I would agree with you Nerva - Scharnhorst
and her sister ship Gneisenau
were amongest the most beautiful and elegant ships to have been built but the design was flawed and the sea keeping ability of the ships was not all that we might believe them to be.
The "sisters" were at a distinct disadvantage in terms of guns and armour when it came to tackling their own kind - the triple 11inch guns might have been suitable for merchant raiding but it left them undergunned if they came up against a battleship. Admiral Lutjens always took them away from any action which might have exposed them to a battleship confrontation . ( Operation Berlin
- January - March 1941 - one of the most successful ocean raiding operations conducted by the kgm.)
Plans to up gun the ships came to nothing as the opportunity for deploying the surface fleet became limited , and further restricted even more by an order from Hitler that their use should not expose them to risk - this effectively tied any commanders hands and restricted his operational maneuverability. ( The failure of "Rheinubung
" effectively ended any Atlantic raiding by the Kriegsmarine - although you have to consider that had the Brest squadron been operational and been a part of this operation ( as had been planned) considerable problems might have resulted for both the British and the German navies).
The elegant Atlantik bow
never quite solved the problem of a wet forecastle and even in the most moderate seas the decks were awash.
Her main advantage was that of speed - both ships were fast having 5 knots or more in hand over any British battleship - simply by turning away and going to speed they could quickly get out of range and evade battle.
Her lines I agree were quite something else.
The high pressure boilers - not a successful design and certainly in terms of the Hipper Class |Cruiser
produced a ship which was unsuited for prolonged operations at sea.
The wet side of the Scharnhorst Class.
The Atlantic Bow the product of a refit for both ships , the Hipper Class cruisers also had this new bow fitted.
( A major rebuild and an acknowledgement of a design shortcoming).
A memento from the great ship.
There are a number of features which can only be "German" the long bow , the twin rudders / three long screw, the domed range finders , the turret design , the sleak funnel , the tall "Admiral's Bridge" and the Arado float plane.
The float plane although a good aircraft was difficult to recover in a moderate sea state and the engine cyclinders when hot often cracked on landing when cold sea water splashed around them.