Laid down at Krupp Germania shipyard in Kiel on April 23, 1936, the Prinz Eugen was launched on August 22, 1938 and commissioned on August 1, 1940.
During World War I, the Eugen engaged HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales with the Bismarck during May 1941. Considered a "lucky ship", she survived to the end of the war, although she participated in only two major actions at sea. At the end of the war, the ship was surrendered to British at Copenhagen on May 7, 1945 and then was turned over to US forces in Germany during December 1945 and renamed "USS IX 300" .
Post War, the Eugen was sailed to the US and was converted into a target ship during Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll in 1946.
On July 1, 1946 was used in atomic bomb test "Able" and sustained only light damage. On July 25, was used in atomic bomb test "Baker", ship took damage below the waterline. One of 50 ships that survived and was then towed to Kwajalein. There she was inspected for radiation and bomb damage. The ship had been weakened by the blast and began to take on water. Overnight on December 22, 1946 developed a 35 degree list and then sank at the Southern Atoll on Enubuj Reef.
The screws and rudder are partially exposed above water. Divers anchor on the wooden wreck of small hull in 30' of water opposite the screws. The hull rests against the reef, but there is an opening at the 90' level, just forward of the bridge. The bow is at 110' and you can swim under it. There is easy access to most of the ship.
The crew's quarters are accessible with remains of bunks and personal effects. Mess area contains crockery. A latrine. Machinery and fire fighting gear is suspended on the deck. Amidships much has fallen onto the seabed including some AA guns and their mounts. Some items have been recovered from the bridge. The armament two large turrets with twin 8 inch barrels. Large 4.1" guns, dual and quad AA guns are almost all still intact. Port torpedo tubes have torpedoes in them. The interior structure are intact and safe for exploration. Radiation is no longer a threat. But several divers have lost their lives in deep penetrations of the wreck.
One of the screws was removed and returned to Germany [details unknown]. Today, it is displayed at the German Naval Memorial at Laboe. The ship's bell was removed by US sailors prior to the atomic tests. Today, it is displayed at Navy Museum's Cold War Gallery at the Washington DC Navy Yard.