When the Scharnhorst was launched in 1936, she and her sister ship, the Gneisenau, represented a completely new type of battlecruiser. Operating from Brest, she was the biggest threat to Allied merchant shipping until, in February 1942, she managed to escape north through the Channel. On 26.12.1943 she was engaged and sunk by the HMS Duke of York off the northern coast of Norway.
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