|An air attacks on February 26-27 February 1942, on the floating dock where she was being repaired for mine damage, she became the target of massive RAF attacks by 178 bombers and was struck on the bow. Contrary to normal practice, and since repairs were planned to be completed within two weeks, ammunition had not been unloaded and the resultant fires set off an explosion that destroyed the entire bow section. However, after emergency bow repairs, Gneisenau steamed under her own power to Gotenhafen where she was decommissioned and reconstruction was to be done there. |
Although some work was done from 1942 through to 1944 to reconstruct her, she was withdrawn from service in July 1943 to allow the replacement of the 28 cm battery with twin 38 cm (15 in) turrets. After the sinking of the Scharnhorst, this work was finally abandoned. One of the 38 cm guns intended for the rearmament exists today at the museum of Hanstholm in Denmark. Her 28cm guns from turret Anton were removed and sent to the Netherlands; and turrets Bruno and Caesar and their guns were sent to Norway for coastal defence.
Gneisenau ended the war as a blockship, sunk in Gotenhafen harbor. She was raised, broken up, and scrapped after the war.