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Schlachtschiff H
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Schlachtschiff H

Schlachtschiff 1939  

   Ship Info   History   Technical Data   Scale Model   Artist Impression   1:1250 Model   H40A   H40B   H41   H42   H43   H44 

Appearance of the Schlachtschiff H (Design H39)

The six battleships of the H-class were the projected successors of the battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz .

Those ships, which would have been the core of the fleet build according to the Z-Plan, were mainly enlarged and improved versions of their predecessors. In difference to them, those ships were planned with commerce war in mind, therefore diesel engines were selected instead of the usual high pressure steam engine used by the German navy in those days.

Design of these ships started in 1937, and a total construction time of 50 months was projected to complete a ship of this class. All ships were scheduled to be completed by 1944. Only two of the ships were actually started, Schlachtschiff H at Blohm & Voss, Hamburg on June 15th, 1939 and Schlachtschiff  J at AG Weser, Bremen on August 15th, 1939. Construction was stopped on October 10th, 1939 as the focus in German naval construction switched to the construction of more U-boats instead of battleships. Up to this day, 1200 tons of steel was already used for the Schlachtschiff  H , 3500 tons were in construction and another 12000 tons were already ordered. (Schlachtschiff  J was still in an earlier phase of construction). In 1940, the used material was wrecked on the shipyard and used elsewhere.

Although it was obvious that Germany would not be able to build a complete new battleship during wartime, the plans for the H-class battleships were further developed and improved, to study the design of a competitive battleship and increase sheer ship scale to counteract increasing bomb weights. Lessons learned in naval conflicts including German warships, like Norway, the sinking of the Bismarck and the loss of the Scharnhorst were used to upgrade the plans, so the size of the later H-class designs increased in a very spectacular way. Comparing the basic data of the different H-class designs shows this very effectively, as shown in the table below:

Design Size / Length Artillery Performance / Speed

 Tirpitz Thumb

52.600 tons
251 m

8 x 38 cm 

163.000 shp 
30.8 kn
H39 H Class Thumb

62.497 tons
277,8 m

8 x 40,6 cm 

165.000 shp 
30,0 kn
H40A H40a Thumb

65.600 tons
282,9 m

6 x 40,6 cm 

230.000 shp 
32,2 kn
H40B H40b Thumb

70.000 tons
299,8 m

8 x 40,6 cm 

240.000 shp 
32,3 kn
H41 H41 Thumb

76.000 tons
300,4 m

8 x 40,6 cm 

165.000 shp 
28,8 kn
H42 H42 Thumb

98.000 tons
305,2 m

8 x 40,6 cm 

270,000 shp 
32,2 kn
H43 H43 Thumb

120.000 tons
330,2 m

8 x 50,8 cm 

270.000 shp 
31,0 kn
H44 H44 Thumb

141.500 tons
345,1 m

8 x 50,8 cm 

165.000 shp 
30,1 kn
CVN John C. Stennis, completed 1995 CVN Thumb

102.000 tons
332,9 m


280.000 shp 
30,0+ kn

It is obvious that everything after the H40 was far from realization. The H44 would have been bigger than the latest U.S. Nuclear Aircraft Carrier, the John C. Stennis . There even would have been no usable port for a H44 in Germany.

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  Thanks to:  Jon Brater  R.L. Mendes  D. Castel