lost national pride...

. The Anglo-German Naval Agreement
Anglo-German Naval Agreement
The Anglo-German Naval Agreement of June 18, 1935 was a bilateral agreement between the United Kingdom and German Reich regulating the size of the Kriegsmarine in relation to the Royal Navy. The A.G.N.A fixed a ratio whereby the total tonnage of the Kriegsmarine was to be 35% of the total tonnage...

 of 18 June 1935 allowed Germany to build a navy equivalent to 35% of the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 surface ship tonnage and 45% of British submarine tonnage; battleships were to be limited to no more than 35,000 tons. That same year the Reichsmarine was renamed as the Kriegsmarine.

The building-up of the German fleet in the time period of 1935-1939 was slowed by problems with marshaling enough manpower and material for ship building. This was because of the simultaneous and rapid build-up of the German army and air force which demanded substantial effort and resources.

Spanish Civil War

The first military action of the Kriegsmarine came during the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 (1936–1939). Following the outbreak of hostilities in July 1936 several capital ships of the German fleet were sent to the region. The Deutschland
German pocket battleship Deutschland
Deutschland was the lead ship of her class of heavy cruisers which served with the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II. Ordered by the Weimar government for the Reichsmarine, she was laid down at the Deutsche Werke shipyard in Kiel in February 1929 and completed by April 1933...

, Admiral Scheer
German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer
Admiral Scheer was a Deutschland-class heavy cruiser which served with the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II. The vessel was named after Admiral Reinhard Scheer, German commander in the Battle of Jutland. She was laid down at the Reichsmarinewerft shipyard in Wilhelmshaven in June...

, and light cruiser Köln
German cruiser Köln
Köln was a German light cruiser prior to and during World War II, one of three K-Class cruisers named after cities starting with the letter K. This ship was named after the city of Köln . The others in her class were the Königsberg and the Karlsruhe...

were the first to be sent in July 1936. These capital ships were accompanied by the 2nd Torpedo-boat Flotilla. The German presence was used to covertly support Franco's
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

 Nationalists
Spanish State
Francoist Spain refers to a period of Spanish history between 1936 and 1975 when Spain was under the authoritarian dictatorship of Francisco Franco....

 although the immediate involvement of the Deutschland was humanitarian relief operations and the rescuing of 9,300 refugees from the fighting, including 4,550 Germans. Following the brokering of the International Non-Intervention Patrol to enforce an international arms embargo the Kriegsmarine was allotted the patrol area between Cabo de Gata (Almeria) and Oropesa
Oropesa
An Oropesa is a streamlined towed body used in the process of minesweeping. The role of the Oropesa is to keep the towed sweep at a determined depth and position from the sweeping ship....

. Numerous vessels served as part of these duties including Admiral Graf Spee. U-Boats also participated in covert action against Republican shipping as part of Operation Ursula. At least eight U-Boats engaged a small number of targets in the area throughout the conflict. By way of comparison the Italian Navy, Regia Marina
Regia Marina
The Regia Marina dates from the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861 after Italian unification...

, operated 58 submarines in the area as part of Sottomarini Legionari. On 29 May 1937 the Deutschland was attacked in the Deutschland incident off Ibiza
Ibiza
Ibiza or Eivissa is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea 79 km off the coast of the city of Valencia in Spain. It is the third largest of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous community of Spain. With Formentera, it is one of the two Pine Islands or Pityuses. Its largest cities are Ibiza...

 by two bombers from the Republican Airforce. Total casualties from the Republican attack were 31 dead and 110 wounded, 71 seriously, mostly burn victims. In retaliation the Admiral Scheer shelled the harbour of Almeria on 31 May. Following further attacks by Republican submarine forces against the Leipzig
German cruiser Leipzig
The German light cruiser Leipzig was the lead ship of her class . She was the fourth German warship to carry the name of the city of Leipzig.-History:...

off the port of Oran
Oran
Oran is a major city on the northwestern Mediterranean coast of Algeria, and the second largest city of the country.It is the capital of the Oran Province . The city has a population of 759,645 , while the metropolitan area has a population of approximately 1,500,000, making it the second largest...

 between 15–18 June 1937 Germany withdrew from the Non-Intervention Patrol although the Kriegsmarine maintained a continuous presence in the area until the end of the conflict.

Plan Z

The Kriegsmarine saw its main tasks as controlling the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 and winning a war against France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in connection with the German army, because France was seen as the most likely enemy in the event of war. But in 1938 Hitler wanted to have the possibility of winning a war against Great Britain at sea in the coming years. Therefore he ordered plans for such a fleet from the Kriegsmarine. From the three proposed plans (X, Y and Z) he approved Plan Z
Plan Z
Plan Z was the name given to the planned re-equipment and expansion of the Nazi German Navy ordered by Adolf Hitler on January 27, 1939...

 in January 1939. This blueprint for the new German naval construction program envisaged building a navy of approximately 800 ships during the period 1939–1947. Hitler demanded that the program was to be completed in 1945. The building programme was to include:
  • 9 new design battleships and battlecruisers
  • 4 aircraft carriers
  • 15 armored ships (Panzerschiffe)
  • 5 heavy cruiser
    Heavy cruiser
    The heavy cruiser was a type of cruiser, a naval warship designed for long range, high speed and an armament of naval guns roughly 203mm calibre . The heavy cruiser can be seen as a lineage of ship design from 1915 until 1945, although the term 'heavy cruiser' only came into formal use in 1930...

    s
  • 60 light cruiser
    Light cruiser
    A light cruiser is a type of small- or medium-sized warship. The term is a shortening of the phrase "light armored cruiser", describing a small ship that carried armor in the same way as an armored cruiser: a protective belt and deck...

    s
  • 158 destroyers and torpedo boats
  • 249 submarines
  • Numerous smaller craft

Personnel strength was planned to rise to over 200,000.

The planned naval program was not very far advanced by the time World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 began. In 1939 two M class cruiser
M Class cruiser
The M Class cruiser was a class of light cruisers planned, but never built, by the German Navy before World War II. The ships were designed for commerce raiding in the Atlantic Ocean...

s and three H class battleships were laid down and the strength of the German fleet at the beginning of the war was not even 20% of Plan Z. On September 1, 1939, the navy still had a total personnel strength of only 78,000, and it was not at all ready for a major role in the war. Because of the long time it would take to get the Plan Z fleet ready for action and shortage in workers and material in wartime, Plan Z was essentially shelved in September 1939 and the resources allocated for its realization were largely redirected to the construction of U-boats, which would be ready for combat against Great Britain quicker.

World War II

The Kriegsmarine was involved in World War II from its outset and participated in the Battle of Westerplatte
Battle of Westerplatte
The Battle of Westerplatte was the very first battle that took place after Germany invaded Poland and World War II began in Europe. During the first week of September 1939, a Military Transit Depot on the peninsula of Westerplatte, manned by fewer than 200 Polish soldiers, held out for seven days...

 and the Battle of the Danzig Bay during the Invasion of Poland
Invasion of Poland (1939)
The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign or 1939 Defensive War in Poland and the Poland Campaign in Germany, was an invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent that marked the start of World War II in Europe...

. In 1939, major events for the Kriegsmarine were the sinking of the British aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

 HMS Courageous
HMS Courageous (50)
HMS Courageous was the lead ship of the cruisers built for the Royal Navy during the First World War. Designed to support the Baltic Project championed by the First Sea Lord, John Fisher, the ship was very lightly armoured and armed with only a few heavy guns. Courageous was completed in late...

 and the British battleship
Battleship
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a...

 HMS Royal Oak and the loss of the Graf Spee at the Battle of the River Plate
Battle of the River Plate
The Battle of the River Plate was the first naval battle in the Second World War. The German pocket battleship had been commerce raiding since the start of the war in September 1939...

. Submarine attacks on Britain's vital maritime supply routes (Battle of the Atlantic
Second Battle of the Atlantic
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, running from 1939 to the defeat of Germany in 1945. At its core was the Allied naval blockade of Germany, announced the day after the declaration of war, and Germany's subsequent counter-blockade. It was at its...

) started immediately at the outbreak of war, although they were hampered by the lack of well placed ports from which to operate. Throughout the war the Kriegsmarine was responsible for coastal artillery
Coastal artillery
Coastal artillery is the branch of armed forces concerned with operating anti-ship artillery or fixed gun batteries in coastal fortifications....

 protecting major ports and important coastal areas. It also operated anti-aircraft batteries protecting major ports.

In April 1940, the German Navy was heavily involved in the invasion of Norway
Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung was the code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign...

, where it suffered significant losses, including the heavy cruiser
Heavy cruiser
The heavy cruiser was a type of cruiser, a naval warship designed for long range, high speed and an armament of naval guns roughly 203mm calibre . The heavy cruiser can be seen as a lineage of ship design from 1915 until 1945, although the term 'heavy cruiser' only came into formal use in 1930...

 Blücher
German cruiser Blücher
Blücher was the second of five heavy cruisers of the German Kriegsmarine, built after the rise of the Nazi Party and the repudiation of the Treaty of Versailles. Named for Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, the victor of the Battle of Waterloo, the ship was laid down in August 1936 and launched in...

sunk by torpedoes from Oscarsborg Fortress
Oscarsborg Fortress
Oscarsborg Fortress is a coastal fortress in the Oslofjord, close to the small town of Drøbak. The fortress is situated on two small islets, and on the mainland to the west and east, in the fjord and was military territory until 2003 when it was made a publicly available resort island...

 in Oslofjord
Oslofjord
The Oslofjord is a bay in the south-east of Norway, stretching from an imaginary line between the Torbjørnskjær and Færder lighthouses and down to Langesund in the south to Oslo in the north....

, ten destroyers lost in the Battles of Narvik
Battles of Narvik
The Battles of Narvik were fought from 9 April-8 June 1940 as a naval battle in the Ofotfjord and as a land battle in the mountains surrounding the north Norwegian city of Narvik as part of the Norwegian Campaign of the Second World War....

 (half of German destroyer strength at the time) and two light cruisers lost elsewhere during the campaign. The Kriegsmarine did in return sink some British warships during this campaign, including the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious
HMS Glorious (77)
HMS Glorious was the second of the cruisers built for the British Royal Navy during the First World War. Designed to support the Baltic Project championed by the First Sea Lord, Lord Fisher, they were very lightly armoured and armed with only a few heavy guns. Glorious was completed in late 1916...

.

The losses in the Norwegian Campaign
Norwegian Campaign
The Norwegian Campaign was a military campaign that was fought in Norway during the Second World War between the Allies and Germany, after the latter's invasion of the country. In April 1940, the United Kingdom and France came to Norway's aid with an expeditionary force...

 left only a handful of undamaged heavy ships available for the planned, but never executed, invasion of Britain (Operation Sea Lion) in the summer of 1940. There were serious doubts that the invasion sea routes could have been protected against British naval interference. The fall of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

 and the conquest of Norway gave German submarines greatly improved access to British shipping routes in the Atlantic. At first, British convoy
Convoy
A convoy is a group of vehicles, typically motor vehicles or ships, traveling together for mutual support and protection. Often, a convoy is organized with armed defensive support, though it may also be used in a non-military sense, for example when driving through remote areas.-Age of Sail:Naval...

s lacked escorts that were adequate either in numbers or equipment and, as a result, the submarines had much success for few losses (this period was dubbed the First Happy Time
First Happy Time
The First Happy Time was a phase of the Battle of the Atlantic during which Germany Navy U-boats enjoyed significant success against the British Royal Navy and its allies...

 by the Germans).

Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

 entered the war in June 1940, and the Battle of the Mediterranean
Battle of the Mediterranean
The Battle of the Mediterranean was the name given to the naval campaign fought in the Mediterranean Sea during World War II, from 10 June 1940-2 May 1945....

 began: from September 1941 to May 1944 some 62 German submarines were transferred there, sneaking past the British naval base at Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

. The Mediterranean submarines sunk 24 major Allied warships (including 12 destroyers, 4 cruisers, 2 aircraft carriers and 1 battleship) and 94 merchant ships (449,206 tons of shipping). None of the Mediterranean submarines made it back to their home bases as they were all either sunk in battle or scuttled by their crews at the end of the war

In 1941 one of the four modern German battleships, the Bismarck
German battleship Bismarck
Bismarck was the first of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the primary force behind the German unification in 1871, the ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1936 and launched nearly three years later...

 sank HMS Hood
HMS Hood (51)
HMS Hood was the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy. One of four s ordered in mid-1916, her design—although drastically revised after the Battle of Jutland and improved while she was under construction—still had serious limitations. For this reason she was the only ship of her class to be...

 while breaking out into the Atlantic for commerce raiding. The Bismarck was in turn hunted down by much superior British forces after being crippled by an airborne torpedo. She was subsequently scuttled after being rendered defenceless by two British battleships.

During 1941, the Kriegsmarine and the United States Navy became de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

 belligerent
Belligerent
A belligerent is an individual, group, country or other entity which acts in a hostile manner, such as engaging in combat. Belligerent comes from Latin, literally meaning "to wage war"...

s, although war was not formally declared, leading to the sinking of the USS Reuben James
USS Reuben James (DD-245)
USS Reuben James —a post-World War I four-funnel Clemson-class destroyer—was the first United States Navy ship sunk by hostile action in World War II and the first named for Boatswain's Mate Reuben James , who distinguished himself fighting in the Barbary Wars.Reuben James was laid down on 2 April...

. This hostility was the result of the American decision to support Britain with its Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease was the program under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, Free France, and other Allied nations with materiel between 1941 and 1945. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941, a year and a half after the outbreak of war in Europe in...

 program and the subsequent decision to escort Lend-Lease convoys with American war ships through the western part of the Atlantic.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

 and the subsequent German declaration of war against the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in December 1941 led to another phase of the Battle of the Atlantic. In Operation Drumbeat and subsequent operations until August 1942, a large number of Allied merchant ships were sunk by submarines off the American coast as the Americans had not prepared for submarine warfare, despite clear warnings (this was the so-called Second happy time
Second happy time
The Second Happy Time , also known among German submarine commanders as the "American shooting season" was the informal name for a phase in the Second Battle of the Atlantic during which Axis submarines attacked merchant shipping along the east coast of North America...

 for the German navy). The situation became so serious that military leaders feared for the whole Allied strategy. The vast American ship building capabilities and naval forces were however now brought into the war and soon more than offset any losses inflicted by the German submariners. In 1942, the submarine warfare continued on all fronts, and when German forces in the Soviet Union reached the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

, a few submarines were eventually transferred there.

Hitler, fearing a British invasion of Norway, forced the leadership of the Kriegsmarine to transfer her big ships based in the French Atlantic port of Brest
Brest, France
Brest is a city in the Finistère department in Brittany in northwestern France. Located in a sheltered position not far from the western tip of the Breton peninsula, and the western extremity of metropolitan France, Brest is an important harbour and the second French military port after Toulon...

 to Norway. Thus, in February 1942, the two battleships Scharnhorst
German battleship Scharnhorst
Scharnhorst was a German capital ship, alternatively described as a battleship and battlecruiser, of the German Kriegsmarine. She was the lead ship of her class, which included one other ship, Gneisenau. The ship was built at the Kriegsmarinewerft dockyard in Wilhelmshaven; she was laid down on 15...

 and Gneisenau
German battleship Gneisenau
Gneisenau was a German capital ship, alternatively described as a battleship and battlecruiser, of the German Kriegsmarine. She was the second vessel of her class, which included one other ship, Scharnhorst. The ship was built at the Deutsche Werke dockyard in Kiel; she was laid down on 6 May 1935...

 and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen
German cruiser Prinz Eugen
Prinz Eugen was an Admiral Hipper-class heavy cruiser, the third member of the class of five vessels. She served with the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The ship was laid down in April 1936 and launched August 1938; Prinz Eugen entered service after the outbreak of war, in August 1940...

 passed through the English Channel (Channel Dash) on their way to Norway despite British efforts to stop them. Not since the Spanish Armada
Spanish Armada
This article refers to the Battle of Gravelines, for the modern navy of Spain, see Spanish NavyThe Spanish Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1588, with the intention of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England to stop English...

 in 1588 had any warships in wartime done this. It was a tactical victory for the Kriegsmarine and a blow to British morale, but the German fleet lost the possibility to attack allied convoys with heavy surface ships in the Atlantic (which was its wish) because of Hitler's decision.

With the German attack on the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in June 1941 Britain started to send Arctic convoy
Arctic convoys of World War II
The Arctic convoys of World War II travelled from the United Kingdom and North America to the northern ports of the Soviet Union—Arkhangelsk and Murmansk. There were 78 convoys between August 1941 and May 1945...

s with military goods around Norway to support their new ally. In 1942 German forces began heavily attacking these convoys, mostly with bombers and U-boats. The big ships of the Kriegsmarine in Norway were seldom involved in these attacks, because Hitler and the leadership of the Kriegsmarine feared losses of these precious ships. The most effective of these attacks was the near destruction of Convoy PQ 17 in July 1942. Later in the war German attacks on these convoys were mostly reduced to U-boat activities and the mass of the allied freighters reached their destination in Soviet ports.

The Battle of the Barents Sea
Battle of the Barents Sea
The Battle of the Barents Sea took place on 31 December 1942 between German surface raiders and British ships escorting convoy JW 51B to Kola Inlet in the USSR. The action took place in the Barents Sea north of North Cape, Norway...

 in December 1942 was an attempt by a German naval force to attack an Allied Arctic convoy
Arctic convoys of World War II
The Arctic convoys of World War II travelled from the United Kingdom and North America to the northern ports of the Soviet Union—Arkhangelsk and Murmansk. There were 78 convoys between August 1941 and May 1945...

. However, the advantage was not pressed home and they returned to base. There were serious implications: this failure infuriated Hitler, who nearly enforced a decision to scrap the surface fleet. Instead, resources were diverted to new U-boats, and the surface fleet became a lesser threat to the Allies.

After December 1943 when the Scharnhorst
German battleship Scharnhorst
Scharnhorst was a German capital ship, alternatively described as a battleship and battlecruiser, of the German Kriegsmarine. She was the lead ship of her class, which included one other ship, Gneisenau. The ship was built at the Kriegsmarinewerft dockyard in Wilhelmshaven; she was laid down on 15...

 had been sunk in an attack on an Arctic convoy in the Battle of North Cape
Battle of North Cape
The Battle of the North Cape was a Second World War naval battle which occurred on 26 December 1943, as part of the Arctic Campaign. The German battlecruiser , on an operation to attack Arctic Convoys of war materiel from the Western Allies to the USSR, was brought to battle and sunk by superior...

 by HMS Duke of York
HMS Duke of York (17)
HMS Duke of York was a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy. Laid down in May 1937, the ship was constructed by John Brown and Company at Clydebank, Scotland, and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 4 November 1941, subsequently seeing service during the Second World War.In...

, most German surface ships in bases at the Atlantic were blockaded in, or close to, their ports as a fleet in being
Fleet in being
In naval warfare, a fleet in being is a naval force that extends a controlling influence without ever leaving port. Were the fleet to leave port and face the enemy, it might lose in battle and no longer influence the enemy's actions, but while it remains safely in port the enemy is forced to...

, for fear of losing them in action and to tie up British naval forces. The largest of these ships, the battleship Tirpitz
German battleship Tirpitz
Tirpitz was the second of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the architect of the Imperial Navy, the ship was laid down at the Kriegsmarinewerft in Wilhelmshaven in November 1936 and launched two and a half years later in April...

, was stationed in Norway as a threat to Allied shipping and also as a defence against a potential Allied invasion. When she was sunk, after several attempts, by British bombers in November 1944 (Operation Catechism
Operation Catechism
Operation Catechism was the last of nine attempts to sink or sabotage the Kriegsmarine battleship Tirpitz during World War II. On November 12, 1944, the RAF Bomber Command dispatched 30 Avro Lancaster heavy bombers from No. 9 Squadron RAF and No. 617 Squadron RAF Operation Catechism was the last of...

), several British capital ships could be moved to the Far East.

From late 1944 until the end of the war, the surface fleet of Kriegsmarine was heavily engaged in providing artillery support to the retreating German land forces along the Baltic coast and in ferrying civilian refugees to the western Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 parts of Germany (Mecklenburg
Mecklenburg
Mecklenburg is a historical region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal-state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern...

, Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig...

) in large rescue operations. Large parts of the population of eastern Germany
Historical Eastern Germany
The former eastern territories of Germany are those provinces or regions east of the current eastern border of Germany which were lost by Germany during and after the two world wars. These territories include the Province of Posen and East Prussia, Farther Pomerania, East Brandenburg and Lower...

 fled the approaching Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 out of fear for Soviet retaliation (mass rapes, killings and looting by Soviet troops did occur). The Kriegsmarine evacuated two million civilians and troops in the evacuation of East Prussia
Evacuation of East Prussia
The evacuation of East Prussia refers to the evacuation of the German civilian population and military personnel in East Prussia and the Klaipėda region between 20 January, and March 1945, as part of the evacuation of German civilians towards the end of World War II...

 and Danzig
Gdansk
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay , in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the...

 from January to May 1945. It was during this activity that the catastrophic sinking of several large passenger ships occurred: the Wilhelm Gustloff
Wilhelm Gustloff (ship)
The MV Wilhelm Gustloff was a German KdF flagship during 1937-1945, constructed by the Blohm & Voss shipyards. It sank after being torpedoed by the Soviet submarine on 30 January 1945....

and the Goya
Goya (ship)
The Goya was a German transport ship sunk by a Soviet submarine in the Baltic Sea, near the end of the Second World War, while carrying wounded Wehrmacht troops and civilians who were fleeing the advance of Soviet forces. Most of the crew and passengers died...

was sunk by Soviet submarines, while the SS Cap Arcona
SS Cap Arcona
The Cap Arcona was a large German luxury ocean liner, formerly of the Hamburg-South America line. It transported passengers between Germany and South America up until 1940 when it was taken over by the German Navy....

was sunk by British bombers, each sinking claiming thousands of civilian lives. The Kriegsmarine also provided important assistance in the evacuation of the fleeing German civilians of Pomerania
Pomerania
Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Divided between Germany and Poland, it stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the East...

 and Stettin in March and April 1945.

A desperate measure of the Kriegsmarine to fight the superior strength of the Western Allies
Western Allies
The Western Allies were a political and geographic grouping among the Allied Powers of the Second World War. It generally includes the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth, the United States, France and various other European and Latin American countries, but excludes China, the Soviet Union,...

 from 1944 was the formation of the Kleinkampfverbände
K-Verband
The K-Verband was a World War II German naval unit that operated a mixture of Midget submarines and explosive speed boats....

(Small Battle Units). These were special naval units with frogmen
Frogman
A frogman is someone who is trained to scuba diving or swim underwater in a military capacity which can include combat. Such personnel are also known by the more formal names of combat diver or combatant diver or combat swimmer....

, manned torpedos, motorboats laden with explosives and so on. The more effective of these weapons and units were the development and deployment of midget submarine
Midget submarine
A midget submarine is any submarine under 150 tons, typically operated by a crew of one or two but sometimes up to 6 or 8, with little or no on-board living accommodation...

s like the Molch
Molch
The Molch was an unsuccessful, one-man series of German midget submarines created during World War II...

 and Seehund
Seehund
The Seehund , also known as Type XXVII, was a successful series of German midget submarines created during World War II...

. In the last stage of the war, the Kriegsmarine also organized a number of divisions of infantry from its personnel.

Between 1943 and 1945, a group of U-boats known as the "Monsun Boats
Monsun Gruppe
The Monsun Gruppe or Monsoon Group was a force of German U-boats that operated in the Pacific and Indian Oceans during World War II...

" (Monsun Gruppe) operated in the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 from Japanese bases in the occupied Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies
The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony that became modern Indonesia following World War II. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Netherlands government in 1800....

 and Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

. Allied convoys had not yet been organized in those waters, so initially many ships were sunk. However, this situation was soon remedied. During the later war years, the "Monsun Boats" were also used as a means of exchanging vital war supplies with Japan.

During 1943 and 1944, due to Allied anti-submarine tactics
Anti-submarine warfare
Anti-submarine warfare is a branch of naval warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft, or other submarines to find, track and deter, damage or destroy enemy submarines....

 and better equipment the U-boat fleet started to suffer heavy losses. Radar
Radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

, longer range air cover, Sonar
Sonar
Sonar is a technique that uses sound propagation to navigate, communicate with or detect other vessels...

, improved tactics and new weapons all contributed. German technical developments, such as the Schnorchel
Submarine snorkel
A submarine snorkel is a device which allows a submarine to operate submerged while still taking in air from above the surface. Navy personnel often refer to it as the snort.-History:...

, attempted to counter these. The superior U-boat types XXI
German Type XXI submarine
Type XXI U-boats, also known as "Elektroboote", were the first submarines designed to operate primarily submerged, rather than as surface ships that could submerge as a means to escape detection or launch an attack.-Description:...

 and XXIII
German Type XXIII submarine
German Type XXIII submarines were the first so-called elektroboats to become operational. They were small coastal submarines designed to operate in the shallow waters of the North Sea, Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea, where larger Type XXI Elektro boats were at risk in World War II. They were so...

 were at the end of the war in mass-production, some of them already operational, and other revolutionary types of U-boats were in developement. Had these become operational in sufficient numbers, the Allied advantage would have been eroded.

Post-war division

After the war, the German surface ships that remained afloat (only two large warships were operational) were divided among the victors. The USA used the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen
German cruiser Prinz Eugen
Prinz Eugen was an Admiral Hipper-class heavy cruiser, the third member of the class of five vessels. She served with the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The ship was laid down in April 1936 and launched August 1938; Prinz Eugen entered service after the outbreak of war, in August 1940...

in the Bikini atomic experiments
Bikini atomic experiments
The Bikini Atomic Experiments were a series of nuclear and thermonuclear tests conducted on Bikini Atoll in the Bikini Islands. The experiments were part of the United States' research into the full effects of the atomic bomb, including post-detonation radioactive fallout...

 in 1946 as target ship. Some (like the unfinished aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin
German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin
German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin was the lead ship in a class of two carriers ordered by the Kriegsmarine. She was the only aircraft carrier launched by Germany during World War II and represented part of the Kriegsmarine's attempt to create a well-balanced oceangoing fleet, capable of...

) were used for target practice with conventional weapons, while others (mostly destroyers and torpedo boats) were put into the service of Allied navies that lacked surface ships after the war. The British, French and Soviet navies received the destroyers, and some torpedo boats went to the Danish and Norwegian navies. For the purpose of mine clearing, the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

employed German crews and minesweepers from June 1945 to January 1948, organized in the German Mine Sweeping Administration
German Mine Sweeping Administration
The German Mine Sweeping Administration was formed from former crews and vessels of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine for the purpose of mine sweeping after the Second World War, predominantly in the North Sea and Baltic Sea, and existed from June 1945 to January 1948.-History:The GMSA was formed on 21...

, the GMSA, which consisted of 27,000 members of the former Kriegsmarine and 300 vessels.

The destroyers and the Soviet share light cruiser Nürnberg
German cruiser Nürnberg
The Nürnberg, was a German light cruiser of the Leipzig class named after the city of Nuremberg. Some sources consider the Leipzig and Nürnberg to be of separate, single ship, classes...

were all retired by the end of the 1950s, but five escort destroyers were returned from the French to the new West German navy in the 1950s and three 1945 scuttled type XXI and XXIII U-boats were raised by West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 and integrated into their new navy. In 1956, with West Germany's accession to NATO, a new navy was established and was referred to as the Bundesmarine (Federal Navy). Some Kriegsmarine commanders like Erich Topp
Erich Topp
Rear Admiral Erich Topp was the third most successful of German U-Boot Experten commanders of World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords...

 and Otto Kretschmer
Otto Kretschmer
Flotilla Admiral Otto Kretschmer was a German U-boat commander in the Second World War and later an admiral in the Bundesmarine. From September 1939 until being captured in March 1941, he sank 47 ships, a total of 274,333 tons. For this he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak...

 went on to serve in the Bundesmarine. In East Germany the Volksmarine
Volksmarine
Volksmarine was the official designation of the maritime forces of the German Democratic Republic . It was part of the National People's Army, established in 1956.-History:...

(People's Navy) was established some time after the war. With the reunification of Germany in 1990, it was decided to simply use the name Deutsche Marine (German Navy
German Navy
The German Navy is the navy of Germany and is part of the unified Bundeswehr .The German Navy traces its roots back to the Imperial Fleet of the revolutionary era of 1848 – 52 and more directly to the Prussian Navy, which later evolved into the Northern German Federal Navy...

).

Major wartime operations

  • Wikinger
    Operation Wikinger
    Operation Wikinger was a sortie into the North Sea by the 1st Destroyer Flotilla of the Kriegsmarine, in February 1940. During this operation, poor inter-service communication and cooperation between the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe and inexperience resulted in the loss of two German ships...

     ("Viking") (1940) – foray by destroyers into the North Sea
  • Weserübung
    Operation Weserübung
    Operation Weserübung was the code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign...

     ("Exercise Weser
    Weser River
    The Weser is a river in north-western Germany. Formed at Hann. Münden by the Fulda and Werra, it flows through Lower Saxony, then reaching the historic port city of Bremen before emptying into the North Sea 50 km further north at Bremerhaven, which is also a seaport...

    ") (1940) – invasion of Denmark and Norway
  • Juno
    Operation Juno
    Operation Juno was a German naval offensive late in the Norwegian Campaign. The German ships involved were the battlecruisers and , the heavy cruiser and the destroyers Karl Galster, Hans Lody, Erich Steinbrinck and Hermann Schoemann....

     (1940) – operation to disrupt Allied supplies to Norway
  • Nordseetour
    Operation Nordseetour
    Operation Nordseetour was the first Atlantic sortie of the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper during December, 1940.The first attack, on troop convoy WS-5A, took place in December 1940. Although one of the escorting British cruisers, HMS Berwick, was heavily damaged, the impact on the convoy was...

     (1940) – first Atlantic operation of Admiral Hipper
  • Berlin (1941) – Atlantic cruise of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau
  • Rheinübung ("Exercise Rhine") (1941) – breakout by Bismarck and Prinz Eugen
  • Doppelschlag
    Operation Doppelschlag
    Operation Doppelschlag was the planned sortie in 1942 into the Arctic Ocean by warships of the German Navy during World War II....

     ("Double blow") (1942) – anti-shipping operation off Novaya Zemlya
    Novaya Zemlya
    Novaya Zemlya , also known in Dutch as Nova Zembla and in Norwegian as , is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean in the north of Russia and the extreme northeast of Europe, the easternmost point of Europe lying at Cape Flissingsky on the northern island...

     by Admiral Scheer and Admiral Hipper
  • Sportpalast
    Operation Sportpalast
    Operation Sportpalast was the action by Tirpitz and its escorting destroyers against Arctic convoys PQ-12 and QP-8...

     (1942) – aborted operation (including Tirpitz) to attack Arctic convoys
  • Rösselsprung ("Knights
    Knight (chess)
    The knight is a piece in the game of chess, representing a knight . It is normally represented by a horse's head and neck. Each player starts with two knights, which begin on the row closest to the player, one square from the corner...

     Move") (1942) – operation (including Tirpitz) to attack Arctic convoy PQ 17
  • Wunderland
    Operation Wunderland
    Operation Wunderland was a large-scale operation undertaken in summer 1942 by the Kriegsmarine during World War II in the waters of the Northern Sea Route close to the Arctic Ocean...

     (1942) – anti-shipping operation in Kara Sea by Admiral Scheer
  • Paukenschlag
    Second happy time
    The Second Happy Time , also known among German submarine commanders as the "American shooting season" was the informal name for a phase in the Second Battle of the Atlantic during which Axis submarines attacked merchant shipping along the east coast of North America...

     ("Drumbeat" ("Beat of the Kettle Drum"); "Second Happy Time") (1942) – U-boat campaign off the United States east coast
  • Regenbogen
    Operation Regenbogen
    Operation Regenbogen may refer to:*In 1942 Operation Regenbogen was an unsuccessful sortie against Arctic convoy JW-51B, which led to the Battle of the Barents Sea...

     ("Rainbow") (1942) – failed attack on Arctic convoy JW-51B, by Admiral Hipper and Lützow
  • Cerberus
    Operation Cerberus
    The Channel Dash, , was a major naval engagement during World War II in which a German Kriegsmarine squadron consisting of both Scharnhorst class battleships, and heavy cruiser along with escorts, ran a British blockade and successfully sailed from Brest in Brittany to their home bases in Germany...

     (1942) – movement of capital ships from Brest to home ports in Germany (Channel Dash)
  • Ostfront
    Operation Ostfront
    Operation Ostfront was the sortie into the Arctic Ocean by the German warship Scharnhorst during World War II. This operation culminated in the sinking of Scharnhorst.-Background:...

     ("East front") (1943) – final operation of Scharnhorst, to intercept convoy JW 55B
    Convoy JW 55B
    Convoy JW 55B was an Arctic convoy sent from Great Britain by the Western Allies to aid the Soviet Union during World War II. It sailed in late December 1943, reaching the Soviet northern ports at the end of the month...

  • Domino (1943) – second aborted Arctic sortie by Scharnhorst, Prinz Eugen and destroyers
  • Zitronella
    Operation Zitronella
    Operation Zitronella, also known as Operation Sizilien was an eight-hour German raid on Spitzbergen on 8 September 1943.-Background:...

     ("Lemon extract") (1943) – raid upon Allied-occupied Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
  • Hannibal
    Operation Hannibal
    Operation Hannibal was a German military operation involving the evacuation by sea of German troops and civilians from Courland, East Prussia, and the Polish Corridor from mid-January to May, 1945 as the Red Army advanced during the East Prussian and East Pomeranian Offensives and subsidiary...

     (1945) - evacuation proceedings from Courland
    Courland
    Courland is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. The regions of Semigallia and Selonia are sometimes considered as part of Courland.- Geography and climate :...

    , Danzig-West Prussia
    Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia
    The Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia was a Nazi German province created on 8 October 1939 from the territory of the annexed Free City of Danzig, the annexed Polish province Greater Pomeranian Voivodship , and the Nazi German Regierungsbezirk West Prussia of Gau East Prussia. Before 2 November 1939,...

      and East Prussia
    East Prussia
    East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

    .
  • Deadlight
    Operation Deadlight
    Operation Deadlight was the code name for the scuttling of U-boats surrendered to the Allies after the defeat of Germany near the end of World War II....

     (1945) – the British Royal Navy
    Royal Navy
    The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

    's postwar scuttling of Kriegsmarine U-boats

Ships

By the start of World War II, much of the Kriegsmarine were modern ships: fast, well-armed and well-armoured. This had been achieved by concealment but also by deliberately flouting World War I peace terms and those of various naval treaties. However, the war started with the German Navy still at a distinct disadvantage in terms of sheer size with what were expected to be its primary adversaries – the navies of France and Great Britain. Although a major re-armament of the navy (Plan Z
Plan Z
Plan Z was the name given to the planned re-equipment and expansion of the Nazi German Navy ordered by Adolf Hitler on January 27, 1939...

) was planned, and initially begun, the start of the war in 1939 meant that the vast amounts of material required for the project were diverted to other areas. The sheer disparity in size when compared to the other European powers navies prompted German naval commander in chief Grand Admiral Erich Raeder to write of his own navy once the war began "The surface forces can do no more than show that they know how to die gallantly." A number of captured ships from occupied countries were added to the German fleet as the war progressed.

Some ship types do not fit clearly into the commonly used ship classifications. Where there is argument, this has been noted.

Surface ships

The main combat ships of the Kriegsmarine (excluding U-boat
U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

s):

Aircraft carriers

Construction of the Graf Zeppelin
German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin
German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin was the lead ship in a class of two carriers ordered by the Kriegsmarine. She was the only aircraft carrier launched by Germany during World War II and represented part of the Kriegsmarine's attempt to create a well-balanced oceangoing fleet, capable of...

 was started in 1936 with an unnamed sister ship
Flugzeugträger B
The Flugzeugträger B was the sister ship of the Kriegsmarine's only launched aircraft carrier, the Graf Zeppelin....

 started two years later in 1938, but neither ship was completed. In 1942 conversion to auxiliary carriers was begun on three German passenger ships and two unfinished cruisers—the captured French light cruiser De Grasse and the German heavy cruiser Seydlitz
German cruiser Seydlitz
Seydlitz was a heavy cruiser of the German Kriegsmarine, fourth in the , but was never completed. The ship was laid down in December 1936 and launched in January 1939, but the outbreak of World War II interrupted her completion at approximately 95 percent...

. In November 1942 the work for conversion of the passenger ships was stopped because this ships were now seen as to slow for operations with the fleet. But one of this ships was now begun to convert in a training carrier. In February 1943 all the work on carriers was halted because of the German failure during the Battle of the Barents Sea
Battle of the Barents Sea
The Battle of the Barents Sea took place on 31 December 1942 between German surface raiders and British ships escorting convoy JW 51B to Kola Inlet in the USSR. The action took place in the Barents Sea north of North Cape, Norway...

 which convinced Hitler that big warships were useless.

All engineering of the aircraft carriers like catapults, arresting gears and so on were tested and developed at the Erprobungsstelle See Travemünde
Travemünde
Travemünde is a borough of Lübeck, Germany, located at the mouth of the river Trave in Lübeck Bay. It began life as a fortress built by Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony, in the 12th century to guard the mouth of the Trave, and the Danes subsequently strengthened it. It became a town in 1317 and in...

 (Experimental Place Sea in Travemünde) inclusive the airplanes for aircraft carriers the Fieseler Fi 167
Fieseler Fi 167
|-See also:*Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia-References:* Green, William. Warplanes of the Third Reich. New York: Doubleday, 1972. ISBN 0-385-05782-2....

 ship-borne biplane torpedo and reconnaissance bomber and the navalized versions of two key early war Luftwaffe aircraft: the Messerschmitt Bf 109
Messerschmitt Bf 109
The Messerschmitt Bf 109, often called Me 109, was a German World War II fighter aircraft designed by Willy Messerschmitt and Robert Lusser during the early to mid 1930s...

T fighter and Junkers Ju 87
Junkers Ju 87
The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka was a two-man German ground-attack aircraft...

C Stuka dive bomber.

Battleships

The Kriegsmarine completed four battleships during its existence. The first pair were the 11-inch gun Scharnhorst class
Scharnhorst class battleship
The Scharnhorst class were the first capital ships, alternatively referred to as battlecruisers or battleships, built for the German Navy after World War I. The class comprised two vessels: the lead ship Scharnhorst and Gneisenau...

, consisting of the Scharnhorst
German battleship Scharnhorst
Scharnhorst was a German capital ship, alternatively described as a battleship and battlecruiser, of the German Kriegsmarine. She was the lead ship of her class, which included one other ship, Gneisenau. The ship was built at the Kriegsmarinewerft dockyard in Wilhelmshaven; she was laid down on 15...

 and Gneisenau
German battleship Gneisenau
Gneisenau was a German capital ship, alternatively described as a battleship and battlecruiser, of the German Kriegsmarine. She was the second vessel of her class, which included one other ship, Scharnhorst. The ship was built at the Deutsche Werke dockyard in Kiel; she was laid down on 6 May 1935...

, which participated in the invasion of Norway (Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung was the code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign...

) in 1940, and then in commerce raiding until the Gneisenau was heavily damaged by a British air raid in 1942 and the Scharnhorst was sunk in the Battle of the North Cape in late 1943. The second pair were the 15-inch gun Bismarck class
Bismarck class battleship
The Bismarck class was a pair of battleships built by the German Kriegsmarine shortly before the outbreak of World War II. The ships were the largest warships built by the German Navy and the heaviest capital ships ever completed in Europe...

, consisting of the Bismarck
German battleship Bismarck
Bismarck was the first of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the primary force behind the German unification in 1871, the ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1936 and launched nearly three years later...

 and Tirpitz
German battleship Tirpitz
Tirpitz was the second of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the architect of the Imperial Navy, the ship was laid down at the Kriegsmarinewerft in Wilhelmshaven in November 1936 and launched two and a half years later in April...

. The Bismarck was sunk on her first sortie into the Atlantic in 1941 (Operation Rheinübung
Operation Rheinübung
Operation Rheinübung was the sortie into the Atlantic by the new German battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen on 18–27 May 1941, during World War II...

), whilst the Tirpitz was based in Norwegian ports during most of the war as a fleet in being
Fleet in being
In naval warfare, a fleet in being is a naval force that extends a controlling influence without ever leaving port. Were the fleet to leave port and face the enemy, it might lose in battle and no longer influence the enemy's actions, but while it remains safely in port the enemy is forced to...

, tying up Allied naval forces, and subject to a number of attacks by British aircraft and submarines. More battleships were planned (the H class
H class battleship proposals
The H class was a series of battleship designs for the German Kriegsmarine, intended to fulfill the requirements of Plan Z in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The first variation, "H-39," called for six ships to be built, essentially as enlarged s with guns. The "H-41" design improved the "H-39"...

), but construction was abandoned in September 1939.

Pocket battleships (Panzerschiffe)

The "Pocket battleships" were the Deutschland
German pocket battleship Deutschland
Deutschland was the lead ship of her class of heavy cruisers which served with the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II. Ordered by the Weimar government for the Reichsmarine, she was laid down at the Deutsche Werke shipyard in Kiel in February 1929 and completed by April 1933...

 (later renamed Lützow), Admiral Scheer
German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer
Admiral Scheer was a Deutschland-class heavy cruiser which served with the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II. The vessel was named after Admiral Reinhard Scheer, German commander in the Battle of Jutland. She was laid down at the Reichsmarinewerft shipyard in Wilhelmshaven in June...

, and Admiral Graf Spee. Modern commentators favour classifying these as "heavy cruisers" and the Kriegsmarine itself reclassified these ships as such (Schwere Kreuzer) in 1940. In German language usage these three ships were designed and built as "armoured ships" (Panzerschiffe) - "pocket battleship" is an English label.

The Graf Spee was scuttled by her own crew in the Battle of the River Plate
Battle of the River Plate
The Battle of the River Plate was the first naval battle in the Second World War. The German pocket battleship had been commerce raiding since the start of the war in September 1939...

, in the Rio de la Plata
Río de la Plata
The Río de la Plata —sometimes rendered River Plate in British English and the Commonwealth, and occasionally rendered [La] Plata River in other English-speaking countries—is the river and estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and...

 estuary in December 1939. Admiral Scheer was bombed on 9 April 1945 in port at Kiel and badly damaged, essentially beyond repair, and rolled over at her moorings. After the war that part of the harbor was filled in with rubble and the hulk buried. Lützow (ex-Deutschland) was bombed 16 April 1945 in the Baltic off Schwinemünde just west of Stettin, and settled on the shallow bottom. With the Soviet Army advancing across the Oder, the ship was destroyed in place to prevent the Soviets capturing anything useful. The wreck was dismantled and scrapped in 1948-1949.

Pre-dreadnought battleships

The World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 era Pre-dreadnought battleships
Pre-dreadnought
Pre-dreadnought battleship is the general term for all of the types of sea-going battleships built between the mid-1890s and 1905. Pre-dreadnoughts replaced the ironclad warships of the 1870s and 1880s...

 Schlesien and Schleswig-Holstein were used mainly as training ships, although they also participated in several military operations. Zähringen
SMS Zähringen
SMS Zähringen was third ship of the Wittelsbach-class of pre-dreadnought battleships of the German Imperial Navy. Laid down in 1899 at the Germaniawerft shipyard in Kiel, she was launched on 12 June 1901 and commissioned on 25 October 1902...

 and Hessen
SMS Hessen
SMS Hessen"SMS" stands for "Seiner Majestät Schiff" was the third of five pre-dreadnought battleships of the Braunschweig class. She was laid down in 1902, launched the following year, and commissioned into the German Imperial Navy in 1905. She was named after the state of Hesse. Her sister ships...

 were converted into radio-guided target ships in 1928 and 1930 respectively. Hannover
SMS Hannover
SMS Hannover was the second of five Deutschland-class pre-dreadnoughts of the German Imperial Navy . Hannover and the three subsequently constructed ships differed slightly in both design and construction from the lead ship in their propulsion systems and slightly thicker armor...

 was decommissioned in 1931 and struck from the naval register in 1936. Plans to convert her into a radio-controlled target ship for aircraft was canceled because of the outbreak of war in 1939.

Battlecruisers

Three O class battlecruisers were ordered in 1939, but with the start of the war the same year there were not enough resources to build the ships anymore.

Heavy cruisers

Admiral Hipper
German cruiser Admiral Hipper
Admiral Hipper, the first of five ships of her class, was the lead ship of the Admiral Hipper–class of heavy cruisers which served with the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1935 and launched February 1937; Admiral Hipper...

, Blücher
German cruiser Blücher
Blücher was the second of five heavy cruisers of the German Kriegsmarine, built after the rise of the Nazi Party and the repudiation of the Treaty of Versailles. Named for Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, the victor of the Battle of Waterloo, the ship was laid down in August 1936 and launched in...

, and Prinz Eugen
German cruiser Prinz Eugen
Prinz Eugen was an Admiral Hipper-class heavy cruiser, the third member of the class of five vessels. She served with the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The ship was laid down in April 1936 and launched August 1938; Prinz Eugen entered service after the outbreak of war, in August 1940...



Never completed: Seydlitz
German cruiser Seydlitz
Seydlitz was a heavy cruiser of the German Kriegsmarine, fourth in the , but was never completed. The ship was laid down in December 1936 and launched in January 1939, but the outbreak of World War II interrupted her completion at approximately 95 percent...

, Lützow

Light cruisers

The term "light cruiser
Light cruiser
A light cruiser is a type of small- or medium-sized warship. The term is a shortening of the phrase "light armored cruiser", describing a small ship that carried armor in the same way as an armored cruiser: a protective belt and deck...

" is a shortening of the phrase "light armoured cruiser." Light cruisers were defined under the Washington Naval Treaty
Washington Naval Treaty
The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, was an attempt to cap and limit, and "prevent 'further' costly escalation" of the naval arms race that had begun after World War I between various International powers, each of which had significant naval fleets. The treaty was...

 by gun caliber. Light cruiser describes a small ship that was armoured in the same way as an armoured cruiser. In other words, like standard cruisers, light cruisers possessed a protective belt and a protective deck. Prior to this, smaller cruisers tended to be of the protected cruiser
Protected cruiser
The protected cruiser is a type of naval cruiser of the late 19th century, so known because its armoured deck offered protection for vital machine spaces from shrapnel caused by exploding shells above...

 model and possessed only an armoured deck. The Kriegsmarine light cruisers were as follows:
  • Emden
    German cruiser Emden
    The German light cruiser Emden was the only ship of its class. The third cruiser to bear the name Emden was the first new warship built in Germany after World War I....

  • Königsberg
    German cruiser Königsberg
    Königsberg was a light cruiser of the in the German Reichsmarine and Kriegsmarine. Her sisterships were Köln and Karlsruhe.After a number of foreign visits in the 1930s, the ship operated along the Spanish coast from November 1936 to January 1937 during the Spanish Civil War...

  • Karlsruhe
    German cruiser Karlsruhe
    Karlsruhe was a light cruiser of the German K class in World War II, the other ships in class being and . The K class were the first cruisers of the German navy to employ electric arc welding techniques and a newly designed triple gun turrets were installed...

  • Köln
    German cruiser Köln
    Köln was a German light cruiser prior to and during World War II, one of three K-Class cruisers named after cities starting with the letter K. This ship was named after the city of Köln . The others in her class were the Königsberg and the Karlsruhe...

  • Leipzig
    German cruiser Leipzig
    The German light cruiser Leipzig was the lead ship of her class . She was the fourth German warship to carry the name of the city of Leipzig.-History:...

  • Nürnberg
    German cruiser Nürnberg
    The Nürnberg, was a German light cruiser of the Leipzig class named after the city of Nuremberg. Some sources consider the Leipzig and Nürnberg to be of separate, single ship, classes...



Never completed: three M class cruiser
M Class cruiser
The M Class cruiser was a class of light cruisers planned, but never built, by the German Navy before World War II. The ships were designed for commerce raiding in the Atlantic Ocean...



Never Completed: KH-1 and KH-2 (Kreuzer (cruiser) Holland 1 and 2). Captured in the Netherlands 1940. Both being on the stocks and building continued for the Kriegsmarine.

In addition, the former Kaiserliche Marine light cruiser Niobe
SMS Niobe
SMS Niobe was a Gazelle-class light cruiser that served with the Kaiserliche Marine during First World War, and the Kriegsmarine during Second World War in a long career that also involved sailing with the Yugoslavian and Italian navies...

 was captured by Germans on September 11 1943 after the capitulation of Italy. She was pressed into Kriegsmarine service for a brief time before being destroyed by British MTBs.

Auxiliary cruisers

During the war, some merchant ships
Armed merchantmen
Armed merchantman is a term that has come to mean a merchant ship equipped with guns, usually for defensive purposes, either by design or after the fact. In the days of sail, piracy and privateers, many merchantmen would be routinely armed, especially those engaging in long distance and high value...

 were converted into "auxiliary cruisers" and nine were used as commerce raiders sailing under false flags to avoid detection, and operated in all oceans with considerable effect. The German designation for the ships was 'Handelstörkreuzer' thus the HSK serial assigned. Each had as well an administrative label more commonly used, e.g. Schiff 16 = Atlantis, Schiff 41 = Kormoran, etc. The auxiliary cruisers were:
  • Orion
    German auxiliary cruiser Orion
    Orion was an auxiliary cruiser of the German navy which operated as a merchant raider during World War II. Built by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg in 1930/31 as the freighter Kurmark, she was requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine at the outbreak of World War II and converted into the auxiliary cruiser Orion,...

     (HSK-1, Schiff 36)
  • Atlantis
    German auxiliary cruiser Atlantis
    The German auxiliary cruiser Atlantis , known to the Kriegsmarine as Schiff 16 and to the Royal Navy as Raider-C, was a converted German Hilfskreuzer of the Kriegsmarine, which, during World War II, travelled more than in 602 days, and sank or captured 22 ships totaling...

     (HSK-2, Schiff 16)
  • Widder
    German auxiliary cruiser Widder
    Widder was an auxiliary cruiser of the German Navy that was used as a merchant raider in the Second World War.Her Kriegsmarine designation was Schiff 21, to the Royal Navy she was Raider D....

     (HSK-3, Schiff 21)
  • Thor
    German auxiliary cruiser Thor
    Thor was an auxiliary cruiser of the German Kriegsmarine in the Second World War, intended for service as a commerce raider. Also known to the Kriegsmarine as Schiff 10; to the Royal Navy she was Raider E...

     (HSK-4, Schiff 10)
  • Pinguin
    German auxiliary cruiser Pinguin
    The Pinguin was a German auxiliary cruiser which served as a commerce raider in World War II. The Pinguin was known to the Kriegsmarine as Schiff 33, and designated HSK 5. The most successful commerce raider of the war, she was known to the British Royal Navy as Raider F...

     (HSK-5, Schiff 33)
  • Stier
    German auxiliary cruiser Stier
    The German auxiliary cruiser Stier was a German auxiliary cruiser during World War II. Her Kriegsmarine designation was Schiff 23, to the Royal Navy she was Raider J....

     (HSK-6, Schiff 23)
  • Komet
    German auxiliary cruiser Komet
    Komet was an auxiliary cruiser of the German Kriegsmarine in the Second World War, intended for service as a commerce raider...

     (HSK-7, Schiff 45)
  • Kormoran
    German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran
    The German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran was a Kriegsmarine merchant raider of World War II. Originally the merchant vessel Steiermark, the ship was acquired by the Kriegsmarine following the outbreak of war for conversion into a raider...

     (HSK-8, Schiff 41)
  • Michel
    German auxiliary cruiser Michel
    Michel was an auxiliary cruiser of the German Navy that operated as a merchant raider during World War II. Built by Danziger Werft in Danzig 1938/39 as the freighter Bielsko for Polish Gdynia-America-Line , she was requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine at the outbreak of World War II and converted...

     (HSK-9, Schiff 28)
  • Coronel (HSK number not assigned, Schiff 14, never active in raider operations.)
  • Hansa
    German auxiliary cruiser Hansa
    The Hansa was a German auxiliary cruiser of the Kriegsmarine used during World War II.She was known to the KM as HSK 5 , or also as Schiff 5. She was not given a raider letter by the Royal Navy as she did not enter active service as a commerce raider...

     (HSK not assigned, Schiff 5, never active in raider operations, used as a training ship)

Destroyers


Although the German World War II destroyer (Zerstörer) fleet was modern and the ships were larger than conventional destroyers of other navies, they had problems. Early classes were unstable, wet in heavy weather, suffered from engine problems and had short range. Some problems were solved with the evolution of later designs, but further developments were curtailed by the war and, ultimately, by Germany's defeat. In the first year of World War II, they were used mainly to sow offensive minefields in shipping lanes close to the British coast.

Torpedo boats


These vessels evolved through the 1930s from small vessels, relying almost entirely on torpedoes, to what were effectively small destroyers with mines, torpedoes and guns. Two classes of fleet torpedo boats were planned, but not built, in the 1940s.

Troop ships

Cap Arcona, Goya
Goya (ship)
The Goya was a German transport ship sunk by a Soviet submarine in the Baltic Sea, near the end of the Second World War, while carrying wounded Wehrmacht troops and civilians who were fleeing the advance of Soviet forces. Most of the crew and passengers died...

, Steuben
Dampfschiff General von Steuben
SS General von Steuben was a German luxury passenger liner. She was launched as the München , renamed in 1930 as the General von Steuben , and renamed again in 1938 as Steuben...

, Wilhelm Gustloff
Wilhelm Gustloff (ship)
The MV Wilhelm Gustloff was a German KdF flagship during 1937-1945, constructed by the Blohm & Voss shipyards. It sank after being torpedoed by the Soviet submarine on 30 January 1945....

.

Miscellaneous

Minelayers, minesweeper
Minesweeper (ship)
A minesweeper is a small naval warship designed to counter the threat posed by naval mines. Minesweepers generally detect then neutralize mines in advance of other naval operations.-History:...

s, Gunboats, E-boat
E-boat
E-boats was the designation for Motor Torpedo Boats of the German Navy during World War II. It is commonly held that the E stood for Enemy....

s and Watchboats.

Submarines (U-boat)

At the outbreak of war, the Kriegsmarine had a relatively small fleet of 57 submarines (U-boat
U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

s). This was increased steadily until mid-1943, when losses through allied counter-measures matched the new vessels launched.

The principal types were the Type IX
German Type IX submarine
The Type IX U-boat was designed by Germany in 1935 and 1936 as a large ocean-going submarine for sustained operations far from the home support facilities. Type IX boats were briefly used for patrols off the eastern United States in an attempt to disrupt the stream of troops and supplies bound for...

, a long range type used in the western and southern Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans; and the Type VII
German Type VII submarine
Type VII U-boats were the most common type of German World War II U-boat. The Type VII was based on earlier German submarine designs going back to the World War I Type UB III, designed through the Dutch dummy company Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw den Haag which was set up by Germany after...

, the most numerous type, used principally in the north Atlantic. Type X
German Type X submarine
Type X U-boats were a special type of German submarine . Although intended as long-range mine-layers, they were later used as long-range cargo transports, a task they shared with the Type IXD and Italian Romolo-class submarines.-History:...

 was a small class of mine-layers and Type XIV
German Type XIV submarine
The Type XIV U-boat was a modification of the Type IXD, designed to resupply other U-boats. They were nicknamed "Milchkuh/Milchkühe " . They had no torpedo tubes or deck guns, only anti-aircraft guns. Due to its large size, the Type XIV could resupply other boats with 400 tons of fuel, four...

 was a specialized type used to support distant U-boat operations – the "Milchkuh" (Milkcow).

Types XXI
German Type XXI submarine
Type XXI U-boats, also known as "Elektroboote", were the first submarines designed to operate primarily submerged, rather than as surface ships that could submerge as a means to escape detection or launch an attack.-Description:...

 and XXIII
German Type XXIII submarine
German Type XXIII submarines were the first so-called elektroboats to become operational. They were small coastal submarines designed to operate in the shallow waters of the North Sea, Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea, where larger Type XXI Elektro boats were at risk in World War II. They were so...

, the "Elektroboot", would have negated much of the Allied anti-submarine tactics and technology, but only a few of this new type of U-boat became ready for combat at the end of the war. Post-war, they became the prototypes for modern submarines, in particular, the Soviet Whiskey class submarine
Whiskey class submarine
Whiskey-class submarines are a class of naval submarines that the Soviet Union built in the early Cold War period.-Design:...

.

During World War II, about 60% of all U-boats commissioned were lost in action; 28,000 of the 40,000 U-boat crewmen were killed during the war and 8,000 were captured. The remaining U-boats were either surrendered to the Allies or scuttled by their own crews at the end of the war.
Top 10 U-Boat Aces in World War II
274,333 tons (47 ships sunk)     Otto Kretschmer
Otto Kretschmer
Flotilla Admiral Otto Kretschmer was a German U-boat commander in the Second World War and later an admiral in the Bundesmarine. From September 1939 until being captured in March 1941, he sank 47 ships, a total of 274,333 tons. For this he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak...

225,712 tons (43 ships) Wolfgang Lüth
Wolfgang Lüth
Kapitän zur See Wolfgang August Eugen Lüth , was the second most successful German U-boat ace of World War II...

193,684 tons (34 ships) Erich Topp
Erich Topp
Rear Admiral Erich Topp was the third most successful of German U-Boot Experten commanders of World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords...

186,064 tons (29 ships) Karl-Friedrich Merten
Karl-Friedrich Merten
Captain Karl-Friedrich Merten was a German U-boat commander during World War II. He is credited with the sinking of 27 ships for a total of of allied shipping. For this achievement he was awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves...

171,164 tons (34 ships) Victor Schütze
Victor Schütze
Captain Viktor Schütze , was a German Kriegsmarine U-boat ace, sinking a total of 35 allied ships totalling 180,053 tons during the Second World War. He is in fifth place on the ten Aces of the Deep. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves...

171,122 tons (26 ships) Herbert Schultze
Herbert Schultze
Lieutenant Commander Herbert Schultze , was a German U-boat commander of the Kriegsmarine during World War II. He commanded for eight patrols during the early part of the war, sinking and earning him eighth place on the Aces of the Deep list...

167,601 tons (28 ships) Georg Lassen
Georg Lassen
Lieutenant Commander Georg Lassen is a former German U-boat captain who served with the Kriegsmarine during World War II. He was a Watchkeeping Officer on at the outbreak of the war and later the skipper of the and winner of the Iron Cross. He sank 26 ships for a total of during 4 patrols,...

166,596 tons (22 ships) Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock
162,333 tons (30 ships) Heinrich Liebe
Heinrich Liebe
Commander Heinrich Liebe was a highly decorated German naval officer who served as a U-boat commander during World War II until transferred to Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine . He sank 34 ships for a total of , placing him fourth on the Aces of the Deep list...

160,939 tons (28 ships), plus the British battleship Royal Oak inside Scapa Flow
Scapa Flow
right|thumb|Scapa Flow viewed from its eastern endScapa Flow is a body of water in the Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom, sheltered by the islands of Mainland, Graemsay, Burray, South Ronaldsay and Hoy. It is about...

 
Günther Prien
Günther Prien
Lieutenant Commander Günther Prien was one of the outstanding German U-boat aces of the first part of the Second World War, and the first U-boat commander to win the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Under Prien's command, the submarine sank over 30 Allied ships totaling about...


Captured ships

The military campaigns in Europe yielded a number of captured vessels, many of which were under construction. Nations represented included Soviet Union, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Italy (after the armistice), Yugoslavia and Greece. Few of the incomplete ships were actually commissioned; they were abandoned, wrecked or broken up.

Major enemy warships sunk

Warships
Ship Type Date Action
HMS Courageous
HMS Courageous (50)
HMS Courageous was the lead ship of the cruisers built for the Royal Navy during the First World War. Designed to support the Baltic Project championed by the First Sea Lord, John Fisher, the ship was very lightly armoured and armed with only a few heavy guns. Courageous was completed in late...

 (Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

)
Fleet Aircraft Carrier September 17, 1939 torpedoed by submarine U-29
German submarine U-29 (1936)
German submarine U-29 was a Type VIIA U-boat of the German Kriegsmarine during World War II.She was laid down on 2 January 1936 and commissioned on 10 November 1936. During her career U-29 was involved in seven war patrols under the command of Kapitänleutnant Otto Schuhart...

 while on convoy escort
HMS Royal Oak (Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

)
Battleship October 14, 1939 torpedoed at anchor by submarine U-47
HMS Glorious (Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

)
Fleet Aircraft Carrier June 8, 1940 sunk by battleships Gneisenau
German battleship Gneisenau
Gneisenau was a German capital ship, alternatively described as a battleship and battlecruiser, of the German Kriegsmarine. She was the second vessel of her class, which included one other ship, Scharnhorst. The ship was built at the Deutsche Werke dockyard in Kiel; she was laid down on 6 May 1935...

 and Scharnhorst
German battleship Scharnhorst
Scharnhorst was a German capital ship, alternatively described as a battleship and battlecruiser, of the German Kriegsmarine. She was the lead ship of her class, which included one other ship, Gneisenau. The ship was built at the Kriegsmarinewerft dockyard in Wilhelmshaven; she was laid down on 15...

HMS Hood
HMS Hood (51)
HMS Hood was the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy. One of four s ordered in mid-1916, her design—although drastically revised after the Battle of Jutland and improved while she was under construction—still had serious limitations. For this reason she was the only ship of her class to be...

 (Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

)
Battlecruiser May 24, 1941 sunk by the battleship Bismarck
German battleship Bismarck
Bismarck was the first of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the primary force behind the German unification in 1871, the ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1936 and launched nearly three years later...

HMS Ark Royal
HMS Ark Royal (91)
HMS Ark Royal was an aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy that served during the Second World War.Designed in 1934 to fit the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty, Ark Royal was built by Cammell Laird and Company, Ltd. at Birkenhead, England, and completed in November 1938. Her design...

 (Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

)
Fleet Aircraft Carrier November 14, 1941 torpedoed by submarine U-81
HMS Barham
HMS Barham (1914)
HMS Barham was a Queen Elizabeth-class battleship of the Royal Navy named after Admiral Charles Middleton, 1st Baron Barham, built at the John Brown shipyards in Clydebank, Scotland, and launched in 1914...

 (Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

)
Battleship November 25, 1941 torpedoed by submarine U-331
HMS Audacity
HMS Audacity (D10)
|HMS Audacity was a British escort carrier of the Second World War and the first of her kind. She was originally the German merchant ship Hannover, captured by the Royal Navy in the West Indies in March 1940 and renamed Sinbad, then Empire Audacity. She was converted and commissioned as HMS Empire...

 (Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

)
Escort Carrier December 21, 1941 torpedoed by submarine U-751
German submarine U-751
German submarine U-751 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for the German Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. Built as werk 134 of the Kriegsmarinewerft shipyard in Wilhelmshaven, she was commissioned on 31 January 1941, she served with 7th U-Boat Flotilla until 1 June as a training boat, and...

HMS Eagle
HMS Eagle (1918)
HMS Eagle was an early aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy. Ordered by Chile as the Almirante Cochrane, she was laid down before World War I. In early 1918 she was purchased by Britain for conversion to an aircraft carrier; this work was finished in 1924...

 (Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

)
Aircraft Carrier August 11, 1942 torpedoed by submarine U-73
HMS Avenger
HMS Avenger (D14)
HMS Avenger was a Royal Navy escort aircraft carrier during the Second World War. In 1939 she was laid down as the merchant ship Rio-Hudson at the Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Company yard in Chester, Pennsylvania. Launched on 27 November 1940, she was converted to an escort carrier and transferred...

 (Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

)
Escort Carrier November 15, 1942 torpedoed by submarine U-155
USS Block Island
USS Block Island (CVE-21)
USS Block Island was a for the United States Navy during World War II. She was the first of two escort carriers named after Block Island Sound off Rhode Island. Block Island was launched on 6 June 1942 by Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation of Seattle, Washington, under a Maritime Commission...

 (American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

)
Escort Carrier May 29, 1944 torpedoed by submarine U-549
HMAS Sydney (Royal Australian Navy
Royal Australian Navy
The Royal Australian Navy is the naval branch of the Australian Defence Force. Following the Federation of Australia in 1901, the ships and resources of the separate colonial navies were integrated into a national force: the Commonwealth Naval Forces...

)
Light Cruiser November 19,1941 sunk by German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran

Air and Land units

The Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

 had monopoly on all German military aviation, a major source of ongoing interservice rivalry
Interservice rivalry
Interservice rivalry is a military term referring to rivalries that can arise between different branches of a country's armed forces, such as between a nation's land forces , naval and air forces. It also applies to the rivalries between a country's intelligence services, Central Intelligence...

 with the Kriegsmarine. Catapult-launched spotter planes like Arado Ar 196
Arado Ar 196
-See also:-Bibliography:* Dabrowski, Hans-Peter and Koos, Volker. Arado Ar 196, Germany's Multi-Purpose Seaplane. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 1993. ISBN 0-88740-481-2....

 were manned by the Bordfliegergruppen ("ship-born groups"). Trägergeschwader 186 (Carrier Air Group 186) with two wings (Trägergruppe I/186 and Trägergruppe II/186) was with navalized Messerschmitt Bf 109
Messerschmitt Bf 109
The Messerschmitt Bf 109, often called Me 109, was a German World War II fighter aircraft designed by Willy Messerschmitt and Robert Lusser during the early to mid 1930s...

 and Junkers Ju 87 Stuka
Junkers Ju 87
The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka was a two-man German ground-attack aircraft...

 assigned for the aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin
German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin
German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin was the lead ship in a class of two carriers ordered by the Kriegsmarine. She was the only aircraft carrier launched by Germany during World War II and represented part of the Kriegsmarine's attempt to create a well-balanced oceangoing fleet, capable of...

 but used from bases on land. Furthermore five coastal groups (Küstenfliegergruppen) with reconnaissance aircraft
Reconnaissance aircraft
A reconnaissance aircraft is a manned military aircraft designed, or adapted, to carry out aerial reconnaissance.-History:The majority of World War I aircraft were reconnaissance designs...

s, torpedo bomber
Torpedo bomber
A torpedo bomber is a bomber aircraft designed primarily to attack ships with aerial torpedoes which could also carry out conventional bombings. Torpedo bombers existed almost exclusively prior to and during World War II when they were an important element in many famous battles, notably the...

s, minesweepers and air-sea rescue
Air-sea rescue
Air-sea rescue is the coordinated search and rescue of the survivors of emergency water landings as well as people who have survived the loss of their sea-going vessel. ASR can involve a wide variety of resources including seaplanes, helicopters, submarines, rescue boats and ships...

 seaplanes supported the Kriegsmarine, although with lesser resources as the war progressed.

The Marine-Schützen divisions ("marine riflemen") protected the naval bases and in 1944 amphibian units unsuccessfully tried to capture the strategic island Suursaari in the Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland and Estonia all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn...

 from Germany's former allied Finland (Operation Tanne Ost). The Atlantic Wall
Atlantic Wall
The Atlantic Wall was an extensive system of coastal fortifications built by Nazi Germany between 1942 and 1944 along the western coast of Europe as a defense against an anticipated Allied invasion of the mainland continent from Great Britain.-History:On March 23, 1942 Führer Directive Number 40...

 had former battleship crews to man the coastal batteries
Coastal artillery
Coastal artillery is the branch of armed forces concerned with operating anti-ship artillery or fixed gun batteries in coastal fortifications....

 and other Kriegsmarine personnel to man the Seetakt sea radars
Seetakt radar
The shipborne Seetakt radar was developed in the 1930s and was used by the German Navy during World War II.In Germany during the late 1920s, Hans Hollmann began working in the field of microwaves, which were to later become the basis of almost all radar systems. In 1935 he published Physics and...

.

Officers

Kriegsmarine US Navy/Royal Navy
Großadmiral Fleet Admiral/Admiral of the Fleet
Admiral of the Fleet
An admiral of the fleet is a military naval officer of the highest rank. In many nations the rank is reserved for wartime or ceremonial appointments...

Generaladmiral  Admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

Admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

 
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Vice admiral is a senior naval rank of a three-star flag officer, which is equivalent to lieutenant general in the other uniformed services. A vice admiral is typically senior to a rear admiral and junior to an admiral...

Vizeadmiral  Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral
Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

 (Upper Half)/Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral
Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

Konteradmiral  Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral
Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

 (Lower Half)/Commodore Admiral
Commodore Admiral
Commodore Admiral was a short lived military rank of the United States Navy that existed for less than 11 months during the year 1982. The rank of Commodore Admiral was established as the Navy's one-star admiral rank after nearly forty years of all Navy captains receiving promotion directly to the...

Kommodore
Kommodore
Kommodore is a German rank equivalent to Commodore. Kommodore originated as a title used by some Captains in World War I. A German Commodore could hold any naval rank between Lieutenant and Captain and the title of Commodore was held by those officers who held tactical control over more than one...

 
Commodore Junior Grade
Commodore (rank)
Commodore is a military rank used in many navies that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. Non-English-speaking nations often use the rank of flotilla admiral or counter admiral as an equivalent .It is often regarded as a one-star rank with a NATO code of OF-6, but is not always...

/ Commodore
Commodore (rank)
Commodore is a military rank used in many navies that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. Non-English-speaking nations often use the rank of flotilla admiral or counter admiral as an equivalent .It is often regarded as a one-star rank with a NATO code of OF-6, but is not always...

Kapitän zur See  Captain
Captain (naval)
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

Fregattenkapitän  Commander
Commander
Commander is a naval rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. Commander is also used as a rank or title in some organizations outside of the armed forces, particularly in police and law enforcement.-Commander as a naval...

Korvettenkapitän  Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander is a commissioned officer rank in many navies. The rank is superior to a lieutenant and subordinate to a commander...

Kapitänleutnant  Lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

Oberleutnant zur See  Lieutenant (Jg.)/Sub-Lieutenant
Sub-Lieutenant
Sub-lieutenant is a military rank. It is normally a junior officer rank.In many navies, a sub-lieutenant is a naval commissioned or subordinate officer, ranking below a lieutenant. In the Royal Navy the rank of sub-lieutenant is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the British Army and of...

Leutnant zur See  Ensign
Ensign (rank)
Ensign is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank itself acquired the name....

/Acting Sub-Lieutenant
Oberfähnrich zur See  Midshipman
Midshipman
A midshipman is an officer cadet, or a commissioned officer of the lowest rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Kenya...

 (Senior Grade)
Fähnrich zur See  Cadet
Cadet
A cadet is a trainee to become an officer in the military, often a person who is a junior trainee. The term comes from the term "cadet" for younger sons of a noble family.- Military context :...

/Midshipman
Midshipman
A midshipman is an officer cadet, or a commissioned officer of the lowest rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Kenya...

 (Junior Grade)

NCOs and Enlisted Rates

  • Matrose (Seaman Recruit)
  • Matrosengefreiter (Seaman Corporal)
  • Matrosenobergefreiter (Able Seaman Corporal)
  • Matrosenhaputgefreiter (Leading Seaman Corporal)
  • Matrosenstabsgefreiter (Staff Seaman Corporal)
  • Matrosenoberstabsgefreiter (Senior Staff Seaman Corporal)
  • Bootsmannsmat (Petty Officer 4th Class)
  • Oberbootsmannsmat (Petty Officer 3rd Class)
  • Stabsoberbootsmannsmat (Petty Officer 2nd Class)
  • Maat (Petty Officer 1st Class)
  • Obermaat (Chief Petty Officer)
  • Bootsmann/Feldwebel (Senior Chief Petty Officer)
  • Stabsbootsman/Stabsfeldwebel (Master Chief Petty Officer)
  • Oberbootsman/Oberfeldwebel (Command Master Chief Petty Officer, Fleet/Force Master Chief Petty Officer)
  • Stabsoberbootsman/Stabsoberdeldwebel (Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy)

Uniforms

Many different types of uniforms were worn by the Kriegsmarine, here is a list of the main ones:
German English
Dienstanzug Service Suit
kleiner Dienstanzug Small Service Suit
Ausgehanzug Suit for Walking Out
Sportanzug Sports Suit
Tropen-und Sommeranzug Tropical and Summer Suit
große Uniform Parade Uniform
kleiner Gesellschaftsanzug Small Party Suit
großer Gesellschaftsanzug Parade Party Suit

See also

  • Glossary of German military terms
  • Alwin-Broder Albrecht
    Alwin-Broder Albrecht
    Alwin-Broder Albrecht was a German naval officer who was one of Adolf Hitler's adjutants during World War II.-Biography:...

  • Karl Dönitz
    Karl Dönitz
    Karl Dönitz was a German naval commander during World War II. He started his career in the German Navy during World War I. In 1918, while he was in command of , the submarine was sunk by British forces and Dönitz was taken prisoner...

  • Erich Raeder
    Erich Raeder
    Erich Johann Albert Raeder was a naval leader in Germany before and during World War II. Raeder attained the highest possible naval rank—that of Großadmiral — in 1939, becoming the first person to hold that rank since Alfred von Tirpitz...

  • Horst Wessel
  • List of Kriegsmarine ships
  • List of Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross recipients of the Kriegsmarine
  • List of ships of the German navies
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