Side view of SMS Scharnhorst

Side view of SMS Scharnhorst



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Side view of SMS Scharnhorst

SMS Scharnhorst was a modern armoured cruiser used as the flagship of Admiral von Spee at the battles of Coronel and the Falklands.


German battleship Scharnhorst

Scharnhorst was a German capital ship, alternatively described as a battleship or battlecruiser, of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine. She was the lead ship of her class, which included her sister ship Gneisenau. The ship was built at the Kriegsmarinewerft dockyard in Wilhelmshaven she was laid down on 15 June 1935 and launched a year and four months later on 3 October 1936. Completed in January 1939, the ship was armed with a main battery of nine 28 cm (11 in) C/34 guns in three triple turrets. Plans to replace these weapons with six 38 cm (15 in) SK C/34 guns in twin turrets were never carried out.

  • Standard: 32,100 long tons (32,600 t)
  • Full load: 38,100 long tons (38,700 t)
  • 56 officers
  • 1,613 enlisted
  • 9 × 28 cm/54.5 (11 inch) SK C/34
  • 12 × 15 cm/55 (5.9") SK C/28
  • 14 × 10.5 cm (4.1 in) SK C/33
  • 16 × 3.7 cm (1.5 in) SK C/30
  • 10 (later 16) × 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 or C/38
  • 6 × 533 mm torpedo tubes
    : 350 mm (13.8 in) : 50 to 105 mm (2.0 to 4.1 in) : 200 to 360 mm (7.9 to 14.2 in) : 350 mm

Scharnhorst and Gneisenau operated together for much of the early portion of World War II, including sorties into the Atlantic to raid British merchant shipping. During her first operation, Scharnhorst sank the auxiliary cruiser HMS Rawalpindi in a short engagement (November 1939). Scharnhorst and Gneisenau participated in Operation Weserübung (April–June 1940), the German invasion of Norway. During operations off Norway, the two ships engaged the battlecruiser HMS Renown and sank the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious as well as her escort destroyers Acasta and Ardent. In that engagement Scharnhorst achieved one of the longest-range naval gunfire hits in history.

In early 1942, after repeated British bombing raids, the two ships made a daylight dash up the English Channel from occupied France to Germany. In early 1943, Scharnhorst joined the Bismarck-class battleship Tirpitz in Norway to interdict Allied convoys to the Soviet Union. Scharnhorst and several destroyers sortied from Norway to attack a convoy, but British naval patrols intercepted the German force. During the Battle of the North Cape (26 December 1943), the Royal Navy battleship HMS Duke of York and her escorts sank Scharnhorst. Only 36 men were rescued, out of a crew of 1,968.


SMS Scharnhorst Wreck Found Off Falkland Islands

The Scharnhorst, an armoured battlecruiser and the flagship of Admiral Maximilian Graf von Spee’s East Asia Squadron, was sunk on December 08, 1914, during the Battle of the Falkland Islands, a crucial naval battle in the early days of the First World War.

The search began on the centenary of the Battle in December 2014 but was initially unsuccessful. Five years later, the mission was resumed using the subsea search equipment.

Working from the subsea search vessel, Seabed Constructor, the search operation involved the deployment of four Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), exploring a search box of approximately 4,500km2 of seabed.

Working methodically through the designated search area, and using equipment including side scan sonar and a multi-beam echo-sounder, Scharnhorst was discovered on the third day of the search 98 nautical miles south east of Port Stanley at a depth of 1610 meters. .

The Battle of the Falkland Islands followed the Battle of Coronel, fought off the coast of Chile in November 1914, where Graf von Spee’s fleet overpowered the Royal Navy and in which 1600 British sailors perished. A month later a British squadron under the command of Vice-Admiral Doveton Sturdee, pursued, engaged and defeated Graf von Spee’s squadron, comprising the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Nürnberg and Leipzig.

The action was particularly important because as a consequence of the battle, the German East Asia Squadron, Germany’s only permanent overseas naval formation, effectively ceased to exist, bringing an end to commerce raiding by German warships.

The Scharnhorst, built in Hamburg in 1905, was the first to be sunk, having sustained substantial damage inflicted by HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible. Tragically 2,200 German sailors died, including Graf von Spee himself and his two sons – Heinrich aboard the Gneisenau, and Otto aboard the Nürnberg.

The Falkland Maritime Heritage Trust is now seeking to have the site formerly protected in law. The wreck was not touched or in any way disturbed during the operation. The team on board Seabed Constructor conducted an act of remembrance at the site, commemorating all who died during the Battle.

Donald Lamont, chairman of The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, said: “It is less than a month since Remembrance Day, when we commemorated the millions who died in the First World War and subsequent conflicts. One episode in that conflict was the Battle of the Falklands in 1914. The search we organised had as its aim the locating of all ships of the German squadron, so that we may learn more about the Battle and commemorate all who perished in it. The site of the wrecks can now be protected.

“The Battle of the Falklands is commemorated every year on 8 December in the Falkland Islands. Our aim is that the film should be made available to the Historic Dockyard Museum in Stanley, where it and accompanying information will be available for Islanders and for the thousands of visitors who come to the Falkland Islands every year.”

Mensun Bound, the leader of the search, said: “It is with mixed emotions that we announce the discovery of SMS Scharnhorst, the armoured German battlecruiser that was sunk during the Battle of the Falkland Islands in 1914. After a search that began five years ago, on the centenary of the battle, we are very proud to be able to shed further light on what was a defining point in WWI, and therefore a landmark moment in modern history.

“The moment of discovery was extraordinary. We are often chasing shadows on the seabed, but when the Scharnhorst first appeared in the data flow, there was no doubt that this was one of the German fleet. You could even see the impact crater. We sent down an ROV to explore and almost straight away we were into a debris field that said “battle”. Suddenly she just came out of the gloom with great guns poking in every direction.

“As a Falkland Islander and a marine archaeologist, a discovery of this significance is an unforgettable, poignant moment in my life. Our work on this important project is not done. We will continue to assess the images that we have captured and, in time continue to search for the remainder of the fleet, in order to provide greater understanding of the events of that day, and to ensure the protection of the site.”

Wilhelm Graf von Spee, head of the Graf von Spee family, said: “Speaking as one of the many families affected by the heavy casualties suffered on 8 December 1914 at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, the discovery of SMS Scharnhorst is bittersweet. We take comfort from the knowledge that the final resting place of so many has been found, and can now be preserved, whilst also being reminded of the huge waste of life. As a family we lost a father and his two sons on one day. Like the thousands of other families who suffered unimaginable loss during the First World War, we remember them and must ensure that their sacrifice was not in vain.”


Service history

In 1909, Scharnhorst was assigned to the Ostasiengeschwader (East Asia Squadron) Gneisenau followed in 1910. The two ships formed the core of the squadron, with Scharnhorst serving as the flagship. [ 2 ] The pair were crack gunnery ships Gneisenau had won the Kaiser's Cup twice, [ 5 ] and Scharnhorst ' s finished in second place in 1913 and 1914. [ 6 ]

In June 1914, the annual summer cruise of the East Asia Squadron began Gneisenau rendezvoused with Scharnhorst in Nagasaki, Japan, where they received a full supply of coal. They then sailed south, arriving in Truk in early July where they would restock their coal supplies while en route, they received news of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. [ 7 ] On 17 July, the East Asia Squadron arrived in Ponape in the Caroline Islands. Here, von Spee had access to the German radio network, where he learned of the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war on Serbia and the Russian mobilization. On 31 July, word came that the German ultimatum that Russia demobilize its armies was set to expire. Von Spee ordered his ships be stripped for war. [ Note 3 ] On 2 August, Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered German mobilization against France and Russia. [ 8 ]

World War I

When the First World War broke out, Scharnhorst was Admiral Maximilian von Spee's flagship in the East Asia Squadron. This squadron consisted of Scharnhorst, her sister ship Gneisenau, and the light cruisers Emden, Nürnberg, and Leipzig. [ 9 ] On 6 August 1914, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, the supply ship Titania, and the Japanese collier Fukoku Maru were still in Ponape [ 10 ] von Spee had issued orders to recall the light cruisers, which had been dispersed on various cruises around the Pacific. [ 11 ] Nürnberg joined von Spee that day. [ 10 ] Von Spee decided the best place to concentrate his forces was Pagan Island in the northern Marianas Islands, a German possession in the central Pacific. All available colliers, supply ships, and passenger liners were ordered to meet the East Asia Squadron there. [ 12 ] On 11 August, von Spee arrived in Pagan he was joined by several supply ships, as well as Emden and the auxiliary cruiser Prinz Eitel Friedrich. [ 13 ]

Scharnhorst and Gneisenau regrouped with Emden and Nürnberg the four ships then departed the central Pacific, bound for Chile. On 13 August the captain of the Emden, Commodore Karl von Müller, persuaded von Spee to detach his ship for commerce raiding. By this time, the squadron had been reinforced by the arrival of Dresden and Leipzig. [ 14 ] Dresden was stationed in the Caribbean, [ 9 ] but had been in San Francisco when von Spee issued the order to consolidate German naval forces. [ 15 ] On 14 August, the East Asia Squadron departed Pagan for Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands, with Scharnhorst in the lead. [ 16 ] The ships again coaled after their arrival on 20 August. [ 17 ]

In order to keep the German high command informed, von Spee detached Nürnberg on 8 September to Honolulu to send word through neutral countries. Nürnberg brought back news of the Allied conquest of the German colony at Samoa on 14 August, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sailed to Apia to investigate the situation, but found no suitable targets. [ 18 ] At the Battle of Papeete on 22 September, Scharnhorst and the rest of the East Asia Squadron bombarded the colony. [ 19 ] During the bombardment, the French gunboat Zélée was sunk by gunfire from the German ships. Fear of mines in the harbor prevented von Spee from seizing the coal that lay in the harbor. [ 20 ] By 12 October, Scharnhorst and the rest of the squadron had reached Easter Island. There they were joined by Dresden and Leipzig, which had sailed from American waters. After a week in the area, the ships departed for Chile. [ 21 ]

Battle of Coronel

To oppose the German squadron off the coast of South America, the British had scant resources under the command of Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock were the armored cruisers HMS Good Hope and Monmouth, the light cruiser Glasgow, and the auxiliary cruiser Otranto. This flotilla was reinforced by the elderly pre-dreadnought battleship Canopus and the armored cruiser Defence, the latter, however, did not arrive until after the Battle of Coronel. [ 22 ] Canopus was left behind by Cradock, who likely felt that her slow speed would prevent him from bringing the German ships to battle. [ 23 ]

On the evening of 26 October, Scharnhorst and the rest of the squadron steamed out of Mas a Fuera, Chile, and headed eastward. Von Spee learned that Glasgow had been spotted in Coronel on the 31st, and so turned towards the port. [ 23 ] He arrived on the afternoon of 1 November, and to his surprise, encountered Good Hope, Monmouth, and Otranto as well as Glasgow. Canopus was still some 300 miles (480 km) behind, with the British colliers. [ 24 ] At 17:00, Glasgow spotted the Germans Cradock formed a line with Good Hope in the lead, followed by Monmouth, Glasgow, and Otranto in the rear. Von Spee decided to hold off on engaging the British until the sun had set more, at which point the British ships would be silhouetted by the sun. Cradock realized the uselessness of Otranto in the line of battle, and so detached her. [ 25 ]

At 19:00, the German ships closed to attack. [ 25 ] Scharnhorst engaged Good Hope and hit her at least 35 times one of these shells penetrated an ammunition magazine, which destroyed Good Hope in a huge explosion at 19:57. [ 6 ] At the same time, Nürnberg closed to point-blank range of Monmouth and poured shells into her. [ 26 ] Glasgow was forced to abandon Monmouth after 20:20, before fleeing south and meeting with Canopus. Monmouth eventually capsized and sank at 21:18. [ 27 ] Over 1,600 men were killed in the sinking of the two armored cruisers, including Admiral Cradock German losses were negligible. However, the German ships had expended over 40% of their ammunition supply. [ 25 ] Scharnhorst was hit twice during the engagement, but both shells failed to explode. [ 27 ]

Battle of the Falkland Islands

Once word of the defeat reached London, the Royal Navy set to organizing a force to hunt down and destroy the East Asia Squadron. To this end, the powerful new battlecruisers Invincible and Inflexible were detached from the Grand Fleet and placed under the command of Vice Admiral Doveton Sturdee. [ 28 ] The two ships left Devonport on 10 November, and while en route to the Falkland Islands, they were joined by the armored cruisers Carnarvon, Kent, and Cornwall, the light cruisers Bristol and Glasgow, and the Otranto. The force of eight ships reached the Falklands by 7 December, where they immediately coaled. [ 29 ]

Gneisenau and Nürnberg, the first two ships in the German line, approached the Falklands on the same morning, with the intention of destroying the wireless transmitter there. Observers aboard Gneisenau spotted the two battlecruisers in the harbor of Port Stanley, and when 30.5 cm (12.0 in) shells were fired from Canopus, which had been beached as a guard ship, the Germans turned to flee. [ 29 ] The Germans took a south-easterly course at 22 kn (41 km/h 25 mph). Scharnhorst was the center ship, with Gneisenau and Nürnberg ahead and Dresden and Leipzig astern. [ 30 ] The fast battlecruisers quickly got up steam and sailed out of the harbor to pursue the East Asia Squadron. [ 29 ]

By 13:20, the faster British ships had caught up with Scharnhorst and the other cruisers, and began to fire at a range of 14 km (8.7 mi). [ 31 ] Von Spee realized his armored cruisers could not escape the much faster battlecruisers, and so ordered the three light cruisers to attempt to break away while he turned about to engage the British with Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. However, Sturdee detached his armored and light cruisers to pursue the German light cruisers, while the battlecruisers dealt with Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. [ 32 ] Invincible opened fire at Scharnhorst while Inflexible attacked Gneisenau. Sturdee attempted to widen the distance by turning two points to the north to prevent von Spee from closing to within the range of his smaller 8.2 in (21 cm) guns. However, von Spee counteracted this maneuver by turning rapidly to the south, which forced Sturdee to turn south as well. This allowed Scharnhorst and Gneisenau to get close enough to engage with their secondary 5.9 in (15 cm) guns their shooting was so effective that it forced the British to haul away. [ 33 ]

By 15:30, Scharnhorst had been holed in several places below the waterline, her third funnel had been destroyed, and she was burning badly. She was also low in the water, drawing some 3 ft (0.91 m) more than normal. At 16:04, Scharnhorst was observed from Inflexible as having rapidly listed to port, and she sank at 16:17. [ 34 ] All 860 officers and men on board, including von Spee, went down with the ship. [ 2 ] Gneisenau, Leipzig, and Nürnberg were also sunk. Only Dresden managed to escape, but she was eventually tracked to the Juan Fernandez Island and sunk. The complete destruction of the squadron killed some 2,200 German sailors and officers, including two of von Spee's sons. [ 31 ] Coordinates: 52°29′58″S 56°9′59″W  /  52.49944°S 56.16639°W  / -52.49944 -56.16639


Scharnhorst drawings for sell

Post by rtwpsom2 » Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:49 am

As many of you may know, I have been working on a 3D CAD model of the Scharnhorst in her 1943 configuration. I recently completed the model and as a way to recoup some costs on the project I used the model to create two sets of drawings for her in 1:100 scale as well as some 1:50 details. The first set is a three sheet "basic" set with elevation and plan views of the ship, as well as the four main isometric (angled) views in 1:200. The plan view sheet includes a number of detail drawings that show the construction of the main superstructure components. Here are a few screen captures:



The second "advanced" set is also three sheets and has more detailed views of each component of the superstructure. The final sheet is in 1:50 scale and shows close up details of all the weapons and accessories, such as the rangefinders, cranes, anchors, etc.



All drawings are 10 feet long by 3 feet tall, with the exception of the final sheet, which is just under 12 feet long. Each set costs $35 US and $13 for shipping and packaging anywhere in the continental US. International shipping will be at cost. Buy both sets and shipping is still $13. Heck buy five or six, and it will probably be the same.


SMS Scharnhorst Wreck Found Off Falkland Islands

The Scharnhorst, an armoured battlecruiser and the flagship of Admiral Maximilian Graf von Spee’s East Asia Squadron, was sunk on December 08, 1914, during the Battle of the Falkland Islands, a crucial naval battle in the early days of the First World War.

The search began on the centenary of the Battle in December 2014 but was initially unsuccessful. Five years later, the mission was resumed using the subsea search equipment.

Working from the subsea search vessel, Seabed Constructor, the search operation involved the deployment of four Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), exploring a search box of approximately 4,500km2 of seabed.

Working methodically through the designated search area, and using equipment including side scan sonar and a multi-beam echo-sounder, Scharnhorst was discovered on the third day of the search 98 nautical miles south east of Port Stanley at a depth of 1610 meters. .

The Battle of the Falkland Islands followed the Battle of Coronel, fought off the coast of Chile in November 1914, where Graf von Spee’s fleet overpowered the Royal Navy and in which 1600 British sailors perished. A month later a British squadron under the command of Vice-Admiral Doveton Sturdee, pursued, engaged and defeated Graf von Spee’s squadron, comprising the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Nürnberg and Leipzig.

The action was particularly important because as a consequence of the battle, the German East Asia Squadron, Germany’s only permanent overseas naval formation, effectively ceased to exist, bringing an end to commerce raiding by German warships.

The Scharnhorst, built in Hamburg in 1905, was the first to be sunk, having sustained substantial damage inflicted by HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible. Tragically 2,200 German sailors died, including Graf von Spee himself and his two sons – Heinrich aboard the Gneisenau, and Otto aboard the Nürnberg.

The Falkland Maritime Heritage Trust is now seeking to have the site formerly protected in law. The wreck was not touched or in any way disturbed during the operation. The team on board Seabed Constructor conducted an act of remembrance at the site, commemorating all who died during the Battle.

Donald Lamont, chairman of The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, said: “It is less than a month since Remembrance Day, when we commemorated the millions who died in the First World War and subsequent conflicts. One episode in that conflict was the Battle of the Falklands in 1914. The search we organised had as its aim the locating of all ships of the German squadron, so that we may learn more about the Battle and commemorate all who perished in it. The site of the wrecks can now be protected.

“The Battle of the Falklands is commemorated every year on 8 December in the Falkland Islands. Our aim is that the film should be made available to the Historic Dockyard Museum in Stanley, where it and accompanying information will be available for Islanders and for the thousands of visitors who come to the Falkland Islands every year.”

Mensun Bound, the leader of the search, said: “It is with mixed emotions that we announce the discovery of SMS Scharnhorst, the armoured German battlecruiser that was sunk during the Battle of the Falkland Islands in 1914. After a search that began five years ago, on the centenary of the battle, we are very proud to be able to shed further light on what was a defining point in WWI, and therefore a landmark moment in modern history.

“The moment of discovery was extraordinary. We are often chasing shadows on the seabed, but when the Scharnhorst first appeared in the data flow, there was no doubt that this was one of the German fleet. You could even see the impact crater. We sent down an ROV to explore and almost straight away we were into a debris field that said “battle”. Suddenly she just came out of the gloom with great guns poking in every direction.

“As a Falkland Islander and a marine archaeologist, a discovery of this significance is an unforgettable, poignant moment in my life. Our work on this important project is not done. We will continue to assess the images that we have captured and, in time continue to search for the remainder of the fleet, in order to provide greater understanding of the events of that day, and to ensure the protection of the site.”

Wilhelm Graf von Spee, head of the Graf von Spee family, said: “Speaking as one of the many families affected by the heavy casualties suffered on 8 December 1914 at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, the discovery of SMS Scharnhorst is bittersweet. We take comfort from the knowledge that the final resting place of so many has been found, and can now be preserved, whilst also being reminded of the huge waste of life. As a family we lost a father and his two sons on one day. Like the thousands of other families who suffered unimaginable loss during the First World War, we remember them and must ensure that their sacrifice was not in vain.”


Big cruiser SMS Scharnhorst

The big cruiser SMS Scharnhorst belonged to the same class of ships, which consisted of only two ships, was put into service only a few years before the war and was sunk right at the beginning of the war.

Launching and design:

The two ships of the Scharnhorst class was built shortly after the big cruisers of the Roon class, which is why the design of the ships was also based on those of the Roon class. In contrast to the previous class, more emphasis was placed on the heavy artillery of the two ships of the Scharnhorst class and the medium artillery was less installed.

Already during the construction phase, it became apparent that both ships were no longer up-to-date with the state of the art. Only with the successor ship SMS Blücher could again be achieved a technical progress. For this reason, the two ships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were already in service for the German colonies.

The launch of the SMS Scharnhorst took place on March 22, 1906, the commissioning on October 24, 1907.

Big cruiser SMS Scharnhorst

Big cruiser SMS Scharnhorst

Aft 21cm double tower of the SMS Scharnhorst

History of SMS Scharnhorst:

After the commissioning of the ship was first used as the flagship of the commander of the reconnaissance forces, then the transfer to East Asia.

On April 1, 1909 left the ship Kiel on April 29 in Colombo the SMS Prince Bismarck as the flagship of the German East Asia squadron to replace. On March 14, 1911 followed the sister ship SMS Gneisenau, which was also stationed until the outbreak of war in Tsingtau.

Use in the war:

At the outbreak of the First World War, the two big cruiser first of the Scharnhorst-Class ran the island of Pagan in the German part of New Guinea to meet with the small cruisers SMS Nürnberg and SMS Emden, the Emden later left the squadron again. From 14 August to 12 October 1914, the squadron ran to Easter Island, where the small cruisers SMS Dresden and SMS Leipzig joined. On the way there, the French gunboat Zelee was sunk on 22 September in Tahiti.

On 1 November 1914, the squadron of the Chilean coast followed when it met a British squadron. In the ensuing battle succeeded the German ships to sink the British armored cruiser HMS Good Hope and HMS Monmouth. However, since half of the ammunition was fired, the squadron commander Vice Admiral Maximilian Graf von Spee decided to venture into the Atlantic.

On the way, the squadron was to cross the Falkland Islands. Von Spee decided to attack the British island, plunder the coal reserves and capture the governor. On December 8, 1914, the two ships SMS Gneisenau and SMS Nürnberg in advance, when they realized that in the port of the island were British battlecruisers, who had arrived the day before.

The last course of SMS Scharnhorst

Battle of the Falkland Islands 1914

Whereabouts:

In the battle between the British and the German ships in the Falkland Islands, the British battlecruisers were far superior to the German ships. Vice Admiral Maximilian Graf von Spee gave the German small cruisers the order to flee after a short time and tried to distract the British ships with the two big cruisers.

At 4:04 pm, SMS Scharnhorst was hit and at 4:17 pm the ship sank completely. Nobody survived the occupation.

Ship data:

8 × Rapid Fire Gun 21,0 cm L / 40 (700 shots)

6 × Rapid Fire Gun 15,0 cm L / 40 (1.020 shots)

18 × Rapid Fire Gun 8,8 cm L / 35 (2.700 shots)

4 × torpedo tube ⌀ 45,0 cm (1 bow, 2 sides, 1 stern, under water, 11 rounds)

You can find the right literature here:

German Battleships 1914–18 (1): Deutschland, Nassau and Helgoland classes (New Vanguard)

German Battleships 1914–18 (1): Deutschland, Nassau and Helgoland classes (New Vanguard) Paperback – February 23, 2010

Supported by official documents, personal accounts, official drawings and specially commissioned artwork, this volume is an enlightening history of the Deutschland to Osfriesland classes. Detailing the last of the pre-dreadnaught battleship classes, this book goes on to explain the revolutionary developments that took place within the German Imperial Navy as they readied themselves for war. This included creating vessels with vast increases in size and armament. This account of design and technology is supplemented by individual ship histories detailing combat experience complete with first-hand accounts. The specially commissioned artwork also brings this history to life with recreations of the battleship Pommern fighting at Jutland and ships of the Osfriesland class destroying HMS Black Prince in a dramatic night-time engagement.

The Imperial German Navy of World War I, Vol. 1 Warships: A Comprehensive Photographic Study of the Kaiser’s Naval Forces

The Imperial German Navy of World War I, Vol. 1 Warships: A Comprehensive Photographic Study of the Kaiser’s Naval Forces Hardcover – December 28, 2016

The Imperial German Navy of WWI is a series of books (Warships, Campaigns, & Uniforms) that provide a broad view of the Kaiser's naval forces through the extensive use of photographs. Every effort has been made to cover all significant areas during the war period. In addition to the primary use of photographs, technical information is provided for each warship along with its corresponding service history with a special emphasis being placed on those warships that participated in the Battle of Skagerrak (Jutland). Countless sources have been used to establish individual case studies for each warship multiple photos of each warship are provided. The entire series itself is unprecedented in its coverage of the Kaiser's navy.

German Battlecruisers of World War One: Their Design, Construction and Operations

German Battlecruisers of World War One: Their Design, Construction and Operations Hardcover – November 4, 2014

This is the most comprehensive, English-language study of the German Imperial Navy's battlecruisers that served in the First World War. Known as Panzerkreuzer, literally "armored cruiser," the eight ships of the class were to be involved in several early North Sea skirmishes before the great pitched battle of Jutland where they inflicted devastating damage on the Royal Navy's battlecruiser fleet. This book details their design and construction, and traces the full service history of each ship, recounting their actions, drawing largely from first-hand German sources and official documents, many previously unpublished in English.

The Kaiser's Battlefleet: German Capital Ships 1871-1918

The Kaiser's Battlefleet: German Capital Ships 1871-1918 Hardcover – March 15, 2016

The battleships of the Third Reich have been written about exhaustively, but there is little in English devoted to their Second Reich predecessors. This new book fills an important gap in the literature of the period by covering these German capital ships in detail and studying the full span of battleship development during this period. The book is arranged as a chronological narrative, with technical details, construction schedules, and ultimate fates tabulated throughout, thus avoiding the sometimes disjointed structure that can result from a class-by-class approach. Heavily illustrated with line drawings and photographs, many from German sources, the book offers readers a fresh visual look at these ships. A key objective of the book is to make available a full synthesis of the published fruits of archival research by German writers found in the pre-World War II books of Koop & Schmolke, Großmer's on the construction program of the dreadnaught era, Forstmeier & Breyer on World War I projects, and Schenk & Nottelmann's papers in Warship International. As well as providing data not available in English-language books, these sources correct significant errors in standard English sources.

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MercoPress. South Atlantic News Agency

The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust is pleased to announce that the wreck of SMS Scharnhorst has been located off the Falkland Islands. The Scharnhorst, an armoured battle-cruiser and the flagship of Admiral Maximilian Graf von Spee&rsquos East Asia Squadron, was sunk on 8 December 1914 during the Battle of the Falkland Islands, a crucial naval battle in the early days of the First World War. Read full article

Comments

The Falkland Maritime Heritage Trust is now seeking to have the site formerly protected in law. Formally (not formerly).

Dec 05th, 2019 - 09:50 am - Link - Report abuse 0

Scharnhorst was not a Battlecruiser! She was an armoured cruiser. Quite a difference.

Dec 06th, 2019 - 10:32 am - Link - Report abuse 0

We should recall also that this was the Rear Admiral who on atten ding a reception in his squadron,s honour after Coronel in the pretty pro German , Valparaiso,Chile- was invited by the Mayor of Valparaiso to raise his glass to the “damnation of the British”

Von Spee refused- and instead said - “I raise my glass to a valiant foe” - drank and threw his glass to the floor and left the reception.

He was a man of honour- and knew Admiral Sturdee from time together in the far east at time of the “Boxer Rebellion”

Here in the Islands he is respected for fighting a brave battle and his crew likewise.Will always remember Dec 8th 2014 when the families of all 3 Admirals stood together by the newly unveiled plaques to the memory of their ancestors and all who lost their lives in both battles, with German and FI Flags flying side by side over Stanley.

Dec 06th, 2019 - 01:53 pm - Link - Report abuse +2

Thank you for your very honorable comment. I especially respected the anecdote.

Dec 06th, 2019 - 05:54 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

Would you be soooooo kind to link to any info about that said. ***“Reception in Danish Vizeadmiral Maximilian Johannes Maria Hubert von Spee squadron's honour after Coronel in the pretty Pro-German Valparaiso, Chile - where he ”supposedly” was invited by the Mayor of Valparaiso to raise his glass to the &ldquodamnation of the British&rdquo***.

My primitive Patagonian Google only gives me something about a reception in Danish Vizeadmiral Maximilian Johannes Maria Hubert von Spee squadron's honour after Coronel in the pretty German Club at Valparaiso, Chile - where he was given some flowers he thought would do nicely for his grave.

Thanks in advance for your invaluable contribution in helping me knowing the TRUE story of South-America. -)

Dec 06th, 2019 - 08:16 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

It would be nice to know the reference, which probably is from a book. It certainly sounds like what the famous admiral would have said. (Sadly, my personal library is currently packed in storage due to my apartment change.) I could not find anything online either. I was surprised as Wikipedia does have a decent article.

Dec 06th, 2019 - 11:49 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

Any chance, do you think, they could find Invincible? Went down in ྎ apparently -)

Dec 07th, 2019 - 11:14 am - Link - Report abuse 0

Think & Chicureo
The anecdote is on the FIA website and apparently came from a leaflet written by Mensum Bound, the guy leading the current search. It says you can contact them if you want a copy and live overseas:

There's a similar story in this book, which also mentions the bouquet:

Dec 07th, 2019 - 11:18 am - Link - Report abuse 0

Me dear hermanito Shileno.
I thought you were tooo busy organizing a Coup against that Piñera communist.
Anyhow. always funny to see how these unconfirmed military hersay histories do evolve.
- From an Engrish Kelper saying that it was a brownish, squat Shilean Mayor of Valparaiso who raised his glass to the &ldquodamnation of the British. (which I don't believe for a second).
-To a contemporary Engrish fanto-history author saying that it was a white, tall German Consul at Valparaiso who raised his glass to the &ldquodamnation of the British. (which I don't believe for a second neither).
Capisce.

Mr. Roger Lorton.
Ya want to find the Invincible. huhhhhhh.
No sweat. laddie. Ask these guys. http://www.leyal.com.tr/

Dec 07th, 2019 - 03:34 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

I commend you DemonTree in contributing the fascinating excerpt highlighting naval history which should be remembered. Admiral Canaris indeed led an amazing, although eventually tragic, life. Thank you!

Estimado THINK, I have no reason to doubt Islander1's anecdotal comment about the unique Chilean sensibilities of both the German and British influences of Valpariaso. Chivalry was indeed an integral part of Naval conduct a century ago. My failed coup d'état was with Madam Lafarge, which sadly has resulted a pied à terre nouveau. quelle horreur.

This squat brown campesino salutes your typical Agentine arrogance with humble respect. Forgive my innocence in willing to believe there was a time when such anecdotes could possibly occur.

Dec 07th, 2019 - 05:24 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

Nothing to forgive. hermanito.

Anecdotes as Max toasting for the memory of a slain foe more than possibly occured in 1914.
Remember that. at the time. the German U-Boots would surface to warn the merchant ship crews to abandon ship prior to launching their torpedos. That stopped when them Brits installed rapid fire cannons on the merchant ships and sunk a couple of romantic German U's.

What I DONT BELIEVE FOR A SECOND is that any 1914's Shilean City Mayor or any German Consul anywhere would have ever offered such a preposterous toast to Max or any other officer.

Complete propaganda. Capisce.

Dec 07th, 2019 - 05:48 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

Mensum Bound does not claim it was a mayor or a consul who proposed the toast, just someone at the German Club in Valparaiso. That does not seem especially implausible, and nor does the admiral's reaction. I've heard similar sentiments from the men who fought in the Falklands war, despite this supposedly unchivalrous age.

If you really want to know I could send off for a copy of the leaflet and see if it gives any sources. Or you could have another try with the much maligned Patagonian Google.

Chicureo
Have you moved to the new apartment yet? We are planning to move next weekend as it's the only one free before Christmas.

Dec 07th, 2019 - 06:36 pm - Link - Report abuse +1

We easily sold our old apartment and although have taken possession of the new one, it's yet to be ready for habitation. Supposedly, the 15th it will be ready for the new furniture. The 'grand opening' is for New Year's Eve.

Good luck on your move. It can be very stressing on one's relationship and I wish you patience and humility, because it's a traumatic experience.

Madam Lafarge decided to start with almost everything new and I somehow survived the revolution.

Dec 07th, 2019 - 07:12 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

Just to complement on Mr. Timlander's info about the.
***&ldquoReception in Danish Vizeadmiral Maximilian Johannes Maria Hubert von Spee squadron's honour after Coronel in the pretty Pro-German Valparaiso, Chile - where he was invited by the Mayor of Valparaiso to raise his glass to the &ldquodamnation of the British&rdquo***.

It is an historically documented fact that the Mayor of “the Pretty Pro-German Valparaiso, Chile” at the time of Max's stop over in 1914. was no other than a guy with the very Nazi-German sounding name of. “ LAUTARO BENHAM GATES-JONES. ”

Dec 07th, 2019 - 07:33 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

Chicureo
It's good you were able to sell your old apartment so quickly. I am worried we will have trouble selling our old house what with Brexit etc, but my partner insisted on overlapping them. We have got a new bed since ours is old and broken, and are just awaiting delivery of the mattress to go with it.

I hope your revolution will be a mild one without too many casualties, and that you'll come to like the new furniture. Your 'grand opening' should be spectacular, anyway.

Think
I daresay Islander1 simply misremembered, but would you be so kind to link to your info on Mayor Benham? Wikipedia lists 3 mayors for Valparaiso in 1914 and does not give the date when the last one took over.

Dec 07th, 2019 - 07:53 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

I kept my head from being chopped off because I came to the conclusion that the new apartment was important to my partner. She happily abandoned the old worn furnishings and each time when I objected. her eyes menacingly narrowed.

(BTW, a family name can be misleading, such as “Saxe-Coburg and Gotha”)

Dec 07th, 2019 - 08:18 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

Dec 07th, 2019 - 09:34 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

Chicureo
At least you were able to rescue some of the old furniture and keep it in exile at the farmhouse. You can retreat there if the revolution gets too terrible.

I wish we could get new furnishings, since we have a lot of stuff that's from Ikea or second hand, but it wouldn't be prudent when we're expecting an addition to the family in spring.

Names can be misleading, but we don't even know if this guy was really mayor at the time. Wonder what happened that lead to three in one year?

Dec 07th, 2019 - 09:43 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

A picture says a thousand words.

“Addition” to your family in the Spring? Kindly elaborate please.
(Easy method to obtain furniture: 1. Live frugally and invest/save your earnings. 2. Ignore your partner's complaints that the furniture looks worn and shabby. 3. Accede to the revolutionary dictate that it's time for change instead of falling upon ones sword. )

Dec 07th, 2019 - 10:09 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

The little nieces persuaded us we should have a kid too. :) I fear the only furniture we will be buying for a few years is baby stuff.

Dec 07th, 2019 - 10:26 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

Sincere congratulations! Baby furniture will be the least of your worries nor expenses, but well worth it. Enjoy your sleep, you'll miss that. Cheers!

Dec 08th, 2019 - 01:23 am - Link - Report abuse 0

Thanks. And yeah, I know that's the least of our worries. I'm pretty nervous but also excited, wasn't going to say anything til later but oh well.

Guess it's been a while since you had kids at home, do you have any grandchildren?

Dec 08th, 2019 - 10:07 am - Link - Report abuse 0

Yes, we now have 6 with another expected.

Dec 08th, 2019 - 04:31 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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Contents

Scharnhorst in her 1943 configuration

Scharnhorst was ordered as Ersatz Elsass as a replacement for the old pre-dreadnought Elsass, under the contract name "D." Α] The Kriegsmarinewerft in Wilhelmshaven was awarded the contract, where the keel was laid on 16 July 1935. Β] The ship was launched on 3 October 1936, witnessed by Adolf Hitler, Minister of War Generalfeldmarschall Werner von Blomberg, and the widow of Kapitän zur See Schultz, the commander of the armored cruiser Scharnhorst, which had been sunk at the Battle of the Falkland Islands during World War I. Fitting-out out work followed her launch, and was completed by January 1939. Γ] Scharnhorst was commissioned into the fleet on 9 January for sea trials, Δ] which revealed a dangerous tendency to ship considerable amounts of water in heavy seas. This caused flooding in the bow and damaged electrical systems in the forward gun turret. As a result, she went back to the dockyard for extensive modification of the bow. The original straight stem was replaced with a raised "Atlantic bow." A raked funnel cap was also installed during the reconstruction, along with an enlarged aircraft hangar the main mast was also moved further aft. The modifications were completed by November 1939, by which time the ship was finally fully operational. Γ]

Scharnhorst displaced 32,100 long tons (32,600 t) as built and 38,100 long tons (38,700 t) fully loaded, with a length of 234.9 m (771 ft), a beam of 30 m (98 ft) and a maximum draft of 9.9 m (32 ft). She was powered by three Brown, Boveri & Cie geared steam turbines, which developed a total of 165,930 shaft horsepower (123,730 kW) and yielded a maximum speed of 31.5 kn (58.3 km/h) on speed trials. Her standard crew numbered 56 officers and 1,613 enlisted men, though during the war this was augmented up to 60 officers and 1,780 men. While serving as a squadron flagship, Scharnhorst carried an additional ten officers and 61 enlisted men. Α]

She was armed with nine 28 cm (11.1 in) L/54.5 guns arranged in three triple gun turrets: two superfiring turrets forward—Anton and Bruno—and one aft—Caesar. The design also enabled the ship to be up-gunned with six 15 inch guns this rearming, however, never took place. Her secondary armament consisted of twelve 15 cm (5.9 in) L/55 guns, fourteen 10.5 cm L/65 and sixteen 3.7 cm (1.5 in) L/83, and initially ten 2 cm (0.79 in) anti-aircraft guns. The number of 2 cm guns was eventually increased to thirty-eight. Six 53.3 cm (21.0 in) above-water torpedo tubes, taken from the light cruisers Nürnberg and Leipzig, were installed in 1942. Α]


Warship Wednesday, July 17, 2019: Willy’s Vulture

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, July 17, 2019: Willy’s Vulture

Deutsches Bundesarchiv Bild 134-C0105

Here we see the three-masted bark-rigged “kleiner geschutzter kreuzer” (small protected cruiser) SMS Geier of the Imperial German Kaiserliche Marine photographed at the beginning of her career around 1895. A well-traveled Teutonic warship named after the German word for “vulture,” she would repeatedly find herself only narrowly avoiding some of the largest naval clashes of her era.

The final installment of the six-ship Bussard-class of colonial cruisers, all of which were named after birds, Geier and her sisters (Falke, Seeadler, Condor, and Comoran) would today be classified either as corvettes or well-armed offshore patrol vessels. With an 1800

ton displacement (which varied from ship to ship as they had at least three varying generations of subclasses), these pint-sized “cruisers” were about 275-feet long overall and could float in less than three fathoms. While most cruisers are built for speed, the Bussards could only make 15-ish knots when everything was lit. When it came to an armament, they packed eight 10.5 cm (4.1″) SK L/35 low-angle guns and a pair of cute 350mm torpedo tubes, which wasn’t that bad for policing the colonies but was hopeless in a surface action against a real cruiser.

Geier’s sister, SMS Seeadler, in a postcard-worthy setting. The six ships of the class ranged from the West Indies to Africa, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific. Much more exotic duty than the typical Baltic/North Sea gigs for the High Seas Fleet

Constructed between 1888 and 1895 at four different Northern German yards, the half-dozen Bussards were a very late 19th Century design, complete with a three-masted auxiliary barquentine rig, ram bows, and a wooden-backed copper-sheathed hull. They carried a pair of early electric generators and their composite hull was separated into 10 watertight compartments. Despite the “geschutzter” designation given by the Germans, they carried no armor other than splinter shields.

The only member of the class built at Kaiserliche Werft, Wilhelmshaven, Geier was laid down in 1893 and commissioned 24 October 1895, with Kaiser Wilhelm himself visiting the ship on that day.

SMS “Geier” der kaiserlichen deutschen Marine

SMS “Geier”, Kaiser Wilhelm II. spricht zur Besatzung

SMS “Geier”, Kleiner Kreuzer Besichtigung des Schiffes durch Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Notably, Geier was the largest and most developed of her sisters, using a slightly different gun arrangement, better engines and 18-inch torpedo tubes rather than the 14s carried by the preceding five ships of the class.

All six Bussards were subsequently deployed overseas in Willy’s far-flung colonies in Africa and the Pacific, a tasking Geier soon adopted. Setting off for the West Indies, she joined the German squadron of old ironclads and school ships that were deployed there in 1897 to protect Berlin’s interests in Venezuela and Haiti.

The next year, under the command of Korvettenkapitän (later Vizeadmiral) Hermann Jacobsen, Geier was permitted by the U.S. fleet during the Spanish-American War to pass in and out of the blockaded Spanish ports in Cuba and Puerto Rico on several occasions, ostensibly on humanitarian grounds to evacuate neutral European civilians.

The unprotected cruiser SMS Geier entering Havana Harbor, Cuba, in 1898, during the SpanAm War

However, Jacobson dutifully kept a log of ships that ran the American blockade and their cargo as well as conducted a detailed analysis of the damage done to the Spanish ships at the Battle of Santiago. These observations were later released then ultimately translated into English and published in the USNI’s Proceedings in 1899.

By 1900, Geier was operating in the Pacific and, operating with the German East Asia Squadron, was in Chinese waters in time to join the international task force bringing the Manchu Dynasty to its knees during the Boxer Rebellion. She remained in the region and observed the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-05, notably poking around at Chemulpo (Inchon) where the Russian protected cruiser Varyag and gunboat Korietz were scuttled after a sharp engagement with a superior IJN force under Baron Sotokichi.

GEIER Photographed early in her career, before her 1908-1909 refit that reduced her Barkentine Rig to Brigantine Standard. NH 88631

Returning to Germany in 1909 for repair and refit, her rigging was changed from that of a three-mast barquentine to a two-mast topsail schooner while her bridge was enlarged, and her boilers replaced.

Geier with her late-career schooner rig

Recommissioned in 1911, she was assigned to the Mediterranean where she spent the next couple years exercising gunboat diplomacy in the wake of the Moroccan Crisis while eating popcorn on the sidelines of the Italian-Turkish War and Balkan Wars, all of which involved a smattering of curious naval actions to report back to Berlin. By 1914, although she had never fired a shot in anger, our Vulture had already haunted five significant wars from Tripoli to Korea and Cuba, very much living up to her name.

To catch us up on the rest of the class, by the eve of the Great War, the Bussards was showing their age. Sisterships Seeadler and Condor in 1914 were converted to mine storage hulks in Wilhelmshaven and Kiel, respectively. Bussard and Falke had already been stricken from the Naval List in 1912 and sold to the breakers. Meanwhile, in the German Chinese treaty port of Tsingtao (Qingdao), Cormoran was laid up with bad engines.

Speaking of which, when the lamps went out across Europe in August 1914, Geier was already en route from Dar es Salaam in German East Africa (where she had been relieved by the doomed cruiser Konigsberg) to Tsingtao to join Vizeadmiral Count Maximilian von Spee’s East Asia Squadron in the Pacific.

Once the balloon went up, she was in a precarious situation as just about any British, French, Russian or Japanese warship she encountered could have sent her quickly to the bottom. Eluding the massive Allied dragnet, which was deployed not only to capture our old cruiser but also Von Spee’s much more serious task force and the downright dangerous SMS Emden (which Geier briefly met with at sea), Geier attempted to become a commerce raider and, taking on coal from two German merchant ships, managed to capture a British freighter, SS Southport, at Kusaie in the Eastern Carolines on 4 September. After disabling Southport’s engines and leaving the British merchantman to eventually recover and report Geier’s last position, our decrepit light cruiser missed her rendezvous with Von Spee’s squadron at Pagan Island in the Northern Marianas and the good Count left her behind.

Alone, short on coal and only a day or so ahead of the Japanese battleship Hizen (former Russian Retvizan) and the armored cruiser Asama, Geier steamed into Honolulu on 17 October, having somehow survived 11 weeks on the run.

After failing to leave port within the limits set by neutral U.S. authorities, she was interned on 8 November and nominally disarmed.

Bussard Class Unprotected Cruiser SMS Geier pictured interned in Hawaii, she arrived in Honolulu on October 17th, 1914 for coaling, repairs and freshwater– and never left

Meanwhile, the Graf Spee’s East Asia Squadron had defeated the British 4th Cruiser Squadron under RADM Christopher Cradock in the Battle of Coronel on 1 November, sinking the old cruisers HMS Good Hope and Monmouth and sending Cradock and 1,600 of his men to the bottom of the South Atlantic Pacific off the coast of Chile. A month later, Spee himself along with his two sons and all but one ship of his squadron was smashed by VADM Doveton Sturdee’s battlecruiser squadron at the Battle of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.

Schlacht bei den Falkland-Inseln (8.12.1914) Battle Falklands Islands, German chart

Our Vulture had evaded another meeting with Poseidon.

As for Geier, her war was far from over, reportedly being used as a base for disinformation (alleging a Japanese invasion of Mexico!) and espionage (tracking Allied ship movements) for the next two years.

German cruiser Geier shown interned in Honolulu. Photo by Herbert B Turner. NARA 165-WW-272C-006

Finally, in February 1917, the events came to a head.

German reservists and agents surreptitiously utilized the ship for their operations, and the Americans grew increasingly suspicious of their activities. Emotions ran hot during the war and the Germans violated “neutrality,” Lt. (j.g.) Albert J. Porter of the ship’s company, who penned the commemorative War Log of the USS. St. Louis (Cruiser No. 20), observed, “with characteristic Hun disregard for international law and accepted honor codes.” Geier, Korvettenkapitän Curt Graßhoff in command, lay at Pier 3, moored to interned German steamer Pomeran when a column of smoke began to rise from her stack early on the morning of 4 February 1917. The ship’s internment prohibited her from getting steam up, and the Americans suspected the Germans’ intentions.

Lt. Cmdr. Victor S. Houston, St. Louis’ commanding officer, held an urgent conference on board the cruiser at which Cmdr. Thomas C. Hart, Commander SubDiv 3, represented the Commandant. Houston ordered St. Louis to clear for action and sent a boarding party, led by Lt. Roy Le C. Stover, Lt. (j.g.) Robert A. Hall, and Chief Gunner Frank C. Wisker. The sailors disembarked at the head of the Alakea wharf and took up a position in the second story of the pier warehouse. Soldiers from nearby Schofield Barracks meanwhile arrived and deployed a battery of 3-inch field pieces, screened by a coal pile across the street from the pier, from where they could command the decks of the German ship. Smoke poured in great plumes from Geier and her crewmen’s actions persuaded the Americans that the Germans likely intended to escape from the harbor, while some of the boarding party feared that failing to sortie, the Germans might scuttle the ship with charges, and the ensuing blaze could destroy part of the waterfront.

The boarding party, therefore, split into three sections and boarded and seized Pomeran, and Hart and Stover then boarded Geier and informed Graßhoff that they intended to take possession of the cruiser and extinguish her blaze, to protect the harbor. Graßhoff vigorously protested but his “wily” efforts to delay the boarders failed and the rest of the St. Louis sailors swarmed on board. The bluejackets swiftly took stations forward, amidships, and aft, and posted sentries at all the hatches and watertight doors, blocking any of the Germans from passing. Graßhoff surrendered and the Americans rounded-up his unresisting men. 1st Lt. Randolph T. Zane, USMC, arrived with a detachment of marines, and they led the prisoners under guard to Schofield Barracks for internment.

Her crew headed off to Schofield Barracks for the rest of the war, some of the first German POWs in the U.S. (Hawaii State Archives)

Wisker took some men below to the magazines, where they found shrapnel fuzes scattered about, ammunition hoists dismantled, and floodcocks battered into uselessness. The Germans also cunningly hid their wrenches and spans in the hope of forestalling the Americans’ repairs. Stover in the meantime hastened with a third section and they discovered a fire of wood and oil-soaked waste under a dry boiler. The blaze had spread to the deck above and the woodwork of the fire room also caught by the heat thrown off by the “incandescent” boiler, and the woodwork of the magazine bulkheads had begun to catch. The boarders could not douse the flames with water because of the likelihood of exploding the dry boiler, but they led out lines from the bow and stern of the burning ship and skillfully warped her across the slip to the east side of Pier 4. The Honolulu Fire Department rushed chemical engines to the scene, and the firemen and sailors worked furiously cutting holes thru the decks to facilitate dousing the flames with their chemicals. The Americans extinguished the blaze by 5:00 p.m., and then a detachment from SubDiv 3, led by Lt. (j.g.) Norman L. Kirk, who commanded K-3 (Submarine No. 34), relieved the exhausted men.

German cruiser Geier with boilers on fire being sabotauged by her crew Honolulu Feb 4 1917 Photo by Herbert NARA 165-WW-272C-007

The Germans all but wrecked Geier and their “wanton work” further damaged the engines, steam lines, oil lines, auxiliaries, navigation instruments, and even the wardroom, which Porter described as a “shambles.”

As such, she was the only German Imperial Navy warship captured by the U.S. Navy during World War I.

Coupled with the more than 590,000 tons of German merchant ships seized in U.S. ports April 1917, Geier was reconditioned for American service and eventually commissioned as USS Schurz, a name used in honor of German radical Carl Schurz who fled Prussia in 1849 after the failed revolution there. Schurz had, in turn, joined the Union Army during the Civil War and commanded a division of largely German-speaking immigrants in the XI Corps at Second Manassas, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Chattanooga, rising to the rank of major general.

[Of XI Corps’s 27 infantry regiments, at least 13 were “Dutch” (German) regiments with many German-born/speaking commanders prevalent. Besides Schurz, brigades and divisions of the XI Corps were led by men such as Col. Ludwig Blenker and Brig. Gen. Adolph von Steinwehr, formerly officers of the Royal Armies Bavaria and the Duchy of Brunswick, respectively.]

Postwar, Schurz was a senator from Missouri, where a large German population had settled, and later served as Interior Secretary in the Hayes Administration.

Don’t let his bookish looks fool you, although Schurz was a journalist who served as editor of the New York Evening Post, he also fought in the German revolution and saw the elephant several times in the Civil War.

Under the command of LCDR Arthur Crenshaw, the new USS Schurz joined the fleet in September 1917 and served as an escort on the East Coast. Her German armament landed she was equipped with four 5-inch mounts in U.S. service.

USS Schurz off the foot of Market Street, San Diego, California, in November-December 1917. Note the U.S. colors. Courtesy of the San Diego Maritime Museum, 1983 Catalog #: NH 94909

While on a convoy from New York for Key West, Fla., on 0444 on 21 June 1918, she collided with the merchant ship SS Florida southwest of Cape Lookout lightship, North Carolina, about 130 miles east of Wilmington.

As noted by the NHHC, “The collision crumpled the starboard bridge wing, slicing into the well and berth deck nearly 12 feet, and cutting through bunker no. 3 to the forward fire room.” One of Schurz’s crewmen was killed instantly, and 12 others injured. The 216 survivors abandoned ship and Schurz sank about three hours later in 110-feet of water.

A later naval board laid the blame for the collision on Florida, as the steamer was running at full steam in the predawn darkness in the thick fog without any lights or horns and had failed to keep a proper distance.

USS Schurz was stricken from the Navy list on 26 August 1918, and her name has not been reissued. The Kaiserliche Marine confusingly recycled the name “Geier” for an auxiliary cruiser (the former British merchant vessel Saint Theodore, captured by the commerce raider SMS Möwe) as well as an armed trawler during the war even while the original ship was interned in Hawaii with a German crew pulling shenanigans.

Of SMS Geier‘s remaining sisters in German service, Seeadler was destroyed by an accidental explosion on the Jade in April 1917 and never raised, Cormoran had been scuttled in Tsingtao and captured by the Japanese who scrapped her, and Condor was broken up in 1921.

Today, while she has been extensively looted of artifacts over the years the wreck of the Schurz is currently protected as part of the NOAA Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and she is a popular dive site.

NOAA divers swim over the stern of the USS Schurz shipwreck. Photo: Tane Casserley, NOAA

Photo: Tane Casserley, NOAA

Photo: Tane Casserley, NOAA

East Carolina University conducted an extensive survey of her wreckage in 2000 and found her remarkably intact, with her boilers in place as well as brass fasteners and copper hull sheathing with nails still attached.

Displacement, full: 1918 tons
Length: 275 ft oal, 261 wl
Beam: 34 ft. 10.6
Draft: 15 feet 4.74 mean 5.22 deep load
Machinery: 2 HTE, 4 cylindrical boilers, 2880 hp, 2 shafts
Coal: 320 tons
Speed: 15.5-knots max
Range: 3610nm at 9kts
Complement: 9 officers, 152 men (German) 197 to 217 (US)
Armor: None
Armament
(1895)
8 x 1 – 4.1″/32cal SK L/35 single mounts
5 x 1-pdr (37mm) revolving cannon (removed in 1909)
2 x 1 – 450mm TT with 5 18-inch torpedoes in magazine
(1917)
4 x 5″/51cal U.S. mounts

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