K-class file photo [7903]

K-class Light Cruiser



This article refers to the entire K-class; it is not about an individual vessel.

ww2dbaseThe K-class light cruisers were consisted of three ships all named after German cities starting with the letter K. They were designed in the 1920s with adherence to the 6,000-ton limit for cruisers imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. For weight savings, the K-class ships' joints were welded instead of bolted, and this eventually caused problems for sailing in heavy seas; one of the ships' joints were leaking so badly during a voyage that she had to dock in San Diego, California, United States to receive emergency repairs. This problem continued to haunt the ships into WW2, and they were skipped over when the German Navy pressed many ships into merchant raiding missions on the high seas. The design was unique in terms of turret placement in that two out of the three turrets were place in the aft half of the ships; this reflected the design philosophy that these ships were meant to be used as scouting cruisers, and they were likely near enemy task forces, and would need to escape back to their friendly fleets, firing behind them at pursuing ships. Additionally, the two aft turrets were positioned so that one was mounted off the center-line toward the port side and the other starboard side, thus providing aft turrets slightly better firing angle forward. The K-class light cruisers were also unique with power plant design; they were equipped with both steam turbines (for situations demanding greater speed) as well as diesel engines (for cruising with better fuel economy). Lead ship K├Ânigsberg and Karlsruhe were sunk during the invasion of Norway in 1940. The third and final ship, K├Âln, was used as a training ship for most of the war before being sunk in shallow water in Wilhelmshaven harbor in Germany, though her guns remained operational and bombarded advancing Allied troops near the end of the war.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jun 2009


Unidentified German K-class light cruiser, 1936

K-class Light Cruiser Operational Timeline

17 Apr 1929 K├Ânigsberg was commissioned into service.
6 Nov 1929 Karlsruhe was commissioned into service.
1 Jan 1930 K├Âln was commissioned into service.
15 Jan 1930 Cruiser K├Âln was commissioned into service with Fregattenkapit├Ąn Ludwig von Schr├Âder at the helm.
15 Oct 1930 Cruiser K├Âln completed trials and training in the Baltic Sea and North sea.
28 Oct 1930 Cruiser K├Âln began to perform gunnery drills in the North Atlantic.
31 May 1931 Cruiser K├Âln conducted training operation in the Baltic Sea.
1 Jun 1931 During this month cruiser K├Âln traveled to Norway and conducted operations in the North Sea, Jutland, and the Baltic Sea.
7 Jan 1932 Cruiser K├Âln began to perform gunnery drills and training operations in the North Atlantic.
29 Jan 1932 Cruiser K├Âln completed gunnery drills and training operations.
1 Sep 1932 Fregattenkapit├Ąn Otto Schniewind took command of cruiser K├Âln.
8 Dec 1932 Cruiser K├Âln departed German for her first international voyage that would last one year; she would visit the Mediterranean Sea, Alexandria (Egypt), Suez Channel, India, Indonesia, Australia, Pacific, Japan, Qingdao (China), Indonesia, Ceylon, Suez Channel, Greece, Italy, and Spain.
2 Aug 1933 K├Âln arrived in Shanghai, China.
14 Aug 1933 K├Âln departed Shanghai, China.
12 Dec 1933 Cruiser K├Âln returned from her first international voyage.
9 Jun 1934 Cruiser K├Âln began gunnery drills with pocket battleship Deutschland.
28 Jun 1934 Cruiser K├Âln completed gunnery drills with pocket battleship Deutschland.
1 Nov 1934 Cruiser K├Âln began two months of repairs at Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
1 Oct 1935 Fregattenkapit├Ąn Otto Backenk├Âhler took command of cruiser K├Âln.
1 May 1936 Cruiser K├Âln began two months of operations off Portugal.
7 Jun 1936 Cruiser K├Âln began operations off Spain.
24 Jun 1936 Albatros departed Spanish waters to escort light cruisers K├Âln and Leipzig on their return journey to Germany; M├Âwe replaced Albatros as the flagship of 2nd Torpedo Boat Half-Flotilla.
29 Jun 1936 Cruiser K├Âln completed operations off Spain.
30 Jul 1936 Cruiser K├Âln began operations off Spain.
10 Aug 1936 Cruiser K├Âln completed operations off Spain.
1 Oct 1937 Kapit├Ąn zur See Theodor Burchardi took command of cruiser K├Âln.
1 Jan 1938 Cruiser K├Âln began two months of repairs at Kiel, Germany.
31 Oct 1938 Cruiser K├Âln began five months of repairs and refitting at Kiel, Germany.
13 Apr 1939 Cruiser K├Âln began training in the North Atlantic.
16 May 1939 Cruiser K├Âln completed training in the North Atlantic.
8 Oct 1939 Cruiser K├Âln began in a raid in the North Sea.
12 Dec 1939 Cruiser K├Âln and other warships screened minelayers during a mining mission.
13 Dec 1939 Cruiser K├Âln returned from screening mission for minelayers.
15 Jan 1940 Kapit├Ąn zur See Ernst Kretzenberg took command of cruiser K├Âln.
9 Apr 1940 Cruiser K├Âln participated in the invasion of Norway.
10 Apr 1940 Fleet Air Arm Skua dive bombers sank the German cruiser K├Ânigsberg in Bergen harbour in Norway. She was the first major warship to be sunk by dive bombing in the war.
11 Apr 1940 Cruiser K├Âln returned from Norway, arriving at Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
1 May 1941 Kapit├Ąn zur See Friedrich H├╝ffmeier took command of cruiser K├Âln.
1 Sep 1941 Cruiser K├Âln began supporting the invasion of Dag├ and ├ľsel islands and disabled Soviet coastal batteries at Cape Ristna.
1 Feb 1942 Cruiser K├Âln began four months of repairs and refits in Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
1 Mar 1942 Korvettenkapit├Ąn Hellmuth Strobel took command of cruiser K├Âln.
1 May 1942 Kapit├Ąn zur See Martin Balzer took command of cruiser K├Âln.
9 Jul 1942 Cruiser K├Âln departed for Oslo, Norway, laying mines en route.
12 Jul 1942 Cruiser K├Âln arrived at Oslo, Norway.
13 Jul 1942 Cruiser K├Âln departed Oslo, Norway for northern Norway.
14 Jul 1942 Cruiser K├Âln began a minelaying operation in the North Sea.
15 Jul 1942 Cruiser K├Âln completed a minelaying operation in the North Sea.
6 Aug 1942 Cruiser K├Âln arrived at Narvik, Norway.
10 Sep 1942 Cruiser K├Âln, with Admiral Scheer and Admiral Hipper, moved to the Alta Fjord to attack Allied Convoy PQ18, but the attack was aborted due to a British submarine attack.
13 Dec 1942 Kapit├Ąn zur See Hans Meyer took command of cruiser K├Âln.
1 Feb 1943 Cruiser K├Âln departed a German port for the Baltic Sea.
1 Mar 1943 Cruiser K├Âln was taken out of service and would remain so for one year.
1 Mar 1944 Cruiser K├Âln was towed from Kiel to K├Ânigsberg, Germany.
1 Apr 1944 Cruiser K├Âln was recommissioned for training of cadet engineers with Fregattenkapit├Ąn Hellmuth Strobel in command.
10 Apr 1944 Cruiser K├Âln began a three-month refit.
1 Jul 1944 Cruiser K├Âln began a three-month training operation.
1 Sep 1944 Cruiser K├Âln conducted minelaying operations off southern Norway during this month.
1 Oct 1944 Cruiser K├Âln conducted convoy operation between Norway and Denmark over the following two months.
13 Dec 1944 Cruiser K├Âln's power stations and starboard engine were destroyed by Allied aerial attacks.
31 Dec 1944 Cruiser K├Âln was damaged by Allied aerial attacks.
1 Jan 1945 Fregattenkapit├Ąn Frotz-Henning Brandes took command of cruiser K├Âln.
28 Jan 1945 Cruiser K├Âln departed for Wilhelmshaven, Germany for repairs.
14 Feb 1945 Cruiser K├Âln arrived at Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
3 Mar 1945 Cruiser K├Âln was damaged by British aircraft at Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
30 Mar 1945 US Eighth Air Force B-24 Liberator bombers attacked Wilhelmshaven, Germany, sinking the already-damaged cruiser K├Âln on even keel. Her turrets remained above water and operational.
28 Apr 1945 Sunken cruiser K├Âln's turrets fired against enemy troops advancing at Wilhelmshaven, Germany (near Neuenburg and Bockhorn).

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Andrew Reetz says:
9 Aug 2009 02:29:04 PM

In March 1936, the Karlsruhe was docked in Puget Sound WA. in Tacoma's Commencement Bay. 1st Machinest Mate Karl Lischke recieved a care package from home. He got food poisining from this care package and died a couple of days later. The US government and the City of Tacoma, WA got permission from Adolph Hitler to have him buried in Tacoma's Mountain View Cemetary. He was buried with full military honors in the "Ring of Honor", with veterans as far back as the "Spanish/American war". People came from all around Puget Sound to see the Karlsruhe,and mourn the death of Karl Lischke.

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More on K-class Light Cruiser
Ships of this Class:
» Karlsruhe
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» K├Ânigsberg

K-class Light Cruiser Photo Gallery
Unidentified German K-class light cruiser, 1936

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