KM Scharnhorst (BB-1936)


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These were the first true battleships built by the Germanic States to the 35,000 ton limit. The expiry of the Naval Treaties in the early 1930's gave the German Navy the excuse to build their next ships at a par with the other European nations. While the armament only surpassed the preceeding Admiral Class battlecruisers by one barrel, these were true battleships where armour protection and speed were slightly ahead of armament.

While their European competitors were armed with 15" guns compared to the Scharnhorsts 13.8", the German designers had also started designing a new set of shells to replace what were virtually the same shells designed in 1912 for the Mackensen class. The new shells were not available when these ships were completed but the handling equipment was available. At 1763lb (800kg) the new shell compared more than favourably to the British 15" shell at 1950lb and outranged the UK Mk1 15" (32,000 yards) by quite some distance at 39,000 yards. Overall with the armour, speed and guns these two ships were some of the best available and made a grand sight when they appeared at the 1937 Coronation Naval Review.


As a change for the KM, I redrew a very good drawing of Scharnhorst by Maomatic to take the updated armament of 9x13.8", the other armaments were kept the same as the original Scharnhorst class.


Displacement 39,500 tons std, 48,800 full load
Length 787.5 ft
Breadth 108 ft
Draught 30 ft
Machinery 3 shaft mixed turbine/diesel propulsion

1 x Steam Turbines 120,000shp

2 x Diesels 50,000bhp

Speed 32 knots
Range 14,500 miles at 18 knots
Armour 13.8" side, 5.9" deck, 13" turrets
Armament 9 x 13.8" (3x3)

24 x 5.1 (12x2)

20 x 37mm (10x2)

52 x 20mm (7x4 24x1)

Aircraft nil
Torpedoes nil
Complement 1850
Notes KM Scharnhorst

KM Gneisenau


A sign of the future with the British battleship under the guns of a German battleship.

(The photo is actually the rear of Graf Spee at the Coronation Review in 1937)


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