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Type 440 Deutschland class training ship

The "Deutschland" [Germany] was a training ship [Schulschiff] of the German Navy. She served as the "Gorch Fock" training of officer cadets. To study the acquired skills in theory be implemented on a warship in the practice. Deutschland was the smallest German cruiser since the 4,385-ton SMS Brummer and Bremse of 1915. This one-ship class, Type 440 of the German designation system, cost 95 million DM.

West Germany was the last of the major European powers to get back into designing modern major combatants. Italy had new surface warship designs being built by 1950 with construction of new designs in both France and the Soviet Union delayed because of the extensive damage to their construction infrastructure sustained during World War Two. Following the pattern from the end of World War One, the first design was again for a training cruiser.

Ordered in late 1958, the training ship Deutschland was laid down at Nobiskrug shipyard in Rendsburg on 11 September 1959. Launched on 5 November 1960, it was originally intended to name the Federal German Navy's training ship Berlin. For obvious political reasons however (Germany and Berlin being divided and the latter existing under the four power status, and the allies objecting the name chosen), the plan was abandoned and the vessel named after the German nation - "Deutschland" for Germany.

The name Deutschland until then been used by four other ships, as well as in the Empire fleet. In addition, an underwater cargo ship Deutschland was called, which was used from 1917 as cruisers U U 155 as a warship. Delivered 10 April 1963, Deutschland was commissioned on 25 May 1966 and, like the sail training ship Gorch Fock, attached to the Naval Academy Mürwik in Flensburg. During her active service, thousands of cadets of the post-war West German navy completed the three month practical part of their officer's training on board Deutschland.

She was larger than what was permitted under the existing peace treaties so concurrence from the former allies, at least from the western allies, was sought and received. The Soviet Union was against any rearmament of West Germany. Specifically designed as a test bed for new weapons systems and new modern construction, the cruiser had armament and machinery of different types for training a new generation of German sailors.

Deutschland (A59) was constructed and used as a training cruiser ("Schulschiff") in peacetime and planned for multi-role missions in the event of war: troop ship, hospital ship, minelayer, and escort. For this reason the ship was only lightly armed for its size (no guided missiles), the machinery was rather impractical and diverse, and large teaching rooms were included. Also, civilians served alongside military personnel.

Armament was a mixed bag with four DCN 100mm/55 guns in single gun houses, two twin Breda 40mm/70 Mod 58II AA mounts, and two single Bofors 40mm MEL DS Type 58 mounts. Six torpedo tubs were fitted with four trainable 533mm tubes and two fixed 533mm tubes firing from the stern towards the aft. The fixed tubes were removed in the 1970s. Two 375mm ASW mortar/rocket launchers were fitted, along with two depth charge racks.

In order to try different types of equipment Deutschland a real mixed bag of power equipment was fitted. She was given two types of German diesel power plants with two diesel engines manufactured by Mercedes-Benz and two more by Maybach. Both designs were of 16-cylinder four-stroke design with one of each type turning each of the two outer shafts. Later the two Mercedes Benz engines were replaced with another pair of Maybachs. The third centerline shaft was steam powered and Deutschland was equipped with two Wahodag boilers, which turned a single Wahodag geared steam turbine. All three propellers were a three bladed Escher-Wyss controllable pitch 2.8m diameter design.

In her time Deutschland was the largest naval vessel of West Germany. Permission to build the ship was granted despite being larger than allowed by tonnage restrictions imposed by the WEU on West Germany. (The later Berlin class replenishment ships of the reunited Germany are much larger.) Like most German post-war naval ships she was completely NBC protected. Deutschland was the smallest German cruiser since the 4,385-ton SMS Brummer and Bremse of 1915.

The "Deutschland" visited more than 120 foreign ports on all continents (except Antarctica). Here some ports were repeatedly started. 35 training trips led to the world, while the equator was crossed 23 times and the Arctic Circle twice. Overall, the "Deutschland" more than 700,000 nautical miles laid back and served for 3,800 cadets as a training platform.

They braved Cape Horn and circumnavigated the Cape of Good Hope. After eleven commanders had done on the "Deutschland" service, it was provided on 28 June 1990 decommissioned. From Wilhelmshaven it was four years later towed to India and scrapped there. The "Deutschland" was to 1990 with the "Gorch Fock" arguably the most important ambassadors in blue, because one of the primary training objectives was international understanding.

The ship remained in active service until she was decommissioned on 28 June 1990. Notwithstanding the prominent role that the ship had played in the naval officer training of the Bundesmarine from the mid-1960s for nearly 25 years, all attempts to preserve the ship, e.g. as a museum, failed. FGS Deutschland was finally sold in October 1993 for scrap, and in January 1994 she was towed to Alang, India to meet her fate.

length 138 m / 475-feet
width 16 m
depth 6 m
displacement: 4,800-tons standard
5,500-tons full load
Speed 21 kn
Armament 4 x 100 mm individual turrets
2 x 40 mm double mount
2 x 40 mm individual mount
2 x U -Jagd rocket launcher
crew 30 officers
30 Portepee-NCOs
90 non-commissioned officers
180 enlisted personnel
120 officer cadets

6 civilian employees

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Page last modified: 17-11-2015 19:30:58 ZULU