[18] Renamed Kormoran, she was the largest and newest of nine[b] raiders, referred to as Hilfskreuzer (auxiliary cruisers) or Handelsstörkreuzer (trade disruption cruisers). [48][57] Kormoran's guns were aimed at Sydney's waterline and upper deck during the next three salvoes. [34][47], During the exchanges and distress signal, Sydney positioned herself just off the raider's starboard beam on a parallel course, approximately 1,300 metres (4,300 ft) from Kormoran. [215][216] The Cole report noted that false submarine sightings are a common wartime occurrence. [40] Detmers instead waited until the distance between the ships had decreased before the raider altered course to intercept, dropped her camouflage, and ordered the merchantman to stop. 6 cargo hatch for minelaying. [120][121], At around 17:00, Detmers instructed his wireless operators to send a distress signal indicating Straat Malakka was being approached by a suspicious ship. [209] Olson doubts that a surrender flag was used to lure Sydney in, as this would have informed Burnett that Straat Malakka was not what she seemed. [58] The 11,309-ton (German-built) Canadian tanker Canadolite was taken as a prize ship, with a German crew taking the ship and her 44 sailors to Bordeaux, France, while the four officers were imprisoned aboard Kormoran. [213] However, several shorthand experts consulted by Winter could find nothing resembling Einheitskurzschrift (or any other shorthand style) in the sketches. [201] The search was declared complete just before midnight on 7 April, with Geosounder returning to Geraldton. [115][127], Fifteen minutes later, the cruiser signalled, "Show your secret sign". [137][139] After completing the turn, battle damage caused Kormoran's engines to fail completely, leaving the raider dead in the water while Sydney continued to limp southwards. [233] Mearns estimated that once the bow was lost, the rest of the cruiser's hull would have remained afloat for, at most, two minutes, and anyone still remaining aboard would have been killed as the ship sank. [113] During the exchanges and distress signal, Sydney positioned herself off the raider's starboard beam on a parallel course, approximately 1,300 metres (1,400 yd) from Kormoran. [126][127][128], The survey ship HMAS Moresby conducted multiple unsuccessful searches for Sydney and Kormoran between 1974 and 1991, when the ship was based in Fremantle. [171][172] One sailor died in captivity on 24 March 1942 from lung cancer, and was buried in the Tatura war cemetery. [110] However, some efforts were made to keep officers separate from the sailors; Detmers and his executive officer were initially held aboard HMAS Yandra, then transported overland to Fremantle, and while all of the sailors were interned at a camp near Harvey, the officers were imprisoned at Swanbourne Barracks. The lack of information about Japanese involvement is attributed to a wide-ranging cover-up of Japanese aggression prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, in an attempt to draw the United States into the war. [167] The account is described by naval historian Tom Frame as "bland and unemotional", and "necessarily superficial", but Gill's analysis of the battle is attacked by Frame as "seriously flawed, inconsistent and contradictory". [43] The merchantman refused to sink, and Kormoran had to use shells and torpedoes to send her to the bottom at 8°44′N 24°38′W / 8.733°N 24.633°W / 8.733; -24.633. [51], At around 17:30, after the raider had failed to reply for 15 minutes, Sydney signalled by light "Show your secret sign"; Detmers knew that Kormoran was in trouble. Kormoran's success against HMAS Sydney is commonly attributed to the proximity of the two ships during the engagement, and the raider's advantages of surprise and rapid, accurate fire. [91] The crew of Centaur lowered food to the 62 in the lifeboat, took on nine wounded, and began to tow the lifeboat. ", and while Frame was initially sceptical of the raft's origins, the evidence presented to that inquiry changed his mind. The German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran (HSK-8) was a Kriegsmarine (German Navy) merchant raider of World War II.Originally the merchant vessel Steiermark, the ship was acquired by the Kriegsmarine following the outbreak of war for conversion into a raider. [219] Claims that items from Sydney (such as cap tallies) were found in Japan after the war have also been aired, but further investigation found these to be based on unfounded speculation.[220]. HMAS Sydney was one of three Modified Leander class light cruisers of the RAN. [1][4] Conversion of the merchant ship commenced in early 1940, and was prioritized as second only to work on the U-boat fleet. German auxiliary cruiser Atlantis Converted German Hilfskreuzer (auxiliary cruiser), or merchant or commerce raider of the Kriegsmarine, which, in World War II, travelled more than 161000 km in 602 days, and sank or captured 22 ships with a combined tonnage of 144,384. The Atlantis eliminated 145,697 tons of Allied shipping and war materials during the war. [143], Mearns' plan was to determine a 'search box' for Kormoran by plotting the possible starting points of the two rafts from the raider through a reverse drift analysis. Sydney was filmed and documented during 3–6 April, and a sonar contact thought to be debris from the battle was visually inspected on 6 April and found to be outcrops of pillow lava. [43], Later that day, lookouts aboard the raider spotted a merchant ship sailing without lights. [264][265] During an autopsy, a metal fragment was found embedded in the skull, which was believed to have killed the man through brain trauma: although seized upon by believers in the massacre of Sydney's sailors, the fragment was found to be German shell shrapnel. [4] After modification, Kormoran was 164 metres (538 ft 1 in) long and 20.20 metres (66 ft 3 in) wide, with a gross register tonnage of 8,736. [29] Instead, he decided to sail north and investigate Shark Bay. [84], During the early morning of 26 June, a darkened merchant ship was spotted. [234] However, the presence of all but two of the ship's boats in the nearby debris field, plus indications that the davits for the two missing boats were shot away during the battle, led Mearns to believe that evacuation was attempted after the bow snapped off, but there was not enough time or seaworthy boats to do so. No evidence has been found to support any of these theories. As a raider she was finished and, mindful of her full cargo of mines, Detmers ordered her abandoned. Joseph Burnett (26 December 1899 – 19 November 1941) was a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) officer most widely known as the captain of the light cruiser in the battle between HMAS Sydney and HSK Kormoran on 19 November 1941. Launched in 1938, the ship was to operate on the East Asia run, but had completed only sea trials when war was declared. [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. [187][188] The JCFADT inquiry received over 400 submissions and compiled over 500 pages of oral testimony. [66], Having returned to the waters off Freetown, Kormoran encountered a merchant ship at dawn on 9 April. [125][129] Two torpedoes were launched simultaneously with the raider's attack, and the close proximity of the target allowed the use of lighter weapons to rake Sydney's flank and interfere with attempts to man the cruiser's secondary weapons. The ships sighted each other at … [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. [61] The tanker arrived safely on 13 April, was renamed Sudetenland, and remained operational until her sinking by the Royal Air Force in 1944. [78] Initially believing that these were survivors of a German raider attack, and that the raider might still be in the area, Aquitania resumed her voyage to Sydney, maintaining silence until the afternoon of 26 November. [5] Prisoner accommodation, consisting of an open area for hammocks and facilities to keep ship's masters and women separate from the general population, were constructed. [121], For sinking Sydney, Detmers' Iron Cross First Class was upgraded to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz). [18] The merchant ship Steiermark was one such vessel; she was taken up by the Kriegsmarine at the start of World War II. [276] The cruiser fired 215 shells, with most missing, while all of the Walrus' bombs were used. [197] On discovery, both wrecks were placed under the protection of the Australian Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976, which penalises anyone disturbing a protected shipwreck with a fine of up to A$10,000 or a maximum five years imprisonment. [5] [165], Most of the German survivors were taken to Fremantle and interrogated. [284] The memorial (minus the stele, which was not completed in time) was dedicated on 18 November 2001, and used the next evening for a commemoration ceremony marking the battle's 60th anniversary. The ships sighted each other at around 1700, at a distance of about 20 miles. [36][48] The aircraft was shut down by 17:25, and the catapult swung into the storage position; the two ships were too close for a safe launch. [90] Telegrams to next-of-kin, stating that their relatives were "missing as a result of enemy action" were lodged, although naval censors advised the media that no announcements relating to the cruiser be made. [44][45] This signal was partially received by the tugboat Uco ("QQQQ [unintelligible] 1000 GMT") and a shore station at Geraldton ("[unintelligible] 7C 11115E 1000 GMT"). [35] The decision was made to destroy the 6,987-ton tanker with a torpedo, although two torpedoes and shells from the raider's main guns were required to sink her, while a third torpedo exploded as soon as it cleared its safety distance and armed; Detmers later stated the quantity of ammunition used during the attempted capture was excessive for the result obtained. [130], In 1990, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) were approached to join a Western Australian Maritime Museum-led search for Sydney and Kormoran, which was agreed to on the condition that the search area be narrowed considerably. [144][145] Total German casualties were six officers, 75 German sailors, and one Chinese sailor. [205], "Kormoran" redirects here. ... Germany via the Denmark Strait and took no further part in independent commerce raiding. [178] Winter used material from German and American archives in addition to Australian sources, with the main thrust of her work comparing the relative experience and competence of Burnett and Detmers, which supported the accepted view of the battle. [60] The commanding officer of U-105 agreed to transmit a warning to Germany regarding Canadolite once the U-boat had left the rendezvous point, which did not occur until six days later because of equipment problems delaying the replenishment. [131] Kormoran's gunners shifted their aim to Sydney's waterline with their next three salvoes. The “Hilfskreuzer” (auxiliary cruisers, generally complemented by “HSK”- Handels Stör Kreuzer, commerce raiders) were one of the trump cards of Admiral Raeder in his strategy. [139] On 14 August 2005, the Australian government announced a A$1.3 million grant to the Finding Sydney Foundation (a charitable foundation set up by the directors of HMAS Sydney Search to manage funding), which was followed by A$500,000 from the Western Australian government and A$250,000 from the government of New South Wales. [22] The 15-centimetre (5.9 in) guns were concealed behind false hull plates and cargo hatch walls, which would swing clear when the order to decamouflage was given, while the secondary weapons sat on hydraulic lifts hidden within the superstructure. [110][111], On 19 November 1941, shortly before 16:00, Kormoran was 150 nautical miles (280 km; 170 mi) south-west of Carnarvon, Western Australia. "What may the wreck of the Sydney reveal", published in Warship Vol 42; the RUSI Journal United Service in Feb 2008, and in the Australian Naval Institute's Headmark in Dec 2007, was the first battle-damage assessment of what the wreck of the Sydney – if it was found – would look like. German auxiliary cruiser Komet Komet (German for comet) (HSK-7) was an auxiliary cruiser of the German Kriegsmarine in the Second World War, intended for service as a commerce raider. [236] Open watertight doors show that some attempt to abandon ship was made. [63] The Australian warship quickly disappeared from German sight, although the glow of the burning ship consistently lit the horizon until 22:00, with some German survivors stating that the light was visible consistently or occasionally until midnight. [111] In addition, some of the Germans were interviewed, formally or informally, prior to their group reuniting with others; the independent accounts provided the same common elements. [90] While working on one of the seaplanes, a sailor was killed by electrocution. This ship was the disguised German commerce raider, HSK Kormoran, under the command of Captain Theodor Detmers, which had been patrolling shipping lanes in search of Allied merchant vessels (Australian War Memorial 2009). The German commerce raider Atlantis became the stuff of legends during World War II. [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] Although captured intact, Stamantios G. Embiricus was a coal-fuelled ship, and did not have enough fuel to reach any destination other than her intended port, Colombo. Lewis argued if the wreck damage matched the article then it would show the Kormoran account was accurate. [14] The forecastle and quarterdeck guns were hidden behind counter-weighted false hull plates, while each centreline gun was concealed by fake cargo hatch walls. [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. Western Australian Museum Press, Welshpool. [71] The rest of the ship sank shortly afterward, and glided upright for 500 metres (1,600 ft) underwater until it hit the seabed stern-first. [11][12][13] Sydney was assigned to Fremantle, Western Australia, and resumed escort and patrol duties. [33] The source of the smoke was a tanker flying no flags, showing no lights, and zigzagging to thwart submarine attack, leading Detmers to conclude she was an Allied vessel. Rumours that the battle was not what it seemed commenced almost as soon as Sydney failed to reach Fremantle on schedule, some emanating from the highest levels in the administration,[197] but it was not until Montgomery's Who Sank The Sydney? [24][31], When Sydney did not arrive on schedule, there was no immediate concern: the northbound journey with Zealandia could have taken longer than expected, Durban could have been late to the rendezvous, Sydney could have diverted to aid southbound merchant shipping, or minor engine problems could have occurred. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for German Commerce Raider Vs British Cruiser The Atlantic and the Pacific 1941 by Forczyk, Robert ( AUTHOR ) Jun-07-2010 Paperback at Amazon.com. [137] Despite being immobilised, Kormoran continued to fire at a high rate — some of the German sailors reported that up to 450 shells were used during the second phase of the battle — and scored hits on the cruiser, although misses would have increased as the range grew. [210] He considers that the Germans may have used false signals or pretended to scuttle, but only hypothetically. [227] The Chinese survivors are also cited as proof that no machine-gunning of Australian survivors took place, as if they had witnessed or learned of such an act, they too would have been killed to preserve the secret. [148] Kormoran was located during the afternoon of 12 March: the ship had been torn apart by the mine deck detonation, with two large pieces sitting 2,560 metres (8,400 ft) below sea level and 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; 111.07583. German Commerce Raider vs British Cruisers (Duel) Robert Forczyk During World War II, the Kriegsmarine armed a number of merchant vessels with concealed guns and torpedo tubes for surprise attacks against Allied shipping. [43] Communications intercepts and the code books taken from Afric Star earlier that day revealed the target's identity: the 5,273-ton British freighter Eurylochus, with a cargo of bombers for the Gold Coast. [13], The raider was fitted with six 15-centimetre (5.9 in) SK L/45 guns as primary armament: two each within the forecastle ("1" and "2") and quarterdeck ("5" and "6"), and one each fore and aft ("3" and "4" respectively) on the centreline. [240] Several messages were identified as having come from other sources, while associates of the claimants have shown the evidence to be suspect for the rest. [40], Just after 13:00 on 29 January, Kormoran encountered a large merchantman which altered course on sighting the raider, but returned to her original heading after Kormoran made no aggressive moves. [204] The Kormoran name was carried on by the German fast attack craft Kormoran, a Seeadler class fast attack craft of the West German Navy commissioned in 1959. The German survivors were found with milk bottles bearing Japanese labels. This ship was the disguised German commerce raider, HSK Kormoran, under the command of Captain Theodor Detmers, which had been patrolling shipping lanes in search of Allied merchant vessels (Australian War Memorial 2009).
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