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Naval Warfare

KMS Blucher

Heavy Cruiser Warship [ 1939 ]

Completed just in time to take part in the start of World War 2, KMS Blucher was quickly lost in the Invasion of Norway campaign of April 1940.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 01/18/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The reborn German Navy ("Kriegsmarine") of the 1930s laid down a total of five warships in the Admiral Hipper-class standard. These were heavy cruisers by classification, developed during the period free of the restrictions put in place by the Versailles Treaty that followed World War 1 (1914-1918) - thanks in large part to the Nazi party now in control. The group consisted of Admiral Hipper herself (as the lead ship), Blucher and Prinz Eugen. Two other warships, Seydlitz and Lutzow, were intended to join their sisters but the former was set aside for conversion to an aircraft carrier (which was not completed) and the latter was sold in its unfinished state to the Soviets.

The newer class was used by the Kriegsmarine to succeed the Deutschland-class of which three were built from 1929 to 1936. On the whole, the Admiral Hipper-class ships were very similar in terms of machinery, protection scheme and armament suite to the warships they followed into service.

Blucher was named after Gebard Leberecht von Blucher (1742-1819), the Battle of Waterloo hero, and followed the original SMS blucher of the World War 1 period into service (this particular vessel was lost in January of 1915). The resurrected Blucher displaced 17,820 tons under standard load and up to 18,500 tons under full loads. Overall length reached 665.3 feet with a beam measuring 70 feet and a draught down to 24 feet. Power was from 3 x Blohm und Voss steam-based engines developed 132,000 horsepower to drive three-shafts under stern. The warship could make headway at speeds up to 32 knots with a range out to 6,800 nautical miles (these performance specifications were very similar to that of the Deutschland-class mentioned earlier).

Aboard was a crew of 42 officer and 1,340 enlisted personnel. Armor protection reached 4.1" at the primary turrets, 3" at the belt, 2" at the conning tower and nearly 2" along the main deck. There were facilities to support the launching (single catapult) and retrieval of a trio of Arado Ar 196 floatplane aircraft (detailed elsewhere on this site) - these aircraft used to provide a critical eye-in-the-sky function for both artillery-spotting and reconnaissance. Two Ar 96 aircraft were typically carried.

Armament was led by 8 x 8" main guns set in four twin-gunned turrets. This was backed by 12 x 4.1" SK C/33 secondary "Dual-Purpose" (DP) guns and 12 x 1.5" SK C/30 guns. Close-in work would be handled by 8 x 20mm C/30 Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns. 12 x 533mm (21") torpedo launchers were installed for good measure and these were in four triple-tube mountings located at the corners of the primary hull superstructure.©MilitaryFactory.com
Blucher saw her keel laid down in August of 1936 and she was launched in June of 1937. She was readied just in time for service in World War 2 when hostilities broke out in September of 1939 (the German invasion of neighboring Poland). Her profile involved two primary turrets set at the forecastle and two set aft. The bridge superstructure was aft of the forward pairing and the main mast works were positioned aft of this structure. The smoke funnel protruded upwards near midships with the second mast positioned next. The aft-superstructure ran behind the secondary mast and ahead of the aft primary turret pairing. Floatplane aircraft were positioned at midships.

In April of 1940, Blucher was part of the German invasion force attempting to subdue Norway once Hitler's attention had turned from his conquests of mainland Europe to Scandinavia. She was assigned as flagship and led the German warships into Oslo waters in the late hours on April 8th. However, her wartime luck was quick to run out for Norwegian coastal fort guns, coupled with land-based torpedo attacks, did her in as she took on severe damage. With fires raging, the magazine stores inevitably ignited and destroyed the ship - she went down where she sat on April 9th, 1940, a victim of what came to be recognized as the Battle of Drobak Sound. As many as 1,000 personnel went down with her. While a tremendous victory for the defending Norwegians, the Germans paid a terrible price for their invasion attempt - which ultimately proved successful in the end regardless.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Nazi Germany
Operators National flag of modern Germany National flag of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
National Origin
Admiral Hipper-class
Hull Class
KMS Admiral Hipper; KMS Blucher; KMS Prinz Eugen; KMS Seydlitz (not completed); KMS Lutzow (not completed)

Offshore Bombardment
Offshore bombardment / attack of surface targets / areas primarily through onboard ballistic weaponry.
Offshore strike of surface targets primarily through onboard missile / rocket weaponry.
Maritime Patrol
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Airspace Denial / Deterrence
Neutralization or deterrence of airborne elements through onboard ballistic of missile weaponry.
Fleet Support
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.

666.7 feet
(203.21 meters)
72.1 feet
(21.98 meters)
23.5 feet
(7.16 meters)

3 x Blohm and Voss steam turbines developing 132,000 horsepower to 3 x Shafts.
32.0 knots
(36.8 mph)
Surface Speed
6,800 nm
(7,825 miles | 12,593 km)
1 knot = 1.15 mph; 1 nm = 1.15 mile; 1 nm = 1.85 km

8 x 8" main guns in four twin-gunned primary turrets (two fore, two aft).
12 x 4.1" SK C/33 "Dual Purpose" (DP) secondary guns.
12 x 1.5" SK C/30 tertiary guns.
8 x 0.79" C/30 Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns.
12 x 533mm (21") torpedo launchers in four triple-tubed mountings.

3 x Arado Ar 96 floatplane aircraft (recoverable).

Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War period
Military lapel ribbon for early warship designs
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2


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Image of the KMS Blucher
The doomed KMS Blucher in better days; Public Domain.

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