The Scharnhorst battleship, in violation of the Versailles Treaty, was ordered by the German Navy in 1934. Completed in 1936, it was built for speed but had a large concentration of heavy anti-aircraft batteries.
The Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau took part in the Norwegian campaign of 1940 and working in tandem sunk 22 ships in the Atlantic before returning to Brest in February 1941.
The target of repeated attacks by the Royal Air Force, she fled with the Prinz Eugen on 12th February 1942. Protected by the Luftwaffe, both ships ran the gauntlet of the English Channel to reach Wilhelmshaven in Germany.
After being repaired the Scharnhorst was sent to join the Tirpitz in Norway and in September 1943 took part in an attack on Spitzbergen. Attacked by the Royal Navy led by the Duke of York, she was sunk on 26th December 1943 with the loss of 1,864 lives.