After the First World War the German Navy was reduced to third class status. All of her most modern ships were lost to her as the result of the Treaty of Versailles. This loss included her most advanced light cruisers, which were parceled out to the victorious powers. One provision of the treaty allowed for replacement of old ships when they reached 20 years of age. One of the pre-war cruisers that Germany retained was the Ariadne, which would be 20 years old in 1921. This would give the new German Navy the first chance to design and complete the first new major warship design since the mid point of World War One.
Even in designing a light cruiser to replace Ariadne, the new German Navy ran into significant problems. The industrial infrastructure of Germany was greatly reduced since the building race between the High Seas Fleet and the Royal Navy. Design bureaus had broken up. The new German government was in constant monetary distress, leading to unheard of inflation in the early 1920s. In spite of all of the limitations facing the development team for the new cruiser, design proceeded and resulted in the Emden. The Emden was a mixture of the old and the new. The design was basically a development of the World War One German light cruiser designs but employed new construction techniques, most importantly electric welding, which saved significant weight over the former rivet construction. Mounting eight single 5.9-inch guns, the armament placement was distinctly archaic with four of the guns in wing positions amidships. In theory she had a broadside of six 5.9-inch guns and forward and aft fire of four 5.9-inch guns. Because of the chronic financial and industrial problems facing the nation, the Emden took an extraordinarily long time to build. Laid down on December 8, 1921, she was not completed until October 15, 1925.
The Emden had been completed for half a year before the next class of German cruisers was laid down. This was the Konigsberg or K Class. The design was 1,000 tons heavier and 62 feet longer than the Emden. However, the German navy tried to do too much with the design. Designed as a scout cruiser, the placement of the main armament reflected the concept for their operational employment. For the first time triple turrets were used for the 5.9-inch guns. Two turrets were placed aft and one forward. This reflected that she was designed to seek out the enemy fleet and then retreat from the superior enemy force. Gunfire aft was maximized to allow the cruiser to escape in the most favorable circumstances. Speed jumped to 32 knots from 29 in the Emden but range drastically decreased to 3,100nm @ 13 knots compared to Emden’s 5,300nm @ 18 knots. Electrical welding was used throughout and cruising diesel engines included with the steam turbine main propulsion. A weak hull plagued the design.
The next design followed in two years. This was the Leipzig. Originally called Kreuzer E it was modified from the preceding K design. She was ten feet longer and three feet wider on a slightly lighter displacement. While the K Class ships used two shafts that could be turned by steam turbines for speed or diesels for cruising, the Leipzig had three shafts, two for steam turbine plants and the center shaft turned by diesels. Obviously, only the center shaft was used in cruising. The center propeller was variable pitch and could be feathered when not in use. Maximum speed was 32 knots and range increased to 3,800nm @ 15 knots. The hull was much stronger than in the K Class but was still frail by cruiser standards. Leipzig suffered serious structural damage in spring 1937 in heavy seas in the Bay of Biscay. There were plans to incorporated further hull strength with the addition of bulges but this did not occur before World War Two erupted. She was laid down on April 14, 1928, launched on October 18, 1929 and commissioned on October 8, 1931.
Leipzigwas given a 50mm (2-inch) armor belt that met with a 25mm (1-inch) armor deck. The armament was the same as the K design. Nine 5.9-inch guns mounted in three triple turrets. However, the turrets were all on the centerline, unlike the K design that had the two aft turrets positioned one to left of centerline and one to right of centerline under the theory that this would give them a greater arc of fire forward. Leipzig could easily be distinguished from the three cruisers of the Konigsberg Class by her single trunked stack in place of the smaller twin stacks of the earlier design. In 1936 Leipzig was given a catapult and initially carried a HE 60 floatplane. Also in this refit she was given two twin 88mm SK C/32 mounts in place of the older single 88mm mounts and received a third twin mount later.
In 1936 she was actively employed in the neutrality patrol of the Spanish Civil War but was hardly neutral as Germany actively sided with the Franco side of the conflict. She undertook only one training cruise before the war to Tangier in the spring of 1939. In September 1939 she made four mine laying sorties in the North Sea and then was employed in mercantile warfare in the Skagerrak between Norway and Denmark in November. After this she provided support for destroyers returning from mine laying missions off of the East Coast of England. In December 1939, while engaged in supporting the destroyers, she had both forward boiler rooms destroyed by torpedoes from the submarine, HMS Salmon. Although given temporary repairs she was never totally repaired and from that point played only a minor role in combat operations consisting of a bombardment mission against the Russians in September 1941. She had become a training cruiser in the Baltic. It was estimated that it would take 7 months to replace the destroyed boilers and 16 months for replacing the wiring and Leipzig was never allocated the dockyard time to make these repairs. In October 1944 she was accidentally rammed by the Prinz Eugen had was reduced to cadet’s training hulk on November 13, 1944. In the closing month of the war she was employed as a floating battery at Gofthaven (Gydnia) in April 1945 but managed to escape to the west before the end. After the war, Leipzig was loaded with gas ammunition rounds and scuttled off of Norway on July 11, 1946.
Niemiecki lekki krazownik LEIPZIG (German Light Cruiser Leipzig) is the title of the new Profile Morskie #58. Text is by Slawomir Brzezinski and the detailed line drawings done by Slawomir Brzezinski and Jerzy Moscinski. The volume is 32 pages in length plus covers and includes three separate inserts. The format is the same standard established in other titles of the Profile Morskie series. There are seven pages of text and photos at the start of the volume followed by 14 pages of detailed line drawings, followed by another 9 pages of photographs. The text, as well as photographic labels, are in Polish and English. The text covers the operational career of Leipzig from December 17, 1938 when she went into the Deutsche Werke Yard for her last refit to her scuttling in 1946. Each movement or operation is covered by lines of Polish and English text. This title includes 31 photographs but as always in the Profile Morskie series, the detailed line drawings are the key attraction for the modeler.
Normally a Profile Morskie title will mention the scale of each set of line drawings but that apparently was accidentally omitted in PM 58. Next to a drawing of the triple 5.9-inch turret 1:200 is printed as the scale but that is the only time that the scale is printed in the drawings in the center part of the title. The detailed superstructure also appear to be in 1:200 scale as they are twice the length of the corresponding section found in the separate 1:400 insert. However, with the drawings of the smaller guns and fittings, the exact scale is not identified but clearly, they are done in a scale larger than 1:200. The drawings are very detailed and include fine detail such as the fittings inside the cockpits and sections of the ships’ launches. Of the 14 pages of line drawings eight are devoted primarily to superstructure detail, two to armament and four to other fittings. As with the detailed line drawings of Profile Morskie #60 Oyodo (Click for Review of PM60 Oyodo) the line drawings show areas of attachment of other structures through the numbering system employed throughout the drawings. These provide a template for any modeler who wishes to scratch-build this cruiser and greatly assist the modeler to that end.
There are three separate scale plates of Leipzig in this volume. One is of a full color plan and profile in 1:400 scale of the cruiser in December 1939. It folds out to three pages and is printed only on one side. The turret crowns are portrayed as orange but probably they were in the dark wine color used by Kriegsmarine ships operating in the Baltic. Also included in this plate is an enlarged full color ship’s crest that was found at the bow of the cruiser. The second separate three-page fold out plan is back-printed. The front side shows the 1:400 scale profile and two plans of Leipzig as of December 1939. The two plans vary in the manner that they portray the Arado 196 floatplane. One shows the Arado on the catapult with spare pontoon aft of the stack and the other shows the Arado separate from the ship with the details of fittings that are hidden by the Arado and spare pontoon on the first plan. There is also a separate drawing showing section lines. The back provides a 1:200 template for the main superstructure running from the bridge to aft of X turret. It also shows the underside detail of the overhanging deck and platforms of this level. A third drawing shows the railing detail found along this substantial length of ship. All of this detail is clearly aimed at the modeler who wishes to scratch-build the ship. The third separate three-page fold out is also back-printed. One side is in 1:400 scale and features hull side detail for each side and two plans. One plan shows deck planking with deck fittings, while the second plan omits the planking for clarity with numbers used as keys to the detailed drawings in the main body of the title. The back drawings show the bridge superstructure in 1:200 scale from side, front and top and the bulkhead detail of the main deck, whose plan is found in the 2nd fold-out.
Profile Morskie #58 on the Leipzig as well as other titles in the series can be obtained from Pacific Front, White Ensign Models or directly from the publisher at the link below.