Wehrmacht History 1935 to 1945


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Light Cruiser

Emden Light cruiser

Service Data

In Service: 15 October 1925 to 3 May 1945

Production Data

Ordered: 1921
Builder: Reichsmarinewerft, Wilhelmshaven
Construction No: 100
Laid down: 8 December 1921
Launched: 7 January 1925
Commissioned: 15 October 1925

Technical Data

Type: Light cruiser
Class: Emden

Displacement: 5,300 tons standard 6,990 tons full load
Length: 155.1 m
Beam: 14.2 m
Draft: 59.3 m
Propulsion: 2 × shafts, steam turbines, 4 × boilers, producing up to 45,900 shp
Speed: 29.4 knots
Range: 6,700 nautical miles at 12 knots
Crew: 685 men and officers
8 × 15 cm L/45 SK L/45
carried 960 rounds
3 × 10.5 cm L/45 SK C/32 after 1944
3 × 8.8 cm L/45 SK before 1944
carried 900 to 1,200 rounds
4 × 3.7 cm L/83 SK C/30 after 1944
6 × 2 cm MG L/65 C/30 20 after 1944
4 × 50 cm torpedo tubes
4 × 53.3 cm torpedo tubes after 1934 6 after 1938
12 torpedo's carried
120 mines
Armour Belt 50 mm, Deck 40 mm, Turrets 20 mm,
Operators: Kriegsmarine

Other: Light cruisers


The Kriegsmarine light cruiser Emden was the only ship of its class. The 3rd light cruiser to bear the name, Emden was the first new warship constructed in Germany after the First World War.

Used mainly as a training vessel, Emden made many cruises into the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean between 1926 and 1939. For a period , until he was promoted to Captain and transfer to the 1st U-boat flotilla in 1935, Emden was commanded by Karl Dönitz, who remembered the cruises in his autobiography, Memoirs Ten Years and Twenty Days.


15 October 1925
The Emden is commissioned.

4 September 1939
Emden was hit during a RAF air raid on Wilhelmshaven, The Emden managed to shot down a RAF Blendheim bomber which crashed into the bow of the ship, causing several deaths.

8 April 1940
The Emden takes part in operation Weserübung (Invasion of Denmark and Norway) along with Lützow, Blücher, the torpedo boats Möwe, Kondor and Albatros and the 1st R-Flottilla, The Blücher had 1,000 troops onboard ready for the invasion of Oslo.

10 April 1940
Emden arrives in Oslo. The Emden is used as the main communication center in Oslo.

22 August 1941
The Emden is escorted by torpedo boats Kondor and Greif from Frederikshavn to Norden.

27 September 1941
The Emden is accompanied by the light cruiser Leipzig, the Emden sinks the Soviet MTB 83.

23 January 1945
The Emden is towed to Pillau by ice breakers. Once there major work is carried out on one of her engines.

6 February 1945
The Emden arrives in Kiel after a six day journey from Pillau.

9 April 1945 The Emden is severely damaged in an air attack at Kiel.

14 April 1945 The Emden is towed to Heikendorfer Bucht and beached there.

26 April 1945
The Emden is decommissioned from service.

3 May 1945
The Emden is scuttled and scrapped after the war.


Richard Foerster
Takes command on 15 October 1925
Ends command on 23 September 1928

Lothar von Arnauld de la Periére
Takes command on 23 September 1928
Ends command on 11 October 1930

Robert Witthoeft Emden
Takes command on 11 October 1930
Ends command on 22 March 1932

Werner Grassmann
Takes command on 22 March 1932
Ends command on 1 April 1933

Karl Dönitz
Takes command on 29 September 1934
Ends command on 21 September 1935

Johannes Bachmann
Takes command on 21 September 1935
Ends command on 25 August 1936

Walter Georg Lohmann
Takes command on 25 August 1936
Ends command on 20 June 1937

Bernhard Liebetanz
Takes command on 20 June 1937
Ends command on 30 July 1937

Leopold Bürkner
Takes command on 30 July 1937
Ends command on 15 June 1938

Paul Wever
Takes command on 15 June 1938
Ends command on 5 May 1939

Werner Lange
Takes command on 5 May 1939
Ends command on 26 August 1940

Hans Mirow
Takes command on 26 August 1940
Ends command on 19 July 1942

Friedrich Traugott Schmitt
Takes command on 19 July 1942
Ends command on 9 September 1943

Hans Hengist
Takes command on 9 September 1943
Ends command on 1 March 1944

Hans-Eberhard Meisner
Takes command on 1 March 1944
Ends command on January 1945

Wolfgang Kähler
Takes command on January 1945
Ends command on March 1945

Ernst-Ludwig Wickmann
Takes command on April 1945
Ends command on 3 May 1945


Emden picture 2
Emden picture 3

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German Warships, 1815-1945: Major Surface Vessels.
ISBN-10: 0851775330

German Warships, 1815-1945: U-boats and Mine Warfare Vessels.
ISBN-10: 155750301X

German warships of the Second World War.
ISBN-10: 0668040378

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