Soon after the start of World War II it got obvious that all existing German destroyers were not adequately protected against air attacks. Since the number of light Flak guns could not increased much more, a new main armament for destroyers, capable to be used against air and sea targets was needed.
In 1941 it was considered to use the new Luftwaffe 12,8 cm Flak 40 in twin mountings for a new class of destroyers.
The two ordered ships were modified Zerstörer 1936B designs adapted to the new armament. They were laid down in 1942 but not completed. Four additional were ordered in 1943, none of them was started to build.