Deutsche Werft shipyard file photo [32726]

Deutsche Werft Hamburg

Type   213 Shipyard
Historical Name of Location   Hamburg, Germany
Coordinates   53.538061000, 9.865033000


ww2dbaseIn 1916, a new shipyard named Hamburger Werft AG was established in the Finkenwerder section of Hamburg, Germany. Shipping magnate Albert Ballin, the leading figure of the new shipyard, used his influence with Kaiser Wilhelm II for Hamburger Werft to build merchant ships to replace shipping lost during the war thus far, and he promised short build times and reasonable prices. Major investors of the shipyard included Gutehoffnungshütte (GHH), Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), and Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt Actien Gesellschaft (HAPAG). The lease of the land was signed by AEG for the duration of 20 years. In 1917, work began on the construction of six slips. For various reasons, time being the most pressing, the slip foundations were given only a wood-pile base which limited the weight that each slip could hold to only 4,000 tons. In addition to the six slips a double horizontal slip was built mainly for construction of floating dry docks. Almost immediately the choice of Vorland I to build on became apparent. The narrowness of land precluded the building of satisfactory building halls near the slips, and the width of Kohlfleet channel, which is between the peninsula and Waltershof, precluded the placement of the floating dry dock, which was a necessity. Four of the six slips were completed during 1918. In Jun 1918, the shipyard was renamed Deutsche Werke AG. In the early years of the shipyard, it struggled for survival due to the lack of qualified workers, most of whom were in the service already, energy restrictions, and monumental material shortages. Much of the work completed between 1918 and 1920 were direct and indirect military business, although HAPAG did placed orders for 12 ships. In Nov 1918, Ballin committed suicide in response to the abdication of Wilhelm II. In 1919, the shipyard closed during the summer for three weeks due to lack of business. Around the same time, plans were drawn up and approved for a new shipyard further to the west, which had much more room, for another six slips of greater size. During the month of Jul 1919, deliveries of 150 to 200 tons of building materials arrived daily. Up until this time the Finkelwerder peninsula was a solid mass of land. Dredging work started on two channels to break Finkelwerder into three sections, Vorland I, II, and III, with the original 1917 shipyard located on the eastern-most Vorland I. The work on four of the slips on Vorland II began in Aug 1919, this time concrete was used as the foundation. There were to be three sets of two slips per section and each section was 50 meters in width and 182 meters in length. It was planned that ships exceeding 18,000 deadweight tonnage would be built on these slips. Additionally, the cable crane system would be used instead of the standard ground based cranes. 24 cables, 4 per slip, were used. Each cable was 280 meters in length and each slip was supported by cranes (cats as they were known) hanging from the four cables. Each cat could support 4 tons and up to 10 cats could be supported for a 40-ton lift if needed. Concurrently, the shipbuilding halls, warehouses and other support facilities were started as well. Meanwhile, the shipyard also received orders to build two 4.2K floating dry docks; they were launched in Dec 1919 and were completed in 1920. In 1920, work started on the dredging and widening channel A to a depth of 20 meters and a width of 40 meters. Special attention was paid to the construction of the equipping pier with the concrete being reinforced. Houses were built for the workforce and civil servants. A total of 146 houses were eventually built. By Jun 1920, all six slips on Vorland II were completed. The first orders to be laid down on the new slips were four Dutch motor tankers. From this point on all new orders were built on these slips. The slips on Vorland I were used for small ships and this section of the shipyard was used for repair work. The workforce grew quickly during this period. In Nov 1918, the shipyard had employed 300 men. This grew to 1,000 by the start of 1919 and to 6,000 by the end of 1921. In Jun 1923, the shipyard was renamed AEG-Deutsche Werft AG. In 1927, the company acquired Reiherstieg Werft, a Hamburg shipyard dating back to 1706 and had built three submarines during WW1, to bolster repair work business. In 1928, the company was reorganized to streamline work and purchased new machines and tools to increase performance. In 1928, the Reiherstieg shipyard added a new 100-meter dry dock, increased slips by three, and increased floating dry docks by five. In 1935, space was given to build additional repair shops, build additional warehouses, and increase pre-assembly space, all at the cost of a dry dock, which was filled in. During WW2, beginning in 1943, Vorland II was modified to add submarine bunkers and a horizontal launching area for construction of submarine sections. Between 1943 and 1944, the shipyard built 113 Type IX and Type XXIII submarines for the war effort. After the war, in 1968, the shipyard became a part of Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW). The former Deutsche Werft shipyard closed in 1985.

Last Major Update: Aug 2020

Ships Constructed at Deutsche Werft Hamburg

Ship NameYard NoSlip/Drydock NoOrderedLaid DownLaunchedCommissioned
C (Planned)
G (Planned)
H (Planned)
Havelland18 Aug 1939
Schwabenland14 Mar 192516 Jul 1925
Erwin Wassner29 Jan 193811 Jan 1939
Thor214I16 Mar 19386 May 1938
G21 Jun 193921 Jun 1939
M25128519 Sep 193912 Jan 194012 Jul 194016 Dec 1940
M25228619 Sep 193928 Mar 194027 Sep 194015 Feb 1941
M25328719 Sep 19391 Apr 194023 Nov 194021 Apr 1941
U-50529512 Jun 194024 May 194126 Aug 1941
M25428819 Sep 19391 Jul 194017 Feb 194116 Jul 1941
M25528919 Sep 19391 Aug 19401 Apr 194111 Oct 1941
M25629019 Sep 193920 Mar 194131 May 194119 Jan 1942
U-123339614 Oct 194129 Apr 194323 Dec 194322 Mar 1944
U-123439714 Oct 194111 May 19437 Jan 194419 Apr 1944
U-1239II2 Apr 194220 Jul 1943
U-1240II2 Apr 194221 Aug 1943

* Projected dates; not actual

Deutsche Werft Hamburg Interactive Map


Ships under construction at Deutsche Werft shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, circa 1930sView of Deutsche Werft shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, circa 1930sSlips I through IV at Deutsche Werft shipyard, looking north, Hamburg, Germany, circa 1930s


Shipyard plan for Deutsche Werft, Hamburg, Germany, circa 1930

Deutsche Werft Hamburg Timeline

16 Aug 1916 Hamburger Werft AG was established in Hamburg, Germany. Some documents indicated the founding date to be 25 Aug 1916 instead.
6 Jun 1918 Hamburger Werft AG in Hamburg, Germany was renamed Deutsche Werke AG.
24 Dec 1919 Deutsche Werke AG in Hamburg, Germany launched two 4.2K floating dry docks.
24 Apr 1923 The name AEG-Deutsche Werft AG was officially entered in the Commercial Register of Berlin-Mitte in Germany.
9 Jun 1923 Deutsche Werke AG in Hamburg, Germany was renamed AEG-Deutsche Werft AG.
12 Jun 1940 German Type IXC U-Boat U-505 was laid down at Deutsche Werft in Hamburg, Germany.
25 May 1941 German Type IXC U-Boat U-505 was launched down at Deutsche Werft in Hamburg, Germany.
29 Apr 1943 The keel of U-1233 was laid down at the Deutsche Werft yard in Hamburg, Germany.
11 May 1943 The keel for U-1234 was laid down at Deutsche Werft Hamburg, Germany.
23 Dec 1943 U-1233 was launched at the Deutsche Werft yard in Hamburg, Germany.
7 Jan 1944 U-1234 was launched at Deutsche Werft Hamburg, Germany.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

31 Aug 2022 06:52:40 AM


I am interested in using the diagrams of the ship THEDOOR HERZL no/ 697 from year 1957, which was built for the ZIM company, as a reference to build a scale model of this ship. I would appreciate it if you could please share the diagram files with me through the email written above.

Thanks in advance,
Shaul Kremer

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Modern Day Location
WW2-Era Place Name Hamburg, Germany
Lat/Long 53.5381, 9.8650
Deutsche Werft Hamburg Photo Gallery
Ships under construction at Deutsche Werft shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, circa 1930s
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