Kriegsmarine facts for kids
|Size||810,000 peak in 1944
1,500,000 (total who served 1939–45)
|Engagements||Spanish Civil War (1936–1939)
World War II (1939–1945)
|War ensign (1935–1938)|
|War ensign (1938–1945)|
|Bomber||Junkers Ju 87|
|Fighter||Messerschmitt Bf 109|
|Reconnaissance||Fieseler Fi 167|
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the Navy of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It replaced the Imperial German Navy of World War I. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine (as for all branches of armed forces during the period of absolute Nazi power) was the "Führer" Adolf Hitler, who exercised his authority through the Oberkommando der Marine (High Command of the Navy).
The Kriegsmarine was developed during the German naval rearmament of the 1930s. The Treaty of Versailles had limited the size of the German navy after World War I. It also prevented Germany from building submarines. But by 1934 Germany had secretly stockpiled most of the parts they needed to construct submarines (called U-boats).
In early 1935 Hitler ordered the U-boats to be built. In January 1939 Plan Z was ordered, calling for the construction of many naval vessels. The ships of the Kriegsmarine fought during the Spanish Civil War and World War II. The commander of the Kriegsmarine was Karl Dönitz.
The Kriegsmarine's most famous ships were the U-boats. Most of them were built after Plan Z was abandoned at the beginning of World War II. Wolfpacks were groups of submarines that attacked British convoys. Most of the attacks were during the first half of the Battle of the Atlantic.
Along with the U-boats, commerce raiders and cruisers were used to disrupt Allied shipping in the early years of the war. The most famous of these were the heavy cruisers Admiral Graf Spee and Admiral Scheer and the battleship Bismarck.
Images for kids
Karl Dönitz inspecting the Saint-Nazaire submarine base in France, June 1941
Kriegsmarine Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.