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The only modern battleships built by Nazi Germany were the two ships of the Bismarck-class, the second being DKM Tirpitz. These were optimized differently than Japanese, U.K., or U.S. battleships that needed long cruising range and reasonable crew habitability for long voyages; their principal mission was commerce raiding in the Atlantic.

Voyages for Atlantic raids could be relatively short, so habitability was not as much an issue. Given that habitability could be sacrificed, the designers made the ships extremely rugged in terms of watertight compartmentation, although they made some crucial errors in not protecting various control cables. They had four turrets with dual 15" guns, smaller than those of the most recent enemy ships but more than adequate for the older battleships assigned as convoy escorts. These ships also had exceptionally large 6" and 5" secondary batteries that could sink merchant ships and provide antiaircraft fire, although there was poor antiaircraft fire detection.

DKM Bismarck sortied once, sank the large battlecruiser HMS Hood, and took much of the British Home Fleet -- and considerable luck -- to chase and sink. DKM Tirpitz never actually went into combat, but, homeported in Norway, was a constant threat in being to the convoys to Russia.