The United States had already been in existence almost a century when in 1871, a unified Germany was created as the result of the Franco-Prussian War. The area of Germany had been a patch-work of duchies, principalities, small kingdoms and assorted other states, dominated by the large kingdoms of Prussia and Bavaria. As a result of the Franco-Prussian War all of these states were unified under the King of Prussia who became Emperor or Kaiser of the unified country. Prussia had always been a land power and although it did have a coastline along the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, Prussia had never had much of a navy. During the Franco-Prussian War, it was the German armies, which had won the war. The small Prussian Fleet had played no role, having been bottled up in their few ports by French warships. For a time unified Germany still had no desire for a major fleet but that changed with the arrival of two new figures. One was Admiral Tirpitz who dreamed of a large fleet for Germany and the other was Kaiser Wilhelm II, who had the same dream. Starting the 1890s each year saw large amounts of funds apportioned for warship construction. Germany, which had been viewed as friendly towards Great Britain, took on the form of a new challenger to the dominance of the Royal Navy.
For almost two decades there was a naval arms race between Great Britain and Imperial Germany with the Royal Navy maintaining a comfortable quantitative edge but with a qualitative edge on the side of Germany. Although German warships were designed for operations close to German waters, lacking the habitability of RN designs, they proved extremely well built, capable of absorbing huge amounts of punishment. With the end of World War One, the allies tried to hamstring Germany from creating strong military forces, through the draconian terms of the Treaty of Versailles. One of the first warships constructed by the Weimar Republic was the light cruiser Emden, designed as a training cruiser. All those terms of the Versailles Treaty did was create financial disaster in Germany and a seething hatred for the terms imposed upon a proud country and people. It created a fertile breeding ground for extremists, one of which, Adolf Hitler, rose to power through elections. When Germany rearmed under the National Socialist Party, the navy was included as well. Hitler conned Great Britain into signing a Treaty, which allowed Germany a fleet 35% the strength of the Royal Navy. This was directly contrary to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, however, it soothed the nervousness of the British politicians. At the same time it allowed Germany to openly construct new warships. Again German industry built ships of unparalleled toughness, although far fewer than were built before World War One.
At the end of World War Two all of the major allied nations decided that Germany would again be restricted in what would be allowed for a future German military. For a future German Navy, warships would be no larger than 2,500-tons. However, as the 1940s turned to the 1950s, old allies became enemies as the United States and the powers of western Europe were confronted by the massive land power of the Soviet Union and the increasingly bellicose statements and actions of Joseph Stalin. NATO was formed and the western allies took a new look at rearming West Germany. A new Bundeswehr, Luftwaffe and Bundesmarine were created. For the German Navy, the old restrictions were removed and again Germany could go into the business of constructing warships. Training for personnel in the new German Navy started in 1956 and the first warships to commissioned in the navy were six old Fletcher class destroyers loaned to Germany on five-year leases in 1958.
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. This was the Deutschland, originally to have been named the Berlin. It appears that the western allies had pushed for the name of Deutschland named after the entire country, rather than just the name of the former (now again present) capitol city. This was the very same purpose of unifying the country that Imperial Germany had named its class of predreadnought battleship by the name of Germany or that the Weimar Republic used the same name for its first major combatant after World War One, which was the unique Panzerschiff design. Displacing 4,800-tons, 5,500-tons full load, the Deutschland was 475-feet in length and carried a mixed set of armament. 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. She was officially typed as a "Schulschiff" School Ship or Training Ship, Type 440.
She was larger than she had to be as a pure warship because in her role as training ship some interior space was optimized as classrooms. In service Deutschland received the nickname of "Lego-Dampfer" or "Lego Steamer" because of her appearance. Some critics said that her design appeared to have been crafted by a Rendsburg girlís school class, in part because she was built by Nobiskrug at Rendsburg.. She had war missions assigned, as well as her training mission. Her size and layout allowed her to be a hospital ship, troop ship or minelayer. Ordered in 1956, she was laid down September 11, 1959, launched November 5, 1960, completed April 10, 1963 but not commissioned until May 25, 1966 at the naval school of Murwik. She had a high superstructure similar to the first purpose built warships of the Hamburg class destroyers, so both class shared a family appearance. Even though a training ship, Deutschland was completely NBC protected with an internal overpressure system.
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. The maximum speed was 21-knots, which was fine for a school ship but strictly in auxiliary range for a full-blooded warship. The design had two rudders. Armament was also 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. The ship did have mine laying capacity. Also in keeping with her training ship mission was the high ration of chiefs to Indians, as he complement was 30 officers, 30 petty officers, 90 NCOs, 180 enlisted, 120 naval cadets and 6 civilians.
For 27 years the Deutschland served in her role well in the reborn German Navy. One important mission was showing the flag of the new Germany and in this capacity made 35 voyages overseas and visited 120 foreign ports. She visited all continents, except Antarctica, and traveled 700,000 nautical miles. She crossed the equator 23 times and went north of the Arctic Circle twice. She transited the Panama Canal and Suez Canal nine times each rounded Cape Horn and Cape of Good Hope once each. Deutschland was decommissioned on June 28, 1990 and sold for scrap in October 1993. She was towed to Alang, India and starting on January 6, 1994 was scrapped.
The NNT Deutschland
The forecastle is wide and blunt. The ship had steel decks, so there is no wood planking detail. However, NNT provides plenty of deck fittings cast onto the hull piece. There are notches sloping out for the anchor hawse, rather than the traditional deck anchor hawse fittings. Along each side of the forecastle in front of the breakwater are five twin bollard or chock fittings. Along the centerline are anchor windlasses, opening fittings for the chain locker, a deck access hatch and another twin bollard fitting. Adding a touch of asymmetry is a deck plate offset to port. The thinly cast breakwater slants forward and has support gussets on the rearward face. More detail is found behind this with cable reels and another deck access hatch. When you reach the superstructure there is another cable reel to starboard and a locker to port. Amidships there are occasional bollard fittings and boat chocks found along the narrow walkways. The quarterdeck is a little more asymmetrical in deck fittings. This starts at the end of the superstructure with a locker offset to port. Just aft of Y mount base are two more cable reels with two additional fittings. Along the deck edges are two more twin bollard fittings and a closed chock. Offset to port is a depth charge rack and a deck access hatch. Offset to starboard are a cargo hatch, access hatch, a piece of machinery and small screen. The hull/superstructure casting is very clean. At most there is a miniscule amount of clean up. Gun tubs, boat chocks, blast shields and platform extension cast integral to the hull or very thin. I did not notice any blemishes or pinhole voids in the casting. In other words the quality of the casting is superb.
With so much of the superstructure cast with the hull piece, there are only three other superstructure parts that are piled atop the hull. These are the bridge, funnel and aft superstructure. The bridge design has an almost RN destroyer appearance with an angular face and open navigation deck just right for the Baltic in a blizzard in January. The bridge has interior details with access doors to the interior and a windscreen. Open bridge wings with solid splinter shielding are found on each wing abreast of the bridge with access cutouts for inclined ladders. Four small semi-circular antennae base plates are cast along the bridge crown edge. The funnel casting is a tall, slab-sided affair with a strong rearward rake. Cast details include strong support ribbing and a highly detailed top. The smaller aft superstructure has thin platform extensions, equipment tubs, and side detail. All three superstructure parts dry-fitted seamlessly with the hull casting. Four smaller separate resin castings are for two twin Breda 40mm mounts and two crane kingposts.
A small resin sheet has the four gun houses, ASW mortars, life raft canisters, single 40mm mounts ammunition lockers. A second, much smaller sheet has a rack, which is fitted aft of the bridge. A number of resin runners round out the rest of the resin parts. One has three very well done radar illuminators, the twin Breda barrels and the single Bofors guns. Another resin runner has six different thin resin platforms, all of different shapes. One runner has an assortment of fittings with communication domes, a radar array, and other fittings. Two identical resin runners each provide eleven single life raft canisters. Six separate resin runners have the shipís boats with three open boats and three with a cabin. A last runner has the four 100mm guns and four davits.
Photo-Etch Fret & Decals
The kit includes two back-printed sheets of instructions, although only the second sheet is used for assembly. On the front page of the first sheet is a black and white reproduction of the box art, along with the basic historical data and size specifications for the ship. The reverse has a short history, detailed technical specifications and painting guide. All text is in German. The second sheet has the actual assembly steps. All parts are numbered with resin parts designated by the parts number in a square and photo-etch parts designated by the parts number in a circle. The front of this sheet has a resin parts laydown and numbers each part. The major drawing shows attachment of the superstructure, plus beginning of attachment of the smaller resin and photo-etch parts. Four smaller inset drawings are included, which show construction of both masts, the cranes, and the top mast. The reverse of the sheet has a profile and plan of the completed model and fourteen inset drawings. These include: two mast platforms; two large radar arrays; two upper mast lattice structures; main gun assembly; both single and twin 40mm assemblies; life canister rack assembly; and expanded drawings of the resin pieces for the single canisters, ASW mortar, ammunition lockers and solid rein illuminators.
The Bundesmarine Deutschland Type 440 was a historic ship. For more than a quarter of a century thousands of officers of the third German national navy learned their art through instruction received aboard this first German built warship constructed after World War Two. The NNT Deutschland in 1:700 scale is an excellent replica in resin and metal of this historic vessel.