World War Two Vocabulary
Pocket Battleship--a small battlecruiser designed by the German Navy in order to avoid the limitations placed on the size of German warships by the Treaty of Versailles. Germany lost World War One, and the treaty was designed by the winning Allies to limit the power of the German military in the future. Germany was forbidden to build warships larger than 10,000 tons displacement weight, so they built powerful ships under that weight limit. Pocket Battleships carried 11-inch guns and were very fast, but lacked heavy armor. The lack of major armor enabled the ships to meet the 10,000 ton limit, but made them vulnerable in a stand-up naval battle. Part of the success of these ships lay with the fact they were often faster than their larger, more heavily armored, and slower opponents. German Pocket Battleships included the Deutschland (launched in 1931), the Admiral Scheer (1933), and the Admiral Graf Spee (1936). The formal German name for this type of ship was Panzerschiffe ("armoured ships"). The name Pocket Battleship came from a British description of the ships that they were battleships that could fit into a pocket.