KM Frankfurt (CL-1917) 1935 rebuilds


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The Frankfurt and other Dresden II & Konigsberg II type cruisers were the last German cruisers designed and in production at the end of WW1. They were as good as their British counterparts except in the distribution of armament where the German ships still utilised broadside gun positions while the British cruisers of C & D types mounted their main guns on the centerline, an advantage to the British ships. The remainder of these types of cruisers (6) were allowed to be kept and/or completed by the Germanic States Navy from 1919-22. The first four ships acted as cruisers patrolling the Baltic for Russian fleet excursions out of the Gulf of Finland. These first line duties slowly passed up the line of cruisers as the new ships were completed and the Frankfurt (II) types were used more and more for training and other secondary duties.

The Germanic States Navy had been keeping a close eye on trends in other countries and had taken note of the Commonwealth Navies rebuilding the older WW1 cruisers into Anti-aircraft ships. The German Admiralty struggled to find a use for such ships till they saw the League of Nations usage of such ships around the Spanish coast during the Spanish Civil War. They had proved effective and this convinced the Germans to rebuild the older cruisers.

Being the oldest of the Germanic States cruisers in service, they were also first into the rebuild cycles that would be normal for all the World War One era cruisers (and Capital ships). The Frankfurt and its brethren would be re-armed with dual purpose weapons of 5" size, but these were the first generation 5" single, manual, mounting, run by the older 3 meter directors. Manual 37mm guns were also originally fitted but these were replaced by the newer 37mm Bofors guns during 1939 to 1940. 20mm guns started being fitted in the later 1930's and eventually turned the ships into porcupines as the guns were fitted wherever there was space for them. The original torpedo armament was removed during their rebuilding. The ships were converted from coal firing to oil firing during the mid 1930's rebuilding as well. This might sound fairly late when the Commonwealth and other countries ships were being converted in the early to mid 1920's, but the Germanic States Navy had to fight for every last Mark being spent on the navy at that stage (1920-34). Leaving the ships as coal fired meant that the coal fields in the Germanic States could supply the coal to the Navy at a fraction of the cost of oil.

  As built As rebuilt 1936
Displacement 6,300 tons std, 7,600 tons full load
Length 497 ft
Breadth 47 ft
Draught 20 ft
Machinery 2 shaft Steam Turbines 35,000shp
Speed 28 knots
Range 5000 miles at 12 knots
Armour 2.5" side, 2" deck
Armament 8 x 5.9"" (8x1)
2 x 3.4" (2x1)
up to 120 mines
6 x 5" DP (6x1)
6 x 37mm (1x2 4x1)
Torpedoes 4 x 19.7" (2x2) nil
Complement 490 508
Notes KM Frankfurt (1915)

KM Wiesbaden (1915) Sunk at Jutland 1916

On patrol in the 1920's in the Baltic Sea.

Above and Below - Early drawings for the Dresden II/Frankfurt type ships, in before and after types.


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