Königsberg Class Cruiser
The Königsberg Class cruiser is an advanced class of cruiser in service with the Greater German Reich’s Kriegsmarine. The class is primarily designed for anti-starship warfare, although recent deployments and conflicts have proven their versatility in many different roles. The design of the Königsberg class includes advanced stealth features designed to deceive an opponent's radar and infra-red sensors. It also incorporates the latest version of the BALDR integrated combat system, able to simultaneously track, engage and destroy more targets than 7 of the previous Berlin class cruisers operating together. After the launch of the lead ship Königsberg, Großadmiral Kirsten Lang stated "the KMS Königsberg is the most capable cruiser in the Orion Arm, it represents the best of German technology, innovation and engineering."
The Königsberg class began development in 2266 as part of the Tirpitz Modernization Project, a fleet-wide program intended to develop replacement vessels for many of the Kriegsmarine’s oldest ship classes. The OKM was especially eager to replace its aging Berlin class cruiser which had been deemed too difficult to continue upgrading. There were also growing concerns about the Soviet Navy’s own shipbuilding program and the likely introduction of a much more capable Soviet cruiser within the next decade. That same year, as part of Tirpitz, the Berliner Ersatzprogramm (Berlin replacement program or BRP) was greenlit and the design process began.
BRP was heavily influenced by the work of Konteradmiral Markus Strauch, who began his own independent efforts on a cruiser replacement during the early 2260s. Strauch had come to the realization that new technologies such as the Riedel FTL Reactor permitted a complete rethink of warship design. He established a steering group, “Group Orange” to study the possibilities. Group Orange’s first publication, the Orbital Combatant Force Requirement Study sought to identify the operational characteristics necessary in a cruiser and how many ships would be required by the Kriegsmarine. Since it was expected that Germany would eventually be fighting a prolonged campaign against the Soviet Union, emphasis was placed on countering heavy torpedoes, known to be favored within the Soviet Navy. This in turn called for greater electronic warfare systems and countermeasures as well as additional sensors and the integration of advanced stealth technology. Group Orange’s study became the basis of the BRP and its recommendations were incorporated into the initial design proposals.
Development and Construction
In 2268 the Kriegsmarine initiated design studies with several of the Reich’s leading shipbuilding companies. By the end of the following year the number of competitors had been reduced to just three: Blohm+Voss, Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft and Vestag. On April 19th, 2270, Blohm+Voss received the contract to build the first ship of the class, the KMS Königsberg. Construction began in orbit of Wien in the Ostmark System in February of 2273, it was launched in December that same year and commissioned on July 9th, 2275. Shortly after the Königsberg entered full production and ship construction expanded to hundreds of shipyards across the Greater German Reich.
The official introduction of the Retivyy class cruiser into the Soviet Navy in 2273 gave German military intelligence a greater understanding of its capabilities and brought about slight design changes in the Königsberg. Ships built after the initial prototype received updated command and control processors, and the capability to operate the newly introduced C/240 long range railgun turrets. The class leader KMS Königsberg would later be retrofitted to bring it up to the standards of the rest of the class.
At least forty ships in 2283 were constructed without SVALINN-94 point defense batteries, because of the planned Goliath CIWS program. By 2286 however, repeated delays with the Goliath program led to the affected ships being retrofit to include the original SVALINN systems.
The ships of the Königsberg class are among the largest cruisers ever built in the Orion Arm at 863 meters long, 199.8 meters tall and 195.9 meters wide. Only the Soviet Retivyy and Japanese Mihara classes are longer. Like most German warships, the Königsberg is designed to be highly modular, allowing for inexpensive upgrades of weaponry, electronics, computer systems and sensors as threats and technology evolve. The starship is powered by 8 Siemens-Halske SH-422-09 fusion reactors arrayed around the ship's "core." In the event the main reactors are rendered inoperable, a backup battery array and magnetic-induction reactor can generate enough power for a short range FTL jump. The class has a standard compliment of 2431 enlisted sailors and officers, 780 aircrew and occasionally a battalion of Kriegsmarine Naval infantry consisting of 350 soldiers. This can vary significantly depending on the ship’s status and assignment.
The class was first designed in the immediate aftermath of the Third Caer Sidi War and certain aspects of the design were influenced by operations there. While electronic countermeasures remain the primary defense against enemy weaponry, the effectiveness of gun systems during the conflict supported the decision to dramatically increase the Königsberg’s armor systems. The ship also incorporates certain stealth techniques designed to make the ship more difficult to detect, in particular by anti-ship missiles.
The Königsberg class’s primary weapons are it’s four C/240 railgun batteries consisting of 4 twin barreled turrets each and 14 quadruple Mjölnir anti-ship missile launchers. Anti-strikecraft defense is provided by twenty-five SVALINN-94 CIWS systems and fourteen Henschel HS-2309 missile batteries. Other weapons include 6 torpedo launchers in a fixed position on the ship’s prow, and 9 Henschel HSS-109 anti-torpedo rocket launchers. Command and control is provided by the BALDR IV integrated combat system.
The ship also carries a small air wing consisting of up to 36 strikecraft or 9 patrol craft. A typical Königsberg air wing can include two squadrons of Me-712 interceptors, 6 Fi-981 VTOLS for electronic warfare or early warning and two F-1010s for logistical support.
One of the first major operations in which ships of the class were involved was the Battle of Tanarsus, the first engagement in the Soviet-German War. During the battle, at least seven Königsberg class cruisers achieved 19 confirmed kills, among them the Murmansk, a Vladivostok Class Fleet Carrier.
Königsberg class starships have been a part of almost every subsequent major engagement including the Second Battle of Tanarsus, the Battle of Juno and the Invasion of Vega.