BY RICHARD T. CLAUS
Between 1933 and 1936 the German Navy launched three armored cruisers, Deutschland (later renamed Lützow), Admiral Scherer, and Admiral Graf Spee. These ships were designed to be within the requirements of the Versailles treaty while being swift enough to out run any ship that could out-gun them and be powerful enough to be able to destroy any ship that could catch them. They were innovatively powered by diesel engines with speeds up to 28 knots. The ships were similar enough for it to take a trained eye to tell them apart. With a length of over 600 feet and carrying two main turrets, each with three 11″ guns, they were derisively called “pocket battleships,” although in fact they were heavy cruisers. The most famous of the panzerschiffe was the Admiral Graff Spee.