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Leipzig Class Light Cruiser

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Ship Builder Laid Down Launched Completed Fate
Leipzig Wilhelmshaven 14 Apr 28 18 Oct 29 8 Oct 31 Scuttled 11 Jul 46

Displacement: 6,515 tons/6,619 tonnes (standard); 8,250 tons/8,382 tonnes (full load).
Length: 580ft 9in/177.1m (oa); 543ft 9in/165.8m (wi).
Beam: 53ft 3in/16.2m; Draught: 16ft/4.88m (mean).
Machinery: 2-shaft SR Parsons geared turbines; 1-shaft MAN diesel; 6 Marine boilers.
Performance: 60,000shp+12,400bhp=32kts; Bunkerage:1,253+348 tons oil/diesel.
Range: 3,800nm at 15kts.
Protection: 20-25mm deck; 20-50mm main belt; 20-30mm turrets; CT 100mm.
Guns: nine 5.9in (3x3); six 3.5in (3x2); eight 3.7cm (4x2); four 2cm (4xl).
Torpedoes: twelve 21in (4x3).
Aircraft: two, one catapult.
Complement: 850.

Kreuzer E, later to be named Leipzig, was a modified K design, outwardly differing only in having a single funnel. However, internally there was considerable difference, in particular in the nachinery layout. Her displacement was slightly increased, with more beam, and electric welding even more extensively employed to save weight. The other difference was that the after turrets were placed on the centreline. In this design, more realistic parameters were adopted for the calculation of the longitudinal strength as compared with the K class, but even so the design could still not be considered robust.

Cruising turbines were not fitted. Instead, four MAN diesel motors were installed, driving a centreline shaft through Vulkan couplings, giving a cruising installation independent of the turbine machinery. When the centre shaft was not required the propeller could be feathered to reduce drag.

The protection scheme returned to the concept of an armoured carapace, with a rounded 25mm deck edge joining the 50mm side belt at its lower edge. This carapace extended to about 70 per cent of the waterline length. Wotan hart material was utilised for the first time for the armoured areas.

Main and secondary armament remained as in the Ks, so the new cruiser had no greater fighting strength. An order was placed with the Naval Yard at Wilhelmshaven on 25 October 1927, and the hull was laid down in April the following year.

In 1936 Leipzig was fitted with a catapult and aircraft handling crane, and the old pattern 8.8cm guns were replaced initially by two of the new 8.8 Sk C/32 twin mountings, a third being added later. The new flak fire control system SL1 was also installed. The initial aircraft employed was the He 60. In 1939, during her last refit before the outbreak of war, the crane was replaced by a different type. When the problems of poor structural strength became evident, it was planned to take the ship in hand at the Howaldt yard for strengthening. This was to involve increasing the hull bulge so that displacement would increase by 120 tons, but draught was to remain at 5.68m. Calculations showed that steel work for the bulge and extra strengthening amounted to 210 tons and equipment additions to 60 tons, so that, with a reserve of 50 tons, the overall increase totalled 320 tons. This would increase draught by 10cm, but full stability and strength would be attained. Further plans to house the second aircraft in a splinterproof hangar were not possible owing to unacceptable weight. In the event, this work was not carried through because the outbreak of war occurred before yard capacity became available. Wartime alterations were limited in view of the damage sustained by the ship in 1939.


She suffered severe structural damage in 1937 caused by heavy seas. On 13 December 1939 she was severly damaged by torpedoes from the submarine Salmon while covering minelaying destroyers. This finished her as a fighting unit, and she continued in a training role until rammed by Prinz Eugen in October 1944.

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Leipzig, a superb photo
Leipzig, a superb photo
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Leipzig rammed by Prinz Eugen - October 1944
Leipzig rammed by Prinz Eugen - October 1944
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