Hello all! With drew's permission I have gone ahead with two WW2-era designs from a personal AU project I have been developing for several months now. I present to you, the Bautzen-class!
-Laid down in 1922, these pair of vessels were intended as coastal merchant icebreakers for private interests in the Baltic. They were roughly 60 meters long and displaced 1,620 tons. She had a draft of 7.6 meters under full load. The Bautzens were designed with large cargo holds fore and aft for carrying freight around the coasts of Sorbia and other Baltic nations, and were propelled by a single triple-expansion engine fed by 4 coal-fired fire-tube boilers in two separate boiler rooms vented to one large funnel amidships. Collapsible cranes were fitted on the deck to handle the freight, but were removed just 5 years after commissioning when they were sold to the local government as harbor maintenance vessels to make sure the merchants could move in and out of the major ports during the winter. They were sold due to being unprofitable after both suffered boiler explosions due to unreliable boilers and were sold off rather than repaired.
The Wartime Refit:
-In 1939, Sorbia was at war and her navy desperately needed escorts and auxiliary vessels just as much as warships. The Bautzens were seen as potential candidates for conversion to auxiliary ships and were taken in hand for a refit after confiscation in 1940. They were to be rebuilt as patrol icebreakers, clearing the harbors of ice and preventing submarines from attacking merchants in port by deploying anti-submarine defenses. To that end the class was fitted with a 105-mm SK L/45 C/28 deck gun, as well as a pair of 20-mm L/70 C/29 autocannons. In addition to gun armament they were fitted with a pair of paravanes for minesweeping and cable reels for operating anti-submarine nets. Repainting work to a standard navy grey scheme was also done. They spent most of 1940-41 at Danzig, laying submarine nets and conducting patrols. During the invasion of Denmark in 1941, Bautzen's sister, Cottbus, was deployed as a troopship carrying army troops for a landing near Copenhagen. She came under fire from coastal batteries but suffered no major damage, and was able to deliver her load of troops. Bautzen was deployed against the Russians in 1942 and conducted patrols off the coast of Leningrad. A few months later she struck a mine and ran aground. She was bombed by IL-2 Sturmovik aircraft after the Russians discovered her location on the Finnish coast. Attempts were made to salvage her and rebuild her, but she was declared a total loss and scrapped on-site. Meanwhile, Cottbus had an extensive life as an escort and auxiliary around the Danish and Dutch coasts before being torpedoed by a British U-Class submarine in 1943. She was towed back to the Netherlands and rebuilt with new boilers, but construction was still underway when the Allies occupied the Netherlands and her construction halted until the end of the war. In 1947 she was reviewed for service, and her construction was finally finished. She served under a new name until 1978, when she was sold for scrap.