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The Z program has run into serious delays and cost overruns. Backing up the destroyers, are the frigates. They are used for anti-submarine warfare, and anti-surface warfare. The Kriegmarine's primary frigate is the F class. It is equipped with the Himmelblitz surface to air missile for self-defence, and the Kormoran anti-ship missile.
They carry up to 2 Luchs helicopters. The Kriegsmarine has 24 F frigates. The Kriegsmarine intends to replace them with the F class, but as with the Z , the program has run into serious hurdles, and only five are in service after ten years of construction.
The U-boat is one of the most important types of ships in the Kriegsmarine. With it, Germany nearly won two world wars, and it may play a major role in a third world war. Germany operates three types of U-boats:. Coastal U-Boats are used for minelaying, coastal patrol and defence, inserting special forces team, and training.
Training is probably their most important role, as aircraft have taken over most of its other roles. Coastal U-Boats train both submariners and anti-submarine warfare forces. All coastal U-boats are diesel-electric powered. This is due to cost, the lack of need for trans-oceanic range, and a lower noise level. Many of Germany's European allies operate similar U-Boats. Its missions include anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and commerce raiding. AU-Boats are the most numerous U-Boats.
The Marineflieger is Germany's naval air arm. It is the second most powerful naval air arm in the world after United States Naval Aviation. It's composition and use stems from Germany's history of naval weakness. Germany believed that the cost of matching the US Navy ship for ship would cripple Germany's economy. Aircraft were an asymmetrical response to American strength. It is divided into four arms:.
The Marineinfanteriekorps consists of seven brigades of ground specialising in amphibious operations. Four brigades are assigned to the various fleets. One Brigade is assigned directly to OK Europa as a special intervention force. The seventh brigade is the Kampfschwimmer Abteilung. This is Germany's naval special forces unit, and is assigned to OK Europa. The German Navy possesses a large number of small combatants. Minelayers are also common in the Baltic.
German fleets working in German territory have squadrons of mine countermeasures ships. The German Navy has few patrol boats. The Kriegsmarine Coastal Branch is responsible for operating coastal artillery, and providing protection for Kriegsmarine bases from ground and air attack. Coastal artillery provides a permanent and highly reliable defence for the restricted waters of the Baltic Sea. Historically, this force has consisted of fixed fortifications with heavy calibre guns.
The modern German coastal artillery force uses mobile guns and missiles. The ton SdKfz. It is used as the basis of a 15 cm Coastal Gun, a 9-round launcher for the Kormoran anti-ship missile, surface search radar, and command vehicle. Practically all of this force is assigned to the Baltic Fleet. Because they are shore-based, Coastal Artillery wear Field Grey. The Coastal Branch operate anti-aircraft guns and surface to air missiles to defend Kriegsmarine bases from air attack.
They also have several battalions of Naval Security Troops. They protect naval bases, and mount a ceremonial guard for Kriegsmarine headquarters. Most naval infantry equipment is standard Army equipment. The Kriegsmarine operates all over the world, and has its own integrated air force and army, and thus has the widest selection of uniforms.
Winter Dress Uniform - Worn with medals on ceremonial occasions. Sailors in honour guards wear jackboots. Summer Uniform - Authorised for wear during Summer and all year in the tropics. Worn with medals on ceremonial occasions. A side-cap is optional for non-ceremonial occasions. Coastal Branch Field Grey Dress Uniform - Coastal arms of the Kriegsmarine, including coastal artillery and military police, wear a field grey uniform with Kriegsmarine insignia.
This uniform is fairly rare. It is the equivalent of the white uniform of the rest of the Navy. These uniforms are generally worn by personnel in administrative positions, or by officers at sea. Working Uniform - General purpose working uniform for ship and shore. An M56 Stahlhelm may be worn in combat, on shore parties, or on boarding parties. Coastal Branch Fatigue Uniform - Barracks dress for the coastal branches. Camouflage Uniform - Battle dress worn by coastal branches.
Autumn, Desert, and Snow patterns also available. Men up to the rank of Stabsgefreiter wear shoulder boards on working uniforms only. On Blue "Reefer" coats, both sleeve insignia and shoulder boards are worn. This applies also to Mess Kit. Shoulder boards only are worn on "Red Sea Rig", great coats, and summer uniforms. Marshall Wiki Explore. Wiki Content. Explore Wikis Community Central. Register Don't have an account? View source. The two battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen passed through the English Channel Channel Dash on their way to Norway despite British efforts to stop them.
It was a tactical victory for the Kriegsmarine and a blow to British morale, but the withdrawal removed the possibility of attacking allied convoys in the Atlantic with heavy surface ships. With the German attack on the Soviet Union in June Britain started to send Arctic convoys with military goods around Norway to support their new ally.
In 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 of the inferiority of German radar technology,  and 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 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. 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 when Scharnhorst had been sunk in an attack on an Arctic convoy in the Battle of North Cape by HMS Duke of York , most German surface ships in bases at the Atlantic were blockaded in, or close to, their ports as a fleet in being , for fear of losing them in action and to tie up British naval forces. The largest of these ships, the battleship Tirpitz , 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 Operation Catechism , several British capital ships could be moved to the Far East. Large parts of the population of eastern Germany fled the approaching Red Army 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 and Danzig from January to May It was during this activity that the catastrophic sinking of several large passenger ships occurred: Wilhelm Gustloff and Goya were sunk by Soviet submarines, while Cap Arcona 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 and Stettin in March and April These were special naval units with frogmen , manned torpedoes, motorboats laden with explosives and so on. The more effective of these weapons and units were the development and deployment of midget submarines like the Molch and Seehund. In the last stage of the war, the Kriegsmarine also organized a number of divisions of infantry from its personnel.
Allied convoys had not yet been organized in those waters, so initially many ships were sunk. However, this situation was soon remedied. During and , due to Allied anti-submarine tactics and better equipment the U-boat fleet started to suffer heavy losses. The turning point of the Battle of the Atlantic was during Black May in , when the U-boat fleet started suffering heavy losses and the number of Allied ships sunk started to decrease.
Radar , longer range air cover, sonar , improved tactics and new weapons all contributed. German technical developments, such as the Schnorchel , attempted to counter these. The Elektroboote had the potential to negate the Allied technological and tactical advantage, although they were deployed too late to see combat in the war. In post-war , U-boat Commander Heinz-Wilhelm Eck of U was tried and executed with two of his crewmen for shooting at survivors; U was alleged to have shot at sunken ship survivors, but as the vessel was lost at sea with its crew, there was no investigation.
Some like the unfinished aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin 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 employed German crews and minesweepers from June to January ,  organized in the German Mine Sweeping Administration , the GMSA, which consisted of 27, members of the former Kriegsmarine and vessels.
With the reunification of Germany in , it was decided to use the name Deutsche Marine German Navy. 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 was planned, and initially begun, the start of the war in 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.
Some ship types do not fit clearly into the commonly used ship classifications. Where there is argument, this has been noted. The main combat ships of the Kriegsmarine excluding U-boats :. Construction of the Graf Zeppelin was started in and construction of an unnamed sister ship was started two years later in , but neither ship was completed. In conversion of three German passenger ships Europa , Potsdam , Gneisenau and two unfinished cruisers, the captured French light cruiser De Grasse and the German heavy cruiser Seydlitz , to auxiliary carriers was begun.
In November the conversion of the passenger ships was stopped because these ships were now seen as too slow for operations with the fleet. But conversion of one of these ships, the Potsdam , to a training carrier was begun instead. In February all the work on carriers was halted because of the German failure during the Battle of the Barents Sea which convinced Hitler that big warships were useless.
The Kriegsmarine completed four battleships during its existence. The second pair were the inch gun Bismarck class , consisting of the Bismarck and Tirpitz. More battleships were planned the H-class , but construction was abandoned in September Modern commentators favour classifying these as "heavy cruisers" and the Kriegsmarine itself reclassified these ships as such Schwere Kreuzer in Admiral Scheer was bombed on 9 April 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. 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 — The World War I era Pre-dreadnought battleships Schlesien and Schleswig-Holstein were used mainly as training ships, although they also participated in several military operations, with the latter bearing the distinction of firing the opening shots of WWII.
Hannover was decommissioned in and struck from the naval register in Plans to convert her into a radio-controlled target ship for aircraft was canceled because of the outbreak of war in Three O-class battlecruisers were ordered in , but with the start of the war the same year there were not enough resources to build the ships. The term " light cruiser " is a shortening of the phrase "light armoured cruiser ". Light cruisers were defined under the Washington Naval Treaty 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 model and possessed only an armoured deck.
The Kriegsmarine light cruisers were as follows:. Never completed: three M-class cruisers. Captured in the Netherlands Both being on the stocks and building continued for the Kriegsmarine. In addition, the former Kaiserliche Marine light cruiser Niobe was captured by Germans on 11 September after the capitulation of Italy. During the war, some merchant ships 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.
Each had as well an administrative label more commonly used, e. The auxiliary cruisers were:. 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.
These vessels evolved through the s 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 s. The E-boats were fast attack craft with torpedo tubes. Over boats of this type were built for the Kriegsmarine. Thousands of smaller warships and auxiliaries served in the Kriegsmarine , including minelayers , minesweepers , mine transports, netlayers, floating AA and torpedo batteries, command ships, decoy ships small merchantmen with hidden weaponry , gunboats , monitors, escorts, patrol boats, sub-chasers, landing craft, landing support ships, training ships, test ships, torpedo recovery boats, dispatch boats, aviso, fishery protection ships, survey ships, harbor defense boats, target ships and their radio control vessels, motor explosive boats, weather ships, tankers, colliers, tenders, supply ships, tugs, barges, icebreakers, hospital and accommodation ships, floating cranes and docks, and many others.
The Kriegsmarine employed hundreds of auxiliary Vorpostenboote during the war, mostly civilian ships that were drafted and fitted with military equipment, for use in coastal operations. The Submarine Arm of the Kriegsmarine was titled the U-bootwaffe "submarine force". At the outbreak of war, it had a fleet of 57 submarines. Types XXI and XXIII , the " Elektroboot ", could 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 prototype for modern conventional submarines, such as the Soviet Zulu class. The remaining U-boats were either surrendered to the Allies or scuttled by their own crews at the end of the war. The military campaigns in Europe yielded a large number of captured vessels, many of which were under construction. Few of the incomplete ships of destroyer size or above were completed, but many smaller warships and auxiliaries were completed and commissioned into Kriegsmarine during the war.
Additionally many captured or confisticated foreign civilian ships merchantmen, fishing boats, tugboats etc. Raeder held the post until falling out with Hitler after the German failure in the Battle of the Barents Sea.
Subordinate to these were regional, squadron and temporary flotilla commands. Regional commands covered significant naval regions and were themselves sub-divided, as necessary. They were commanded by a Generaladmiral or an Admiral. The Kriegsmarine used a form of encoding called Gradnetzmeldeverfahren to denote regions on a map. Each squadron organized by type of ship also had a command structure with its own Flag Officer. 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. The Kriegsmarine 's ship design bureau, known as the Marineamt , was administered by officers with experience in sea duty but not in ship design, while the naval architects who did the actual design work had only a theoretical understanding of design requirements.
As a result, the German surface fleet was plagued by design flaws throughout the war. Communication was undertaken using an eight-rotor system of Enigma encoding. The Luftwaffe had a near-complete monopoly on all German military aviation, including naval aviation, a major source of ongoing interservice rivalry with the Kriegsmarine. Catapult-launched spotter planes like Arado Ar twin-float seaplanes were manned by the so-called Bordfliegergruppen shipboard flying group.
The coastal batteries of the Kriegsmarine were stationed on the German coasts. With the conquering and occupation of other countries coastal artillery was stationed along the coasts of these countries, especially in France and Norway as part of the Atlantic Wall. The Kriegsmarine also manned the Seetakt sea radars on the coasts. In September amphibious units unsuccessfully tried to capture the strategic island Suursaari in the Gulf of Finland from Germany's former ally Finland Operation Tanne Ost.
With the invasion of Normandy in June and the Soviet advance from the summer of the Kriegsmarine started to form regiments and divisions for the battles on land with superfluous personnel. With the loss of naval bases because of the Allied advance more and more navy personnel were available for the ground troops of the Kriegsmarine.
About 40 regiments were raised and from January on six divisions. Half of the regiments were absorbed by the divisions. Many different types of uniforms were worn by the Kriegsmarine ; here is a list of the main ones:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Naval warfare branch of Germany's armed forces — This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Military unit. Main article: Plan Z. See also: List of Kriegsmarine ships. Main article: E-boat. Main article: U-boat. Main article: Organization of the Kriegsmarine. Main article: Uniforms and insignia of the Kriegsmarine. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. Retrieved 21 July Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
ISBN Battleships of the Scharnhorst Class. Barnsley: Seaforth Publishing. Kindle location of Naval Weapons of the World. Retrieved 23 December
The Kriegsmarine's most significant ships were the U-boats, most of which were constructed after Plan Z was abandoned at the beginning of World War II. To compensate, Germany's new navy, the Kriegsmarine, developed the largest submarine fleet going into World War II. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The Kriegsmarine was able to support key strategic missions of the Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces) only by all out efforts, such as the occupation of Norway.