Sleipner class destroyer

Sleipner class destroyer

The Sleipner class was a class of six destroyers built for the Royal Norwegian Navy from 1936 until the German invasion in 1940. The design was considered advanced for its time, and it was the first class of vessels for the Norwegian Navy that used aluminum in the construction of the bridge, the mast and the outer funnel. Extra strength special steel was used in the construction of the hull. Unlike the earlier Draug class the Sleipner class had comparatively good capabilities in both main guns, anti-aircraft artillery and anti-submarine weapons.

The class was named after Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse of Odin.

Armament

The armament within the class varied slightly. Æger had the armament listed in the infobox to the right. Sleipner, the lead ship of the class, carried just two 10 cm guns and could not elevate them for use as anti-aircraft weapons. Gyller had two extra torpedo tubes, for a total of four. Odin had a 20 mm anti aircraft gun instead of a 40 mm. Balder and Tor had not been finished when the Germans attacked, and it's not known if any changes in armament were planned.

Fates

The vessels had quite different fates. Æger was bombed by German planes on 9 April 1940, and wrecked with loss of life. Sleipner was in Norwegian service throughout World War II, and was kept in service until 1959. Gyller and Odin were captured by the Germans in 1940 at Kristiansand.

Gyller and Odin were returned to the Royal Norwegian Navy after the war and kept in service until 1959. Balder and Tor were finished by the Germans, and used by them until returned in 1949. Balder was scrapped in 1952, Tor in 1959.

The Germans reclassed the ships as Torpedoboot Ausland and renamed them: Gyller to Löwe, Odin to Panther, Balder to Leopard, and Tor to Tiger.

In 1945 Löwe was one of the escorts to the Wilhelm Gustloff on her last voyage. The Wilhelm Gustloff was torpedoed and sank with a great loss of life. During the sinking, Löwe came alongside and rescued 472 of her passengers and crew.

Footnotes

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