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Light Cruiser Karlsruhe
The light cruiser Karlsruhe after reconstruction in 1939.


27 July 1926: Lay down at Deutsche Werke, Kiel. Construction number 207.

20 August 1927: Launched. Named after the German city of Karlsruhe.

06 November 1929: Commissioned under Captain Eugen Lindau.

January 1930: Conducts the first series of sea trials in the Baltic Sea.

19 May 1930 - 12 December 1930: Overseas training cruise. Itinerary: Kiel, Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean, East coast of Africa, South America, Spain, Kiel.

30 November 1931 - 08 December 1932: Overseas training cruise. Itinerary: Kiel, Spain, West Indies, West coast of North and South America, East coast of South and North America, Spain, Kiel.

14 October 1933 - 16 June 1934: Overseas training cruise. Itinerary: Kiel, Mediterranean Sea, Italy, Suez Canal, Indian Ocean, Asia, Australia, North and Central America, Spain, Kiel.

16 September 1934: Captain Günther Lütjens assumes command of the ship.

22 October 1934 - 20 June 1935: Overseas training cruise departing Kiel with calls at: Ponta Delgada (31 Oct. - 06 Nov.), Trinidad (16-21 Nov.), Fernando de Noronha (29 Nov. - 02 Dec.), São Francisco do Sul (09-18 Dec.), Montevideo (21 Dec. - 02 Jan.), Puerto Montt (11-15 Jan.), Valparaiso (18-27 Jan.), El Callao (01-06 Feb.), Buenaventura (11-16 Feb.), San Francisco (01-12 Mar.), Vancouver (15-21 Mar.), Acapulco (01-06 Apr.), Puerto San Jose (08-11 Apr.), Colon (15-20 Apr.), Houston (26 Apr. - 04 May), Charleston (10-20 May), Vigo (03-12 Jun.), Kiel (20 Jun.).

July 1935: Anchored in the Schillig roads off Wilhelmshaven.

21 October 1935 - 13 June 1936: Overseas training cruise. Itinerary: Kiel, Canary Islands, West coast of Africa, Indian Ocean, Seychelles, Dutch East Indies, Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, Aleutian Islands, West coast of North America, Panama Canal, West Indies, Spain, Kiel.

27 December 1936 - 22 February 1937: Operations in Spanish waters during the Civil War.

17-30 June 1937: Operations in Spanish waters.

20 May 1938 - 01 July 1939: Reconstruction at the Kriegsmarinewerft shipyard in Wilhelmshaven. Bulges added and beam increased. New cranes and funnel caps. A tripod mainmast is also attached to the second funnel.

13 November 1939: Recommissioned after reconstruction.

05 January 1940: Karlsruhe stops the Swedish steamer Konung Oscar (735 GRT) in the Baltic Sea with 42 Polish men of military age aboard. The ship is taken as a prize and sent to Memel.

08 April 1940: Operation Weserübung. Participates in the invasion of Norway as part of "Group IV" destined to Kristiansand and Arendal. At 0510 hours, the Karlsruhe leaves Wesermünde with the torpedo boats Greif, Luchs, and Seeadler, seven motor torpedo boats, and the tender Tsingtau, with 1,100 soldiers of the 163rd Infantry Division on board.

09 April 1940: The German group approaches the Norwegian coast at about 0430 hours in the morning, but due to heavy fog are not able to enter the fjord at Kristiansand until after 0600. The Karlsruhe then engages the Norwegian coastal batteries at Odderøya, but it is not until later in the afternoon that troops are finally landed and the city secured. At 1900 hours, Karlsruhe and the torpedo boats depart Kristiansand. At 1958 hours, the Karlsruhe is torpedoed south of Kristiansand by the British submarine Truant (Lieutenant-Commander C. H. Hutchinson). One torpedo hits the starboard side amidships (sections V-VI) in the cruising turbine room that becomes a total loss. The ship loses power and the crew is then taken off by the nearby torpedo boats. At 2250 hours, the Karlsruhe is finally scuttled by 2 torpedoes from torpedo boat Greif in approximate position 58º 04' North, 08º 04' East. 11 men die.

September 2020: The wreck of the Karlsruhe is found by Norwegian power grid operator Statnett at a depth of about 490 meters, 13 nautical miles off Kristiansand.

View Karlsruhe sinking in a larger map


Karlsruhe Plan
The Karlsruhe as she looked after the 1938-39 reconstruction.


06 November 1929 - 25 September 1931: Kapitän zur See Eugen Lindau.

26 September 1931 - 08 December 1932: Kapitän zur See Erwin Waßner.

09 December 1932 - 15 September 1934: Fregattenkapitän Wilhelm Harsdorf von Enderndorf.

16 September 1934 - 23 September 1935: Kapitän zur See Günther Lütjens.

24 September 1935 - 28 September 1937: Fregattenkapitän Leopold Siemens.

29 September 1937 - 20 May 1938: Kapitän zur See Erich Förste.

13 November 1939 - 10 April 1940: Kapitän zur See Friedrich Rieve.


Displacement: standard 6,650 mt, full load 7,800 mt (8,350 mt after reconstruction).

Dimensions: waterline length 169 m, overall length 174 m, beam 15.3 m (16.8 m), maximum draft 6.2 m, depth 9.25 m.

Armour: belt 50 mm, turrets 20-30 mm, upper deck 16 mm, armour deck 20 mm, conning tower 30-100 mm.

  •  9 x 15cm SK C/25 guns in three triple turrets.
  •  4 x 8.8cm L/45 guns in single mounts (later replaced with 6 x 8.8cm SK C/32 guns in three double mounts).
  •  8 x 3.7cm SK C/30 guns in four double mounts.
  •  6 x 2cm guns in single mounts.
  •  12 x 53.3cm torpedo tubes in four triple mounts (24 torpedoes).
  •  Up to 120 mines

Fire control: 3 x 6-m base rangefinders.

Radar equipment: None.

Seaplanes: 1 x Heinkel He 60 (later replaced with 1 x Arado ar 196).

Propulsion plant: Six Marine boilers, four Germania turbine sets, two shafts, 68,200 hp.

Speed: 32.1 knots (30 knots after reconstruction).

Endurance: 4,700 nm at 19 knots.

Fuel capacity: 1,350 mt.

Crew: 850.

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