The Battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau Vol. II (Hardback)
The Kriegsmarine battleships, were in fact only four vessels, introduced during 1935–1941. The first two, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, were ready before the war and two others, Bismarck and Tirpitz, were commissioned into the fleet after it had begun. That was the biggest achievement in the arming of the German navy conducted by Hitler. Interestingly, all these ships served just a few months, from February to May 1941. In the meantime, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were stationed in Brest, France; Bismarck was getting ready for raids on the Atlantic; and Tirpitz was finishing her sea trials and getting ready for commissioning.
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau had already been through a baptism of fire, which ended with a little victory on the British sea routes. However, staying on the French coast, they constantly were under the threat of air-strikes. The career of Bismarck ended with her sinking though she had successfully attacked British convoys beforehand. As the consequence of that defeat, the German network of sources on the Atlantic was destroyed. From that moment, raids by heavy German battleships became almost impossible to carry out, and they suffered from the ever-expanding control of the Atlantic by the Allies. Despite this, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau escaped to Germany via the English Channel. This extensively illustrated volume captures the detail of these two Kriegsmarine battleships.