Daily Event for October 14, 2011

At the beginning of the Second World War the Kriegsmarine was preparing for the coming war on merchant ships. In late August 1939 a number of U-boats were sent to waiting positions in the North Atlantic, Baltic and the Kattegat. On Aug. 21, 1939 the cruiser Admiral Graf Spee departed Wilhelmshaven for the South Atlantic to await her cruise into history and on the 24th one of her sister ships, Deutschland, was sent to the North Atlantic.

The first success scored by Deutschland was the British steamer Stonegate on Oct. 5, 1939, followed by a political disaster when she captured the U.S. ship City of Flint. The last ship sunk on her first war cruise was SS Lorentz W. Hansen on October 14, 1939. Another disaster of sorts as Norway was at that time neutral, of course Norway would be occupied by the Nazis in April of the following year so this was not as much of a problem as the City of Flint had been.

Lorentz W. Hansen was built in Bristol in 1920 at the shipyard of Hill & Sons, she was 270' long and registered at 1918 tons she was owned by a Norwegian shipping company. She was en route from New Brunswick to Garston near Liverpool with a load of lumber when Deutschland found her. The gunfire killed three Norwegians, but the twenty-one survivors were taken prisoner aboard Deutschland before the ship was shelled and sunk. Since they were neutral they were placed aboard another Norwegian ship stopped by Deutschland, Kongsdal, which was en route to Denmark, also still neutral. Kongsdal was also stopped by the British and ordered to Kirkwall in the Orkneys to be searched for contraband. She was released two weeks later and the crew were landed in Denmark.

Deutschland after sinking Lorentz W. Hansen began her return trip to Germany because they had received some damage in a storm while refueling, on the way back she ran into another storm, which shielded her from the British, but caused more damage. She arrived at Gotenhafen on Nov. 16 where her commanding officer Kapitän zur See Paul W. Wenneker was promoted to Konteradmiral and replaced by Kapitän zur See August Thiele.
© 2011 Michael W. Pocock

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