Germany and its navy – a long history. There were famous warships in both the First and Second World Wars in the German Navy. From the First World War, for example, the merchant cruiser Emden and from the Second World War, everyone knows these two battleships. There is talk of the Scharnhorst and the Bismarck. But why did Germany hardly have any destroyers left in the Navy after the Second World War and currently no destroyers at all?
Destroyers in the German Federal Navy
The statement that the German Federal Navy no longer has any destroyers in its ranks is not correct. These ships are no longer listed under the pure term destroyer, but under the term destroyer frigate. The newest destroyer frigate is the F222 Baden Würtemberg and is a so-called F125 class. Essentially, the Badem Würtemberg is a frigate, which is traded as a destroyer due to its size. This means that the German Navy has destroyers, but they have different names.
What is a destroyer?
The destroyers owned by the German Navy are small and very manoeuvrable warships. The F125 class weighs around 7200 tons and is designed in such a way that it can last up to two years without being in the shipyard. Only the crew has to be exchanged, since such a long period of service is not intended on a warship. The F222, i.e. the Badem Würtemberg, is designed for stabilization missions that require low to medium intensity.
Does the Navy have more destroyers?
Yes, the German Navy has that. Among other things, there is the F219Sachsen. The Sachsen is an F124 class and, with its 5800 tons, is also referred to as a destroyer, like the Badem Würtemberg. The Sachsen is by weight a medium-sized air defense destroyer equipped with a very advanced defense system. The main area of application for ships of the Sachsen class is the routine escort and defense of larger ships and carriers. However, the German Navy also has new frigates or destroyers, which are run as multi-purpose ships. There is the new F126 class or MKS 180 to name. These combat ships, weighing up to 10,000 tons, have the latest combat technology and the latest armament. These ships are also classed as destroyers.
Why frigate and not destroyer?
Now, of course, the question arises, why aren't frigates called destroyers? This is not only due to the trend, which has also reached the Navy, to build large warships. Rather, it lies in the inglorious German past. During the Nazi era in World War II, words like destroyer or destroy were very popular among the population and also among the soldiers. For example, the Messerschmidt Bf 110 was christened as a destroyer aircraft. Of course, those in power back then had an idea of how to interpret the word destroy. It was a symbol of total annihilation. Since this was a very pro-propaganda word, and so used by the Nazis to riot, this word can no longer be used. For this reason, the German Federal Navy called and still calls its destroyers frigates today. Also, the naming is a psychological trick since the frigate sounds more like sailing than a destroyer. This is also very important to German citizens, as they are critical of any kind of aggressive war and therefore see the Bundeswehr as a defensive force and not as an offensive force.
Yes, the Federal Navy still has Destroyer. Due to German history, these were given the name frigate, since the word destroyer was coined by the Nazis. The destroyers are different than they were then, mostly armed with anti-aircraft weapons and missiles and serve to secure the convoy. But you can also be self-sufficient and get by for up to two years without any value. For the reasons given, the statement that the German Navy no longer has any destroyers is incorrect.