The GNEISENAU was ordered to the KIEL Shipyard on 14 February 1934. Designed at the very start for 18,000 tons, she was quickly increased to 31,880 tons. She was commissioned on 21 May 1938. The naval epos of the GNEISENAU, parallel to that of the SCHARNHORST, started under the command of Captains FORSTE, NETZBANDT and FEIN, from May 1938 to April 1942. On 4 September 1939, she was attacked by the English bombers. In February 1940, along with the SCHARNHORST and ADMIRAL HIPPER, the GNEISENAU participated to several battles against the "England-Scandinavia" enemy convoys. In April 1940, she took part in the NARVIK battle. In June 1940, during the JUNO mission, the aircraft carrier GLORIOUS, the destroyers ARDENT and ACASTA belonging to the English Fleet, were sunk. In 1941, in the North Atlantic Ocean, she sank 5 merchant ships and 7 transportation ships. At the end of several RAF attacks, torpedoed and bombed a few times, the GNEISENAU was repaired in BREST, then in WILHEMSHAVEN and KIEL by the end of 1941. Decommissioned in July 1942, the GNEISENAU was scuttled in March 1945, at the entrance of the harbor of GOTENHAVEN (GDYNIA) to provide a barrier against enemy forces.