- German cruiser Prinz Eugen
The "Prinz Eugen" (German, pronounced|ɔɪˈgeːn, the stressed "e" as "é" in French) was an enlarged "Admiral Hipper"-class
heavy cruiserwhich served with the Kriegsmarineof Germanyduring World War II.
She was named after
Prince Eugene of Savoy("Prinz Eugen" in German).
"Prinz Eugen" was the third ship of the "Hipper"-class heavy cruisers. Like her sister ships, "Admiral Hipper" and "Blücher", she was built in the mid-
1930s. During the planning and design stage, she was known as "Kreuzer J" (Cruiser J). Her keel was laid at the KruppGermania shipyard in Kielon 23 April 1936, and her full cost would be 104.5 million Reichsmark. "Prinz Eugen" was launched on 22 August 1938and commissioned on 1 August 1940. Considered a "lucky ship", she survived to the end of the war, although she participated in only two major actions at sea. The ship sank following Operation Crossroadsat Kwajalein Atollin 1946.
The "Prinz Eugen" suffered repeated damage before deployment. On
2 July 1940, the ship suffered minor bomb damage from RAF Bombers. A year later on 23 April 1941, the ship struck a magnetic mine. [ [http://www.kbismarck.com/peugen.html The Heavy Cruiser Prinz Eugen] ]
24 May 1941, "Prinz Eugen" fought alongside "Bismarck" in the Battle of the Denmark Straitagainst HMS "Hood", hitting the British battlecruiserthree times and starting a huge fire. Doubt had been cast on whether or not "Prinz Eugen" struck "Hood", citing that "Hood" was not her target. However "Prinz Eugen's" Gunnery Officer, Paul Schmallenbach, rejects this, confirming Eugen's target was also Hood. [Chesneau 2002, p. 156.] "Prinz Eugen's" war diary, as recorded by Captain Brinkmann, observed:
Both ships initially fire at "Hood". The semaphore order from Fleet: "Engage opponent farthest to the left", was not instituted until after the 6th salvo, with a target shift to "King George" [the Germans mistakenly identified "Prince of Wales" as "King George"] . After the impact of 05:57 of the 2nd salvo from "Prinz Eugen", a rapidly spreading fire at the level of the aft mast was observed. [ [http://www.kbismarck.com/archives/ Online Archive: War Diary of the heavy cruiser "Prinz Eugen" (18 May 1941 - 01 Jun 1941). (1.7 MB). ZIP file] ]
"Prinz Eugen" damaged HMS "Prince of Wales" also, hitting that battleship four times. The "Hood" was sunk during the engagement and the "Prince of Wales" damaged, but the German ships were still shadowed by other British warships.
Later that day, she was detached to continue commerce raiding on her own. "Prinz Eugen" escaped the British ships, and headed south to rendezvous with the tanker "Spichern" and prepare for eventual commerce raiding in the Atlantic. After encountering engine problems, the ship made for a French port on 29 May. After narrowly avoiding several British heavy units which were looking for "Bismarck", she arrived at Brest,
France, on 1 June 1941. The port was regularly bombed by the RAF, and on the night on 1 July, "Prinz Eugen" was hit on the port side behind the bridge. The bomb detonated in the forward main artillery command centre, killing 60 of the crew.
Unternehmen Zerberus: The Channel Dash
After the loss of "Bismarck",
Hitlerbanned further Atlantic surface raids. Fearing an Allied invasion of Norway, he wanted all capital ships back in home waters. Together with the battlecruisers (or battleships) "Scharnhorst" and "Gneisenau", "Prinz Eugen" made the " Channel Dash" - "Operation Cerberus" - back to Germany during 11 February– 12 February 1942.
"Prinz Eugen" left
Germanyfor Norwayin February 1942. On 23 February, she was torpedoed by the British submarine HMS "Trident", destroying her stern. After some preliminary patch-up repairs in Trondheim, the cruiser returned to Kielon 16 May 1942to receive a new stern. "Prinz Eugen" was not operational again until January 1943. Two attempts to relocate to Norway, where she could threaten Allied convoys, failed and she was assigned instead to training duties in home waters. [ [http://www.kbismarck.com/peugen.html Prinz Eugen Operational History] ]
From August 1944 onward, "Prinz Eugen" was deployed to shell advancing
Soviettroop concentrations along the Baltic coast and to transport German refugees to the west. On 15 October 1944, she collided with the light cruiser"Leipzig" in heavy fog in the Baltic Sea, nearly cutting the smaller ship in two. For 14 hours, the two ships drifted, locked together, until they could be separated. [ [http://www.kbismarck.com/peugen.html Prinz Eugen Operational History] ] "Prinz Eugen" was repaired at Gotenhafen (Gdynia) and continued her tasks of shelling Soviet land forces for 26 days of the siege [4,871 20,3cм rounds and 2,644 10,5см rounds were fired. When she left Danzig there were only 40 20,3см rounds left in the magazines.] , and evacuating German refugees. On 29 March 1945, she left Gotenhafen for the last time with a load of refugees, reaching Swinemündeon 8 April 1945. The ship then departed for Copenhagen, arriving on 20 April 1945. Lack of fuel meant that she could not leave port again.
After the war
At the end of the war, she was one of only two operational German cruisers left (the other was the light cruiser "Nürnberg"), and was surrendered to British
Royal Navyforces in Copenhagenon 8 May 1945.On 26 May the "Eugen" left Copenhagen with "Nürnberg", and sailed to Wilhelmshavenunder escort by the British. "Prinz Eugen" arrived on 28 May, remaining in dry dock until December 1945. On 5 January 1946, the ship was handed over to the United States Navy.
USS "Prinz Eugen"
She was awarded to the United States and commissioned into the US Navy as the
unclassified miscellaneous vesselUSS "Prinz Eugen" (IX-300). Her very large GHG passive sonararray was removed and installed on the submarine USS|Flying Fish|SS-229|6 for testing. [Friedman 1994, p. 62.] After examination and tests, she was allocated to the target fleet for the Operation Crossroads atomic bombtests. She survived the "Able" and "Baker" tests (July 1946), but was too radioactive to have leaks repaired. In September 1946, she was towed to Kwajalein Atolland capsized on 22 December 1946over Enubuj reef, where she remains to this day (coord|8|45|9.49|N|167|40|59.60|E|). In 1978, her port propeller was salvaged and is preserved at the German Naval Memorial at Laboe.
Helmuth Brinkmann- 1 August 1940 - 1 August 1942
* Wilhelm Beck - 1 August 1942 - 8 October 1942
Hans-Erich Voss- 8 October 1942 - 28 February 1943
* Werner Ehrhardt - 28 February 1943 - 5 January 1944
Hansjürgen Reinicke- 5 January 1944 - 8 May 1945
* A. H. Graubart, USN - January 1946 - May 1946
After the annexation of Austria in 1938, some former Austrian naval officers were reactivated and served with the Kriegsmarine. The naming of the ship was a tribute to the maritime tradition of the
Austro-Hungarian Navy. On 21 November 1942, "Prinz Eugen" was presented the bell of the Austro-Hungarian dreadnought"Tegetthoff" (scrapped in Italy in 1924) by the Italian naval attaché assigned to Berlin. The four main gun turrets were named after the Austrian towns of Graz, Braunau, Innsbruckand Wien (Vienna).
* Chesneau, Roger (2002). "Hood - Life and Death of a Battlecruiser". London: Cassell Publishing. ISBN 0-304-35980-7. An overall history, including her peace-time career.
* Robert Jackson (2002). "The Bismarck". Weapons of War: London. ISBN 1-86227-173-9
* Friedman, Norman. (1994) "U.S. Submarines Since 1945: An Illustrated Design History".
United States Naval Institute, Annapolis, Maryland. ISBN 1-55750-260-9
* [http://www.kbismarck.com/peugen.html The Heavy Cruiser Prinz Eugen]
* [http://www.kbismarck.com/archives/ Prinz Eugen War Diary]
List of World War II ships
List of Kriegsmarine ships
List of naval ships of Germany
List of ship launches in 1938
List of ship commissionings in 1940
List of ship decommissionings in 1945
List of shipwrecks in 1946
7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen
* [http://www.britisharmedforces.org/ns/ns/nat_prinz_eugen.htm Prinz Eugen - British Armed Forces Website]
* [http://www.prinzeugen.com/PGIND.htm Prinz Eugen - An Illustrated Technical History]
* [http://www.kbismarck.com/peugen.html "The Heavy Cruiser Prinz Eugen"] at [http://www.kbismarck.com/ KBismarck.com]
* [http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/ships/heavycruiser/prinzeugen/index.html "Prinz Eugen" technical data] – From German naval history website [http://www.german-navy.de german-navy.de]
* [http://www.maritimequest.com/warship_directory/germany/pages/cruisers/prinz_eugen_page_1.htm Maritimequest Prinz Eugen photo gallery]
* [http://www.admiral-hipper-class.dk Heavy Cruiser Prinz Eugen]
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