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FGS Deutschland (A59)

Training Cruiser Warship

Naval Warfare / Ships

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Image from the United Navy image archives; Public Domain.

FGS Deutschland became the only ship of the Type 440 class - she served West Germany throughout the Cold War years as a training platform.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/7/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
Following World War 2 (1939-1945) there was a divided Germany - one side aligned with the West (Britain, France, the United States, etc...) and the other falling under the influence of the Soviet Union. With the heavy restrictions placed on West Germany's war-making capabilities in this period, it received special approval for a training-minded cruiser warship known as FGS "Deutschland" (A59). FGS Deutschland was ordered in 1958 and had her keel laid down by Nobiskrug (Rendsburg) on September 11th, 1959. She was launched to sea on November 5th, 1960, delivered to the Bundesmarine (the West German Navy) on April 10th, 1963 and formally commissioned on May 25th, 1966.

The vessel's original name was to be "Berlin" but opposition, and the political climate of the time, ensured that Deutschland was her moniker moving forward. She joined the long line of German-originated ships to carry the storied Deutschland name.

Her design was based on the Type 440 standard and Deutschland represented the only warship of the group. She displaced 5,000 tons under standard loads and this rose to 5,800 tons under full loads. Dimensions included a length of 426.5 feet, a beam of 52.9 feet and a draught of 16.7 feet. Installed power consisted of 2 x Mercedes-Benz diesels with 2 x Maybach diesels driving 2 x shafts in addition to 2 x Wahodog boilers feeding 2 x Wahodog steam turbines driving the center shaft. The powerplant arrange was "CODAG" (COMbined Diesel And Gas). Maximum speed, in ideal conditions, was a useful 22 knots with an operational range out to 3,800 nautical miles. The dual-propulsion scheme meant better training opportunities for the generations of cadets that would walk her hallways.

Internally, much attention was paid to learning centers for Deutschland was designed first-and-foremost as a training platform. Her secondary roles - if pressed into war against the Soviet Union and its allies - would have included floating medical center, minelaying, armed fleet escort and troop transport. Her standard operating crew numbered 172 personnel and there stood provision for 250 cadets. At her maximum she could carry 550 personnel in all.
Aboard she carried various radar fits and an ELAC 1BV sonar system. Armament comprised 4 x 100mm /55 caliber turreted deck guns in single-gunned mountings, 6 x 40mm /70 caliber Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns (two twin-gunned mountings and two single-gunned mountings), 6 x 533mm torpedo tubes (four of which were on flexible installations), and 2 x 375mm anti-submarine mortars. During the mid-1970s, she lost her fixed torpedo launchers. There was also a mine-laying capability built-in. The eclectic mix of arms showcased the fact that the vessel was always intended for training by providing a broad mix of systems. Other notable qualities of the warship included its stock of 30 life rafts, three motorized pinnaces and three motorized cutters.

Her profile was one of a "stacked" vessel seeing various superstructures fitted atop one another as well as multiple masts installed. Much of the details were arranged in line as can be expected for such a slim warship. The bow section was noticeably raised with the top hull line dropping at about midships. There was no provision for helicopter aircraft about her stern. When completed, Deutschland became the largest warship (displacement-wise) to be built for the nation of Germany since the close of World War 2 as she exceeded the listed post-war limit of 3,000 tons.

Once in service, Deutschland was placed under the direction of the Naval Academy Murwik (Flensburg-Murwik). Three-month-long training programs were arranged per cadet and she served in this role until June 28th, 1990. When there proved little in the way of resources to save her as a museum ship, her hulk was unceremoniously sold off in October of 1993 and the ship was delivered to India for scrapping the following year.


Ship Class [ Type 440 ]
Ships-in-Class [ 1 ] Ship Names: FGS Deutschland (A59)
National flag of Germany West Germany
- Blue Water Operations
- Fleet Support
- Hunter
- Direct-Attack
- Specialized / Utility
426.5 ft (130.00 m)
Width / Beam:
52.9 ft (16.12 m)
Height / Draught:
16.8 ft (5.12 m)
Displacement (Surface):
5,000 tons
2 x Mercedes-Benz diesel engines with 2 x Maybach diesel engines driving 2 x Shafts; 2 x Wahodag boiler units feeding 2 x Wahodag steam turbines developing 16,000 horsepower to 1 x shaft.
Speed (Surface):
22 kts (25 mph)
3,823 nm (4,400 miles; 7,081 km)
4 x 100mm /55 caliber main guns
4 x 40mm /70 caliber Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns in twin-gunned mountings.
2 x 40mm /70 caliber AA guns in single-gunned mountings.
4 x 533mm torpedo tubes on trainable mountings
2 x 533mm torpedo tubes on fixed mountings (deleted mid-1970s).

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