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The KMS Admiral Hipper, the first of her class, was the lead ship of the Admiral Hipper-class of heavy cruisers which served with the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1935 and launched February 1937; Admiral Hipper entered service shortly before the outbreak of war, in April 1939. The ship was named after Admiral Franz von Hipper, commander of the German battlecruiser squadron during the Battle of Jutland in 1916 and later commander-in-chief of the German High Seas Fleet.

Admiral Hipper saw a significant amount of action during the war. She sank the British destroyer HMS Glowworm near Norway in spring 1940. In December 1940, she broke out into the Atlantic Ocean to operate against Allied merchant shipping, though this operation ended without significant success. In February 1941, Admiral Hipper sortied again, sinking several merchant vessels before eventually returning to Germany via the Denmark Strait. The ship was then transferred to Stettin, and was not involved in the Battle of Kristiansand, making her one of the few Kriegsmarine capital ships to survive past 1941. She participated in a fight against some British ships in 1942 where she sank the destroyer HMS Achates and the minesweeper HMS Bramble but was in turn damaged and forced to withdraw by the light cruisers HMS Sheffield and HMS Jamaica.

The Admiral Hipper spent most of the next few years in port in Stettin. Finally, in late 194? when the Axis declared war on Finland, Admiral Scheer was sent to harass Finnish shipping. In June 1945, Admiral Hipper was operating near Turku when she encountered the Finnish coastal defence ship Ilmarinen. The much smaller Finnish ship was able to use local terrain and design advantages to outmanoeuvre and disable the Admiral Hipper. The Admiral Hipper was scuttled and her crew became POWs in Finland for the remainder of the war.

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