Wednesday, August 13, 2014

German Warship Class Type Destroyer FGS Schleswig-Holstein

The Schleswig-Holstein (D182) a Hamburg class destroyer launched in 1960 and was the first German warship class to be built after World War 2. Post-war ship construction in Germany had been concentrated on commercial vessels for import and export before the arrival of the Schleswig-Holstein. The German builder Stulcken Shipyard was available for the project, however, they had little in the way of experience in building naval-class warships. After bids were received, Stulcken was nonetheless awarded the contract.

Design of the Schleswig-Holstein and her related class was centered around operations in the Baltic Sea.

The German Navy felt the primary requirements needed in their new class warship to be armament and speed - operations in adverse weather was not considered since this destroyer was not expected to operate in the volatile waters of the North Sea.

The German Government needed destroyers to protect the shipping lanes between the Baltic countries, lanes that had seen an noticeable increase in trade traffic.

Stulcken's plans lacked the modern upgrades common to American and British destroyers of the time. In fact, the Schleswig-Holstein resembled something more akin to a World War 2 destroyer design. On the positive side, the lack of incorporating modern components into the Schleswig-Holstein superstructure and weapons suite allowed for a fast-track construction schedule. Stulcken shipyard also built the Cologne-class frigates in the 1960’s and the technical blueprints of both ship types were similar and lacked advanced weaponry.

The German Navy wanted a heavy gun armament so the weight of the steel had to be reduced somewhere on the ship.
Sea keeping was chosen to be reduced by decreasing the height and weight of the steel free boards along the hull. This inevitably short-sighted decision allowed heavy seas to wash onto the decks of the Schleswig-Holstein in rough seas. It became obvious that the Schleswig-Holstein (D182) was a "top-heavy" design and showcased a large noticeable silhouette. Her profile also made her somewhat ineffective in bad weather seas overall.

When her mission finally changed, the Schleswig-Holstein (D182) and her sister ships became the German Navy’s primary naval warship in the North Sea. Their lack of large free boards eventually slowed their sea-going progress and reduced the effectiveness as destroyers in heavy seas.

By the late 1970’s, the Schleswig-Holstein needed a weapons upgrade to counter the anti-ship guided missiles being fielded by aircraft and ships of other countries. At this time, her designation was changed to Type 101A. To counter the anti-ship missile threat, the decision was made to mount two French Exocet anti-ship missile launchers. To accomplish this, room aboard was needed so one of the 100mm gun mounts was removed and the torpedo tubes were welded over. The Exocet revolving missile launchers were positioned aft behind the stack. The outdated Bofors guns were replaced with four of the new L 70 Breda 40mm cannons in twin mountings instead. The radar was upgraded with the French F97 model while the and the operations center was modernized by increasing its size with new sonar stations. The Bridge had larger windows installed with larger side wings.

D182 was finally decommissioned in December 1994 and fell to the scrapman's torch in Spain. The Hamburg-class, as a whole, is no longer in service. 



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