German Battleship Scharnhorst

I have written in greater depth about the German battleship Scharnhorst.

The German battleship Scharnhorst was the lead ship of her class which included just one other ship, the Gneisenau. She was laid down in June 1935, launched in October 1936, and commissioned in January of 1939. Her January 1939 sea trials identified a design flaw in the bow which caused flooded in the bow and forward gun turret during heavy seas. In response, within a few months of commissioning, Scharnhorst went back to the dockyard for six months of refit including converting the bow into an “Atlantic bow.” Collected below are photographs of the Scharnhorst from after her refit.

U-47 (German Submarine, 1938-1941) arrives at Kiel, Germany, on 23 October 1939, with her crew at quarters. The battleship Scharnhorst is in the background. U-47 was returning from the mission in which she sank the British battleship Royal Oak inside Scapa Flow on 14 October. This is a halftone image, copied from a contemporary publication.
Scharnhorst (German Battleship, 1939-1943) in a German port with her crew manning the rail, circa late 1939, after she had been fitted with a “clipper” bow. This is a halftone image, clipped by the US Office of Naval Intelligence from the contemporary German booklet Deutsche Seemacht. The picture was published on two pages, and has been pieced together at right.
Scharnhorst (German Battleship, 1939) photographed by A. Klein, Kiel, in the fall of 1939, after completion of her July-August 1939 refit. Copied from the contemporary German photo album Meine Kriegserinnerungen auf Schlachtschiff Scharnhorst, page 1.
Scharnhorst (German Battleship, 1939) photographed in the fall of 1939, after completion of her July-August 1939 refit. Copied from the contemporary German photo album Meine Kriegserinnerungen auf Schlachtschiff Scharnhorst, page 3.
German battleship Scharnhorst in port, circa 1939-1940
Scharnhorst (German battleship, 1939-1943) recognition drawing, prepared for intelligence purposes, depicting the ship as refitted in 1939. This image was received from Lt. Matthews, Navy office OP 16 F-28 in November 1942.
German battleships Scharnhorst (left) and Gneisenau in a German port, circa 1939-41. The photograph was received from the Federal Bureau of Investigation with their letter of 2 October 1941.

[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: http://charlesmccain.com/

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