Launched in 1933, Admiral Scheer was one of three Deutschland-class heavy cruisers that served the Kriegsmarine during the Second World War. Due to their armament of six 28cm guns, the Deutschland class were often nicknamed `pocket battleships' by the British.
Admiral Scheer's first action was during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. She was tasked with evacuating German civilians but also bombarded the port of Almeria after Deutschland was attacked.
When war broke out in 1939, Admiral Scheer was anchored at the Schillig roadstead along with Admiral Hipper when groups of Bristol Blenheim bombers attacked the ships. One bomb hit Admiral Scheer's deck but failed to explode, and two more detonated in the water near the ship. Admiral Scheer was unscathed and underwent refits in early 1940.
Admiral Scheer's first sortie was in the Atlantic where she sailed to intercept convoy HX-84, a convoy of 38 merchant ships escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Jervis Bay. The convoy scattered under a smoke screen, but Admiral Scheer landed salvos on Jervis Bay and eventually sank it. The delay allowed the convoy to escape, resulting in the loss of only 5 out of 37 merchant ships. Admiral Scheer went on to participate in further raids in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean.
On 21st February 1942, Admiral Scheer, Prinz Eugen and numerous destroyers were deployed to Norway for operations. Whilst on the way, Prinz Eugen was torpedoed by the submarine HMS Trident. Admiral Scheer's first role was in Operation Rösselsprung, an operation to intercept the allied convoy PQ-17. The German ships, however, were spotted by the British and the convoy was ordered to scatter, leading to the Germans calling off the surface attack.
Her second operation, Operation Wunderland, involved disrupting Soviet shipping. The operation required strict radio silence to maintain an element of surprise. Admiral Scheer encountered the Soviet icebreaker Sibiryakov and sank her. Admiral Scheer then travelled to the port of Dikson and shelled the port before coming under from Soviet shore batteries.
Whilst Admiral Scheer was under repairs at the Deutsche Werke shipyard, an RAF raid of 300 bombers attacked the harbour and landed 5 bombs on Admiral Scheer, causing her to capsize on the 9th April 1945.
Named after Admiral Reinhard Scheer.
4-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-2, 6-4
G-Country 283mm Guns in triple mounts
Her raiding covered 46,000 miles and sank 17 merchant ships worth 113,223 GRT. This made her the most successful German capital ship raider in WWII.
Despite the surface ships never spotting or firing at convoy PQ-17, Operation Rösselsprung was one of the most successful operations due to U-boats and aircraft sinking 24 merchant ships.