At the outbreak of World War II, the German Kriegsmarine consisted of 11 Ships of the size of a CL or bigger, while 7 additional ships were under construction. This small fleet was supported by 21 destroyers and 57 U-boats, most of them only usable for small coastal operations.
Compared to British, French or American fleets of this time, the German Kriegsmarine was very small, but at the beginning of the war, the Kriegsmarine surface units achieved some spectacular victories against the British Royal Fleet.
Although the German U-boats were a real threat to allied shipping until mid 1943, the surface units did not prove to be effective in the the second half of the war. Caused by fuel restrictions, the wrong naval construction politics and and several operational restrictions ordered by the political leadership, the Kriegsmarine surface units were not able continue their successes of 1939-1941.
This page gives a complete description of all major Kriegsmarine ships - from battleships to torpedo boats. All ship silhouettes on this and the following pages are in scale 1 pixel = 1 meter, while the line drawings are scaled to fit best on the screen. The colored line drawings show a typical color scheme of each ship - or one possible scheme if the ship was a project only.