The development of the last German destroyer class of World War II was very confusing. Being first ordered as additional ships of the Zerstörer 1936 class, this later was changed to the Zerstörer 1938B design. Since development of these ships was stopped after the beginning of World War II, the ships should have been build as additional ships of the Zerstörer 1936A class.
As it got obvious that the 15 cm twin turret made the ships very unstable in heavy seas a modified version, the Zerstörer 1936 B was designed. Instead of the twin turret, the five projected ships got two single mounted guns and the Flak armament was increased. Besides this, the ships were very similar to those of the Zerstörer 1936A class.
Since they were only used in coastal waters and the Baltic Sea, the ships could not proof that they were more seaworthy than their predecessors.
ter the start of World War II the construction of all new destroyers were canceled. Instead 12 additional ships of theZerstörer 1936A class were ordered.
To save material and increase the constructions time, some slight internal simplifications and engine modifications were done. The 15 cm gun turrets were taken from the already ordered O-Class battlecruisers.
The engines caused less trouble than those of the previous destroyers but at the end of the war the remaining ships showed some heavy corrosion in the boilers and tubes.