The last light German cruisers
Started in 1927 on behalf of the Reichsmarine in Whilelmshaven, the Leipzig was an improved version of the previous “K” class, while keeping the essential, but also the flaws. The main part of its structure, especially the hull, was persevered, resulting in structural weaknesses and a “limiting” stability of the width of the hull. The chimneys were grouped together in a single structure, and the superstructure of the forecastle prolonged, the triple turrets rearranged in the axis, and the bow of “classical” again, for a longer length and an increased width.
The Nuremberg, on the other hand, was attacked for the Kriegsmarine, and the frontiers of the Treaty of Versailles were freed. It resulted in an increase in size, protection, and weight… Moreover its bridge superstructure was revised, more massive and better protected. His diesels were a new, more economical model. At the end of Nürnberg was the only really successful cruiser of this series of “Leichte Kreuzer”.
Before the conflict, the two ships participated in the naval blockade of arms to Spain (1936-39). At the time of the war, Leipzig was involved in mine clearance operations off the coast of England when it was torpedoed by British submarine HMS Salmon, along with its “twin”, the Nürnberg. The Leipzig returned to Germany and was converted into a training vessel, in particular two boilers were replaced to make chambers and its speed had fallen to 27 knots.
She returned to service on the occasion of Operation Barbarossa (June 1941), bombing Russian advanced bases in the Baltic. He then remained in the Baltic for training, and entered during an outing in foggy weather in collision with the Prinz Eugen. Repaired, but suffering from problems, he was less and less active. In 1945, he was serving as a dock ship and DCA support at Whilelmshaven. Then he operated off Gdynia to try to slow down the Russian lead. He eventually surrendered to the British. It was scuttled in the North Sea in 1946.
Cruiser Leipzig seen from the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal
The Nuremberg, on the other hand, also torpedoed by the Salmon when it was wetting its mines, missed the operations in Norway. However, he gained a fjord for operations launched against the convoys of the great north, and alternated these missions with those in the Baltic. He eventually surrendered to the allies in Copenhagen in 1945 and was attributed to the USSR as a war-warrant, renamed Admiral Makharov. He retired from service in 1959, the only surviving German cruiser.
Nürnberg surrendering to the allies in 1945
Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1921-1947.
KMS Nürnberg specifications
|Dimensions||177 x 16.30 x 5.65 m|
|Displacement||6200 t/8380 t FL|
|Propulsion||2 screws, 2 Brown-Boveri turbines, 66,000 hp, 2 MAN diesels 12 400 hp|
|Speed||32/19 knots (xx km/h; xx mph) Radius 5700 Nautical Miles|
|Armament||9(3×3)x 152 mm, 6x 88 mm AA, 8x 37mm AA, 12(4×3) TT 533 mm, 120 mines, 2 planes|
|Armor||Belt: 30 mm (), Deck: 25 mm (), Turrets 30mm, Conning tower: 30 mm ()|
Nurnberg recoigniation drawing – US Navy