One of the measures taken immediately by the High Command of the DKM was to tell Blohm & Voss
to speed up the finishing of BB Bismarck
, then in the final stages of completion. Several future crewmember mainly of the electronics and the engines and propulsion areas, but also communications and "liveaboard" areas were sent to the shipyard to help out the technicians to install the items and finetune them, which in 12/1939 were not yet installed. Even before leaving the drydock, BB Bismarck
had the boilers fired up as well as all the electrical systems tested. The third party suppliers were asked to anticipate the deliveries of all ordered items and by taking these measures, the first sea trials could be made with almost six months in advance. When needed, the ship returned to the yard to fine tune something needing it and in late March the ship could be handed over to the DKM.
Another step taken by the DKM was to unify the destroyer classes DE 1936 A and B, and to get them finished as quickly as possible, so that the yards building them worked 24/24h in three shifts. Twelve of these destroyers were unified in a separate class, called the Freiherren-Klasse
("Baron class" because they were to bear all the names of German barons of the past). These destroyers were multi-purpose (sea artillery, AA artillery, torpedo launchers and depth charge launchers and in the Baltic were to be deployed in flotillas incorporating Torpedo-Schnellboote"
(torpedo fast boats) plus the respective tenders.
These twelve Freiherren Klasse
destroyer were officially classified as "Z30-Klasse" and went into ship Z42. The next batch was designed Z43. The Z30-batch (formerly known as belonging to the "1936A (Mob.)" category) were closer to light cruisers than the typical destroyer. The use of 15 cm guns was atypical of destroyers which tended to have guns around 120–127 mm in calibre. They were idesigned to carry four forward guns in twin turrets, plus another twin turret in the rear, together with a double 10,5cm AA artillery turret, plus three 8,8 AA guns, one on each side and another one at the rear.
The ships had an overall length of 137 metres, a beam of 12,85 metres, and a maximum draught of 4.38–4.65 metres. They displaced 2,584–2,700 t at standard load and 3,575–3,750 t at deep load. The ship's hulls were divided into 16 watertight compartments and they were fitted with a double bottom that covered 47% of their length amidships. They were powered by three Wagner geared steam turbine sets, each driving a three-bladed controllable pitch 3.35-metre screw, using steam provided by nine high-pressure Wagner water-tube boilers with superheaters that operated at a pressure of 70 atm (1,029 psi) and a temperature of 450–480 °C. The turbines were designed to produce 89,000 shp for a speed of 38 knots (68,4 km/h), although this high speed was only reached in more or less calm waters. The massive power was more useful for quick accelerations and sharp manoevers to avoid torpedos or air launched bombs.
The ships carried twelve above-water 533-millimetre torpedo tubes in six double power-operated mounts. The standard torpedo for the Type 36B destroyers was the G7a torpedo. It had a 300-kilogram warhead and three speed range settings: 14,000 metres at 30 knots (56 km/h); 8,000 metres at 40 knots (74 km/h) and 6,000 metres at 44 knots (81 km/h). Torpedo station 1 (forward one, port and starboard) could be reloaded twice, station 2 could be reloaded three times, also port and starboard, the reload torpedos being sheltered inside a compartment with an upwards sliding door containing also an upload electrical device.
The ships were equipped with several detection radar sets as well as two brand new "FuMO 213 Würzburg-D
" to track specifically airborne targets and their respective altitudes. They also carried passive radar sets (FuMB-3 Bali
" and 'GHG' (Gruppenhorchgerät) passive hydrophones were fitted to detect submarines as well as a S-Gerät sonar (from Wikipedia).
These ships had mostly all been launched between March and September 1939 and were to be commissioned between October 1941 and April 1942, but due to the circumstances they were also finished in shorter periods. But, to the general "chagrin" of their crews they missed the action in the Gulf of Finland
which was a keystone in the famous Winter War