After the construction of the new 15 cm gun in 1936, this gun was selected for the new class of destroyers, called the "Narvik" destroyers. With the biggest caliber used on board of the destroyer at this time, it was thought that those ships would have a tactical advantage over those with 12,7 cm guns.
For the first time on a German destroyer, the new ships should get a double turret mounted on the bow of the ship. Since the new turrets were not completed in time, the ships were commissioned with a single 15 cm gun instead and should have been refitted later.
The general design was similar to the predecessors, but several effords were made to increase the seagoing capabilities. The single rudder was replaced by a twin rudder and the bow section was modified. But when sailing through heavy seas, it soon got obvious that the new bow section was ill designed, and the ships took over too much water. This problem even got worse after the new twin turrets were installed and it took a very long time until it got clear that the new stern design had caused all the problems.
During the war, the surviving ships were refitted with additional Flak guns (Project name "Barbara") since the original armament proved to be not adequate.