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Admiral Hipper Class
654 x 71 x 15
4 x 40mm
Peter Ording 2001
Built by Krupp Germania shipyard in Kiel. Laid down April 23, 1936. Launched August 22, 1938. Commissioned on August 1, 1940 into the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) as Prinz Eugen.
During May 1941, Prinz Eugena and Bismarck engaged HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales. Considered a "lucky ship", she survived to the end of the war, although she participated in only two major actions at sea. On May 7, 1945 surrendered at Copenhagen to the British. In December 1945 turned over to U. S. forces in Germany and renamed "USS IX 300".
The ship was sailed to the US and was converted into a target ship during Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll in 1946.
On July 1, 1946 was used in atomic bomb test "Able" and sustained only light damage. On July 25, was used in atomic bomb test "Baker", ship took damage below the waterline. One of 50 ships that survived and was then towed to Kwajalein Atoll and inspected for radiation and bomb damage. The ship had been weakened by the blast and began to take on water.
On December 22, 1946 in the overnight hours, the ship developed a 35 degree list and capsized and sank onto Enubuj Reef in the Southern Atoll of Kwajalein Atoll with the bottom of the hull above water.
The shipwreck remains in situ with the screws and rudder are partially exposed above water. Divers anchor on the wooden wreck of small hull in 30' of water opposite the screws. The hull rests against the reef, but there is an opening at the 90' level, just forward of the bridge. The bow is at 110' and you can swim under it. There is easy access to most of the ship.
The crew's quarters are accessible with remains of bunks and personal effects. Mess area contains crockery. A latrine. Machinery and fire fighting gear is suspended on the deck. Amidships much has fallen onto the seabed including some AA guns and their mounts. Some items have been recovered from the bridge. The armament two large turrets with twin 8 inch barrels. Large 4.1" guns, dual and quad AA guns are almost all still intact. Port torpedo tubes have torpedoes in them.
The interior structure are intact and safe for exploration. Radiation is no longer a threat. But several divers have lost their lives in deep penetrations of the wreck.
One of the screws was removed and returned to Germany [details unknown]. Today, it is displayed at the German Naval Memorial at Laboe.
The ship's bell was removed by U. S. Navy sailors before to the atomic tests. Today, displayed at U. S. Navy Museum (The Navy Museum) in the Cold War Gallery.
Prinz Eugen Philadelphia
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