Auxiliary cruisers

auxiliary cruisers were armed and reequipped ships (usually trading vessels or Passagierdampfer) for the economic war.

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at sailing boat times were already used. In the recent past auxiliary cruisers were used among other things in the Spanish-American war from 1898 and in the Japanese-Russian war from 1904 to 1905. Numerous auxiliary cruisers became in the 1. World war of war-prominent powers assigned. In the navyauxiliary cruisers were called of Austria Hungary Auxiliarykreuzer. In 2. World war were used again numerous auxiliary cruisers. In the German war navy they were called commercial protection cruisers, later than commercial breakdown cruiser (HSK). The German Reich prepared in 2. World war 10, Great Britain 56, Italy 37, Japan 14 and France 11 auxiliary cruiser out. The British auxiliary cruisers were used predominantly to reconnaissance purposes (patrollers), in addition, as escort vehicles.

The armament of the auxiliary cruisers consisted usually of several cannons of different calibers and torpedo pipes. Every now and then also up to 2 Schwimmerflugzeuge were carried to reconnaissance purposes, mines and light speedboats, which were intended for the mine throw or torpedo firing. The German HSK became in weight auxiliary cruisers (starting from 7.000 BRT) and light auxiliary cruisers (max. 5,000 BRT) divided. They were with 6 cannons calibers 15 cm, lighter artillery (2 to 10.5 cm) andup to 6 torpedo output pipes arms. There it hostile ships as unidentified as possible kapern and/or. to destroy, drove they should usually up to the actual attack under neutral flag and carried different materials for camouflage. The appearance of the HSK could be so completely changed. The weapon systems were firsthidden and during enemy approximation were only unmasked. Since it was critical for auxiliary cruisers, not to be discovered not to transmit then the hostile trading vessel requested. If it transmitted nevertheless, it was fired at. Normally the entire crew was imprisoned taken and the ship was sunk. With particularlyvaluable ships and/or. Charges a boarding party in such a way specified was on board sent to bring that the gekaperte ship into its own port tried.

German auxiliary cruisers in the First World War

the employment of German auxiliary cruisers in the First World War took place after before fixed plans. As shipsshould, as also at other nations, large Passagierdampfer to serve. The high speed as well as the large trunk, which offered a calm cannon platform, were favourable. Armed the ships were relatively weak (up to 6 x 10.5 cm sports club L40). A re-equipment of a Passagierdampfers was already tried out 1895and could also without threw non-European to take place. The abroad stationed cruisers had additional armament on board, in order to equip auxiliary cruisers with it.

As also at other nations shipping companies received financial support, if their ships were prepared accordingly. The supply should by the stage system (stage = supplying zone)take place. In neutral ports with diplomatic agency organized a naval officer (stage officer) with the help of gecharteter trading vessels the supply of the cruisers and auxiliary cruisers.

list in order of the setting into service

  • 2. August 1914
    • SMS emperors Wilhelm the large one; Passagierdampfer; 3 trading vessels sinks; after 222 sea-daysafter fight with cruiser HMS Highflyer sinks.
  • 3. August 1914
    • Victoria Louise; Passagierdampfer; because of to weak machine equipment no employment.
  • 5. August 1914
    • SMS prince vainly Friedrich; Passagierdampfer; outside of Germany equipped; 11 hand ships sinks; after 217 sea-days and water and lack of coal to 9.April 1915 in new haven news /USA interns and 1917 with the war entrance of the USA of more selbiger seized.
  • 6. August 1914
    • SMS Crown Prince William; Passagierdampfer; outside of Germany equipped; 14 trading vessels sinks; after 251 sea-days in the USA interns.
  • 7. August 1914
    • SMS Cormoran; Trading vessel, prize of SMS Emden; outside of Germany equipped; no successes; after 123 sea-days due to lack of coal in Guam/USA interns. April 1917 blown up by the crew with the seizure by the USA.
  • 31. August 1914
    • SMS Cap Trafalgar; Passagierdampfer; outside of Germany equipped; no successes; after 14 sea-daysby British auxiliary cruisers sinks.
  • 18. September 1914
    • SMS Berlin; Passagierdampfer; as minecasually assigned; 1 battle ship and. 1 trading vessel on mine barrier sunk; after 33 sea-days in Norway interns.
  • 8. February 1915
    • SMS Vineta; Passagierdampfer; because of unsuitable machines no employment.
  • 6. May 1915
    • SMS meteor; Trading vessel; as minecasual and auxiliary cruisers assigned; 2 enterprises; 1 auxiliary cruiser and 1 trading vessel sink; after discovery by British ships, sinks.
  • 1. November 1915
    • SMS sea gull, appeared also as SMS Vineta; Trading vessel; as minecasual and auxiliary cruisers assigned; 2 enterprises as SMS sea gull;42 trading vessels sinks; after altogether 186 sea-days back.
  • 14. January 1916
    • SMS wolf I; Trading vessel; when running out in sand bank turn out, because of damage no employment.
  • 23. January 1916
    • SMS seize; Trading vessel; 1 auxiliary cruiser sinks; when running out 2 British auxiliary cruisers sinks.
  • 16. May 1916
    • SMS wolf II; Trading vessel; Minecasually and. Auxiliary cruiser; 27 trade ships sinks; after 444 sea-days back; was equipped me a Seeflugzeug.
  • 2. December 1916
    • SMS sea-eagles; Sailing boat with strong auxiliary engine; Prize U 36; 15 trading vessels sinks; after 253 sea-days stranded.
  • 14. December 1916
    • SMS vulture; Trading vessel; Prize of SMS sea gull; outside of Germany equipped; 2 trading vessels verse. ; after 33 sea-days with useless machine equipment sinks.
  • 19. January 1917
    • SMS leopard; Trading vessel; Prize SMS sea gull; no successes; when running out by 2 British warships sinks.
  • 27. February 1917
    • SMS Iltis; Trading vessel; Prize SMS wolf II; outside of Germany equipped; no successes; after 6 sea-days by British warship discovered, sinks.

one recognized 1915 that the large Passagierdampfer under the strategic boundary conditions of Germany were not suitable. The ships were Kohlenfresser, and the concern overCoal supply determined to a large extent the decisions of the commanders. The stage system had broken down, since there were hardly still in a well-meaning manner neutral states, from whose ports one supply ships send could. In addition the Passagierdampfer had characteristic characteristics, so that they could be very easily identified. In England against it that worked satisfactorilyPassagierdampfer as auxiliary cruisers quite and replaces numerous cruisers with the supervisory service.

A memorandum of the Oblt.z.S.d.R. Wolff as well as successes of the SMS meteor furnished a reorientation of the naval guidance. Now inconspicuous cargo ships were used, with strong armament (up to 7 x 15 cm S.K. L/40 as well as torpedo)in covered list. Camouflaging and deceiving by changes in the silhouette and colour became important components of the war guidance by auxiliary cruisers.

German auxiliary cruisers in first world war were part navy, whose a major task, for which it was not built, the interruption of the goods stream to Englandhad become. As part of this navy the auxiliary cruisers did this effectively.

A comparison of the destroyed freight tonnage.

  • 12 active auxiliary cruisers 316,226 BRT. (Source: Z. Free bird, German auxiliary cruisers.)
  • 8 weight and. Light cruisers 181,660 BRT. (Source: Z. Free bird, German auxiliary cruisers.)
  • 351 submarines 7.759.090 BRT. (Source: Blair, submarine war)

one converts the numbers to a unit, then the following picture results.

  • Auxiliary cruiser: 26,352 BRT
  • cruiser: 22,707 BRT
  • Submarine: German auxiliary cruisers
in the Second World War

for a long time before outbreak of war

the German naval line preparations had met 22,105 BRT [work on], around theseto supply camouflaged warships just like the larger war ships by supply ships at a set of secret meeting places on lake with fuel and ammunition. Already at the beginning of of 1940 succeeded first of these camouflaged warships the break-through. Most took course on the south Atlantic and the Indian ocean, where they trading vessels under smaller endangerment by hostile warships to lie in wait for could. Individual ships like the Atlantis and the penguin obtained large successes. They cape ores or sank a set of trading vessels. The Thor even sank a British auxiliary cruiser and put two further out of action. Those Kormoran sank the Australian light cruiser Sydney. However the crew had to likewise give their ship up.

Altogether it succeeded to sink these few auxiliary cruisers in the 43 months of its working 133 ships with a total tonnage from 829.644 tons to - nearly twice as much as ofconventional German warships sank tonnage. Nevertheless was their strategic meaning not completely so largely, because it on the one hand only hunt for individual ships and not on the convoys made, and on the other hand, because they did not represent under any circumstances a threat of the British naval supremacy. Beyond that they obtainedtheir largest successes in the time of 1940-1941, when the Royal Navy was most strongly pressed.

With the increase of allied air and sea power and in view of the fact that Germany of fewer auxiliary cruisers brought to the employment, this campaign began to be exhausted gradually. A row thatthe return created camouflaged ships, but the remainder was sought out and switched off individually piece by piece: the Atlantis by the British cruiser Devonian-almost, the Kormoran by self sinking after sinking the Australian light cruiser Sydney, the comet by British destroyers. The Thor sank to30. November 1942 in the port of Yokohama after an explosion on the Uckermark stowed beside it (ex old Mark).

With progress in the air reconnaissance and ship identification as well as that ever more closely becoming blockade of European waters the end of these Kaperschiffe came into view. Toward at the end of 1943 was only the auxiliary cruiser Michel in lake, which was sunk a little later in the Pacific by an American submarine.

list of the auxiliary cruisers

  • Orion (ship 36, HSK 1)
  • Atlantis (ship 16, HSK 2)
  • Widder (ship 21, HSK 3)
  • Thor (ship 10, HSK 4)
  • penguin(Ship 33, HSK 5)
  • bull (ship 23, HSK 6)
  • comet (ship 45, HSK 7)
  • Kormoran (ship 41, HSK 8)
  • Michel (ship 28, HSK 9)

Coronel (HSK 10) and Hansa (HSK 11) did not die any longer to its own employment than commercial breakdown cruisers, survived for it the war,to be still into the 80's as trading vessels in the service.


  • yokes fuel corner: The German auxiliary cruisers in the Second World War, charcoal burner publishing house, ISBN 3-78220-828-5
  • Barbara winters: Duel before Australia, publishing house E.S. Intermediary & son, ISBN 3-8132-0441-3
  • August K. Muggenthaler: That were the German auxiliary cruisers 1939-1945, engine book publishing house Stuttgart, ISBN 3-87943-261-9
  • Zvonimir free bird: German auxiliary cruisers of the Second World War - Kaperfahrer on the Weltmeeren, engine book publishing house, ISBN 3-61302-288-5
  • Wolfgang franc & Bernhard Rogge: Ship 16, the raids of the heavy auxiliary cruiser Atlantis on thatsieve Weltmeeren, William Heyne publishing house Munich
  • yokes fuel corner: Ghost cruiser HK33, auxiliary cruiser penguin, ISBN 3-45300-469-8
  • Paul Schmalenbach: The German auxiliary cruisers 1895-1945, ISBN 3-79791-877-1
  • Karl August Nerger: SMS wolf, Scherl publishing house, Berlin
  • yokes fuel corner: Auxiliary cruiser Thor Hecht in the Atlantic, ISBN 3-78220-733-5
  • Robert Eyssen: HSK comet raid on all seas, ISBN 3-78220-856-0

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see also: Sea-battle, cape-hereditarycalled, cruiser, destroyer, list of ship types


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