german commerce raider kormoran

An insight into the Genesis and Evolution of the HMAS Sydney Controversy. How and why a purpose-built warship like Sydney was defeated by a modified merchant vessel like Kormoran was the subject of speculation, with numerous books on the subject, as well as two official reports by government inquiries, published in 1999 and 2009 respectively. [289], The "HMAS Sydney Replacement Fund" was established to help finance the acquisition of a replacement ship. [168][169], Initially, the sailors were imprisoned at Harvey while the officers were imprisoned at Swanbourne Barracks, but after interrogations were concluded in December, they were all relocated to prisoner-of-war camps near Murchison, Victoria. [19][20], Kormoran was commissioned in October 1940: after modification, she was 515 feet (157 m) long, and measured 8736 grt. [205] This Kormoran operated until 1976, when she was sold to Greece. [20] The Royal Navy had blockaded German waters at the start of the war, and Kormoran had to break through to reach her first patrol area. [63] Kormoran discontinued salvo firing, but the individually firing aft guns scored hits as Sydney crossed the raider's stern. [14], The secondary armament consisted of five 2-centimetre (0.79 in) anti-aircraft guns. [288] The names of those killed aboard Sydney are inscribed at the Australian War Memorial, while those from Kormoran are inscribed in the Laboe Naval Memorial. The raider carried two Arado Ar 196 floatplanes for reconnaissance. [208], Winter traces the origin of the "surrender or distress" theory to a single newspaper article written just after the battle by a reporter with no access to the prisoners or naval intelligence. [125][126] During her manoeuvre, Sydney signalled "IK", which made no sense from the Germans' perspective, as that combination was shorthand for "You should prepare for a cyclone, hurricane, or typhoon". [132][134] After the torpedo hit, Sydney turned hard to port in what the Germans assumed was an attempt to ram, but the cruiser passed harmlessly aft. Sydney, with Captain Joseph Burnett commanding, and Kormoran, under Fregattenkapitän Theodor Detmers, encountered each other approximately 106 nautical miles (196 km; 122 mi) off Dirk Hartog Island. [114] The first was not answered because the Germans did not understand the coded Morse. Controversy has often surrounded the battle, especially in the years before the two wrecks were located in 2008. ... the Australian cruiser "Sydney" came across German raider "Kormoran" on the 19th. [86][89] Some 48 sailors from the 3,472-ton Australian vessel Mareeba were recovered by Kormoran, and although a boarding party attempted to save the ship for use as a mine-layer, the severity of damage made this impossible. [102][103] Those aboard the Greek ship assumed they were being pulled up by a British warship for not observing blackout regulations, and it was not until the armed Germans arrived on the ship that the nature of the 'warship' was revealed. [258] Subsequent writers on the subject have disagreed: Winter states that a carley float from Sydney would have been propelled by currents into proximity of Christmas Island around the time of its discovery, while Olson claims that the description of the float's rope and markings matched those used on British ships (from whose supplies Sydney could have drawn), the boilersuit indicated a naval rating, and that the quantity of marine growth corresponded with the time such a float would have been at sea. [133] In 2002, a coalition of oil and gas companies involved in the North West Shelf Venture performed a gratis search of eight suspected targets in the proposed southern area. [167][168] Because of the scope of the book, the account of the battle itself was brief, and Gill accepts the German interpretation of events while blaming Burnett for endangering his ship. [62] The cruiser was wreathed in smoke from fires burning in the engine room and forward superstructure, and around the aircraft catapult. Administered by the Kriegsmarine under the designation Schiff 41, to the Allied navies she was known as Raider G. [67] The raider fired her guns for the last time around 17:50, with the range at 6,600 yards (6,000 m), and a torpedo was launched at 18:00, but missed Sydney. [205], "Kormoran" redirects here. [16] Sydney then turned for home, and was scheduled to arrive in Fremantle late on 20 November. Their interviews showed similar commonalities and inconsistencies as those in Fremantle, and the interrogators concluded that the true story was being recounted. [111][113], After the main interrogations were completed, the Germans were moved from Fremantle to Murchison, Victoria during late December and early January: the officers aboard the liner Duntroon, the sailors overland on two trains. ... Germany via the Denmark Strait and took no further part in independent commerce raiding. [29][30] Though Germany was not at war with Greece, the presence of Allied weapons and cargo allowed Detmers to sink her or take her as a prize. [67] The supply ship's commander attempted to obstruct the transfers, and then demanded replacements; one came from Kormoran, while three of the tanker's sailors were drafted. [270][271], Olson (among others) believes that Burnett was placed under conflicting orders: raiders were to be destroyed (preferably at range to avoid retaliation), but merchantmen and raider supply ships were to be captured to replace Allied freighters sunk in the tonnage war. [24][25][26] After operating in the Atlantic, during which time she sank seven merchant ships and captured an eighth, the raider sailed to the Indian Ocean in late April 1941. [42][43] At around 17:00, Detmers instructed his wireless operators to send a false distress signal indicating that Straat Malakka was being approached by a suspicious ship. [90] On completion, Detmers set course for the Bay of Bengal intending to lay a second mine field, but aborted this on 30 July when he learned the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes would be in the area. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. [42] The complicated configuration and damaged condition of Afric Star ruled against her capture as a prize ship; after confiscating code books and other vital documents, and recovering 76 people, including two women, attempts were made to scuttle her. [170][171] Sailors were interned in No. [14] Kormoran carried a payload of mines, with an LS-3 fast boat carried inside[clarification needed] No. [280] The actions that Olson describes as indicating suspicion are also considered by Cole, who believed that by the time these came into play, Sydney would already be at a disadvantage. [43] Another 28 survivors were found by the Spanish merchant ship Monte Tiede later that night, with 10 men killed during the attack or lost at sea. that a published work collated these rumours and challenged the accepted view of the battle. [84], During the early morning of 26 June, a darkened merchant ship was spotted. [136] Mearns focused on primary source documents, which led him to believe that German accounts of the battle's location were truthful, and was able to convince the RAN that a search around that area was feasible. Military historian Dr Tom Lewis OAM, then a serving naval officer, wrote several analytical articles about the controversies surrounding the battle, all of which argued that the Kormoran account was right. [167] Despite this, Australian authorities were able to piece together the broad details of the battle, which was verified by German sailors recovered by Aquitania who had been taken to Sydney instead. [195] The inquiry concluded that Burnett was responsible for placing his ship in danger, but stopped short of claiming negligence, and also found no evidence to support any of the alternative theories investigated. [182] Planning for the memorial commenced in late 1997, after a speech by researcher Glenys McDonald at the local Rotary club. While 318 of the 399 aboard the German ship were rescued and placed in prisoner of war camps for the duration of World War II, there were no survivors from the 645 aboard the Australian cruiser. On 22 November 1941, Atlantis’ luck ran out. She was sunk by British motor torpedo boats in October 1942. [132] Sydney responded from her aft turrets: one damaged the raider's machinery spaces and started a fire in an oil tank, while the other fired only a few ineffective shells. [192] The wreck site was 2,560 metres (8,400 ft) below sea level, and consisted of two large pieces 1,300 metres (4,300 ft) apart, with an oval-shaped debris field between them, centred at 26°05′46″S 111°04′33″E / 26.09611°S 111.07583°E / -26.09611; 111.07583Coordinates: 26°05′46″S 111°04′33″E / 26.09611°S 111.07583°E / -26.09611; 111.07583. Pinguin was a German auxiliary cruiser which served as a commerce raider in World War II.Pinguin was known to the Kriegsmarine as Schiff 33, and … [84][85] The suspicious ship later resumed her original course without incident, but Detmers decided to postpone the mine-laying operation and leave the area, as Allied forces would become suspicious when the 'Japanese' ship failed to reach port. [103][104] However, the battle was not widely reported in other Allied nations, as it was a small loss compared to contemporary naval incidents — the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal and the battleship HMS Barham were sunk in separate incidents during the same two-week period — and was quickly eclipsed by Japan's attacks on Pearl Harbor and Singapore in early December. [91] Kormoran's disguise was changed to the Dutch freighter Straat Malakka, and notice was received of a further 100 Second Class Iron Crosses and five First Class Iron Crosses awarded to the ship. This page gives the definition of HSK as Handelsstörkreuzer, or "commerce disruption cruiser", but Detmers himself states (on page 12 of the Kimber edition of The Raider Kormoran) that it stands for Handelsschutzkreuzer, "merchant navy protection cruiser". In one of three Modified Leander class light cruisers of the families concerned merchantman attempted transmission. 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