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DK Scharnhorst - 43 yr. old mystery

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 8:10 pm
by Bluemill
The one and only model I have been able to retain 95% intact from childhood is the 1:600 Airfix Scharnhorst I built in 1965. At that time, I referred to a photo from an old U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings issue that
(Jan. 1960) that showed the ship before the Atlantic bow was installed. The picture clearly shows the mainmast attched on the searchlight platform on the funnel. After pouring over this and other super websites on the German Navy, I am reminded repeatedly that Gneisnau had this mast configuration, and Scharnhorst had it behind the hanger, almost to the "C" turret.

Then I think, well I've been wrong about this model for 43 years, and although Airfix did a nice job on the kit for back then, they could have made an error. Then I take a closer look at that old picture, and CLEARLY I can make out that the bow crest bears the diagonal stripe, from 10 to 4 o'clock. (I even painted this on the model, when I was really pretty good at that kind of fine motor skill. Only problem, gold not silver!)

OK, now I'm really confused. So, in addition to the Atlantic bow did they move the mast as well but not on Gneisnau?

Respectfully submitted,


Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 10:39 pm
by Terje Langoy
Hello, Bluemill

Gneisenau carried her mainmast on her funnel platform throughout her entire career. It had been planned to relocate it at Brest and I think they even got as far as having the new mast ready but Cerberus interrupted these plans. The relocation of her mast appears on K-235/N4 as well but that of course never happened.

The great difference between the twins in their early years was that Gneisenau's cosmetic changes progressed gradually in the period between autumn of 1938 until may 1939 while the Scharnhorst had it all done within a couple of months. Of course, with the experience harvested from Gneisenau's trials and her frequent shipyard visits, Scharnhorst had the luxury of reaping the fruits of her sisters trials.

The Scharnhorst went into drydock in Wilhelmshaven (June-August 1939) where she received a new clipper bow and the bow anchors were relocated from the earlier hawseholes to the new deck cluses. (Different from the Gneisenau, Scharnhorst carried three bow anchors after the rebuild but the third was later removed) She had her mast removed aft, between the hangar and aft range finder and was also given a funnel cap.

However, your Airfix-model would indeed be correct if it reflect the Scharnhorst as seen between January - June 1939.

Kind regards


Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 11:11 pm
by Bluemill
Thank you for your reply. I find it interesting that you are so close to where Bismarck stopped in so long ago.

Are there any remnants of Tirpitz at or near Tromso? Sorry if my spelling isn't quite correct.

I have a friend who went to Lillihammer when the Olympics were there. He said that the people in Norway were great hosts and Very tall in stature.

Thank you.

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:15 am
by Terje Langoy
Speaking of remnants, I recall having said in an earlier thread that some portions of the armour of the Tirpitz is actually in use to this day, to cover up holes during road work. Otherwise, if you should ever make a trip to Norway sometime, this place could be worth a visit:

...and speaking as a true Gneisenthusiast, you simply don't want to miss this!!

Kind regards

Gneisnau turret

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:14 am
by Bluemill
That is so cool! I never knew that happened. I had read recently that they were going to regun the Scharnhorst & Gneisnau with 38 cm twins, but the RAF kept bombing them so it never got done.

Thank you, that is a treat indeed. Am I to assume that is "A" turret because it lacks a range finder?

I attach a website of the place where U.S.S. Massachestts is moored. This is about 50-60 minutes away by car from where I live. You can go into about every compartment except very high in the conning tower, because they fear the children will fall. This ship is very menacing looking like a boxer spoiling for a brawl!



Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:42 pm
by Terje Langoy
The turret is not Anton, this was scrapped after the fatal hit in February 1942, but Caesar. The turret ears were removed as they provided a separate unit for range-finding. I think it should be depicted somewhere in the link above.

Big Mamie and BB-60 Alabama have of course crossed my mind as places worth a visit. But once I have the time and economy to cross the pond, I will definitely go to Philly first, to see the Big U. Now, that's a genuine masterpiece of ship construction. Sir Francis Gibbs certainly knew how to build them.

Kind regards