Prinz Eugen class Heavy Cruiser

As the Germans prepared for war, they realized that their battleships would need escorts larger than destroyers or their very light cruisers. They also wanted ships with fuel capacity for longrange operations.

Thus, they invested in 5 heavy cruisers: Hipper, Bluecher, Prinz Eugen, Luetzow, and Seydlitz. Like most German ships, these were large in tonnage for their armaments. Prinz Eugen sailed with Bismarck, fled to Cherbourg, made the "Channel Dash" back to Germany in 1942, had a collision in the Baltic Sea with light cruiser Leipzig, and ultimately ended up being expended as a target in the Bikini Atoll atomic blast. Luetzow was sold to the Soviets and turned its few fitted guns against German troops besieging Leningrad. And Seydlitz was uncompleted as a light aircraft carrier.

The ships' heavy torpedo armaments went unused, and all the ships were plagued by the Kriegsmarine's Achilles Heel weakness: malfunctioning engines -- something British and American crews never had to contend with. Indeed, its American prize crew had considerable difficulty getting Prinz Eugen out to the Pacific.

7May09