KM Munich (CLA-1943)


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Originally to have been standard 5.9" cruisers to escort the large carriers and battleships, the design was changed to become AA cruisers when the aircraft was acknowledged to be the biggest threat to shipping. While being AA cruisers the ships still carried torpedo tubes as Germanic States doctrine said that cruisers should be able to attack with torpedoes. To get the extended range required to keep up with the big ships, the Munich Class were fitted with high speed diesels the Germanic States had been perfecting for years. Eight 10,000bhp units gave the ships both long range and high speed, four units being coupled to the centre shaft and two units to each outer shaft which were used for cruising with the centre shaft being used for high speed.

Radar controlled guns abounded. The twin 5" were a new model with better loading methods to increase the rpm from eight to twelve rounds per minute. While it does not sound much, four rounds a minute extra, a 50% increase in firepower, any Captain would die for. The twin 50mm were a completely new weapon system working on 'endless' belt ammunition supply. Each turret had its own radar control unit to make for very accurate firing. When used in an anti-shipping role these ships were destroyer killers extraordinaire (smaller units too).

Displacement 9,800 tons standard, 12,950 tons full load
Length 634 ft
Breadth 60 ft
Draught 22 ft
Machinery 3 shaft diesel engines 80,000shp
Speed 33 knots
Armour 4.1" side 2" deck, 2" turrets
Armament 12 x 5" (6x2)
12 x 50mm (6x2)
6 x 20mm (6x1)
Aircraft nil
Torpedoes 12 x 21" (4x3)
Complement 680
Notes Munich (1943)

Magdeburg (1943)

Lyonesse (1944)

Mainz (1944)

The German light cruisers suffered from short rangedness, and this couldn't be cured with steam turbine propulsion so the Germans diagnosed that a diesel propulsion system would have to provide the cure. The "M" type cruisers were to be fitted with diesels of 80,000bhp to give them a maximum speed of 32-33 knots while at a cruising speed of 24 knots the ship could travel 15,000 km's. Scharnhorst was 13,000 k's at 24 knots. Otherwise the design was just a basic 8 gun layout equivalent to the 9 gun ships the British were building at the same time with completion dates 1943+.

The name of the class is taken from the letter designating the first projected unit. As long as the ships were not named, they were referred to by letters assigned in the chronological order of their planned construction. The first planned unit would have been the thirteenth German cruiser and was therefore listed as 'Cruiser M' in the navy's documents. Had any of the ships been built, the class would have been named after the first completed unit.

I found this image on an Image Shack link from a Google search on "M class cruisers' - it was uncredited but looks like it is a still shot from one of the Naval Simulation Games. If someone wishes to tell me its lineage I will be happy to credit them. Thanks to Karle94 and Silent Hunter 4 for the pic.

These ships make a stark contrast with the Magdeburg class, where the demands of different roles mean you end up with entirely different ship types. The Magdeburg's were first and foremost escorts to the fleet carriers, for AA and anti-ship duties. The Munichs were built as general light cruisers that could undertake all the roles of the cruiser, escort, raider, scout etc.


  M Class Standard My Ship
Displacement 10,250 tons 8,450 tons
Length 643 ft 540 ft
Breadth 59 ft 52 ft
Draught 18 ft 20 ft
Machinery 3 shaft diesel engines 80,000shp 4 shaft diesel engines 80,000shp
Speed 35 knots 36 knots
Armour 4.1" side 2" deck, 2" turrets 3.5" side 2" deck, 2" turrets
Armament 8 x 5.9" (4x2)

8 x 4.1" (4x2)

12 x 37mm (6x2)

18 x 20mm (2x4 10x1)


8 x 6.7" (4x2)

6 x 88mm (3x2)

4 x 37mm (2x2)

12 x 30mm (4x3)

6 x 20mm (6x1)

Aircraft 2 nil
Torpedoes 6 x 21" (2x3) 8 x 21" (2x4)

The 6.7" guns for my M type come from the demilitarised old pre-dreadnoughts being used as accommodation ships at Kiel harbour.

Or more precisely the guns are off a 1/650 Tirpitz and are too big to be 5.9 - next German size up is 6.7".


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