Friday, April 19, 2019
Navy's Most Unwanted Ship, the USS Prinz Eugen-- Part 2: The Luck of the Draw
In February 1942, the Prinz Eugen, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau made a daring run through the English Channel to German home waters. Later service off Norway resulted in a torpedo hit that forced heavy repairs. A year later, Hitler ordered the German High Seas Fleet decommissioned and the Prinz Eugen became a training ship.
Other than an occasional shore bombardment and troop transport, that was it for the ship's war service. It was surrendered when Germany did so in April 1945.
When the Allies were divvying up what was left of the German war machine, the Soviet Union was very interested in acquiring the ship. It was the most powerful ship left in the German Navy, was in fairly good shape and had all modern instrumentation.
However, the Americans were determined to prevent them from acquiring it if they could. It was finally decided that the way to divide up the German ships was to make three lists of the ships, put the lists into a hat and allow the Soviets to draw first. The Soviets did not get their coveted Prinz Eugen. They did get the old cruiser Nurnberg which they renamed the Admiral Makarov and it became the flagship of their 8th Fleet.
The United States got the Prinz Eugen.