SHIP CLASS: Zerstorer type 1936
SHIPS-IN-CLASS (6): Z17 Diether von Roeder; Z18 Hans Ludemann; Z19 Hermann Kunne; Z20 Karl Galster; Z21 Wilhelm Heidkamp; Z22 Anto Schmitt
PROPULSION: 6 x Boilers feeding 2 x Shaft Wagner geared turbines developing 70,000 shaft horsepower to 2 x Shafts.
Detailing the development and operational history of the KMS Diether von Roeder (Z17) Destroyer Warship.
Entry last updated on 7/14/2017.
Authored by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The 1936 Type Diether von Roeder destroyer was a trim looking ship with a clipper bow and long forecastle fitting a low-profile bridge and two funnels. The propulsion system was a high-powered steam machine which was designed to achieve maximum power in the smallest space possible. However, despite a lot of effort by the designers and engineers from the builders DeSchiMAG, the engine never accomplished the suitable degree of performance and none of the Zerstorer type destroyers ever achieved their intended top speeds. The German navy planned 26 such ships in the Type 1936 mold but only completed 6 vessels due to material shortages in the German war machine. The completed models were enlarged versions of the 1934 destroyers and were better ships in both terms of design and engine reliability while featuring good sea-keeping tendencies. Their design also shipped less water due to the increased size of the bow.
For strategic purposes, the British Royal Navy felt it was necessary to defeat the Germans in Narvik, Norway. In April of 1940, at the Second Battle of Narvik, the Kriegsmarine suffered one of the major naval defeats of World War 2. The Diether von Roeder had suffered engine problems during the battle and found herself near the harbor. She began to fire upon the British ships that were docked with her 5 x 5in main guns, achieving some success but she herself was fired upon by shore batteries and was sunk along with an additional two German destroyers in the battle. Five of the eight destroyers lost were scuttled by their crews when they ran out of fuel and ammunition.
Within months a new class was layed down, this becoming the Zerstorer 1936A - named the "Narvik class" by the Allies after the battle at Narvik. The 1936 A was a larger and more powerful ship, being 3,605 tons and fitted with larger guns and substantially improved defensive anti-aircraft armament when compared to the type 1936. However she developed problems with the high-pressure steam engines and tended to take on water because of the heavy gun mounts fitted to the bow. The German navy built eight such ships in the 1936A class, numbered Z23 to Z30. With minor differences from the 1936 and the 1936A, the Kriegsmarine built a seven-version class called the Zerstorer 1936A (MOB) featuring more tonnage - 3,700 tons - and larger, more durable engines with continued hull numbers from Z31 to Z39.