During the Second World War, Deutsche Kriegsmarine used both surface ships and U-Boats very effectively. The surface fleet (High Seas Fleet) was not as powerful as the Royal Navy, but had some very effective, modern and powerful ships. The major classes of these surface ships were:
1. Bismarck class battleships
2. Scharnhorst class battlecruisers
3. Admiral Scheer class armoured ships
4. Hipper class heavy cruisers
5. Nurnberg class light cruisers
6. Leberecht-Maass class Z destroyers
7. Von Roeder class Z destroyers
Also Der Fuhrer class super-battleships were planned, but never built. Kriegsmarine planned and built Graf Zeppelin class aircraft carriers but they were never completed and put into service. This was one of the big mistakes of Germany. Many battles of the Atlantic showed the importance of aircraft carriers especially during the hunt for DKM Bismarck.
Super battleship class 'Der Fuhrer'
Der Fuhrer, Friedrich der Grosse (1).
Battleship class 'Bismarck'
Battlecruiser class 'Scharnhorst'
Armoured ship class 'Admiral Scheer'
Admiral Scheer, Admiral Graf Spee, Lutzow.
Heavy cruiser class 'Hipper'
Hipper, Blucher, Prinz Eugen, Lutzow (2), Seydlitz (3).
Light cruiser class 'Nurnberg'
Emden, Koln, Karlsruhe, Konigsberg, Leipzig, Nurnberg.
Z1 Leberecht Maass, Z2 Georg Thiele, Z3 Max Schultz, Z4 Richard Beitzen, Z5 Paul Jacobi, Z6 Theodor Riedel, Z7 Hermann Schoemann, Z8 Bruno Heinemann, Z9 Wolfgang Zenker, Z10 Hans Lody, Z11Bernd von Arnim, Z12 Erich Geise, Z13 Erich Koellner, Z14 Friedrich Ihn, Z15 Erich Steinbrink, Z16 Friedrich Eckholdt, Z17 Diether von Roeder, Z18 Hans Ludemann, Z19 Hermann Kunne, Z20 Karl Galster, Z21 Wilhelm Heidkamp, Z22 Anton Schmitt, Z29, Z30, Z31, Z32, Z33, Z34, Z35, Z36, Z37, Z38, Z39, Z43, Z44.
Kriegsmarine also used some camouflaged surface raiders for merchant marine hunting. These ships were called 'Hilfskreuzer' class and some of them hunt many ships and destroyed a total of approximately 600.000 tons. The famous ones were Kormoran, Atlantis, Orion, Komet and Stier. One of these interesting hunters (Kormoran), sank the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Sydney in the Indian Ocean, but the cruiser destroyed the raider too. These ships were amazingly effective and deadly.
* Please note: 1 - never built, 2 and 3 - never completed.