German Light Cruiser Karlsruhe

I have written about the German light cruisers previously including the Karlsruhe. The Karlsruhe was the second of the three ‘K’ class light cruisers built.

The K class light cruisers suffered from many design problems since they were designed and built in the late 1920’s and had to adhere to the strict limit’s imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. As the design problems became increasingly apparent, the duties of the ships were limited to compensate and they increasingly failed to serve in the role they were intended to.

The Karlsruhe took part in a few world tours during the 1930’s which highlighted some of the design problems inherent in her class. She patrolled the coasts of Spain and Portugal during the Spanish Civil War in 1937 and then spent the remainder of her life in the Baltic before being sunk in the Invasion of Norway. Collected below are photographs of the Karlsruhe in the Baltic from throughout her career.

Karlsruhe (German light cruiser, 1929-1940)

Karlsruhe (German light cruiser, 1929-1940) In the Kiel canal.

Karlsruhe (German light cruiser, 1929-1940)

Karlsruhe (German Light Cruiser, 1929-1940). Photographed circa the 1930s by Arthur Renard, Kiel, Germany. An inscription on the reverse of the original print states that it was given as a memento of a port visit during one of the ship’s cruises.

Karlsruhe (German light cruiser, 1929-1940) One of the Karlsruhe‘s world tours in the 1930’s which began in the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal where this photo was shot.

[Images courtesy of the Department of the Navy – Naval History & Heritage Command.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

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