Let's Build: Schwere Kreuzer Blücher

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Kriegsmarine except those dealing with the U-Boat forces.
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Marcus
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Let's Build: Schwere Kreuzer Blücher

Post by Marcus » 04 Sep 2003 21:28

In an effort to improve and expand the unit histories on the site, we will be launching a new series of "Let's Build" threads.
The object is to pool our collective knowledge and reconstruct these units. No contribution is too small, no fact too obscure, equipment, armament, manpower strength, high award holders, biographical information, photographs or combat reports, everything is welcome, just remember to mention the source of your information.

This thread is dedicated to information on Schwere Kreuzer Blücher.

/Marcus
Last edited by Marcus on 18 Oct 2003 13:38, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by daveh » 04 Sep 2003 22:12

Brief outline of her career

Commisioned on 20/9/39 under Kpt.z.-S. H Woldag a gunnery specialist. serious trials and working up started in mid november 1939 but much of that month was spent in Kiel with more work being done especially on here machinery.

27/11/40 put to sea for Gotenhafen and remained there till mid December undertaking trials associated with her machinery, speed and endurance trials.


Back to Kiel in dockyard for further modifications until 7/1/40. Then back to E Baltic for further working up though the severe winter limited this programme.

In Kiel 17/1/40 iced in till 27/1/40 when she returned to the dockyard.

Back to sea mid March 1940. Total days at sea since commisioning 19.

The OKM was advised that she was operational for simple tasks having as yet undertaken no main battery shoots, no action station , damage control or engine room drills.

However was included in the Weserbung forces despite it being estimated that she would be fully worked up on 3/5/40.

5/4/40 sailed for Swinemunde with the Flag officer of her battle group, Konteradmiral Kummetz.

Took on board 800 men of 163rd I D with packs equipment stores and munitions. As she was not fully operational she had exercise ammunition on board and for security reasons this was left stowed beneath the live ammo. This meant that Army ammo was stored above the armoured decks in the torpedo workshop (compartment VII port) and abaft the forward starboard torpedo tubes.


7/4/40 joined the rest of the battle group at Kiel

8/4/40 sailed for Oslofjord

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Post by Andy H » 04 Sep 2003 22:52

From Cruisers of WW2 by M J Whitely

Builder: Deutsche Werk, Kiel
Laid Down: 15/08/35
Launched: 08/06/37
Completed: 20/09/39
Lost: 09/04/40

Displacement: 14,247tons as standard or 18,208 full load
Length: 205.9mtrs
Beam: 21.3mtrs
Draught: 5.83mtrs (Average)
Machinery: 3 Shaft SR Deschimag turbines & 12 Wagner boilers
Performance: 133,631shp = 32.5kts
Bunkerage: 3,050 tons fuel oil
Range: 6,500nm at 17kts
Armour: 13-30mm upper deck, 20-50mm main deck, 70-80mm main belt, 70-105mm turrets and 50-150mm on the control tower
Guns: 8 8inch (4x2pairs), 12 4.1inch (6x2pairs), 12 3.7cm (6x2pairs) & 8 2cm (8 single mounts)
Torpedoes: 12 21inch (4x3mounts)
Aircraft: 3, one catapult
Complement: 1,600

Andy H

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Post by Andy H » 04 Sep 2003 23:02

Again from the same source

The Blucher carried 10 full reloads for her torpedo tubes.

The floatplanes were stored in a single hanger along with the Ad.Hipper, whilst the others in the class had double hangers and a different catapult arrangement.

The order for the Blucher along with the Adm Hipper was placed in secret as early as 30/10/34

The modifications mentioned by Dave, were to her bows (more curved than Hipper's), a funnel cap was added. The bridge was also modified and FuMo22 fitted to the cupola of the foretop rangefinder.

The torpedoes from the Nowegian shore based battery at Kaaholm in Oslo Fjord helped to sink her.

Andy H

PS: I seem to remember a thread from sometime ago that gave a fuller breakdown of the troops aboard the ship!

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Post by Andy H » 05 Sep 2003 00:05

http://web.ukonline.co.uk/aj.cashmore/g ... ucher.html

Gives a bit more info, and has two small pics of the Blucher

Andy H

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Post by USAF1986 » 05 Sep 2003 01:30

Konteradmiral Oskar Kummetz served as Leader of Warship Group 5 (Oslo) during Operation “Weserübung,” the invasion of Denmark and Norway. Comprised of the new heavy cruiser Blücher (commanded by Kapitän zur See Heinrich Woldag) with Konteradmiral Kummetz aboard, the armored ship Lützow (commanded by Kapitän zur See August Thiele), the light cruiser Emden (commanded by Kapitän zur See Werner Lange), three torpedo boats, eight minesweepers and two converted whaleboats, Warship Group 5 was tasked with landing some 2,000 troops of the 163rd Infantry Division at Oslo. On 9 April 1940, the Blücher was sunk by numerous 11-inch and 5.9-inch shell hits and two antiquated 17.7-inch (45cm) torpedoes fired from the Norwegian Oscarsborg Fortress commanded by Colonel Birger Eriksen. Most of the senior officers aboard survived by swimming ashore, including Konteradmiral Kummetz, Generalmajor Erwin Engelbrecht (commander of the 163rd Infantry Division), Luftwaffe Generalmajor Wilhelm Süßmann (commander of KG z.b.V. 300), and Kapitän zur See Woldag. Additionally, Oberst Karl Blomeyer, the commander of Infantry Regiment 307, also survived. Once ashore, Kummetz and most of the ship’s survivors were captured by the Norwegians; however, they were quickly released when German troops secured Oslo. While the Lützow was also damaged by shore batteries and forced to retire, she landed the remaining army troops south of Oslo which fell later that day.

Exact losses seem almost impossible to establish with certainty. Koop and Schmolke state 40 officers (including Kummetz and Woldag) and 985 men were saved while 125 were lost; 528 soldiers were rescued and 122 (or 195) died. (Major T.G.W. Potts claims over 1,000 died in his After the Battle magazine article.)

An initial headcount taken on the eastern shore of Oslo Fjord during the evening of the sinking accounted for 25 officers, 43 warrant officers, 137 NCOs, 548 ordinary ratings for a total of 753 crewmembers. Also, 11 Army officers and 156 troops were accounted for representing a total of 920 survivors. It should be stressed this was the initial strength return – there were still a few hundred crewmembers and Army personnel stranded on the three Askenholmen islands north of the Dröbak narrows who had yet to be rescued and accounted for.

Senior Officers of the Blücher at the time of her loss:
Commander: Kapitän zur See Heinrich Woldag (died on 16 April 1940 in an airplane crash, only a week after surviving the loss of his ship)
First Officer: Fregattenkapitän Erich Heymann
Navigation Officer: Korvettenkapitän Hugo Förster
Senior Gunnery Officer: Korvettenkapitän Kurt-Eduard Engelmann
Senior Engineering Officer: Fregattenkapitän (Ing.) Dipl.-Ing. Karl Thannemann

Regards,
Shawn

SOURCES:

Koop, Gerhard & Schmolke, Klaus-Peter. Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class. Geoffrey Brooks, translator. Greenhill Books, London/Naval Institute Press, Maryland, 2001.

Potts, Major T.G.W. The Sinking of the Blücher (After the Battle magazine Number 101).

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Post by USAF1986 » 05 Sep 2003 03:30

Here are additional notes on the Norwegian defenses of the Dröbak narrows in Oslo Fjord from Major Potts’ article. The Oscarsborg Fortress, situated on the island of South Kaholmen in the center of the fjord, was armed with three 11-inch Krupp guns manufactured in 1892. The guns were named Josva, Moses and Aron and were exposed with no shields.* As Colonel Eriksen had only two sergeants and 23 young trainees at his immediate disposal, only two of the 11-inch guns could be manned. The remainder of Eriksen’s garrison was on the eastern shore of the fjord manning the three 5.9-inch guns at Husvik and two 6-pounders (57mm) on the foreshore. Another battery (armament not described) was located at Nesit on the western shore, but did not take part in the action.

On the island of North Kaholmen, the Norwegian Navy had a torpedo battery manned by two officers and nine seamen. This battery fired the two recently overhauled 17.7-inch Whitehead torpedoes that struck the Blücher in her port side.

During the daylight hours of 9 April 1940, the Luftwaffe dropped about 500 bombs of 50kg and 250kg on Oscarsborg Fortress (Potts notes that 22 Stukas from I./StG1 based at Kiel-Holtenau were among the Luftwaffe attackers). Later that afternoon, the Lützow also bombarded the fortress with her 11-inch guns. Apparently, none of Colonel Eriksen's men were killed and the fortress itself suffered little significant damage. At 0900 hours the next day, the garrison of Oscarsborg Fortress surrendered.

* Oscarsborg Fortress was named after Swedish King Oscar I who christened it in 1855.

Regards,
Shawn

P.S. Of note, the Blücher's senior engineering officer, Dipl.-Ing. Karl Thannemann, was later promoted to Kapitän zur See (Ing.) and lost his lfe aboard the Bismarck while serving as the Fleet Engineer.

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Post by USAF1986 » 05 Sep 2003 04:02

Of interest, the Blücher never got her heavy armament into action. In the words of Fregattenkapitän Erich Heymann in his after action report (Woldag was already dead so it was his responsibility to submit the report):

The heavy guns did not fire because no military target could be identified. Neither the foretop, the forward fire control, the night control centre nor the after fire control had located the position from where the shell had been fired [an 11-inch shell from Oscarsborg Fortress that struck the main Flak fire control position killing Kapitänleutnant Pochhammer, the No 2 Gunnery Officer, and several ratings and badly wounding Oberleutnant zur see Schürdt, the Medium Weapons Officer]; nevertheless, both heavy and light Flak opened up a lively fire following the first shell hit.

Heymann also noted the Blücher was then hit by “one or two” 11-inch shells that struck the aircraft hangar setting fire to the Ar 196 on the catapult and the one in the hangar and knocking out the Port III 4.1-inch Flak gun. Concurrently, the Norwegian 5.9-inch battery on the eastern shore of the fjord began pouring shells into the cruiser. Heymann estimated that at least 20 shells hit the ship “mainly amidships on the port side between compartments IV and IX.” Heymann observed the 5.9-inch battery had the benefit of height and “could fire down into the ship.” This barrage also knocked out Flak Control B and the Port I 4.1-inch Flak gun. Additionally, the first three hits knocked the rudder and engine telegraph out of action (the rudder lay slightly to port). All commands to the engine room had to be passed via voice tube.

Shortly after the barrage fired by the Norwegian 5.9-inch guns, the Blücher was hit by the two 17.7-inch torpedoes launched from North Kaholmen. After this, the ship passed out of the Norwegian fields of fire.

Regards,
Shawn

SOURCE: Koop, Gerhard & Schmolke, Klaus-Peter. Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper Class. Geoffrey Brooks, translator. Greenhill Books, London/Naval Institute Press, Maryland, 2001.

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Post by USAF1986 » 05 Sep 2003 04:25

Here is the heraldic coat of arms that appeared on either side of the Blücher's bow (later removed due to wartime security). This color rendering is actually the coat of arms of the WWI armored cruiser of the same name, but the elements within were generally the same as that used by the WWII heavy cruiser. The overall shape was slightly different and the eagles appear to be a bit more elaborate in the WWII rendition. See black and white crop of the WWII coat of arms for comparison.

I would imagine this was the family coat of arms of Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht Fürst Blücher von Wahlstatt, the ship's namesake.

Regards,
Shawn

P.S. The color image came from somewhere out in cyberspace, but I've had it so long that I can't recall where I got it from. No offense intended.
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Post by USAF1986 » 05 Sep 2003 04:54

Unfortunately, I have no biographical details of the Blücher’s commander, Kapitän zur See Heinrich Woldag, other than he was a member of the Naval Class of 1912. This was a distinguished class that included, among others, Hans Langsdorff, August Thiele, Theodor Krancke, Joachim Coeler (future Luftwaffe General der Flieger), and Kurt Caesar Hoffmann. Woldag was a decorated (and very youthful looking) officer:

• Prussian Royal Hohenzollern House Order, Knight’s Cross with Swords
• Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914)
• Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914)
• Oldenburg Friedrich August Cross, 1st Class
• Oldenburg Friedrich August Cross, 2nd Class with “Vor dem Feinde” (In the Face of the Enemy) Clasp
• Cross of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918
• Armed Forces Long Service Awards
• Baltic Cross

Regards,
Shawn

SOURCES: Rangliste der Deutschen Reichsmarine, 5 January 1928 (compiled and edited by the Reich Defense Ministry/Navy Command); photographic evidence from Koop & Schmolke.

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Post by USAF1986 » 05 Sep 2003 05:19

According to Binder and Schlünz (Schwerer Kreuzer Blücher, 1990) as cited by Koop and Schmolke, the following additional army and navy elements were embarked aboard the Blücher:

Staff elements, Army Group XXI with Generalmajor Erwin Engelbrecht: 50 personnel
Staff elements, 163rd Infantry Division: 50 personnel
Forward Command Staff Falkenhorst (Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Norway): 12 personnel
Staff and Music Corps, Infantry Regiment 307 (163rd Infantry Division): 80 personnel
II. Battalion, Infantry Regiment 307 (163rd Infantry Division): 600 personnel
Postal staff and wireless technicians for Radio Sender Oslo: 20 personnel
War correspondents, Propaganda Company Army/Navy: 10 personnel

TOTAL: 822 men

The Blücher also carried 81 tons of munitions, weapons and other army cargo.

Regards,
Shawn

P.s. Of interest, the commander of Infantry Regiment 307, Oberst Karl Blomeyer (22 January 1884-10 October 1959), ultimately attained the rank of Generalmajor on 1 December 1943. After commanding Infantry Regiment 307, Blomeyer commanded Infantry Regiment 341 from 6 November 1940-10 December 1942. After a period in reserve, he served as Commandant of the POW camps Stalag 371 and Oflag II C. After retiring from the Army on 31 July 1944, he served as Inspector of the Volkssturm in Brandenburg from 1 September 1944 until the end of the war. He was in Soviet captivity from 17 June 1946-18 January 1950.

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Post by Erik E » 05 Sep 2003 18:55

Just before midnight enemy warships entered the Oslofjord. The Norwegian guardship "Pol III" was sunk by the German torpedoboot "Albatross".

Pol III managed to send a signal to the coastal battery at Rauøy. The battery fired a warning shot, but no reaction was seen on the enemy ships. The commander then ordered all 4 150mm guns to fire, but all grenades missed. The enemy fleet went out of sight in the fog.
They passed on the information to the fortress at Ocarsborg.
He only had crew for 2 of the 3 280mm guns.

At 04.16, searchlights from the battery at Kopås found the "Blücher".

At 04.21, the Commander of Oscarsborg spotted a "dark shaddow" at 1800 meters.
He didn`t know the nationality of the ships, but he knew they were violating the Norwegian neutrallity. He told his CO. " I will either be a hero, or spend the rest of my life in prison" Then he ordered fire.

The guns Moses and Aron fired allmost at the same time. The first grenade hit one of the main Flak platforms.The grenade exploded below the bridge and destroyed the rangefinder. The second rammed the aircraft hangar, causing a huge explotion in the a/c fuel tanks.

Just afterwards, the 2 batteries at Kopås and Husvik started an intesive bombardment of the ship. The 2 batteries reported 15 hits with 150mm, and close to 30 hits with 57mm.

As the ship passed the torpedo battery at Nordre Kaholmen, Blüchers speed was calculated to only 7 knots. 2 torpedoes were launced and both found it`s target soon afterwards. Water filled up the engine room, and the ship was not moving anymore. (This caused the commander of Lützow to order retreat, as he thought Blücher hit a minefield)

Huge fires were raging the wreck, and at 05.30, the main ammunition storage for 10,5cm Flak exploded. At 06.33, the ship started sinking.
Hundreds of soldiers jumped into the burning sea. A few seconds after the ship dissapeared from the surface, a huge explotion occured in the ship. A big bubble of burning oil came to the surface, "setting the fjord on fire"

Sources:
- Norge i Krig
- Krigslex
- Det utrolige døgnet
- 9april - 7Juni
- NRK interview with Norwegian soldiers from Oscarsborg.

During the works in 1990 with emptying the oiltanks, one of the anchors was rised, and is now located as a memorial on the shore where Blücher sunk. All the known casualities has their names in a huge memorial located at Alfaset churchyard in Oslo. A wreck of a Arado 196 was rised and given to the musem at Sola airport.

Source:
ME! :)

Erik E

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Post by Stauffenberg II » 06 Sep 2003 20:24


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Post by tyskaorden » 23 Sep 2003 22:24

USAF1986 wrote:
I would imagine this was the family coat of arms of Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht Fürst Blücher von Wahlstatt, the ship's namesake.

Regards,
Shawn


You are quite right these are the coat of arms of the famous Field Marshal. The middle shield with the keys are the original Blücher CoA. The Eagles, Wreath with Marshal's Baton in saltire with the Sword and the Ironcross are augmentations made to connemorate the military career and amongst all the great victory over Napoleon at Waterloo-La Belle Alliance.

//Tyskaorden alias Marcus Karlsson

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Post by Andy H » 14 Oct 2003 23:12

The wreck lies inverted some 100mtrs on the seabed. 1600tons of fuel oil were pumped out of her intact tanks in recent years

The wreck can be dived on, but permission is required, there are plenty of artifacts strewn around the wreck site

Andy H

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