Laid down on the 6th of May 1935 and launched on the 8th of December 1936. Completed in May 1938 at the Deutsche Werke dockyard in Kiel.
However, when one thinks of German capital ships and how dangerous they are, most people think of Bismarck, Tirpitz, and maybe the cruiser Graf Spee.
But most people haven’t heard of Operation Berlin, the time 2 German battleships Scharnhorst and her sister ship Gneisenau successfully broke out and raided the convoy lanes and influenced Bismarck’s fateful mission.
Admiral Lutjens was the commander-in-chief of the operation, he would go on to command the cruise of Bismarck and Prinz Eugen and try to follow Berlin’s success.
In total, they sailed nearly 18,000 miles in 60 days and destroyed (or) captured 22 ships.
Most important to the success of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau was that they were supported by supply ships and the tankers Uckermark, Ermland, Schlettstadt, Friedrich Breme, and Esso Hamburg which Lutjens intended to use with his unsuccessful raid with the Bismarck in May 1941.
However, when she was in drydock in Kiel she was vulnerable to Allied bombing raids.
And during one such Royal Air Force Raid on the night of February 26th to 27th, 1942 Gneisenau suffered a severe hit from a single bomb.
The bomb managed to penetrate her armored deck and exploded in the forward ammunition magazine. Which caused serious damage in addition to many casualties.
The Germans decided to remove her big guns for coastal batteries.
They were brought to the Danish Island of Fanø.
After the war in the 1950’s Denmark decided to install the 28 cm guns on the roof of Stevnsfort.
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