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Spähkreuzer 1938
Class overview
Operators: War Ensign of Germany (1938–1945).svg Kriegsmarine
Planned: 6
Cancelled: 6
General characteristics (as designed)
Displacement: 5,700 long tons (5,791 t)
Length: 475 ft (145 m)
Beam: 45 ft (14 m)
Draft: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Propulsion: 2 × MAN 6-cylinder diesel engines
Speed: 36 knots (41 mph; 67 km/h)
Range: 7,000 nmi (13,000 km) at 17 kn (20 mph; 31 km/h)
Complement: 200
Armament: • 6 × 5.9 in (150 mm) guns
• 2 × 88 mm AA
• 8 × 37 mm AA
• 8 × 20 mm AA
• 10 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
Armor: Belt: 1 in (25 mm)
Deck: 1 in (25 mm)

Spähkreuzer was the type of a planned class of large destroyers or reconnaissance cruisers of the German Kriegsmarine.

There were 2 main designs proposed for this ship class, the 1938 design and the 1940 design. The 1940 design was slightly larger and heavier however it was planned to install a slightly more powerful power plant to keep or exceed the 1938 design performance. Both main designs, along with a few design variations all planned the main artillery layout of 6-5.9 inch guns in 3 double turrets. One turret positioned on the bow and the remaining 2 on the stern. This was to allow a more offensive retreat as these vessels were designed to scout ahead of the Z plan battle groups.

A design designated as 1939 introduced the plan to carry a sea plane in the mid ship area and no torpedo's to facilitate this. The catapult was suggested to be mounted between the 2 funnels of the design, however there never seemed to be line drawings, or blueprints that actually reflect this fact, even though the first 3 ships were ordered in February 1941. These ships were designated SP1, SP2, and SP3, and formally named Z40, Z41, and Z42. The order was placed for the Germania Shipyard in Kiel to build these vessels. In December 1941, 3 engines for SP4, SP5 and SP6 were ordered but not the ships.

SP1 was the only ship that the keel was laid down and construction started on. During an air raid in April 1942 the ship plans were destroyed and construction was halted. The metal was scrapped and used to build submarines and regular destroyers that were already further along in their build programs.

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