KM Z1 (DDL-1937)


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Classed as Destroyers (Zerstorer, hence the Z prefix) in any other navy they are destroyer leaders. The Germans never used these ships in that fashion, doling out the ships per operation rather than by squadrons or flotillas. The Z1 type were the first large destroyers since the V116 large destroyers. The unwieldly and slow firing single 5.9" of that class (V116) were replace with a new 5" (128mm) in twin gun mountings in a dual-purpose turret. Designed in 1934 when the various Treaties expired allowing the Germanic States to build ships that they wanted, not what they were limited to. The design was at the right time to be designed around the twin dual purpose 5" gun system. They were supposed to be long ranged to be able to screen the battleships and aircraft carriers. Sadly the engines turned out to be so unreliable a new set for the class had to be designed but the order was never placed due to the start of the war.

These are big ships with a useful armament but their biggest draw back in this class were the unreliable engines. This kept the ships close to the coast and in the Baltic for operations. The worst nightmare was for one of them to break down in action and be captured. Scuttling would come first.

The manual 37mm were replaced with twin 37mm Bofors in 1940-41 to remaining units. Half the class was lost during the invasion of Norway. Eight in the Battles around Narvik alone.


Displacement 2,700 tons std, 3,650 tons full load
Length 417 ft
Breadth 40 ft
Draught 15 ft
Machinery 2 shaft Steam Turbines 70,000shp
Speed 36 knots
Range 5400 miles at 19 knots
Armament 6 x 5" (3x2)
4 x 37mm (2x2) replaced with Bofors mountings 1940-41
8 x 20mm (1x4 4x1)
Mines 60 (when fitted)
Torpedoes 8 x 21" (2x4)
Complement 275
Notes Z1




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