Prinz Eugen

The heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen entered service in 1940. Along with the Bismarck she left port on 18th May 1941 but it was not until 21st May that British intelligence was informed that the ships were refuelling in Bergen Fjord in Norway. Afterwards the ships headed for the Denmark Straits in an attempt to avoid the Royal Navy based at Scapa Flow. However, Admiral John Tovey had been informed of its position and he called up every available warship to destroy Germany's most powerful battleship.

On 23rd May the Bismarck was spotted by the heavy cruiser Suffolk. Using its recently installed radar to track the German ship it was soon joined by the Norfolk. At the same time the Hood and Prince of Wales moved in from the other direction to tackle the German ships head-on.

The warships went into battle on the morning of 24th May. The engagement began when the Hood began firing at the more advanced Prinz Eugen. When the Bismarck arrived it used its 15-inch guns and after taking several direct hits the Hood exploded before sinking. Only three out of a crew of 1,421 survived. After the Bismarck was sunk on 26th May 1941, Prinz Eugen was able to get back to Brest.

The target of repeated attacks by the Royal Air Force, she fled from Brest with the Scharnhorst on 12th February 1942. Protected by the Luftwaffe, both ships ran the gauntlet of the English Channel to successfully reach Wilhelmshaven in Germany.

In 1943 she was sent to the Baltic for training duty and in support of land operations. The Prinz Eugen was the only major German warship still afloat at the end of the Second World War. She was eventually captured by the Allies at Copenhagen in May 1945. The Prinz Eugen was scuttled in April 1945.