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Marauders of the Sea, German Armed Merchant Raiders During World War I
Index


This is part one of a trilogy "Marauders of the Sea."  Part two "Marauders of the Sea WW2" is here and Part three, "Confederate Merchant Raiders of the American Civil War" is here.

Dedication
26 May 2002

This work is dedicated to three indefatigable 8 inch Cruisers of the Royal Australian Navy, HMA Ships Australia, Canberra, and Shropshire, and to the Officers and Sailors who served in, and fought them during World War 2. I was priviledged to be a crew member in each of them over the years of 1939 - 1945.

Introduction
26 May 2002

German Naval planners put in place the ability in time of war to quickly convert Merchant Ships into Armed Merchant Ships for Naval service.

Raiders
26 May 2002

Units of the German Navy were scattered around the globe with some ships in the Pacific. They were all a potential threat to the British merchant fleet as commerce raiders, and this work should firstly record the need for the Royal Navy to hunt down and destroy German light Cruisers.

Greif
26 May 2002

Only operational from the 23rd. of January to the 29th. of February 1916, and in that time managed to claim but one vessel of 15,831 tons. The classic battle between Greif and Alcantara had indeed resulted in "an eye for an eye" as yet one more German Raider lived to have but a very short career.

Seeadler
26 May 2002

This vessel was the only sailing ship to be used as an Armed Merchant Raider, she carried a great deal of mystique that could be owed to her flamboyant Commanding Officer, Felix Graf von Luckner, also known as The Sea Devil. Should you enter into a discussion of this era with anyone with but a passing knowledge of these Raiders, it will always be von Luckner, who is remembered, and spoken about.

Wolf
26 May 2002

The new Wolf  became one of the most successful German Armed Merchant Ships of WW1.

Moewe
26 May 2002

Moewe became the most successful of all the German Armed Merchant Ships of WW1. In all, Moewe accounted for 38 ships, totalling 174,905 tons, and sank a further ship of unknown tonnage, all without the advantage of a ship borne aircraft that we have seen used by Wolf.

Postscript
26 May 2002

On the day war broke out, there was one German ship in Melbourne, it was the 6,560 ton steamer Pfalz, which had taken on board the Consulate staff from Melbourne, and was proceeding down Port Phillip Bay to pass through the heads, into the freedom of the open sea.

Tables - Summary of ships sunk or captured
26 May 2002

Summary of ships sunk or captured.

Selected Bibliography
26 May 2002

 

Pictures

[Image]

British Armed Merchant Cruiser Alcantara, sunk in duel with the German Greif.


[Image]

A paintng depicting Alcantara and Greif fighting to the death.


[Image]

Australian seamen aboard the wreck of Seedler, at Mopelia Island


[Image]

Turner's painting of the deadly fight between the British Carmenia, and the German Cap Trafalgar


[Image]

Steamship Cumberland, a victim of one of the mines laid by Wolf, wrecked off Gabo Island, July 1917


[Image]

British cruiser HMA Highlyer, sank the German Merchant Raider Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, although her crew claimed she was scuttled.


[Image]

The New Zealand cable ship Iris, forced von Luckner to surrender and he was recaptured.


[Image]

The 90 ton scow Moa seized by von Luckner off New Zealand.


[Image]

Moewe, the most successful WW1 Armed Merchange Raider, sank 38 ships.


[Image]

Nicholas Berggraf, Captain Moewe


[Image]

German cruiser Nurnberg, sunk by Royal Navy in the Falkland Islands.


[Image]

Printz Eitel Friedrich. A smaller passenger liner converted to an Armed Raider.


[Image]

A painting of von Luckner's raider Seeadler.


[Image]

Felix Graf von Luckner, Captain of Seeadler


[Image]

The Armed Merchant Raider Wolf, appearing to be an innocent steamer


[Image]

Seaplane hoisted aboard the Raider Wolf, and named by her crew Wolfchen (Wolf Cub)


 

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This site was created as a resource for educational use and the promotion of historical awareness.  All rights of publicity of the individuals named herein are expressly reserved, and, should be respected consistent with the reverence in which this memorial site was established.

Copyright 1984/2002  THE NAVAL HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA, INC and Mackenzie J. Gregory All rights reserved