German Auxiliary Cruisers

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the old Sage
May 20, 2004
Platonic Sphere
Guys should we start up a thread here on these many varied, almost fake looking merchant ships, ready to deal out death and destruction ? :idea:

Did they all serve in the Indian Ocean, and South Atlantic or were some on the main shipping routes across the Atlantic?
I actually know about the Orion and Atlantis, for the names of the ships.
at least three made to the area of Japan, and one actaully sailed across the world. Will have to check on specs and how many in useage........some of the braviest and maybe craziest seamen in the war.

Torpedos los !
It was an excellent idea though. I think it was the Orion that went to attack a vessel, and the code it transmitted was from a ship that wasn't even in the Indian Ocean. They made a vital mistake, and some the Merchant vessel requested assistance and a RN Cruiser came over to give the German A Cruiser a slapping. I think it was the Orion.
Plan, the Orion sunk some 15 ships and captured another. Sailed around the world so to speak, escaped from the Cruiser Cornwall and returned to Germany after 511 days at sea. Turned into a freighter and transport helping in the evacuation of the German populace in the Baltic in 44-45. sunk by RAF bombs at Swinemünde port.
I'm impressed by the guts these guys had. They couldn't just open fire, according to the Geneva Convention they had to hoist their true flag before engaging in combat, thus giving the enemy some warning.

How heavily armed were they?
Crazy that depended on the ship as they were of different sizes. as we are talking about the Orion a bit, she had an impressive stealth array of arms.

6 150mm guns
1 75mm gun
1 37 mm gun
4 20mm's
6 Torpedo tubes

2 Ar 196 recon a/c

228 mines

all in the theory of deception, ah what lied below deck ?

E `
Maybe it was the Atlantis that made the mistake of passing itself off as a frieghter that wasn't in the area.
I saw a programme on it the Auxiliary Cruisers the other day, some good footage of them hoisting the flag then dropping the sides to reveal its true colours.
Plan yes the Komoran was detected from a great distance by the CL Sydney, Detmers the Kommandeur of the Komoran knew he would have to play cool to get he and his crew out alive as they were out-gunned easily and did not have the speed to evade.

Detmers played the cat and mouse game till the end and allowed the unknowing Sydney to get well below the Aux. Cruisers max. gun range. Literally as the Sydney crew became suspicious with unanswered posts, Detmers raised the colours and the 6 150mm guns and let the Sydney have full effect of the fire. Now continued one of the strangest sea battles on record for the Sydney sailed off on fire but had also dealt a death blow on the Komoran, so heavily damaged her crew abandoned her and blew her sky high. The Sydney was last seen on the sky-line according to Komoran survivors, completely on fire and then blowing up. None of the crew or the whereabouts of the Sydney have ever been found as far as I am aware. After Detmers and crew were picked up by the Aussies, Detmers explains the action in his after action report while a pow. One of the untold stories of sea warfare in WW 2. In fact Detmers account and other Offiziers of the Komoran are online in the Austrailian archives.....

the Komoran was the largest of the German KM Hilfkreuzers and had the usual 6 150mm arms plus 1 75 and 37mm. 5 20mm's, 2 Arado 196 a/c and 1 small attack boat. Over 320+ mines on hand

Erich ~
One of them got destroyed and were picked up by U-Boats, but there wasn't enough room so they dragged them behind in life rafts. It had some footage, but I can't repair which ship it was.
Plan yes you are correct it is the Atlantis with Rogge and crew. When the Devonshire sunk the Atlantis the German crew was able to send out a distress signal and the KM ship the Python came to their rescue and then it was sunk by the Dorsetshire, but again signals were sent before the demise of the German ship and Rogge and his Atlantis crew were pulled to safety by a U-boot. I have some of the Atlantis footage taking on 3 different Allied merchants blowing them to pieces. The footage is from the Deutsche Wochenshau.
here is a rarity if ever found one............. a former ship-mate aboard the Pinquin which was blown sky high when it's mines caught on fire/exploded which tore the ship to shreds. One of the deceased crewmen.


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Yes, but the mines didn't go off because of getting on fire, but because of direct hit. Pinguin got in fight with HMS Cornwall opening fire on 8000 meters. And at 17:14 the first shots was in target! The "A" turret on HMS Cornwall was damaged. But then Cornwall increased speed, got out of the range of Pinguin 150mm and fired as well. At 17:24 Cornwall got first hit on Penguin which didn't cause many damage. But 2 minutes later, in one moment, 4 203mm shells found their way into Penguins' "body". One of them exploded in the stern mine storage, ending existence of Penguin in a fragment of second. It happened so fast, that the last Penguins' salvo encircled HMS Cornwall 20 seconds after the explosion that destroyed the raider. Kmdr Kruder, 17 officers, over 340 crewmen and about 200 prisoners died. Only 3 officers, 57 crewmen, 15 Indians and 9 British survived.
combination of factors I think but you are probably right. there were fires aboard but a hit to the mines on their stacking racks would certainly cause the ship to vaporize easily enough. First hand accts are in short supply I am afraid.....

god points though I appreciate them

E ~
Maybe You have any info if there were any other raiders? I know something about Atlantis, Orion, Widder, Thor, Pinguin, Komet, Kormoran, Michel Stier.
do you have the selected books dealing with them individually in German ?

There were some 11 Raiders (Hilfskreuzers). Several of them had very short lives and returned to just simply hauling cargo and people. Even the night fighter ship Togo which made it to war's end at first was a radier for a very very short term.

Interesting info guys ive not heard of these vessels before could you tell me please if they got the idea from the 1914-18 Q ships

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