Wednesday, April 17, 2019
The Navy's Most Unwanted Ship, the USS Prinz Eugen-- Part 1: Formerly a German Warship
From the January 4, 2019 Hampton Roads Naval Museum blog "The Navy's 'Most Unwanted' ship and the instruments that escaped its fate."
On January 5, 1946, the U.S. Navy commissioned a heavy cruiser into its fleet. What was strange about this ship was that, a year earlier, it had been an enemy ship, the German KMS Prinz Eugen. It was the German Navy's largest and most heavily armed remaining ship. The United States had gotten the ship by drawing lots from a hat.
It had originally been commissioned into the Kriegsmarine in Kiel, Germany, August 1. 1940. It was the second of three Hipper class heavy cruisers to see action in World War II. It almost didn't survive its first mission, which was escorting the KMS Bismarck in its dash out to the Atlantic in late May 1941 for commerce attacks. They encountered the HMS Prince of Wales and the HMS Hood. The Prinz Eugen landed some of the first hits on the Hood before the Bismarck sank the ship.
The Bismarck was later damaged by carrier-based aircraft and destroyed a few days later. The Prinz Eugen made it back to to occupied France.