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Emden Class Light Cruiser

Emden as built
Emden as built
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Ship Builder Laid Down Launched Completed Fate
Emden Wilhelmshaven 8 Dec 21 7 Jan 25 15 Oct 25 Scuttled 3 May 45

Displacement: 5,600 tons/5,689 tonnes (standard); 6,990 tons/7,102 tonnes (full load).
Length: 508ft 9in/155.1m (ca); 492ft 6in/150.1m (pp); 493ft 6in/150.5m (wi).
Beam: 47ft/14.3m; Draught: 16ft 11in/5.15m (mean).
Machinery: 2-shaft Brown-Boverie SR geared turbines; 10 Marine boilers.
Performance: 46,500shp=29.4kts; Bunkerage: 1,200 tons oil fuel.
Range: 5,300nm at 18kts.
Protection: 20 to 40mm deck; 50mm main belt; 100mm CT.
Guns: eight 5.9in (8xl); three 3.5in (3xl). Torpedoes: four 21in (2x2).
Aircraft: nil.
Complement: 630.

Defeat in the First World War and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles in 1919 left Germany with no effective fleet to speak of, save a handful of pre-1914 ships. The aftermath of war, political unrest and the economic problems which afflicted the country in the early 1920s left the new Reichsmarine with a pressing need to replace aged ships, but without the finance or political will to do so on any great scale. This situation was compounded by the run-down state of the design departments of the Admiralty, and of the dockyards themselves. Nevertheless, in 1921 the cruiser Ariadne would be 20 years old, and could be replaced under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Design work was therefore begun, which of necessity had to be based upon the experiences of the 1914-1918 period, as well as on the treaty limitation of 6,000 tons maximum. The new ship was designed, inevitably, to the maximum displacement allowable, with lines broadly based on the Koln, the last design to see operational service, albeit briefly. Shortages of materials, the occupation of the Ruhrland and the restrictions of the Allied Control Commission all contributed to the delays in completing this ship, but at the same time forced the consideration and employment of new construction techniques, including electric welding.

Emden, early
Emden, early
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Emden in the 1930s
Emden in the 1930s
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Armed with eight 5.9in (15cm) SK/L45 guns, the same as Koln, but with the forward pair superfiring instead of abreast, she nevertheless retained beam guns in the waist, a feature abandoned in most other navies by this time. Twin mountings had been intended in the original design, but these failed to materialise despite their being ordered from Rheinmetall, again due to the occupation of the Rheinland. The forced adoption of single mountings resulted in conflicting demands for deck space, and the consequent deletion of two twin banks of torpedo tubes. Mixed oil and coal firing was adopted, there being originally six oil- and four coal-fired boilers, with a twin-shaft single reduction geared turbine machinery layout.

The protective scheme included a horizontal deck 20 to 40mm thick with a 50mm belt.

In essence the ship was a First War, design, but her construction was robust and, had the Kriegsmarine made use of her potential she might have emulated her illustrious forebear.

Emden in 1940 / 41
Emden in 1940 / 41
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Emden, late photo
Emden, late photo
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Service

April 1940 Invasion of Norway, and then a training ship for most of the war. Ran aground in Oslofjord December 1944. Hit by incendiaries March 1945, and then bombed April 1945. Hit again soon after and beached.

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