Destroyer: 1934A Class - Germany (Europe 1940)

Destroyer: 1934A Class - Germany (Europe 1940)

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Part Number:EU40_GEDES

1934A Class Destroyer

(“Friedrich Eckholdt class”)

Ship/ Class

Length

Beam

Disp.

Main Arm.

Speed

#

Date

1934A Class

390’ (119 m)

37’ (11.8 m)

2,171 t

5x5”

36 kts.

12

1937

 

1934A Class Destroyer

 

ID: Plastic destroyer gaming piece: Zerstörer 1934A (1934A-class destroyer) from the game Axis & Allies Europe 40.

 

The Story of the 1934 & 1936 Classes: Since nearly their entire fleet had been scuttled or confiscated as war booty after World War I, the Germans had the distinct disadvantage of having rebuild their military forces almost from the ground up.  Given the long lag time when few warships were being built and constructed, the 1934, class destroyers were the first destroyers built by the Germans since the previous war.  The 1934A, and 1936 class destroyers were only very slight variations on the 1934 design.  On paper, the design was a solid and competitive one, with a high speed, larger-than-average displacement and solid 5x5” main armament.  In practice, the design had hidden problems with reliability, sea-keeping qualities and in its fuel storage (and hence range) and ammunition storage capacity.  This last was perhaps the most decisive when many of them found a lack of ammunition to be a serious problem in the Battles of Narvik.  By 1940 the Germans had built up a fleet of 22 destroyers from these three very similar classes, but nearly half of them were lost in the Battles of Narvik.  Surprised and caught off-guard in a Norwegian fjord by bold British destroyer captains, the episode proved a devastating blow to the fledgling destroyer arm of the Kriegsmarine.  The subsequent, still-similar, but heavily-gunned (5x 5.9”) 1936A class would come to be known as the “Narvik” class by the allies.  The entire Norwegian Campaign as a whole proved to be devastating to the Kriegsmarine, and Hitler’s admirals were eager for a chance to redeem their reputations.  In the Battle of the Barents Sea, a German task force took on a roughly equal British force guarding a convoy to Russia.  Contradictory orders, meddling micromanagement and the general fog of war caused the German attack to be a failure, however, resulting only in the loss of the last of the 1934A class destroyers, the Friedrich Eckholdt (Z16).  Hitler was furious and ordered that the entire German surface navy be scrapped at once!  Cooler heads eventually prevailed, however, and the German surface fleet was given a reprieve.  They were not, however, able to get their revenge for the humiliations of Narvik and the Barents Sea.  Perhaps you think that you could do better?  If you care to try, you’ll certainly need a few of these...

 

Usage Notes: Use this piece for “Global 1939” and “Invasion of Italy” Variants as a destroyer unit.  Other German warships of interest may be: the Bismark class battleship, the Hipper class cruiser, & the Graf Zeppelin class aircraft carrier.

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