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German auxiliary cruiser HK-33, otherwise known as the Pinguin 


by hi J* Brennecke 


Copyright 1954 by Thomas Y. Crotvett Company 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may 

be reproduced in any -form, except by a reviewer, 

without the permission of the publisher. 

Manufactured in the United States of America 
by the Vail-Ballou Press, Inc., Binghamton, New York 

Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 55-7320 


ful German auxiliary cruiser of the Second World War or 
the First either for that matter it seems desirable to say a 
few words about the personality and the career of the naval 
officer who conducted them. 

Ernst-Felix Kriider was born on December 6th, 1897, in 
Hamburg, where as a lad he attended first the Realschule * 
St. Georg and then the Johanneum Realschule. As a youth, 
and despite the fact that his father had strictly forbidden it, 
he spent a good deal of his spare time sailing a small boat in 
the harbor and on the river Alster. The great attraction of the 
sea and boats was already making itself felt, and in later 
years he was accustomed to put it down to heredity; his 
grandfather on the maternal side was the famous Hamburg 
seaman Christoffers. 

For a while these secret pleasures remained undiscovered, 
but one day he and a bosom friend were once again out in 
their boat, each seeking to outdo the other in daring at the 
tiller, when suddenly dirty weather blew up, the sort that 
makes Sunday sailors hurriedly shorten sail and scuttle for 
shelter. Not so these adventurous lads; they set all the can- 
vas they had and began to enjoy themselves for a while. 
But a real seaman must know all the tricks of wind and 
weather as well as being able to manage a boat, and neither 

1 Secondary school for modern subjects, science and also Latin. Tr. 


of them had all that experience as yet. A sudden squall 
roared up, and before they quite knew what was happening 
their little yacht was over and they were in the water. They 
suffered f or the moment only a ducking, but as they were 
dragged out of the water and up the bank, who should be 
passing to witness the mishap but a stern uncle who promptly 
reported the matter to Ernst-Felix's parents. The sequel was 
attended to by his father behind closed doors. 

When the First World War broke out Ernst-Felix was still 
at school, but in 1915 he passed his Matric, and in the same 
year he saw his dearest ambition come true. He was accepted 
as a volunteer into the German Navy and started out on his 
career as a seaman. It was true that this was not quite what 
he had had in mind; he had intended to start as an appren- 
tice in the mercantile marine and work his way up. But the 
war upset a good many things. He received his training in 
the sailing ship Freya and became a leading seaman. He was 
then signed on with the ship's company of S.M.S. Konig, at 
that time the most modern capital ship in the German Navy. 
The Konig was the flagship of the Third Squadron at the 
Battle of Jutland, during which engagement she received a 
number of direct hits and was very badly damaged. 

Ernst-Felix Kriider experienced his baptism of fire in this 
battle while manning a gun in the midship turret. He never 
had much to say about this tremendous experience, but it is 
hardly too much to assume that it laid the basis for that 
clear-headedness and coolness he was subsequently to show 
no matter how desperate the situation in which he found 

After that he went through a navigation course at Miirvik, 
followed by naval gunnery and radio courses. Then he was 
transferred to an officers' training ship from which he passed 
out successfully, obtaining his commission. In 1917 he was a 
junior watchkeeper on board the famous cruiser Breslau 


which, together with the battle cruiser Goeben, slipped 
through the British blockade, making Constantinople its 
operational base. From here Kriider took part in numerous 
mining operations in the Black Sea. From the Breslau he was 
transferred to the Goeben, and on December 13th, 1917, he 
was made sub-lieutenant. While at sea with the Goeben in 
1918 the Breslau struck a mine and sank. Forty-eight of the 
crew of 300 were picked up by the British. The Goeben also 
suffered serious damage from mines and from air bombard- 
ment. On board the Goeben Kriider took part in the opera- 
tions which led to the investment of Sebastopol. On Novem- 
ber 4th he left Turkey with the greater part of the crew of 
the Goeben to return to Germany. 

Before they arrived the German land front collapsed and 
the war came to an end. 

In 1920 Kriider, still passionately attached to the sea, was 
accepted into the newly formed Reichsmarine, the exiguous 
navy of the Weimar Republic. He served for a year on shore 
duties at Wilhelmshaven and was then transferred to Mine- 
sweeper M. Ill, having in the meantime been promoted to 
lieutenant. This appointment proved of great importance for 
his subsequent career, since he became a specialist for mining 
operations. From 1924 to 1926 he was attached to the Baltic 
Naval Staff. Shore duties, and in particular desk duties, did 
not suit a man used to the fresh air and the open sea, but he 
disciplined himself sternly and performed them conscien- 
tiously. The experience he gained in this work certainly 
stood him in good stead later. It was during this period that 
he married a girl from Hamburg. It was inevitable that the 
woman he chose for his wife should have some connection 
with the sea. 

In 1927 he left his shore duties with some relief to take 
command of Minesweeper 145. After various other com- 
mands he was then transferred to the cruiser Karlsruhe and 


took part in her world cruise, the first postwar cruise made 
by a German warship. 

This cruise in the Karlsruhe did a great deal for Kriider; it 
widened his experience, increased his knowledge of men and 
things, and taught him to think politically in the broader 

Although he had not been through Germany's Naval Acad- 
emy, the training school for professional naval officers, but 
had risen from the ranks in wartime, he was now appointed 
staff officer to the commander of the patrol forces, a job 
which he found deeply satisfying. 

In 1933 he was transferred to the cruiser Konigsberg and 
later on, in 1934, he was appointed commander of the First 
Minesweeper Flotilla based on Pillau. He also served on the 
Naval Board of Examination for Officer Candidates, and 
when the Second World War broke out he was serving with 
the rank of commander in the Office of Naval Construction. 

He was then chosen to take command of an auxiliary 
cruiser, and on November llth, 1939, he boarded Naval Unit 
33, the former merchant ship Kandelfels, in process of being 
transformed into an auxiliary cruiser, or, as it is called in 
German, Hilfskreuzer, hence the title reference, "ffiK-33," 
later to become famous as the Pinguin. 



1. The Storm Breaks 1 

2. Metamorphosis 11 

3. HK-33 Puts Out 28 

4. Objective: Dirty Weather 35 

5. HK-33 Runs the Blockade 52 

6. HK-33 Becomes the Pinguin 67 

7. The Pinguin Goes into Action 74 

8. The "Roaring Forties" 84 

9. The Indian Ocean 93 

10. The Bag Increases 113 

11. Tanker into Minelayer 126 

12. "Mines Away!" 135 

13. "Unexplained Underwater Explosions" 146 

14. The Harvest Continues 157 

15. Embarrassing Capture 170 

16. The Pinguin Turns South 184 

17. The Capture of the Whaling Fleet 192 
IS. Pause for Refreshment 203 

19. Self-Refit 208 

20. Last Successes 217 

21. End Game and Mate 225 




German auxiliary cruiser HK-33 


Captain Ernst-Felix Kruder 
Lieutenant Helmut Hanefeld 

Prisoners on the Storstad 

Rendezvous in the South Atlantic 

HK Atlantis at the rendezvous urith HK-33 

Operation on the Nordmark 

The Nordmark taking on oil from the Storstad 

Operator Jacobs at the -flak machine gun 




added to the German East-Asia lines, there was silence. The 
steaming teapot went the rounds and, as they sipped their 
tea, Hanef eld and his fellow officers studied the newspapers. 
What they read was disturbing. It was August 1939. 

A sailor put his head into the mess, 

"Half an hour to go/' he said. 

The Kandelfels was gliding along almost imperceptibly 
toward her moorings in Calcutta harbor. She was almost 8,000 
tons burden but she required no tug to bring her alongside. 
A heaving line was made fast to the hawser and a seaman 
swung it around his head and then out toward the jetty. An 
Indian on land picked it up and pulled in the thick manila 
hawser that followed it. 

"Over with her," shouted a voice from the deck high above 
him, and obediently the Indian trotted off with it, just as his 
yellow colleague in any Chinese harbor or his colored counter- 
part in any African port would have done, and looped it over 
a powerful iron bollard on the quayside. This he did, not 
because he had anything to do with the ship or because he 
was getting paid for doing it, but just because "it's done." It 
is the custom and the unwritten law of every harbor in the 

Cork fenders squeaked and groaned between the iron plates 
of the Kandelfels and the quayside, donkey engines puffed 


and rattled and wire ropes and lines now made fast from the 
ship to the shore shook and strained before they finally settled 
into place. 

Darkness was falling rapidly now and great arc lamps began 
to throw a yellow light over the busy harbor. A world harbor 
never sleeps. Night and day there is always something going 
on. Along the miles and miles of apparently endless quays 
with their vast sheds, cranes swung their great arms here and 
there, iron chains and claws disappeared into the open holds, 
of freighters and reappeared with bales and crates. Some of 
the hold entrances are so large that whole houses could be 
lowered into them or lifted out again with ease. 

There were Britishers, Frenchmen, Swedes and Germans 
lying there, very many Germans. The garish flags of all nations 
flew from their masts like obstinate flecks of color in a vast 
painting. They were all moored peaceably side by side 
now. . . . 

Big ports and harbors are much the same all over the world, 
but here it was impossible not to feel something of the multi- 
colored tropical atmosphere of India. The clothing of the 
dockers and stevedores was strange and romantic for one 
thing, though there was nothing romantic in the way they 
bent their bodies resignedly to their work. Poverty-stricken 
creatures, these brown-skinned dockers who sweated and 
slaved for the white man to earn their bowl of rice. And 
through the acrid smell of tar, paint and rust there was the 
sweetish enervating whiff carried on the warm damp wind 
from the distant jungle. 

"It's somehow always new and attractive for a European, 
no matter how often you've seen, heard and smelled it," said 
Becher as he leaned over the ship's rail. He seemed to be 
talking to himself more than to anyone else as he stared inland 
toward the reddish glow in the tropical night sky which in- 
dicated the center of the great town on the Ganges. 


"Make the most of it. It may be the last time for a very long 
time/' said the captain, who joined him at that moment and 
had overheard his words. The captain knocked his pipe out 
over the side and turned away. 

"Might well be the last time altogether," said Becher. 

A pencil of light slid across the sky, went out, reappeared 
dot, dash, dot. Dot, dot, dash. 

"They're getting their hands in,' thought Becher. 

The unloading of the Kandelfels went on without a pause 
throughout the next day and the following night The captain 
was in a hurry to get rid of his cargo and be off. The British 
port authorities were making no actual difficulties, but they 
were not being helpful. 

As soon as the unloading was over, the loading began. 
Hanefeld sat down on one of the last cases intended for No. 
3 hold. Actually this particular case had been one of the 
first to arrive, and if he had not kept his eyes open it would 
already have disappeared into the hold. But on it in enormous 
red letters were die words: "With Care! Fragile!" It was 
Hanefeld's job as the officer in charge of loading and unload- 
ing to see that breakable goods were not stowed away under 
other cargo. It was also his job to see that, as the cargo rolled 
up, it was stowed away where it belonged as rapidly and 
efficiently as possible so that neither time nor space was 
wasted. To make life more interesting the china usually ar- 
rived before the elephant and had to wait around, which 
meant delay, which meant extra harbor costs, which meant a 
greater expenditure of precious foreign currency. 

Hanefeld mopped his forehead. "Phew!" he whistled. "What 
a hell of a rush in this heat." 

There had been very little sleep for him for the past two 
nights. As quickly as possible, were his orders. Quicker, 
quicker! The brown-skinned stevedores of one shift were 
going off. The next shift was coining on and there was the 


usual short pause. Hanefeld walked over to the ship's side 
and looked down on to the quays. There was no shift work for 
him; he went off duty when the job was done, the cargo 
stowed, the holds battened down and the Kandelfels 
trimmed, not before. Apart from the stevedores and dock 
laborers there were the inevitable loungers and idlers, the 
beachcombers to be met with all over the world. 

The East-Asia freighter Kandelfels was ready to sail at last. 
In her holds the valuable raw materials she had loaded were 
packed away safely. If you haven't any colonies of your own 
you have to use other people's. There was jute, oil cakes, oil 
nuts, ground nuts, rubber, quinine, molybdenum, wolfram 
and a variety of piece goods unobtainable at home. The holds 
were battened tight with chocks and covered with tarpaulin. 
Hanef eld's job was done. 

The moaning sound of the ship's whistle boomed, long and 
drawn out. The propellers began to turn, whipping up the 
water into a dirty froth. Cautiously the Kandelfels maneu- 
vered herself clear, went astern slowly and then ahead again. 
As she reached the broader bosom of the Hoogly she gained 
speed. Soon the engines were thudding and hammering as 
she made her way out to the estuary and the Bay of Bengal. 
She had to get a move on now or she might never get home 
at all. 

"We'll be seeing you," said Hanefeld cheerfully as they 
dropped the pilot. The man grinned and waved as he went 
over the side. In reality Hanf eld wasn't at all sure about it. 
The third officer of the Kandelfels had no idea then that he 
really would be back before long, and on the same ship al- 
most on Calcutta's doorstep. But not under the peaceable 
flag of the mercantile marine. 

Crossing the Indian Ocean they passed Aden and steamed 


up the Red Sea through water so still and turbid it looked 
like molten lead. The dry, burning wind of the Sahara took 
you by the throat. It was almost as though you were trying to 
breathe in an oven. It made you dull and heavy, made your 
limbs feel like lead and made every movement an effort. 

As they approached the Suez Canal an Italian pilot came 
on board. The heat didn't seem to affect him and he talked a 
streak, chiefly about the coming war. To hear him you would 
think that he hated the British with all his heart and soul 
but maybe that was because he was talking to Germans. With 
a mixture of indignation and contempt he pointed out the 
new barbed-wire entanglements the British had set up along 
the banks. Then suddenly he began to bellow an aria to the 
blue sky above. The thought of war seemed not to trouble him 
much after all. "Puccini!" said Becher. "Verdi!" hazarded the 

There were very many uniforms on shore: wiry little figures 
and tall slim ones: Indian, British, and Australian troops 
camped in the Canal zone. 

It was dark when the Kandelfels left Port Said behind. 
Searchlights crossed and re-crossed in the sky. The sound of 
gunfire was heard and little silver bursts began to spangle the 
sky. British antiaircraft gunners were practicing. 

It was not so hot now and the men breathed easier as the 
Kendelfels steamed through calm blue waters which belied 
the long history of battles fought and won throughout the 
centuries for the command of this ancient sea. Inshore along 
the rust-red coasts were fishing smacks with gaily-colored 
sails. It was a peaceful scene; no sign of trouble anywhere in 
the world. But in the Mediterranean sudden storms were 

Then came Gibraltar, heralded by powerful gray warships 
escorted by long rakish destroyers sending the water up in 


great double waves from their bows as they raced along, 
typical British destroyers with their narrow funnels and the 
tripod masts British naval designers seem wedded to. Painted 
in large white characters on their gray sides, and visible at a 
great distance, were their identification markings. The men 
on board the Kandelfels watched this unusual concentration 
of naval strength with keen interest but without comment 
none was necessary. 

By the time their ship passed through the Straits it was 
dark again, and from the Rock many searchlights swept the 
sky in a silver network of light that seemed almost to be shak- 
ing in the wind. 

The Kandelfels put safely into Antwerp, and the second 
officer closed the logbook. The latest entry read: 

"August 29th, 1939. Made fast at Antwerp. Uneventful 
voyage. Average speed." 

The second officer turned to Hanef el, who, with disordered 
hair, was wading through a pile of loading papers and grum- 
bling to himself. 

"See that! The old hulk was exactly one day faster this 

, _ V9 


"We took exactly the same course," said Hanef eld. "It only 
shows you. The old tub can move a bit." 

"And that's not all" 

"You think we could get even more out of her?" 

"I don t think, I know." 

A sailor put his head into the deckhouse. 

"Mr. Hanef eld to the captain at once, please." 

When Hanefeld presented himself in the captain's cabin 
the captain was holding a telegram in his hand. He was ob- 
viously excited but he spoke deliberately. 

"I thought so. The cargo must be unloaded immediately 
and then we must sail for Hamburg as quickly as possible. Get 
your food later. Take every available man and open up the 


holds for unloading. I'll see about the transfer to the Rhine 

"Very good, sir/' 

'The Old Man's a bit jumpy/ he thought as he went about 
his orders. 'Take it easy, boy; you'll get there just as quickly 
in the end/ 

Hanef eld was from Bremen and not easily put out of his 
stride. It was late that evening before he finally got ashore. 
This was Belgium; not India, the land of cheap and plentiful 
labor. But for all that the Belgians were running around like 
ants. There was something in tjie wind and everybody knew 
it. It was like running to catch a bus late at night it might 
be the last one. 

Hanef eld found a good restaurant and spent his remaining 
foreign currency on a bang-up meal: French champagne, 
Malossol caviar, Dutch oysters. The menu they brought him 
was as big as a small placard. A wine list of many pages was 
bound in pigskin like a Bible. 'Eat, drink and be merry, for 
tomorrow we die/ he thought, and he chose the food and wine 
with the knowledge and experience of a man who had been 
around the world. A soup for a gourmet, followed by escargots 
prepared in their shells and served with butter and season- 
ing. To drink? First a Chateau Chalon. The waiter produced 
it. Hanef eld took a sip and sent it back politely. 

"This particular wine is drunk cool," he said. "Otherwise 
you lose its specific earthy flavor/' 

The head waiter arrived and apologized. The manager ar- 
rived and apologized: an unfortunate error, a most unfortu- 
nate error. The next time Hanefeld reached for the wine list 
the bowing manager was at his side in an instant. There were 
to be no more errors. When he left the restaurant after tipping 
liberally, the manager, the head waiter, the waiter, and the 
commis bowed him out obsequiously. 

Hanefeld grinned to himself. If only they knew I'm just an 


employee like they are and not a millionaire!' he thought. 
'But handsome is as handsome does/ 

He had spent his money on a dinner such as he was not 
likely to get again for a while, and he didn't regret it. He had 
a feeling that a good deal of unpleasantness was about to 
blow up. He went back to the ship. 

"Captain's been inquiring for you, sir/' said the quarter- 
master as soon as he put foot on deck. 

Hanef eld discovered that the Kandelfels had been ordered 
to sail at once for Hamburg without unloading the rest of her 
cargo. On deck, under the suspiciously clear sky with myriads 
of bright stars, the third officer sniffed the air. It smelt like 
fog. Would the Old Man, ordinarily so cautious, go to sea in it? 

By morning gray swathes of fog were rolling up, and the 
normal sounds of a busy harbor were being punctuated by the 
hoarse bellowing of whistles and the ringing of ships' bells. 
At 1100 the Kandelfels was ready to sail. Cautiously, almost 
as though she were feeling her way, she moved slowly out 
toward the gray and depressing sea. Her boats were hanging 
clear in the davits, ready for lowering, and in the chart room 
secret documents were lying ready for instant destruction. If 
necessary, the Kandelfels was to be scuttled at a moment's 
notice, while the crew took to the boats. But the last hours 
of her journey home before she reached the safety of German 
waters passed without incident except the sudden eruption 
of an excited wireless officer from his cabin. The captain was 
already striding toward him. 

"German armed forces crossed the Polish frontier early this 
morning, sir." 

The captain looked worried. "The whole world will go up 
in flames now," he muttered. "Mark my words." And he re- 
called an earnest conversation he had had with a British 
colleague in Calcutta. 


The Kandelfels continued on the last lap of her journey, her 
slender stem sliding through the gray mist. Everyone on board 
knew what had happened and the ship was as quiet as a 
mortuary. Only the noise of the engines and the lap of the 
water overside broke the silence. The Kandelfels passed Elbe 
I, the lightship stationed at the entrance to the estuary, with- 
out seeing her. 

On their underwater acoustic apparatus they picked up the 
recognition signal, took a bearing of its maximum intensity 
and knew that they were on the right course. The Kandelfels 
still had a good deal of heavy cargo on board and she was lying 
low in the water. To make matters more difficult it was low 
tide. The pilot who came on board had all his work cut out 
to guide her through the difficult Elbe passage. Suddenly 
there was a puff of wind. Then another and another. Soon the 
mist was swept away and they could see land again as though 
a curtain had risen. The sun was shining. With relief the men 
on deck stared out over the low-lying countryside. It was 
Germany. They had made it! 

Leaving Cuxhaven behind them, they sailed up the broad 
Elbe toward Hamburg. The water flowing under their keel 
out to the North Sea against the resistance of the ocean was 
rising now. A few fishing boats steamed down-river, leaving 
long, black clouds of smoke in their wake. Except that they 
were not fishing boats any more. They were painted gray and 
in their bows, mounted on wooden platforms and covered 
with tarpaulins, were guns. And on board were no longer the 
suntanned fishermen of more peaceable days in their oily, 
greasy denims, but white-clad young sailors. On the halyards 
flew die many-colored flags of the signal code. In their wake 
came a destroyer, then a steamer and, finally, a Swedish 
freighter. Her name and her national flag were freshly painted 
on the sides as large as possible as an anxious talisman against 
against whom? 


The Kandelfels made fast in the Free Port of Hamburg. 
The engines stopped and the low, comforting, bubbling sound 
in the funnel ceased. The crew hung around empty-handed. 
Their ship was lifeless now. 

One day passed and then another. There were reports of 
fighting on aE fronts in Poland. Another day passed and noth- 
ing happened. That night the air-raid sirens sounded in 
earnest for the first time. At Cuxhaven searchlights were 
picking their way across the sky and ugly red stars burst as 
antiaircraft guns went into action. Great Britain and France 
had declared war on Germany. The first bombs were drop- 

The second officer and Hanef eld stared at the performance 
with interest. Neither of them spoke. They knew that this was 
just the beginning. The worst was still to come. 


normal routine. Many, many things had rapidly become dif- 
ferent. A sunny autumn day gradually came to a close and 
dark clouds piled up in the western sky as night fell. Lieu- 
tenant Kiister came out of the deckhouse of the sailing ship 
Gorch Fock, which was already being laid up. He picked his 
way carefully through the unaccustomed litter of spars, 
booms, yards, braces, and stays. Her masts were bare, just 

The light of the moon wandered over the scene from dis- 
tant forests, silvering the spires and roofs of the sleeping town 
and touching the water of the harbor. Despite the late hour 
there was still a great deal of activity. The moon glistened in 
the bubbling wake of racing little pinnaces, and only in the 
deep shadow of battleships, lying silently at their moorings, 
was it pitch black. 

The harbor looked very different. No longer were there 
lines of lighted scuttles along the ships moored there or a 
multitude of lights on deck. The only light clearly visible 
came from the short, sharp flashes of the signal lamps as here 
and there ships spoke to each other or to the signal station 
on shore. The town, too, was plunged in darkness. And out 
at sea there was no longer the usual winking of warning and 
guiding lights. The war had ruthlessly imposed its blackout 



The telegram was still in Kiister's jacket pocket, a little 
dog-eared now; it had been read so many times. It had reached 
him immediately on the outbreak of war and it instructed him 
to report at once to Pillau, the naval base in East Prussia. 
He had presented himself without loss of time to the Baltic 
Transport Officer in the hope of discovering how to get to 
Pillau, which was now cut off from Germany completely by 
the outbreak of war with Poland, only to be told that he must 
now regard the order as canceled. He should stay on board 
his ship and await events. 

The young officer stared up into the sky discontentedly. 
Below him were the bare planks of the Gorch Fock, a ship on 
which many officers and petty officers had received their basic 
training as seamen. But that was all over now and it was 
irritating to hang around doing nothing when others were in 
the thick of it. Slowly, and almost, it seemed to Kuster, as 
though it were bored, the moon sank. The masts of the ships 
in the harbor, the buildings on the quays, and the town behind 
them with its tall trees gradually faded and were finally lost 
altogether in the gathering darkness. 

Every day after receiving that telegram Kuster had pre- 
sented himself to the authorities in the hope of receiving new 
instructions, and now he was gradually beginning to feel like 
an old shellback who was past his prime but obstinately went 
every day cap in hand to HQ in the hope of getting some sort 
of a ship. 

Not that Kuster was enthusiastic at the thought of war. On 
the contrary, like so many of his comrades and millions of 
his fellow countrymen, he regarded war as a disaster and he 
feared for the fate of his country. He had never bothered his 
head about politics; his country was his country, and that was 
all there was to it. If there had to be war, then he was willing 
and anxious to fight for it. And where could he be of most 
service as a seaman if not at sea? 


The next day Kiister was again at the local naval head- 

"We've got a sort of auxiliary cruiser here/' the officer be- 
gan, almost as though the whole thing bored him. But Kiister 
noticed that the man's eyes were keenly summing him up and 
closely watching his reactions, while talking as though an 
auxiliary cruiser were no more important than a tug. What 
Kiister didn't know was that he had already been chosen to 
join her. 

"That sounds fine, sir, I couldn't think of anything better," 
he said eagerly when he had got over his surprise and aston- 

"Not so fast, young man. Don't run away with the idea that 
serving on board an auxiliary cruiser is easy. It needs nerve, 
nerves like hawsers, in fact. And grit. You'll have to put up 
with a lot and go without a lot. Do you remember auxiliary 
cruiser Wolf in the last war? She was 465 days at sea. That's 
more than a year and three months. And expecting to be blown 
out of the water on every single day of it. That sort of thing's 
no pleasure cruise." 

"I'm game, sir." 

"Good. But don't forget that your chances of ever getting 
home again aren't very rosy. An auxiliary cruiser is alone, 
utterly alone, and she can't expect help from anywhere." 

The old officer's voice had changed now. It was friendly, 
almost fatherly. 

"I understand that, sir. It's an important and responsible 
job, and I'd very much like to do it." 

"Very well, let me see," and the old officer looked through 
Kuster's papers. "Ah! you're not married. So much the better. 
Any other ties?" 

"No, sir. None that would make me unsuitable for this job." 

When all the details had been settled they began to discuss 
auxiliary cruisers in general and the famous ships of the First 


World War. Kiister knew all about them, as the older man 
discovered. Finally Kiister was dismissed. 

"All right then, Kiister. I wish you all the luck in the world. 
And I envy you, too. I wish I were your age. But we old fel- 
lows . . . Well, never mind. Off you go now. YouVe got no 
time to lose. There'll be plenty to do." 

"Thank you, sir." 

They shook hands and, once outside, Kiister took the steps 
two at a time in his delight at the prospect of action at last. He 
hurried from office to office, signing on here, signing off there, 
and getting his papers in order. And when he saw the list of 
officers to be signed on with him he was delighted to see that 
he was not going to be entirely among strangers. Lieutenant 
Schwinne of his old ship was there and so was Karlheinz 
Brunke, familiarly known as Charlie, an old comrade and 
friend. He was the communications officer. That would make 
things easier. 

When everything had finally been settled, he packed his 
gear hurriedly. At midnight he left in a darkened train for 

The Kandelfels was a prey to rumors. No one knew what 
was going to happen, but no one was in the least surprised 
when one afternoon a party of officers and officials of the 
Reichsmarine came over the side. Hanefeld received them 
and took them to the captain's cabin. Before he had time to 
close the door behind him he heard the senior officer inform- 
ing the captain: 

"We have orders to requisition the Kandelfels for naval 

The rumors started up again with redoubled force. There 
were many possibilities. They might turn the Kandelfels into 
a troopship, a minelayer, a supply ship, a repair ship, or even a 
floating barracks. 


"Vossloh." It was the rather hoarse voice of the Old Man 
calling for the chief engineer. 

When the chief came out of the captain's cabin his step was 
alert and his manner assured. 

"We must be ready to sail in five hours," he announced. 
"We're unloading the rest of our cargo in Bremen." 

"And what happens then?" 

Vossloh shrugged his shoulders. He didn't know that either. 
The other officers watched him disappear below and looked at 
each other. On the East-Asia Line they were used to clear and 
definite schedules. This military secrecy business took some 
getting used to. But no doubt they'd have to get used to quite 
a lot things before it was all over. 

When they arrived in Bremen they found the stevedores 
already on the quay waiting to unload them, and hardly had 
the Kandelfels made fast when the cranes started lifting one 
case and one bundle after the other out of her holds. A whiff 
of faraway tropical lands rose up with each load. The smell of 
it in their nostrils awakened memories. 

Before the unloading was even finished a Lieutenant 
Schwinne came on board and introduced himself to the cap- 
tain as first lieutenant of the new ship's company to man the 
Kandelfels under Admiralty orders. All the crew were anxious 
to stay with their ship whatever its future fate, but the new 
man apparently had his orders; one or two officers, including 
Vossloh and Hanef eld, and some of the men were to stay. The 
rest were to be paid off. 

Even the captain himself had to leave his ship, and neither 
he nor any of the other officers could get so much as an inkling 
of the use to which their ship was now to be put. With an 
amiable smile and a polite manner, Lieutenant Schwinne 
neatly side-stepped all inquiries. 

In the gray light of a cold morning, snorting tugs steamed 
up to the Kandelfels. Her holds were now empty, and she rode 


high in the water. Slipping her moorings, she left the Free Port 
like any other freighter, the tugs moving along at her side like 
watchdogs. But as soon as she had left the main wharves 
behind they turned her into an out-of-the-way auxiliary basin 
where she was made fast so securely that it suggested a 
lengthy stay. In the next few days and sometimes at night 
various ratings came on board carrying bulky kitbags. They 
dumped them on the deck, grumbling at the long trudge they 
had had and making derisory comments at finding themselves 
on board such a very unwarlike vessel. 

"What's it all about?" was the invariable question which 
was put in this form or another by all those already on board 
to the newcomers; perhaps they would know something. 

"No idea," was always the gist of their answers. "We got 
our tickets and here we are. YouVe been here longest, you 
ought to know better than us/ 7 

But nobody knew anything, and there was much shrugging 
of shoulders and shaking of heads. 

In Lieutenant Schwinne's cabin Hanef eld saw a bright red 
file with the words in block letters: "Ship's Company Ship V." 
From the right-hand top corner to the left-hand bottom corner 
ran a yellow line. The third officer already knew what that 
meant: "Most Secret." 

Lieutenant Kuster was trying to find his new ship according 
to the instructions he had been given at the Personnel Office 
in Bremen. The way seemed endless. He picked his way care- 
fully over rails and around piles of material. He went through 
great sheds in which oxyacetylene welders were hissing a 
bluish light and spitting showers of yellow sparks. Steel plates 
clanged as they were moved here and there. Ships' propellers 
were lying around, amidst rusty iron and steel waste, gear 
wheels and copper tubing. Men were hard at work every- 


where and much too busy to give Kiister even a glance as he 
went by. 

Finally he found the entrance to the basin he was looking 
for. The place was surrounded by barbed wire and the gate 
was under naval guard. 

"Your pass, sir, please/' 

Kiister had no special pass, but he handed over his papers 
for inspection. 

"Sorry, sir/' said the sentry at last. "No can do. You need a 
special pass to get in here." 

"Have a heart, man! Look, it says plainly in black and white 
that I'm to report for duty here." 

"Yes, I see it does, sir, but I still can't let you through with- 
out a special pass." 

"But all I'm looking for is a freighter; just an ordinary com- 
mon or garden freighter. That's certainly her in there." 

"Maybe, sir, but the fact remains that I can't let you in with- 
out a special pass. Strict orders, sir." 

Kiister gave it up. The man was right, of course. Muttering 
curses, he turned away and tramped back to the Personnel 
Office to get the necessary pass. 

"What? You haven't got a pass!" they exclaimed innocently. 

Kiister took a deep breath and said nothing. They made out 
the necessary pass, and he started off on his journey again. By 
this time the guard had been changed. The new man took the 
pass, studied it very carefully, and then saluted. 

"Very good, sir." 

Kiister now entered the holy of holies. It was difficult to see 
what all the fuss was about. All you could see was a freighter; 
a modern ship, but just a freighter. Behind her, against the 
silky blue of a September sky, was the crisscross structure of 
a large crane. He made his way between piles of wooden 
planking and climbed up a ladder to the deck. 


The deck was metal, but that was nothing all modern 
freighters had steel decks. He looked around him as a man 
might who has just set foot in a new country. So this was it? 
The auxiliary cruiser. His new home. 

At that moment a voice sounded. 

"Come up, Wolfgang. You've found it." 

From the bridge above, the happily grinning face of 
Charlie, his old friend Lieutenant Karlheinz Brunke, gave him 
a welcome. Charlie was wearing a very old uniform jacket; 
his shirt was open at the neck, and his black tie was out of 
place. It looked as though things were a bit topsy-turvy on 
board Ship V. They greeted each other heartily, and Kiister 
learned that the Old Man was ashore mustering the crew. It 
would be Krister's job to knock them into shape and train them 
for their jobs. Some of them had seen service in the first war 
and were no longer young, but they were reliable. Others had 
had no training at all. They were good peace-time sailormen, 
but they had had no naval service. 

"Not so fast, Charlie. First of all, how much time have we 

"Time? Oh, quite a bit, I should say. There's a lot to be done 
before she'll be ready " 

"Looks to me as though the show will be over long before 
this dump gets shipshape," and Kiister made a gesture with his 
hand to the confusion all around. The decks, the bridge, the 
superstructure, almost everything had been reduced to its 
component parts. 

"This is nothing/* said Charlie cheerfully. "Wait till you get 
between decks; she looks as though she'd been struck by 
lightning. Never mind, she'll be ready sometime or other and 
before the war's over. But I'm up to my neck in it. Got to fit 
up my own bits and pieces. So long for now. Ill be seeing you 
this evening." 

And Lieutenant Brunke turned back to his radio gadgets. 


'Evening!' thought Kuster. He looked at his watch. It was 
seven o'clock. What had the old officer in Hamburg said? 
"Don't run away with the idea that serving on an auxiliary 
cruiser is easy/' 

At Kiister's suggestion the mustering and training of tihe 
crew of Ship 33 for reasons of secrecy the old Kandelfels 
had been given a new tactical number were shifted to 
Friedrichsort. A long and earnest discussion took place; it was 
important to decide who should be accepted and why and 
who should be turned down and why. In the future a lot would 
depend on the quality of the crew. They decided to have a 
backbone of men who had seen naval service in the First 
World War as a solid reliable core to the bulk of the crew, who 
would be younger men and without experience. But all of 
them, without exception, must be fighting fit. Nothing less 
would do. And further, they must all be men of good character 
and thoroughly reliable in all respects. 

It was no easy matter to get all these questions settled and 
to separate the wheat from the chaff, but it had to be done and 
it was Lieutenant Bolster's job to do it. He did not find time 
hanging heavily on his hands, but occasionally he did manage 
to visit a bar that was very popular with naval personnel. In 
"the good old days" they had gathered there to talk about their 
duties, to discuss their "problems" as far as they had had any 
serious problems and to grumble about their officers. As he 
expected, he met a number of old comrades there, including a 
few who had already seen action. 

"Hello, olfl sailor, where have they stuck you?" 


"Friedrichsort, eh? What are you doing there?" 

"I'm with a defensive boom commando." 

"Good Lord! That doesn't sound very thrilling. I've seen the 
things in passing. Is that the best they can do for you? Poor 


old Wolfgang! A shore job and you were always so anxious 
to get to sea." 

It's all right/' said Kuster, trying to lend conviction to his 
tone. 'It's an important job. Someone's got to do it, you know/* 

The others looked at him curiously. Kuster was the last man 
they would have thought satisfied with a shore job and a job 
like that! in wartime. Defensive boom commando! A job for 
middle-aged men and fathers of families. 

Defensive boom commando that was Kiister's own inven- 
tion and he had urged all his men to play up to it. It was much 
better to be able to give a definite answer to curious questions 
than indulge in evasions which would only make questioners 
more curious than ever. Later on the truth could be told. In the 
meantime they would have to put up with the friendly mock- 
ery and half-contemptuous pity of old colleagues engaged 
on more interesting tasks. Secrecy and camouflage were abso- 
lutely necessary during the time of preparation. 

It was during an official visit to Bremen that Kiister first met 
the commanding officer of Ship 33. Kiister was now stationed 
in the old fortress of Friedrichsort with Lieutenant Schwinne, 
three other officers, and the crew they were training. So far 
they knew their captain only by name and reputation, but 
what they did know was encouraging: Captain Ernst-Felix 
Kriider? A damned good man, they were told; one of the old 
school, He had served in the Imperial Navy with distinction 
during the First World War, and afterward he had volun- 
teered for the dangerous job of clearing mines just for the 
sheer joy and excitement of it. 

Kiister went on board Ship 33 and reported to the captain's 
cabin. In the uncertain light of the paneled room he found 
himself facing his commanding officer, a tall, broad- 
shouldered man with clear-cut features, a rather prominent 
nose, and keen eyes. There was another officer in the cabin. 


At their introduction Kuster heard the name Warning. If he 
was not mistaken, Warning had been first officer on board the 
North German Lloyd liner Bremen. Quite a big bug for the 
rank of lieutenant. 

Kuster made his progress report on the training of the crew, 
and Kriider listened attentively. When it was over he paced 
up and down for a moment or two as though considering what 
he had heard. Then he stopped and turned to Kuster. 

"Very good, Kuster. Now listen. I want my officers to be 
everywhere and take a hand in everything, dodging no kind 
of work. I want them to get to know everything, and know it 
better than the best man on board. I want them to establish 
their right to be officers beyond all question, both morally and 
physically; and I want it done without a lot of noise and 
bluster. I don't care for the usual barrack-room tone, and I 
don't want it in my ship. And another thing: I like cleanliness 
and tidiness, even when we've been months at sea particu- 
larly when we've been months at sea. I want my officers to 
see that I get it. Don't use a great many words, but be ex- 
emplary in action. It's easier to show men how to die than it 
is to show them constantly how to live in whatever situation 

He paused and looked at Kuster keenly, as though to judge 
the effect of his words. 

"And there's one last thing," he went on. "A ship's com- 
pany's a family whether it wants to be or not. I want mine to be 
a happy one, and therefore I expect my officers to study the 
men off duty as well as on without seeming to and without 
being grandmothers. They've got to know their men, every 
one of them; know them and appreciate them. Know what 
they are in civilian life, whether they're married, whether 
they've got any children, and, above all, know when any thing's 
troubling them." 
* And, with greater emphasis: "An officer must win the men 


under Him. Once he's done that he won't have much cause to 
worry about discipline hell have the best; the sort that's 
freely given." 

As soon as Bolster was dismissed and before he left the cabin 
he noticed that the captain turned back at once to his work. 
He was studying the silhouettes of merchantmen of all na- 
tions. With Warning, a veteran of the seven seas, he often 
carried on this study of ships' types far into the night. It was 
long and tedious work, but it was to bear fruit later, both when 
they had to disguise their own ship and when they had to 
recognize the enemy swiftly. 

As Kiister went back to his quarters he thought over what 
the captain had said to him. He had gone through his own 
training on sailing ships, and it had been no easy life. Subse- 
quently he had served as a training officer for cadets and petty 
officers, and he knew a bit about the relationships between 
officers and men. The words of Captain Kruder were not to 
be found in any training manual; they were born of long 
practical experience in the handling of men and of the char- 
acter of the man himself. 

Those members of the crew of the Kandelfels who had re- 
mained with Ship 33 had been sorry to lose their old captain, 
and they looked forward to the advent of the new one with 
mixed feelings and a certain mistrust. An old sailor gets hard- 
ened in his ways and he is inclined to regard anything new 
with suspicion. And Captain Kruder, when they finally met 
him, was something new. They looked at him with watchful 
eyes; he'd have to be good to take the place of the Old Man 
in their feelings. 

He was a tall, almost spare, man, they noticed. He was al- 
ways neatly dressed, and he moved like an athlete. From 
the moment he came on board he had an eye on everything, 
and he seemed to be everywhere in person. He established 
a personal relationship with every officer and every man of 


his crew. He turned out to be a disciplinarian, but a humane 
one, and he talked to them as a man to men. Apart from his 
wartime decorations, he wore the golden sport medal, and 
the men knew that that was no easy thing to win, particu- 
larly when a man hadn't all the time in the world to devote to 

That was the first thing that made the men inclined to 
respect him, but it wasn't the last. Before long, opinion had 
hardened: the new skipper would do. Kriider had done what 
he had urged Kuster and his brother officers to do; he had won 
the men under him. 

Somehow or other it leaked out to the lower deck: the mer- 
chantman Kandelfels, now Ship 33, was to be an auxiliary 
cruiser hence all these preparations. "Auxiliary cruiser!" 
Two words that meant something, two words with an aura of 
legendary heroism and adventure on the high seas. As one 
group of men after another returned from their special train- 
ing and learned what it was all about they began to look at 
"the old tub" with new eyes and new respect. Each man now 
put his back into his particular job as though he had shares in 
the ship. 

Kruder had already enjoined the greatest possible discre- 
tion on both officers and men: "No one is to say a word about 
this ship. No one is to say a word about what she looks like. 
And no one is to drop a single hint about the job she's going 
to do. One day the time will come to go to sea, and if anyone 
of you puts two and two together and guesses it on account of 
certain necessary preparations, then not even your nearest 
and dearest must be given the slightest indication of it." 

It was not easy for the men to hold their tongues, but orders 
were orders, and each man knew that a word too many might 
ruin the whole undertaking and cost them all their lives. Like 
Lieutenant Kuster, they had to grin and bear it when fellows 


engaged on more heroic tasks pulled the legs of the "defensive 
boom squirts." 

Weeks passed and lengthened into months, but the iron 
hull of the Kandelfels still towered against the walls of the 
Goten Basin as quietly and peaceably as though she were 
waiting to take on cargo in Calcutta, Hamburg, or Bremen. 
Outwardly the only difference was that her crew were now 
navy men. Inwardly there was a good deal of change. For one 
thing, there were now guns to port and starboard, but com- 
partments in which they were hidden were marvelously 
camouflaged. From outboard there was not a sign of the 
screens that would open at a moment's notice to allow them 
to hurl their shells at the target. Even a man with some idea 
of the truth could have studied her from the shore and never 
have formed a single indication to confirm his suspicions. Out- 
wardly Ship 33 was still the old Kandelfels, a peaceable mer- 
chantman and nothing else and not a soul was allowed on 
board her apart from the crew and certain specially authorized 

From time to time railroad cars rolled onto the quay along- 
side the ship and cranes grappled cases from them, raised 
them into the air, and swung them around to lower them into 
the holds of the Kandelfels. They were all numbered and 
stamped with the markings of the naval arsenal, but there was 
nothing about their shape or size to indicate their contents. 
Neither the railwaymen, nor the dock workers, nor the crane- 
men had the slightest suspicion that they contained muni- 
tions of various calibers. 

One morning the Goten Basin was empty; Ship 33 was 
gone. A few days later she slid into another berth. The crew 
went on shore leave, and neither their parents, nor their wives, 
nor even their girl friends learned that gunnery exercises had 
taken place in the Baltic incidentally, with good results. 


The first of May came, but it was too early for spring 
flowers in this bleak northeast corner of Germany. However, 
they celebrated. The Old Man, for that was what Kruder was 
by this time, had a bright idea, and he organized a sort of 
"Works Outing," ship and all. They sailed up the coast, quite 
close to the shore so that the crew could see whatever was to 
be seen, and opposite the Pillkoppen Sands they dropped 
anchor and shipped every dispensable man ashore to enjoy 
himself together with the kind of drinks that really belong 
to a sailor's May Day celebration. It was subsequently re- 
ported that a good time was had by all. 

In May there were a number of more businesslike outings, 
during which they practiced camouflaging and de-camou- 
flaging until they were almost sick of it and also almost 
letter perfect. A plane was taken on board, and with this they 
exercised until stowing away and making ready went without 
a hitch. One day they steamed slowly into the arsenal docks, 
and there the eyes of the crew widened as they watched the 
many mines being stowed safely away in the ship's holds. 

After that Ship 33 went to sea, but three days later she was 
back again. Another false alarm. That evening the men were 
silent and morose. The long wait and the repeated disappoint- 
ments were beginning to tell. 

An order marked "Most Secret" was lying in the captain's 
safe. Kriider had received it the previous day by special 
courier from the Naval Command in Berlin. He now sent for 
the first lieutenant. 

"Schwinne," he said when the first lieutenant arrived, "I've 
sent for you because I'm a little uneasy about the men's present 
mood. They're anxious to get going. I realize that. They're 
good fellows, but this long delay is getting on their nerves. I 
think we'll give shore leave to every man we can possibly 


spare. See to it, will you. And err on the side of generosity." 

"Very good, sir." 

"Oh, yes, and another thing. I'm going to Berlin this eve- 
ning. I shall be back tomorrow. All libertymen to be on board 
by ten o'clock. There may be loading to do, and we'll need 
every man." 

The next day, which was Friday, Lieutenant Kiister went 
ashore with his bosom friend Charlie Brunke, the communi- 
cations officer. It was too early to visit any of the interesting 
little bars there were in the place and they hardly knew what 
to do with themselves. But they passed the day somehow, and 
in the early evening they turned into a good restaurant. 
Brunke insisted on paying. 

"Order what you like, old boy," he said. "Money's no object 
tonight. And the best wine on the card." 

Afterward they went on to a bar where it was arranged 
that they should meet the other officers who had gone ashore. 
All of them were turning over in their minds the same inter- 
esting problem: why had the Old Man cut leave to ten o'clock? 
He had mentioned the possibility of further storing, but some- 
how that didn't sound very convincing. He had promised to 
drop in on his return from Berlin, and anxiously and with 
growing tension they waited to see whether he would or not. 

"Captain Kriider!" exclaimed the first lieutenant as the 
captain finally entered. At the sharp warning they all sprang 
to their feet. 

"Officers of Ship 33 present for . . ." 

Lieutenant Schwinne hesitated and looked at the captain 

"You were going to say for a farewell drink, weren't you?" 
said Kriider smiling. "I'm afraid we've not got that far yet. 
Stupid business. However, we're leaving this evening for 
Bremerhaven or Kiel. We'll learn more details on the way. 


The chair-borne gentlemen in the offices, you know/' and the 
captain shrugged his shoulders. "However," he went on with 
a twinkle in his eye, "that needn't stop us from taking a little 
drop of the right stuff here and now. But take it easy, gentle- 
men! Take it easy!" 

Kiister nudged his friend Charlie Brunke: "Sounds like the 
real thing," he whispered. 

Both of them stared at a point on the tablecloth where there 
was nothing at all to stare at. There was silence around them, 
an electrically charged silence. Each man was busy with his 
own thoughts, trying to suppress a triumphant grin. They had 
all caught the meaning of the captain's tone, and their hearts 
were beating harder. 

3. HK-33 PUTS OUT 

He turned to the officer of the watch. 

"Make certain that all hands are on board. See that the 
engine-room watch is called at 0015 and the whole starboard 
watch at 0030." 

The boatswain of the watch heard the orders. 'Oho!' he 
thought. 'The whole starboard watch!' And with the sure 
instinct of the experienced seaman he realized that the mo- 
ment they had all been waiting for was at last at hand. Al- 
though he had only just applied for leave and his girl was 
coming to see him, he felt a surge of elation. What did that 
matter? Plenty of time for that later. 

He hurried below to his comrades. 

"Hoi! Hands turn out! Rise and shine! Big news, boys." 

They rolled over unwillingly, rubbing the sleep out of their 

"This is it. We're off. We're getting ready to sail at one 

But the others were unconvinced. 

"Just another rumor! We'll still be squatting here when 
they sign the armistice. WeVe been led up the garden path 
too often. You needn't have awakened us for that. Good night." 

"Oh, is that so! And why did the navigating officer get out 
the charts for the Belt, the Kattegat, and the Norwegian coast? 


HK-33 PUTS OUT 29 

I heard him give the orders. If you know so much perhaps you 
can tell me that?" 

The others were sitting bolt upright now. 

"Ill be damned!" said one. "If that's really true . . /' 

Cheerfully they tumbled out, and if a sailor tumbles out 
cheerfully before his time there's something in the wind. The 
rumor if rumor it was went through the ship like lightning. 
It woke up the engine-room watch, and even men who had 
been dreaming sweetly of their forthcoming leave were de- 
lighted at the change that was about to come over their condi- 

A little later the shrill tones of the boatswain's pipe 
were heard, followed by the bellow of the boatswain's official 

"Hands turn out! Rise and shine. Men of starboard watch 
on deck." 

By this time there wasn't a man aboard who still needed 

The first pale gleam of an early spring day was already light- 
ing up the eastern horizon, and under the thin clouds a deli- 
cate pinkish reflection began to spread. To port there was 
already a strip of pale blue sky between the sea and the 
clouds. It was just visible through the swathes of mist moving 
from land out to sea. All the men on deck had their eyes glued 
in the direction of land, for they wanted to see the last of 
home before they left it, probably for a very long time. 

Ship 33 had left her moorings almost stealthily, as though 
fearful of the daylight. Strong hands had hauled in the brow, 
and astern of her as she went ahead her thick hawsers slapped 
into the water and were hauled on board and stowed away 
they would not be needed again for a while. The last 
tangible bond with Germany was now broken. 

Lieutenant Gabe was officer of the watch. He was a young 
man, and he was proud to stand beside the navigating officer 


as the ship was taken out to sea. He heard the captain talking 
to the first lieutenant behind him. 

"I have a certain feeling that this trip is going to be suc- 
cessful, Schwinne. But it's also going to take it out of all of 
us. WeVe got a good crew. It's up to you to see they're well 
looked after and kept up to scratch." 

TU do my best, sir." 

Hilfskreuzer 33, formerly the Kandelfels, left German wa- 
ters without a word of farewell. The tangible bonds between 
her crew and everything they held dear were broken without a 
word. What connections they, as seamen, still had with civilian 
life fell away. From now on they were a ship and her company, 
living together in their own small world for days, weeks and 
months on end. Their real life a very different one was 
beginning. The future before them was uncertain and full 
of dangers, but every man on board prepared to face it with 
a stout heart. 

As the sun sank red below the horizon and daylight began 
to fade, the freighter that had lain so long in Goten Basin be- 
came a different ship with a different name. The shadows 
gathered behind her, and among them, following her on her 
first sortie, were the shades of the Wolf, the Mowe, the 
Seeteufel, and the still more famous Emden. 

The date on the calendar in the captain's cabin was June 
15th, 1940. Hilfskreuzer 33 was the fifth of her kind to be 
sent out. The motor-ship Kandelfels, launched in 1936, had 
dropped her name and taken on board six not altogether mod- 
ern 15-cm. guns. In her bows, carefully camouflaged, there 
was a smaller gun intended for firing warning shots over the 
bows of recalcitrant ships. At various strategic points along 
the upper deck were a number of light 'antiaircraft guns, care- 
fully camouflaged so as to be invisible to prying eyes. Four 

HK-33 PUTS OUT 31 

torpedo tubes completed her armament, and in lier lower hold 
there were 400 mines. 

All these weapons were so hidden that they could not 
possibly be detected from the sea, but when the moment came 
for action and international law demanded that the war flag 
should run up the mast, then, whether a moment before the 
ship had been masquerading as a harmless Latvian freighter 
or a peaceful Australian going about her proper vocations, 
the screens could be dropped in a matter of seconds. This was 
the operation the crew had practiced again and again during 
their period of training in the Baltic until now it had become 
second nature. 

The enemy was inclined to overestimate the speed of Ger- 
many's auxiliary cruisers. The top speed of HK-33 was around 
seventeen knots, but she could cruise at sixteen and keep it 
up for long periods. With the exception of the Thor, the 
Kormoran, and the Skorpian, the other auxiliary cruisers were 
no faster. The Thor and the Skorpian could cruise at seventeen 
knots, while the latter, the dwarf of the German auxiliary 
cruiser fleet, could steam at nineteen knots. However, the 
Skorpian never actully saw service as an auxiliary cruiser; 
the only war service she saw was as the minelayer Barbara. 

Painted gray, flying no flag, and looking completely mer- 
cantile, HK-33 steamed at high speed through the Great Belt. 
The men had grumbled at their enforced idleness, but now 
they were lighthearted and happy as their ship forged ahead 
of the squat, fantastically camouflaged troopships and trans- 
ports carrying reinforcements and supplies to the German 
forces in Norway. No one on board them dreamed that the old 
freighter overtaking them was not a freighter at all, and cer- 
tainly not an old one. 

As HK-33 left the Great Belt behind and moved into the 
Kattegat, the lookout reported several ships to port. The little 
dots on the horizon rapidly grew as HK-33 caine up. Masts, 


funnels and then hulls became visible. They proved to be 
torpedo boats waiting to escort her into Norwegian waters. 
When HK-33 joined them they took up formation and after 
that, occasionally altering course and speed, they did not 
leave her side. Planes appeared in the sky ahead, but after a 
moment or two the lookouts posted at strategic points all over 
the ship and alert for strange vessels, floating mines, suspicious 
wakes, and enemy planes, lowered their glasses- in relief. The 
planes were German fighter patrols ready to deal with enemy 
air attacks and keep a weather eye open for enemy sub- 

During and after the Norwegian campaign, and despite 
heavy losses, British submarines were very active in the 
Kattegat. Their tactics were to lie in wait in Swedish waters 
and make forays from safety in the hope of finding German 
convoys or ships steaming independently. 

Straight as arrows and faster than the flight of gulls the 
fighters swept down toward HK-33 until it seemed they must 
crash on to her deck, but then in a flash they rose and were 
away again. 

"Drifting objects bearing 012 degrees/' 

With this form of bearing indication the basic line is the 
ship's course; that is to say, the imaginary extension of the 
keel ahead is the zero point on a 360 degrees circle reckoned 
clockwise. In order to indicate the compass bearing, all that is 
necessary is to add this angle to the ship's compass course 
(with the gryoscopic compass the bearings are always reck- 
oned clockwise) and the exact compass bearing is thus ob- 

"Something for your department, I think," Kriider called 
out cheerfully to Lieutenant Schmidt, the mine expert. The 
drifting objects were apparently German mines. During the 
heavy spring storms they had probably wrenched themselves 
loose from their moorings. As an old minesweeper captain, 

HK-33 PUTS OUT 33 

Kriider was particularly interested in the bobbing, dipping 
fellows that drifted along lazily with the sea swell. His own 
mining officer confirmed his supposition; they were German 
mines. Kriider steered a little closer, but he left it to their 
escort to render the mines harmless by machine-gun fire. It 
was not necessary to explode them. When the outer hull was 
pierced they bubbled harmlessly to the bottom like old tin 

Kriider watched them thoughtfully, perhaps recalling the 
hard and bitter period after the First World War. When the 
fleet had broken up and the crews had dispersed in all direc- 
tions most of them only too glad to get away from the sea 
and all thoughts of war a few men had remained loyal to 
their old love. These men had then served in the minesweepers 
which had made German waters safe for shipping. After that 
they had formed the core of the new Reichsmarine. Felix 
Kriider had been one of them. For him and the others a lost 
war was merely an incident. 

The formation of ships was approaching the Norwegian 
coast now. It was already late, but in these parts night did 
not mean darkness; there was always a pale, transparent 
twilight, quite enough to see the countours of the bare moun- 
tains as they stood out grimly against the sky. The water 
around the Norwegian islands was still, and its surface was 
almost like a mirror. Taking advantage of the shelter offered 
by these islands and avoiding the open sea, they steadily made 
their way toward their objective. 

Four days after having left her German moorings, HK-33 
dropped anchor in Sorguten Fjord. It was a small, out-of-the- 
way place not even marked on ordinary maps. There were 
high mountains on either side with woods and meadows at 
their feet. Not a house was to be seen. The escorting torpedo 
boats and fighters had gone now, and JJK-33 was alone. Thin 
swathes of mist were floating over the fjord, giving the whole 


scene an eerie note of sadness and melancholy. A broader 
and somewhat lighter strip across the lower levels of a valley 
indicated the presence of a stream. Curling billows of mist 
rose above the water like the chariots of the ancient sea gods, 
gradually dispersing in a multitude of glistening colors under 
the rays of the sinking sun. Solemn stillness surrounded the 
German ship. 

On board, the captain gave instructions to his first lieu- 
tenant, Lieutenant Schwinne. 

"The ship's appearance is to be refashioned according to 
this plan. Every man must lend a hand. Mind you keep strictly 
to this design." 

The captain handed over photographs and the silhouette 
of a ship similar in some respects to the H K-33 but with some 
markedly different characteristics. 

"Very good, sir." 

The deck became animated, and the silence was broken by 
sharp commands. Both officers and men played the part of 
scene shifters with equal enthusiasm and worked side by side 
with matter-of-fact comradeliness. 

The transformation scene took two days to complete. At 
the end of that time the appearance of the ship's structure, her 
silhouette, and her color had been changed in accordance with 
the diagrams handed to the first lieutenant. She was now 
painted jet black. On either side of her hull was the national 
emblem of Soviet Russia: yellow hammer and sickle crossed 
on a blood-red background. And in large white lettering, 
visible at a great distance, was the name "Pechora" in white. 
The real Pechora was a Russian ship stationed in Archangel. 
Captain Kriider had himself taken around his ship in the 
motorboat. Standing up, with folded arms, he surveyed the 
handiwork of his men. A satisfied smile crept over his face. 

"Splendid, lads!" he exclaimed when he was once again on 
board. "Good enough to deceive comrade Stalin himself/' 


JUNE 22ND, 1940. 

HK-33 weighed anchor. With a dull bumping sound and 
a rattling of chain cable, the capstan dragged the anchor off 
the rocky bottom and up into the hawse-pipe. There was 
suppressed excitement on board among both officers and men. 
The engines began to throb. 

"Both engines slow ahead!" 

At the stern the water began to swirl and froth, and then 
TK-33's bows sheared slowly through the still waters of the 
fjord. Before long, an authentic-looking Russian ship was 
heading for the open sea. Minesweepers were waiting to es- 
cort her out and make quite certain the fairway was clear 
of all obstructions. 

On board the minesweepers, men were wondering why they 
had to take so much trouble over a Russian ship a whole 
flotilla for escort, and in the night, too. But that was probably 
politics, and minesweeper crews weren't supposed to know 
much about that. They had their own feelings about the 
matter, but they kept them to themselves. 

The cloud covering hung low and there was a sharp wind. 
Gradually the grim ridges of Norway's mountains sank back 
into the sea astern. The weather grew worse. Squalls raced 
up, whistling and howling around the ship, which soon began 
to dip and roll. Here and there a man turned green and swal- 
lowed hard, as though he were tackling ship's biscuit. 



"Lee side if you must get rid of your tucker," ordered a 
grinning officer. 

"Aye aye, sir/' 

The first man made a dive to the lee side. He was not the 

Lieutenant Michaelsen laughed good humoredly as he 
stood there on the bridge with straddled legs and observed the 
distress of some of the new hands. This sort of thing was 
second nature to him. He had been used to a pitching, rolling 
deck from early youth. 

"Your first seagoing lesson, my lads," he shouted. "Any little 
squirt can be sick on shore, but you've got to learn how to 
be sick on board if you don't want your dinner back in your 

The advice tendered to the seasick sailors by their more 
hardened fellows was even more drastic: "A lump of fat bacon 
on the end of a string pulled up and down. Tastes the same 
way going down as coming up." 

The thought seemed to be encouraging: the men turned 
greener and still others joined them. 

"You've got the idea, boys. Heave it up." 

The wind rose and became even more boisterous. The ship 
danced up and down in the heavy seas like a cork, while the 
unfortunates hung over the side and didn't care if it snowed. 

It was after midnight and the captain was still on the bridge; 
0130 said the chronometer. From time to time he seemed to be 
sniffing into the wind, almost as though he expected to detect 
something, The men could see that the Old Man was on the 
alert, and they did their own duties with redoubled zeal. They 
all knew by this time that he could come down on them like 
a ton of coal if he thought the situation warranted it. 

"Keep awake," warned the officer of the watch. "Don't keep 


your glasses glued to your eyes all the time. Use your own 
eyes now and again as a check." 

Otherwise there was silence on the bridge. 

Suddenly the captain stiffened. 

"Look!" he exclaimed, pointing out to sea. "If that isn't a 
periscope it's damned like it." 

A few hundred yards on the port bow something that looked 
like an iron stanchion lurched in the boiling sea. The light 
was unfavorable, and it was not easy to identify the object 
with any certainty. It might have been a log thrown upright 
for a moment by the sea, or a floating spar. All the glasses of 
the watch were now concentrated on it. As they watched, a 
black mass reared up out of the water, and the sea ran away 
from it on all sides. At that moment the lookout reported 
the suspicious object as the periscope of a submarine. The 
conning tower was already visible. 

Kriider gave his orders rapidly but without excitement: 

"Alarm! Action stations!" 

It was a submarine, and not a German one. According to 
radio information given to HK-33, there were no German 
submarines in these waters. In any case, Kriider could already 
see from the superstructure that it was British. 

The captain turned away only for a moment, but by the 
time he turned back again the submarine had vanished. Even 
the periscope was no longer to be seen. 

Wind force 7. Between 8 and 10 in gusts. And the sea to 

match. It was highly probable that the submarine commander 

had never intended to surface at all but had been unable to 

prevent his boat from being hoisted out of the water by the 

high seas. 

"Helm hard a'starboard." 

The helmsman twisted the wheel frantically, his eyes on the 
shining compass dial. Kriider himself put the engine-room 


telegraph to "Full speed ahead." With a metallic rattle the 
repeater swung round. 

"Helm hard a'starboard, sir." 

"Very good." 

The water around began to boil, as HK-33 turned. A froth- 
ing wake indicated the beginning of the turn. 

"Ease the helm!" 

"Midships! Steady as you go." 

For the moment the enemy ship had been deprived of its 
attacking position. 

"Periscope bearing 210 degrees!" came a new report. 

Yes, there she was again, but if she were to fire a torpedo 
into the wake of the HK-33 she would have very little hope of a 
hit. In any case, by this time the submarine commander must 
certainly have recognized the supposed Russian. 

"Boat is surfacing again!" 

For the second time the superstructure of the submarine 
emerged from the boiling spray, to be followed now by the 
rest of the boat as far as the waterline. It looked as though her 
captain intended to overhaul the freighter on the surface. He 
could certainly never guess that the old Russian tub as he 
must think her was capable of seventeen knots. 

Or did he already know the truth? Had they been betrayed? 
Was it really a coincidence that a British submarine should be 
waiting right outside the fjord in which HK-33 had put on 
her disguise? Subsequent happenings, some of them revealed 
only after the war, made the suspicion by no means fantastic. 

Kriider was in a dilemma now. The enemy was not more 
than a couple of miles astern and steaming at full speed, as 
the heavy waves which broke over her, sometimes causing her 
to disappear in a wall of foam and spray, clearly indicated. 
All eyes were on Kriider. He was scratching his nose, a familiar 
gesture when he was making up his mind. 

'We'll have to let her go," he said finally with some reluc- 


tance and annoyance. And turning to the navigating officer, 
Lieutenant Michaelsen, he continued calmly: "If we wanted 
to hit her hard and mortally, we should have to turn broad- 
side on. That would make her suspicious and, at the same time, 
give her a first-class target. And again, it's far from certain that 
we could sink her quickly in this sea. If we tried and failed 
she might have time to dive even if we damaged her. And 
that would mean we should lose the advantage of surprise. 
Our disguise would be useless, and the British would know 
we're out and at least what size we are. It seems quite certain 
too that the British captain really takes us for the Russian 
we're supposed to be. He'd never have surfaced if he suspected 
we were an auxiliary cruiser. What do you think, Michaelsen?" 

"I think you're right, sir. Not worth risking discovery for a 
problematical success." 

"Right then. Let everyone know over the loudspeakers 
what we've decided and why. I like to let the men know what 
it's all about where possible." 

In the meantime, the British submarine was doing her ut- 
most to overhaul her quarry, but without success. If her cap- 
tain had but known it, he hadn't a chance. 

"Enemy making signals, sir: 'What ship? What ship?' " 

ffjK-33 made no answer. 

"Tell him to put his glasses on," someone joked. "It's plain 
enough for anyone to see." 

"As Bolshevists we ought to be disagreeable as a matter of 
course," put in Lieutenant Bach. "He must recognize us from 
his shipping table." 

"You're right," said the captain gleefully. "We'll give him 
the cold shoulder in Russian." It was clear that he was enjoy- 
ing himself; if he couldn't sink the fellow at least he could pull 
his leg. 

But now the submarine captain was losing his temper. 

"Heave to or we open fire!" came the signaled warning. 


HK-33 went on her way without bothering to reply. By this 
time the Britisher was dropping astern. 

A messenger ran to the bridge. 

"Two underwater explosions heard between decks, sir. As 
though someone had hammered on the hull with a pile 

The sailor was still reporting details when Lieutenant 
Hanefeld appeared on the bridge and reported a third ex- 

It sounded as though the submarine had fired three torpe- 
does. Either they had nosedived and exploded on the bottom 
or British torpedoes were now set to explode at the end o 
their run. Probably the latter, for it was unlikely that all three 
would have nosedived. 

The pursuit continued for an hour and a half. Finally, as 
she dropped further and further astern, the submarine gave 
it up. 

There were two courses open to HJK-33 in her attempt to 
force the British naval blockade and reach the Atlantic. One 
was to steam between Iceland and the Hebrides; and the 
other, to steam through the narrow Denmark Strait between 
Iceland and Greenland. The reasonable supposition that at 
this time of the year there would be thick mist in the Denmark 
Strait caused Kriider to choose the latter way. Whichever 
way he went, he was, of course, well aware that he would have 
to reckon with a keen lookout on the part of the British. 

It was also quite certain that the British submarine to which 
they had shown a clean pair of heels would have reported the 
matter in detail to the British Admiralty, which meant that, 
although the British would probably still be unaware of their 
real identity, all Allied vessels would have been warned. 
Kriider therefore temporarily altered course to the north- 


The weather had cleared and the sea was now calm. Kriider 
took advantage of the lull to pay a visit to his meteorological 
officer, popularly known as the frog in the jar. Lieutenant 
Roll, a former civil servant of Danzig, was so immersed in his 
charts that he noticed the captain's presence in his cabin only 
when the familiar deep voice sounded. He was about to spring 
up, but Kriider pressed him back into his seat. 

"Don't disturb yourself," he said amiably, adding: "By 
God, if you can find your way about in that confusion you're 
a magician. Looks as though several spiders* webs had got 

"Oh, it's all quite clear, sir," replied the lieutenant, finishing 
off the green curve he had been drawing. 

"I'm glad to hear it," said Kriider cheerfully. "Looks any- 
thing but to me." 

"Well, you see, sir, these lines here are the isobars, and 
these . . ." 

"Right you are, right you are, Rolls. I'm not anxious for 
the details. All I want to know is what the weather's going to 
be like. Just as simple as that. I'm easily satisfied." 

The earnest meteorological officer was already acquainted 
with the captain's little ways. 

"There's not much hope for a change for the time being, I'm 
afraid, sir." 

"In that case well have to wait a bit before we take our 
chance of slipping through. But you can probably tell me when 
there's the greatest likelihood of finding mist, rain, or dirty 
weather in the Denmark Strait and the North Sea area adja- 
cent to it. Good weather for us means the worst possible 
weather for anyone else." 

"Yes, I can certainly do that, sir. We'll get the supplemen- 
tary reports from one or two weather ships, and that will 
enable me to forecast the possibilities in the area with a fair 
degree of probability." 


"Fine! Then when it's likely to be dirty you report to me 
that it's going to be lovely." 

In wartime weather forecasting takes on a new importance. 
An accurate weather forecast is often decisive for the success 
or otherwise of naval operations. In peacetime weather reports 
are issued on an international wave-length from various 
points, and at stated intervals. During the war, however, all 
the belligerent powers stopped issuing these reports. Meteoro- 
logical stations on land and sea ceased to issue reports, or if 
they did issue any they used secret codes that couldn't be 
broken in time to make their messages of any use to the enemy. 

There are innumerable examples of the enormous impor- 
tance of "the frog in the jar" for the conduct of naval opera- 
tions. To mention only one, as soon as he was out of German 
waters the commander of the Admiral Scheer, the German 
heavy cruiser that went out commerce raiding during the war, 
relied entirely on the forecasts of his meteorological officer. 
Before he risked his ship slipping through the British blockade, 
he was faced with exactly the same problem as ffiK-33. He 
managed to get through under cover of a long spell of bad 
weather, accurately forecast by his meteorological officer, 
Lieutenant Def ant. And later on, Captain Krancke, the com- 
mander of the Admiral Scheer, had to make up his mind 
whether to attack an enemy convoy, which was reported by 
his reconnaissance plane to be 180 nautical miles distant, that 
evening in the failing light or wait until the following morning 
when his chances of sinking the greatest possible number of 
enemy ships would undoubtedly other things being equal 
be more favorable. On the other hand, if he waited till morn- 
ing he would come dangerously close to the zone of operations 
of heavy British units. It was altogether a pretty problem. It 
was solved conclusively by Lieutenant Defant's weather fore- 
cast which announced that a heavy storm was beating up. 


Captain Krancke therefore decided to attack in the evening. 
The storm forecast by Lieutenant Defant arrived punctually 
at midnight and with such violence that it was quite clear 
that there would have been very little likelihood of a success- 
ful attack the following morning. But the Admiral Scheer had 
attacked in the late evening hours and sunk an enemy aux- 
iliary cruiser and seven freighters of 86,000 gross register tons. 

Again, without an accurate weather forecast tie success 
of the subsequent attack on convoy RQ. 17 could never have 
been so great. In this attack German planes and submarines 
operating jointly sank almost all the ships of an arctic convoy 
from England to Russia. 

And again, the success of the German battleships 
Scharrihorst and Gneisenau in slipping undamaged through 
the English Channel. This, too, was entirely due to the accu- 
racy of a weather report which forecast a heavy mist in the 
Channel coming from Ireland. The Information Service of the 
German Foreign Office had a hand in this. Weather conditions 
in Ireland were regularly radioed from a contact man in Dub- 
lin. These reports, taken together with observations of their 
own, permitted German meteorologists to forecast fog in the 
Channel not only on the day but to the very hour. 

Not very many people know even now that throughout 
the war German meteorologists guarded by German soldiers 
were at work in isolated spots in the loneliness of the Arctic 
ice in Greenland, Spitzbergen, and even Fritjof Nansen Land. 
These secret weather stations with their code names 
Bassgeiger, Nussbaum, Schatzgraber, Zugoogel, and so on, 
wrote a very important chapter in what became known as 
"The War below Zero." 

The navigating officer grumbled and cursed. 
"Did you ever know such weather?" he demanded rhetori- 
cally. 'Tve been backward and forward over the North At- 


lantic more times that I can remember, and I've never known 
anything like it. Blasted sunshine all the time. Not a cloud 
to be seen anywhere." 

And he followed up his disgruntled observations with a 
string of blistering curses that caused the rating who over- 
heard them to turn his head away to grin. Childish perhaps, 
but it relieved a man's feelings. And as for the involuntary 
eavesdropping rating well, it was good for a man to know 
that officers could curse, too, just like their men. 

"Land right ahead!" shouted the lookout. 

The navigating officer consulted his chart. He must be 
pulling our legs/ he thought. HK-33 was still something like 
seventy nautical miles from the island of Jan Mayen. 
Michaelsen checked the position on the chart and made a 
note in the margin. The position was correct. 'He must be 
seeing things,' he thought. *A whale's back or something/ He 
left the chart house and went out on deck into the bright sun- 
shine. "Good Lord!" he exclaimed. "The man's right. It must be 
Bear Mountain/' 

Above the mist a snow-capped peak reared into the sky as 
though it were floating in the air. It was obviously Bear Moun- 
tain, the highest point on the island. 

Jan Mayen Island is an unimportant rocky point in the 
northernmost North Atlantic Ocean. Apart from the men of a 
weather station, it is uninhabited. It is just a point in the 
ocean used as a landmark by sailors. Bear Mountain is always 
snow-covered, but it is usually invisible on account of the 
swathes of mist clinging around it. There are very few days in 
the year when it can be seen. This was one of them. 

Is that a good presage or isn't it?' the navigating officer 
asked himself. Superstition or no, it seems to be a fact that 
seamen are closer to the riddle of the universe and to the 
workings of cosmic laws than those respectable citizens who 
spend their lives in the stone deserts that call themselves 


towns. In any case, the crew of HK-33 took the unexpected ap- 
pearance of Bear Mountain as a favorable sign it was almost 
as though they had found a four-leaf clover. 

Incidentally, the name Bear Mountain is in dispute; some 
maps call it Berry Mountain, but Bear or Berry, it was all the 
same to the men. There it was with its peak glistening in the 
sun, and the sight cheered them up. 

"That bird isn't a bird," said the lookout with conviction, 
and with deliberate care he took out the piece of wash 
leather used for polishing the lenses and cleaned his glasses. 
Then he drew the attention of the port lookout to the speck 
and studied it again. 

'It's a plane," confirmed his companion. 

"That's what I thought, but where the devil should a plane 
come from here in the Arctic?" 

"What's that got to do with us? Report it." 

"Unidentified plane bearing 015 degrees flying low," sang 
out the first man. 

"Friendly aircraft," came an answering shout from the 
bridge. They too had spotted the plane. The captain knew 
that it was a German reconnaissance machine. The Luftwaffe 
was cooperating with the navy to watch the route of HJK-33. 

"He's keeping his distance," muttered the lookout. "Does he 
think we'd bite him?" 

The captain knew why, but he said nothing. All pilots had 
instructions to do just that: keep their distance when they 
spotted the pseudo-Russian ship and under no circumstances 
to take photographs. 

From Kriider's point of view, the weather did not "improve." 
The sun continued to shine and the nights were so light that 
you could see for miles all around in this vast waste of water. 
At first, icebergs had been rare, but they were hourly becoming 
more frequent. A shining stretch of ice now came in sight 


ahead, a sparkling band stretched across the horizon. The 
rays of the sun shone and flashed in the broken, jagged crystal 
of the great ice barrier, while the men on deck stared in won- 
der at die colorful play of light. 

Slower now, and hampered in her movements, HK-33 
forged into the ice mass. There was a noise of grinding, scrap- 
ing, bumping, and clanging as she went forward. On the ice 
blocks were thousands of moving, tumbling birds. They were 
of the auk family, with straight, pointed beaks, black backs, 
white bellies, and white-tipped wings. Wondering what on 
earth they found to feed on in this desolate spot, an officer 
looked them up in the encyclopedia. He discovered as he 
might have guessed that they fed on the fish they snapped 
out of the water with their pointed beaks. He also discovered 
that their eggs were good to eat. Eggs? Thousands of them 
could be seen all over the place. *And without a ration book!' 
he thought with sudden interest. He mentioned the matter to 
the captain in the hope that he might sanction the lowering 
of a boat, Why, you could collect enough eggs here to last the 
rest of the trip! 

"Afraid not," said Kriider. "Another time perhaps." 

The disappointed officer turned away. Natural history as 
such did not interest him. "Pity!" he muttered. 

Crab-catchers showed no sign of timidity at the sight of 
the ship, and they continued their comic play on the ice at 
her approach. Gray shining seals grunted and yawned, moving 
slowly and deliberately, and obviously unwillingly, as HK-33 
bore down on them, her stem shearing noisily through the 

If anyone wanted the captain and couldn't find him on the 
bridge, there was one place he was sure to be in the cabin 
of the meteorological officer. Unfortunately the former civil 
servant from Danzig could only forecast the weather and not 


influence it. He pored over his charts and calculations and 
did his best to wring a more favorable prognostication out 
of them, but the fine weather persisted and he could only 
shrug his shoulders. The assistant medico, Dr. Hasselmann, 
was using his spare time as Lieutenant Roll's unofficial assis- 
tant, but not even the combined efforts of the two scientists 
could produce anything hopeful. 

Kriider was never particularly cheerful after he had paid 
one of his regular visits to the meteorological officer. On one 
occasion he met Boatswain Rauch on his way back to the 

"What do you think of that, Boatswain?" he demanded, 
though without expecting an answer. "A captain's master of 
his ship, but still he can't do what he likes on board. He's got 
to wait for the weather." 

Before the astonished boatswain could think of anything 
to say, the captain was gone. "The Old Man's got the jumps,' 
he thought. A joke was Kriider's reaction to many an irritating 

But the next time the captain appeared in the meteorologi- 
cal officer's cabin there was better news for him. 

"Unless I'm very much mistaken," said Lieutenant Roll, 
moving his pencil over the conglomeration of green, red, and 
blue lines on the chart before him, "there'll be a rare old north- 
easter on Friday night. We can also expect rain and heavy mist 
later on, in the rear of the front." 

"How long's it likely to last?" demanded Kriider eagerly. 

"Long enough to let us slip through, I think, sir/' 

"Ah, now you're earning your keep!" exclaimed Kriider with 
satisfaction. Before the meteorological officer could say any- 
thing the door of his cabin had slammed behind the hurriedly 
departing captain. With sprightly gait, taking steps two at a 
time, Kriider made for the chart house. 

"Send the navigating officer to me at once," he ordered. 


HK-33 was steaming on a southward course now. As Lieu- 
tenant Roll had prophesied, on Friday a black wall of cloud 
rolled up from the northeast. That evening it was blowing 
great guns, and the sea was rising. A sudden drop in the 
temperature made the men shiver. It was below freezing point 
now, and the thickest material seemed unable to keep out the 
cold. Heavy seas were breaking over the ship's bows, and icy 
spray lashed over the deck at bridge level. The water was icy 
now, and it seemed to soak through any kind of material. The 
men's faces were red as boiled lobsters as the needle-like 
salt spray whipped their bare skin. 

Although at this time of the year it never grows really 
dark at such latitudes, the storm clouds were so low and dense 
that a passable imitation of darkness was obtained. In addi- 
tion there was not the shimmer of a light to be seen anywhere, 
either on board TJK-33 or on board the vessels keeping con- 
stant vigil for German blockade runners and hoping to bring 
them to action in the narrow straits. 

The watch in HK-33 stood grimly at their posts and stared 
into the darkness ahead, their eyes burning with the salt 
spray. Now and again the bluish phosphorescent glow of a 
breaker heaved over the ship's rail, and now and again a 
wrack of cloud parted for a moment or two to reveal a faint 
glimmer of sky. Low storm clouds scudded over the ship like 
the smoke trails of racing destroyers. It was a wild millrace 
of clouds, rolling past funnel and mast. Sometimes the cloud 
forms looked like the demoniac faces of furies dashing on and 
on, urged forward by a fierce will to destruction. Or like the 
tortured faces of the damned fleeing over the sea. Lower and 
lower they lay in their flight, passing swiftly until they were 
one with sky and sea. 

"Pity the poor sailor on a night like this," muttered Boat- 
swain Rauch. "Fancy being out in this without a ship beneath 


"Yes, and with a suitcase in each hand," added the imper- 
turbable Kriider. "Anything to report?" 

"Yes, sir. Starboard bulkhead stove in below and a hatch 
tarpaulin carried away forward." 

Despite the lifelines rigged up everywhere, it was impos- 
sible for anyone to remain on deck. Not a soul was to be seen, 
and the ship looked deserted as the waves broke over her and 
spume swept madly along her decks. It was impossible to tell 
whether it was sea water, rain, or mist that raced over and 
away astern. It might have been vast masses of birds settling 
swiftly on the deck for a moment and then taking off again in 
a wild flurry. Occasionally above the howling of the storm 
could be heard the deeper roar of the tossing seas below. 

The old hands recognized the sounds from earlier voyages. 
They meant the presence of a tremendous sea, the father and 
mother of all seas. In a moment the ship would dip, slide into 
the vast trough, and then, as though defending herself and 
straining every plank, find herself heaved up and hurled into 
the midst of the raging sea. The whole ship rattled and shook 
as though gigantic hammers were testing every rivet and 
every joint. Then she found her keel again, straightened her- 
self, and went on her way, while astern a fantastically writh- 
ing monster made up of vast quantities of tumbling water 
thrashed, pitched, and rolled away. 

Young sailors who had never remotely experienced anything 
like an Arctic storm before were doing their best not to let 
the old hands notice anything. But none of them, either young 
or old, gave a thought to the harsh fact that just such storms 
had sent many a good ship to the bottom. You don't think of 
such things at sea; they're thoughts for the peaceable fireside, 
for respectable citizens who stay at home and spare a thought 
for those at sea. 

To tell the plain unvarnished truth, no seaman ever expe- 
riences a storm in fact as it is subsequently described in litera- 


ture. Not that there is any exaggeration about the description; 
it is just that the truth is so grimly sober that words will not 
altogether express it. From the seaman's standpoint, whatever 
happens is just his job unromantic, harsh duty without frills. 

Down in the mess the stewards were trying to serve a meal, 
while from the pantry came sounds of breaking and smashing. 
A man was lucky if he managed to get a fairly well-filled 
plate, and if he did, he ate it balancing as though he were an 
acrobat plate in one hand, spoon in the other. A silver teapot 
that had seen better days was hopping from port to starboard 
and back again like a drunken rabbit. No one bothered to pick 
it up. They just looked at its almost human antics with amuse- 

"When we've got through this well have the right to behave 
as privileged persons," said the navigating officer. "That's 
down in the book." 

"What's down in the book?" demanded Lieutenant Rieche. 
And the others paused in their desperate attempts to eat and 
looked at Lieutenant Michaelsen. 

"It's an old sea custom/' he said earnestly. "When you've 
survived a storm around Cape Horn you're entitled to put one 
foot on the table, and when you've survived a storm like this 
in the Arctic Circle you're entitled to put both feet on the 
table, and nobody dare say a word." 

"We haven't survived it yet," observed a pessimist. 

Whoever has experienced an Arctic storm is never likely 
to forget it, even if he lives to be a hundred. It goes on for 
hours and hours without a break until you think it's never 
going to end. 

HK-33 was now at the entrance to the Denmark Strait. The 
meteorological officer was seen more and more often on the 
bridge with the captain. 

"I'm afraid it's not going to last long enough, sir," he said 


dismally. He stared out into the gray sky and seemed as though 
he were turning the pages of a book. 

"How much longer can we reckon on?" inquired the captain 

"Two or three hours at the outside, and then it will die 

Lieutenant Roll was right again. At midnight the clouds 
disappeared and the wind dropped. Nothing was left of the 
storm. Just a light breeze was blowing and all around was the 
half-light of the northern night. Half-light? It was almost like 
a dull day. And in the middle of it was a German auxiliary 
cruiser, her masts standing out like deep charcoal lines against 
a cold, gray background. 

The hours passed slowly, damned slowly. When the watch 
was relieved, the men remained on deck. No one thought of 
sleep. They knew it was touch and go now, and they contin- 
ued to stare anxiously at the horizon. The weather seemed to 
be thickening a little, but it was still clear and visibility was 
depressingly good. 

In the early morning hours the sea grew even calmer. It 
was almost as flat as a billiard table. No one spoke above a 
whisper, and when men had to move they did so almost on 
tiptoe, as though they were afraid of waking up the enemy 
who was in all probability wide awake anyhow. Incidentally, 
where was he? Had the storm driven him off the seas? It was 
too much to hope. 

The air all around became stiller and stiller; even the slight 
breeze dropped until finally the air, wet and heavy with salt, 
seemed to enclose the ship almost like liquid. 



mate in the log. The weather was merciful. At the critical 
moment, a soft protective cover of mist floated over the scene. 
Soon HK-33 was surrounded. Gradually it became thicker 
until, all around, every thing was white and milky. Visibility 
was very low. It was almost as though the ship were forging 
through loose cotton wool. Her course was southwesterly now. 
The men were still at action stations. On the bridge, Kriider 
stood huddled up in his thick coat. He was thoroughly enjoy- 
ing the milk soup all around him. Although he had had little 
sleep for days, he was wide awake. Only the dark rings under 
his eyes and the obstinate little vertical lines between them 
indicated strain. But when he ordered the officer of the watch 
to reduce speed, his voice was as calm as though the ship were 
merely on maneuvers. 

"Half speed ahead, Gabe." 

"Very good, sir. Half speed ahead it is." 

The engine-room telegraph rattled and the order was exe- 
cuted. But in Lieutenant Gabe's eyes there was an unspoken 
question: "I thought we wanted to get out into the Atlantic 
as quickly as possible? Why half speed then?" 

"Icebergs, Gabe," said Kriider quietly as though he had 
read the young officer's thoughts. "Half speed means only 
half as many splinters, man." And, without changing the di- 



rection of his glance, lie ordered: "Lookouts to report any 
change in the color of the water immediately." 

Before long, icebergs began to loom up out of the mist, 
sliding past like ghosts, or like some primitive creations from 
prehistoric times, uncanny wanderers of the polar seas. Some 
of them were huge monsters, fifty or sixty feet high. Then the 
mist became thicker, dropping lower and feeling its way with 
wraithlike fingers until finally it blotted out the surrounding 
ice world altogether. Only sudden waves of colder air would 
indicate the near presence of an iceberg. Then it would be 
gone again. 

A sudden gust of wind tore away the mist for a moment 
and revealed another mountain of ice shimmering eerily blue 
and green as it sailed by. Fantastic to look at and dangerous 
to approach. A little carelessness, or a bit of bad luck, and an 
icy giant like that would crush in a ship's steel sides like 

A lookout reported a change of color in the water. 

"Very good," returned the captain. "I've seen it." And then: 
"Slow ahead, both/' 

The water had taken on a milky appearance. It was obvious 
that HK-33 was passing over submerged ice, which meant 
that she was very close to a giant iceberg. As all sailors in the 
Arctic and Antarctic seas know, six-sevenths of an iceberg lie 
concealed beneath the surface. In this case it was impossible 
to tell just where the other seventh reared out of the sea. There 
was no wind and there were no waves to make even a tentative 
calculation possible. HK-33 kept on her old course. Experi- 
ence has shown that, failing further indications, there is noth- 
ing else to be done. A little later the water turned darker 
again. They were through. 

Water was dripping steadily and monotonously from the 
superstnipture, from the rigging, and from the insulators of 
the radio aerials. The men on deck were in oilskins, and the 


faint twilight of the misty day was reflected in their highly 
polished surfaces. 

Toward evening, feeble gusts of wind stirred the surface of 
the water and swirled the mist around to let a pale sun break 
through. HK-33 was already through the Denmark Strait. 

Kriider unbuttoned his heavy leather coat with relief and 
stuck his hands into the outer pockets of his blue uniform 
jacket. Behind him, ready to receive orders, stood Felix Maul, 
a sailor from the unnautical province of Saxony. 

"Felix," said Kriider cheerfully. "I think a cigar is indicated. 
Go to my cabin and get a whole box. This is no time for cheese- 

When the box of cigars arrived, Kriider handed them 
around to the men on watch on the bridge. The good Havanas 
were a treat for them, and they were soon all smiles. 

"Cape Farewell on the starboard bow, sir/' observed the 
navigating officer. 

"And very well named, too," returned Kriider. "It's farewell 
to old Europe for, a while. I've no doubt she'll get on quite 
well without us." 

It was about time to fix the ship's position. First the storm 
with its impenetrable clouds and then the following bank of 
fog had made this impossible for days. "Old Baron," as Ger- 
man sailors call the fixed star Aldebaran, was the fellow to be 
shot. Hanefeld already had his sextant to his eye, holding 
the instrument in his left hand. Where was he? Ah, therel 
That is to say, he had been there; still was there no doubt, but 
invisible now; a cloud had temporarily blotted him from 
view. The game of heavenly hide and seek went on for a while. 
As soon as Aldebaran appeared again both Hanefeld and 
Bach would "shoot." 

"Have you got him?" asked Hanefeld. 

"Not quite, and not very clearly. What about you?" 

"No better. He's playing up today." 


Finally both of them had the star in the mirror of their 
sextants. They compared notes, found themselves in agree- 
ment, and then went to the chart house where complicated 
calculations in spherical trigonometry began, with much 
bandying around of technical terms confusing to the layman: 
hour angle, zenith distance, declination, and so on. 

Both of them scribbled down figures on scraps of paper. 
Latitude and longitude were soon established. And then the 
exact position of the ship calculated to a minute was the final 
result. The ship had done 257 miles in twenty-four hours 
not bad in all the circumstances, and at half speed. 

Hanefeld entered the results of their calculations and one 
or two other observations concerning weather, temperature, 
and wind into the log. 

"I wonder how much longer this complicated lark will go 
on," lie speculated cheerfully. "I reckon it won't be long 
before someone turns up and proves the earth's flat after all. 
And where shall we be then?" 

"As long as science keeps on correcting itself there's noth- 
ing to worry about," replied Bach. "But seriously," he went 
on after a short pause, "when you come to think of it, the 
learned doctors who gave old Copernicus such a time weren't 
fools either. Take Paracelsus, for example I've just read a 
long book about him. The more you know, the more you real- 
ize how patchy our knowledge is. You can never tell when 
an established fact is going to be turned inside out. The nearer 
you come to solving the riddle of the universe, the more of a 
riddle it seems." 

More than one fruitful observation has developed from such 
lonely night watches at sea. Perhaps that's why sailors are dif- 
ferent from people who keep their feet firmly on the solid 
earth. One of the things that distinguishes them from land- 
lubbers is that, by profession, they live nearer the frontier of 
the unknown, the ununderstandable, and the supernatural. 


When the warm Gulf Stream meets the cold Labrador 
current, damp cold mists are the result, with many rainbows 
when the sun shines. But finally the barren coasts of New- 
foundland were left behind too, and the next day was clear and 

"Periscope on the port bow!" 

The lookout was fluttering like an old hen at the sight of a 
hawk, waving his arms and pointing in the direction in which 
he believed he had seen it. 

"Can't see a thing, man!" came an answering roar from the 
bridge, where the were straining their eyes to see the invisible; 
for where the lookout had seen, or thought to see, a periscope 
there was nothing. The sea was calm and level without a 
trace of periscope or wake. But there might have been one 
visible a moment before. There weren't any German U-boats 
in these waters, which meant that an unseen submarine there 
below the surface must be an enemy. 

"Bridge! There it is again! To starboard this time." 

'What the hell!' thought everybody. 'What's he up to? 
Getting into position for an attack?' All eyes followed the di- 
rection of the lookout's arm. Yes, there was something this 
time! It rose out of the water vertically, making the water 
bubble and boil around it. It was blue-black like the hull of a 
submarine, but to everyone's relief it was obviously the back 
of a whale, and laughter sounded at the expense of the look- 
out A column of water spurted into the air like the steam of 
an Icelandic geyser. For a moment it seemed to stand there 
trembling in the sunshine, then it was carried away like an 
osprey feather in the wind. 

"Might go in a bit closer, sir," suggested Warning. Kriider 
had no objection. The men who had never seen such a thing 
before stared eagerly at the whales there were two of them 
as HK-33 altered course in their direction. "Loving couple 
taking a Sunday afternoon stroll," said someone. Of course, 


it was Sunday! Sundays and holidays were no different from 
any other days at sea. 

Like underwater mountains with their summits showing, 
the two monsters wallowed through the sea. The presence of 
the ship did not disturb them in the least. The watchers on 
deck could clearly see the triangle of their tail fins now. They 
left a wake behind them like a ship in full sail. Now and again 
columns of water rose into the air as they spouted, dropping 
back into the sea like fountains whose water supply has sud- 
denly been cut off. After a while they both submerged and 
disappeared, and the sea was empty again. 

"Pity we couldn't hunt them/' said the administrative 
officer, thinking of his stores. He had produced a pencil and 
paper from his pocket and was making busy calculations. 
"You've no idea what you can get out of such a beast. Some of 
them weigh as much as seventy tons/' 

"Never mind," said Kriider. And a moment or so later, as 
though to himself, he added: "Later." 

Those who heard it pricked up their ears. Kriider was not 
accustomed to talk airily. What he said he meant, but none of 
them had any idea what he meant now. When the time came 
no doubt they would discover. 

It was a long watch, but the midday meal had been ample 
and very good as usual, and the silence on board was almost 
digestive. Suddenly the alarm bells began to ring. 

"Action stations!" 

In the gray misty weather, a ship had unexpectedly ap- 
peared on the horizon. ffJK-33 was far from the normal ship- 
ping lanes and she should therefore have had the sea to her- 
self. Many pairs of binoculars were directed toward the 
stranger as her outline gradually became clearer and clearer. 
She was a bigger and much more powerful ship. At the first 
sight of her, Kriider had sounded the alarm, increased speed 


and swung his ship off her course in order to give the stranger 
only a stern view and make recognition difficult. No one dared 
to express the hope that they might remain unseen altogether. 

"What's that fellow up to, Michaelsen?" queried Kriider. 

"Not difficult to guess, I should say, sir. First of all he's far 
off the usual shipping lanes; secondly he's going far too slowly 
for his size for him to be wanting to get anywhere; and thirdly 
his present course wouldn't take him toward any particular 

'That's more or less what I've been thinking," said Kriider, 
and he scratched his nose in the familiar gesture that be- 
tokened he was thinking hard before coming to a decision. 

Michaelsen and Warning were rapidly searching through 
their tables of British shipping silhouettes and consulting the 
confidential book in which possible British auxiliary cruisers 
were listed with their characteristic features. Michaelsen's 
broad finger stopped. 

"Here we are, I think," he said. "Very similar. No funda- 
mental difference." 

"Have you got him?" asked Kriider impatiently and with- 
out taking his eyes off the stranger. 

"Fairly certain, sir. British auxiliary cruiser Carmania by 
the look of her. Much faster than we are and probably more 
heavily armed." 

"Very much as I thought. We'll keep quiet and try to get 

The two officers of the watch, Levit and Kiister, who had 
overheard the conversation, looked disappointed. There was 
no indication at all that the Britisher had seen them. He was 
still slowly steaming along the same course. If they ran up the 
flag and let him have a salvo unexpectedly then, provided the 
shooting was as good as it had been on their Baltic trials, why 
shouldn't they have a chance of sinking him, big as he was? 


A damned good chance, in fact. The distance was nothing now. 
They were near enough to pelt him with rotten eggs. 

But Kriider was of a different opinion. HK-33 turned away 
and increased the distance between herself and the British 
ship, until finally the enemy disappeared. A low rain squall 
scurrying across the Atlantic hid him as though a curtain had 
been lowered. The incident was closed, but the men on board 
HK-33 were dissatisfied. They felt they had been tricked out 
of a keenly desired consummation. Kriider was well aware 
of the atmosphere, and, as was his invariable custom when the 
circumstances warranted, he explained the situation to them 
over the loudspeaker system. 

"It wasn't our job to attack, men. We've other fish to fry. 
The ship you've just seen was the British auxiliary cruiser 

That was all he said and the rest they could work out for 
themselves, perhaps like this: "HK-33 has definite instruc- 
tions to operate in certain zones, of which this isn't one. Until 
she reaches the zone allotted to her she must avoid belligerent 
action even in otherwise favorable circumstances, for un- 
foreseen accidents can happen. For one thing, as soon as 
HK-33 ran up her flag and opened fire, the British ship would 
at once broadcast her position." 

The men sighed disconsolately and admitted that their cap- 
tain was right. But one question remained unanswered. Had 
the British ship seen them or not? If no one on board the 
Carmania had spotted the supposed Russian they must all 
have been taking a nap. 

On the other hand, perhaps they were on the lookout f 01 
some particular ship and therefore interested in no other, 
Whatever the truth of the matter, the encounter had passed 
off harmlessly, but Kriider determined to take certain pre- 
cautions. Further ships were sighted later, but HK-33 tool 


the same evasive action, and now and again she steamed for 
hours on different courses, in order to cover her tracks. 

On July eighth she was on a level with the northernmost 
of the Azores Islands. According to a rumor going the rounds, 
the captain and the navigating officer were spending a lot of 
their time with ships' silhouettes. 

There was something in the rumor, and on July tenth 
Lieutenant Schwinne fell in the whole of the watch below. 
Boatswain Rauch appeared with several pots of paint, white 
and cornflower blue. 

" 'Kassos' is the name and Greece the country of registry, 
bo'sun," ordered Schwinne, handing over a piece of paper 
on which the words were written. 

"Aye aye, sir." And Rauch led his men off to get on with 
the job. Shortly afterward, sailors were to starboard and port 
over the side in boatswain's chairs, painting busily away. The 
hammer-and-sickle emblems disappeared, and in their place 
appeared the Greek colors white and blue, with Kassos the 
new name of HK-33 and Greece the country of registry. 

At the same time, work was going on to alter the appearance 
of the masts and the superstructure to make the silhouette 
of HK-33 correspond to that of the real Kassos. 

'We're much too smart, sir. A real Greek's bound to have 
patches of rust on her hull and on the superstructure/' ob- 
served Michaelsen. 

"How right you are," agreed Kriider. "See to it." 

And patches of rust were carefully painted in the appro- 
priate spots. 

When the work was finally completed, there was no ques- 
tion about it to all observers, even the more than casual 
observers, HK-33 was a typical Greek. 

Wonderful tropical days followed each other, and the trade 
winds piled great 'white clouds over the lonely German ship* 


They were as white as snow, as though they had just risen 
from the crystal clear depths of the ocean. Seaweed floated 
by, sometimes in such vast quantities that it covered great 
patches of sea with floating islands. Seamen often fish up 
this golden gulf -weed with its delicate filigree structure and 
put in bottles with sea water to take home as a memento. 
With nothing else to do, the crew of HK-33 fished busily for 
it. Incidentally, this harmless-looking weed has played a not 
unimportant part in history. Without it Columbus might never 
have discovered America. His crew were down in the dumps 
and they wanted to go home. They were on the point of 
mutiny and angrily demanding that he should make for home. 
In this situation Columbus pointed to the gulf-weed floating 
by and assured them that it was a sign of the near presence 
of land. 

Kriider watched this harmless activity of his men with a 
friendly twinkle in his eye. 

"Do you know the true story of how Columbus first landed 
in America?" he asked one of the seamen. 

The fellow sprang to attention at being addressed, thumbs 
to the seam of his trousers, still holding the golden weed he 
had fished out of the water. 

XT ? * 

No, sir. 

"Then listen. When he got ashore he found a group of 
peculiarly painted, brown-skinned men. He knew who they 
were, of course. 'Are you the Indians of America?' he asked. 
'Yes/ they replied. 'Axe you Columbus?' 'That's me,' replied 
Columbus. Thank God!' said the Indian chief. We've been 
discovered at last!' " 

There was dead silence for a moment, and the seaman 
stared at his captain with a wooden face, 

"For God's sake, man, grin at least," said the disappointed 
captain. "It's supposed to be funny. Do you think all your 
captain can do is bellow orders?" 


Dolphins were sighted. From the bridge Lieutenant 
Neumeier and Lieutenant Gabe watched them disporting 
themselves in the water. They would shoot into the air like 
arrows, their black backs shining like highly polished leather 
as they skimmed elegantly over the waves. Then they would 
dive back again and reappear somewhere else. For hours these 
spirited creatures gamboled merrily alongside as though 
making the ship welcome, bobbing and bowing, flying through 
the air and disappearing beneath the surface. It seemed al- 
most as though they had dressed themselves for the occasion: 
jet-black coats and snow-white waistcoats. 

"An old captain I used to know one of the old school who 
served on the tea clippers always called these quaint little 
beasts 'sea swallows/ " said Neumeier. "It's a very good name 
for them. They look like swallows and they behave like them. 
He used to say they always reminded him of home." 

"Bit sentimental, your old sea captain, wasn't he?" said 
Gabe brutally. "Do you know what they remind me of? 
Neptune's waiters." And then he added thoughtfully: 'I've 
been told they're very good to eat. Like delicate veal cutlets. 
Makes my mouth water to think of it." 

The more sensitive Neumeier was shocked. 

"That's a horrible thought," he said indignantly. 

"You're sentimental, too, Neumeier. I don't see what's so 
horrible about it. Surely it's the most natural thing in the world 
to put a good thing in the stewpot. When I see a fine fat goose 
waddling around I always imagine him roasted." 

"A goose perhaps, yes, but not dolphins." 

"I don't see why not. It's just superstition. Like the alba- 
tross. I wouldn't mind trying a nice dolphin cutlet or two," 
and the earthy Gabe licked his lips reflectively.. 

HK-33 had now passed the Tropic of Cancer and was ap- 
proaching the equatorial zone. The trade winds died away 
and the air became still and heavy, and the glittering immen- 


sity of the ocean surrounded the ship as far as the eye could 

Communications officer Brunke went on to the bridge and 
handed Kriider a folded message. There was something in 
his look as he handed it over that suggested that it was no 
routine message. Kriider read it carefully and then called 
Lieutenant Michaelsen into the chart house. The two of them 
bent their heads over the chart table, and with the message in 
one hand the captain pointed, with the dividers, to a spot not 
far removed from the ship's position. Shortly afterward course 
was altered toward the point the captain had indicated, not 
far from the Cape Verde Islands. 

As up to that moment HK-3S had been heading for the 
South Atlantic, this alteration of course caused a good deal 
of comment. The men discussed the matter eagerly and rumors 
began to fly. On every ship there is, of course, always one 
man who knows everything, and HK-S&s know-it-ail had 
worked it out: the Carmania had blown the gaff after all, and 
the British Navy was now after the auxiliary cruiser with 
battleships, heavy cruisers, and even an aircraft carrier. Hence 
the alteration of course. . . . 

"Keep a sharp lookout/' came an order from the bridge. 

In the afternoon the vexing question was resolved when the 
lookout reported: "Floating object ahead." Those of the crew 
who were the fortunate possessors of binoculars gave a run- 
ning commentary to those who had only their eyes to stare 
with. "Damned funny-looking thing," the former reported. 
"Like a flower vase/' A quarter of an hour later they aU knew 
what it was. 

A German submarine. Her conning tower and bridge were 
crowded, hence the odd appearance of a flower vase against 
a blue silk tablecloth. 

The U-boat captain had reported having fired the last of 
his torpedoes, and Admiral Doenitz, who was in command of 


submarines, had ordered him to rendezvous with HJK-33, 
which had supplies of torpedoes on board. The position of the 
latter was known approximately to the Naval Command in 
Berlin; and the whole operation was a tribute to the excellent 
cooperation between all the authorities concerned, to the 
careful planning which allowed all the cogwheels in the com- 
plicated appartus to intermesh, and to the improvising genius 
of the senior officers at home. 

At that time the German submarines had no mother ships 
of their own, and, in any case, this submarine, whose captain 
reported both boat and crew in fine fettle, was the first to 
penetrate so far south. She had even crossed the Line. But 
now, if he was to keep his submarine in action, he had to have 
supplies. This was the purpose of the complicated arrange- 
ment with HK-33. 

HK-33 lowered a boat which chugged away to the sub- 
marine, returning shortly afterward with the U-boat captain, 
Senior Lieutenant Cohaus, who climbed up the swaying jump- 
ing ladder and clambered over the side. Kriider came forward 
at once to greet his colleague, and they shook hands warmly. 
It's quite true/ thought Kriider. "Every branch of the Service 
impresses its own character on its men/ Apart from all the 
outward signs that Cohaus was a submarine officer, there was 
something in his face that would have told Kriider in any case 
that he was one of those men of the underwater service whose 
acquaintance he had first made during the other war. 

It was a joyful meeting, and when all the handshaking had 
been done the two men went to the captain's cabin; but before 
Cohaus had a chance of discussing the important matter they 
had to settle between them Kriider had impulsively fore- 
stalled him. 

"Before we get down to business, my dear Cohaus, is there 
anything I can do for your men? Do you think they'd care to 
stretch their legs on my bigger deck? There's a bath ready for 


you, and your men can splash around in our open-air canvas 
bath on the upper deck. And at last our cook will understand 
why I ordered an extra supply of fresh rolls this morning. I've 
already sent a basketful over to you, and on deck there are 
bottles of fruit juice for your fellows and deck chairs for them 
to rest in for a while/* 

After which the two captains got down to business. Cohaus 
was puzzled as to how they were to hoist the heavy torpedoes 
inboard without a crane. He had thought the matter over from 
all angles without coming to any satisfactory conclusion. 

"We'll manage it all right," said Kriider jovially. <c We haven't 
a crane on board, as you say, but we can soon rig one up. My 
engineer officer, Lieutenant Schmidt, is a genius for solving 
awkward problems like that." 

Lieutenant Schmidt was told what was required, and before 
long he and his men were working away, forging and welding 
a crane to lift, and a cradle to carry, the torpedoes. There was 
a heavy swell now, and it greatly complicated the job of trans- 
ferring the torpedoes; but one by one they disappeared safely 
into the submarine's hatches. Oil, water, and other supplies 
were also ferried over from H JS-33 with the assistance of her 
motor pinnace. 

"Don't fall over the side, any of you," Kriider warned its 
crew, and the warning was fully justified. The sea in these 
parts was full of sharks. Food flung over the side caused the 
water to boil as half a dozen of the voracious brutes darted 
for it. The men of HK-33 and the submarine's crew caught a 
number of them. Cohaus fixed up a triangular tail fin to the 
front of his conning tower, declaring it would bring good luck. 

In return for the hospitality extended to himself and his 
men a third of his crew at a time had stretched their legs 
on board JffK-33 until every man was refreshed Captain 
Cohaus invited a party of officers and men from the auxiliary 
cruiser to come on board his submarine and dive. 


Lieutenant Neumeier was one of the party. He came back 
full of his experience and bubbling over with enthusiasm. 

"As soon as I get back I'm going to apply for a transfer to 
submarines/' he declared. And he subsequently kept his word. 

Then the time came to part. The submarine took the first 
letters home from the men on board HK-33. Kriider made no 
attempt to censor them; he knew he could trust his men. 

On July 18th, 1940, the submarine steamed away into the 
setting sun, using her surface diesels, finally disappearing into 
the gradually fading red glow. 



lfK-33 prepared to celebrate the crossing of the Line. The 
veterans who had already been through their baptism now 
discussed in long and secret sessions what should be done with 
the rookies of the northern hemisphere to introduce them as 
ceremoniously as possible to the realm of King Neptune and 
cleanse them of all their supposed impurities. To assist in 
the arduous intellectual task of thinking up the initiatory rites 
the captain had authorized the issue of a little hard liquor, 
and it worked wonders. 

" "Stern but unjust* was the principle of the thing when I 
had my basinful/' thundered Boatswain Rauch. "Why should 
these lubbers get off any easier?" 

Roars of applause and approval followed this observation, 
and the men bent their minds gleefully to resurrecting all the 
terrors and the trials of their own initiations. "Stern but 
unjust!" that was the idea. There was plenty to do: the organ- 
ization of the rites, the preparation of proclamations, and the 
manufacture of costumes for Neptune's ambassadors. Wild 
threats were heard over the loudspeaker system, warning 
the uninitiated of the dire consequences of anyone who dared 
to take the name of His Majesty King Neptune in vain or 
attempt to detract from the solemnity of the approaching oc- 
casion; and there was a special and blood-curdling curse on 
all sceptics. 



The preparations were going splendidly, and the already 
baptised henchmen of Neptune were enjoying themselves 
tremendously. The uninitiated rest of the crew were not look- 
ing forward to the approaching ordeal at all. They would much 
rather have gone into action, but like so many before them, 
they consoled themselves with the thought that everyone had 
to go through it and it was a one-time torture only. 

In the wardroom a lively discussion had started. Everyone 
was agreed that it was about time HK-33 had a name. She 
was about to cross the Line, and it was a very good idea for 
her to be christened at the same time. A number was all very 
well for reference purposes, but a real ship ought to have a 
name. The only point on which there was as yet no agreement 
was: what name? Various proposals were tabled, though, of 
course, everyone knew that in the last resort, the Old Man 
himself would have a word to say about it. Still, if he hap- 
pened not to have made up his mind . . . 

Any father who has ever thought of the perfect name for his 
child knows the enormous amount of energy and persuasive 
power that has to be generated to defend it against all and 
sundry, including the proud mother, who probably thinks 
she has rights, and all the uncles and aunts, who usually have 
their own ideas on the subject. It was something like that in 
the wardroom of jfifjK-33, and the battle royal swung first this 
way and then that. 

But there was just one thing the disputing officers did not 
know, and that was that their captain had settled the problem 
long before. One evening, some time before TK-33 had sailed 
on her mission, Kriider was enjoying a rare moment of relaxa- 
tion by reading a book about whale fishing. It described the 
life of the men who penetrated into the polar ice on board 
small but eminently seaworthy vessels, partly for the love of 
the thing, partly to earn good money for themselves and their 


families. Polar bears, seals, walruses, and penguins offered 
them entertainment and variety during the long months of 
their stay in the icy seas. 

Kriider had already given some thought to the question of 
a name for his ship. But now the solution came to him in a 
flash. "Penguin." He liked the name. It sounded good. It was 
out of the ordinary. And it bore a definite relation to the secret 
mission for which JETK-33 was being prepared. When the op- 
portunity arose he mentioned the matter to his superiors. They 
approved of his choice and from then on the ship, which was 
known in the dockyard and in the various departments as 
J?K-33, was listed in the secret files of the German Admiralty 
as the Pinguin. 

One evening when he was in the wardroom, Kriider, who 
had got wind of the passionate discussion that was going on 
among his officers, casually flung a bombshell. 

"Gentlemen/' he said. "I'm sure you'll all be interested to 
hear that I've chosen a name for our ship. Henceforth she's 
the Pinguin. I shall be happy if you find the name to your 
taste and still happier if by some good chance it happens 
to meet your secret wishes." 

And with that he left, a little grin of friendly malice on his 
lips. He could see that he had flabbergasted them. Not a 
man could think of a word to say, but he knew they would 
have plenty to say as soon as his back was turned and, for that 
reason, he had taken his departure at once. "You've got to 
leave the wardroom to itself from time to time to give the 
fellows a chance to grumble about their captain," was one of 
the principles on which he ran his ships. 

He had made it a rule to eat with his officers on Sundays 
only. At all other times he usually kept to his own cabin. This 
certainly did not mean that his officers saw little of him. On 
the contrary, not only the officers, but the men, too, saw him 


daily. He walked around the ship regularly, talking to the men 
about whatever was uppermost in his mind and theirs, and 
sometimes in the afternoon when things were quiet he would 
appear in the wardroom for a quiet game with his officers. 

"Penguin," said Kiister when he had gone. "That's one of 
those comic headwaiter birds that tumble over the Antarctic 
icefloes by the thousands, isn't it?" 

They all knew as much as that about penguins and they 
had all watched their antics, at least in zoos, but no one knew 
much more. They had never previously had any reason to 
think about them or any desire for more intimate knowledge. 
Now the thing was different. 

"We'd better look the silly little beast up/' someone sug- 

But the encyclopedia was kept in the Old Man's cabin. 
Lieutenant Warning was sent off to fetch the volume in ques- 
tion. He could manage the Old Man as well as anyone. 

Just as Warning was leaving, with the borrowed volume 
under his arm, Kriider called him back and took the book. 

"One moment, Warning. I'd like to help you and the rest 
of them." He turned up the entry. "Here you are. You'll find 
all you want to know about the little fellow here. And if there's 
anything else you'd like to know, I shall be very glad to oblige 

Warning felt himself getting hot under the collar as though 
he were a schoolboy the master had just caught out at some 

"And by the way," Kriider went on in the same casual but 
amiable tone, "there's one variety that steals the eggs of the 
others. However, take the book. You can go into conclave on 
the matter." 

With red ears, Warning quietly but hurriedly shut the door 
behind him, leaving Kriider grinning happily to himself. 


In the wardroom. First Lieutenant Schwinne took the book 
and studied the entry. 

"According to this the creature gets its name from the Latin 
Tinguines/ which means fat in German. Fat-seekers incapable 
of flight. Inhabit the Southern Hemisphere only. Most of them 
live in the Antarctic, but some of them follow cold currents 
as far as the southern coasts of Africa and America, though 
never farther north than the Galapagos Islands. The wings 
lack qnills and are incapable of being flexed. The plumage, 
which is furlike, consists of small scalelike feathers. They can 
walk upright on the ice or go forward on their bellies, kicking 
with their feet" 

Schwinne looked around the mess. "I can see that we shall 
have to practice this form of progression/' he said solemnly. 
"I don't know that it's going to be easy." He referred to the 
encyclopedia again: "In the water they swim with their finlike 
wings, using their legs merely to steer with. They lay their 
eggs in holes or in rough nests on the ground. The larger 
varieties lay only one egg at a time, and this they carry be- 
tween legs and belly. 

"That's going to be difficult, too. However if a female 
penguin is robbed of her eggs and observes that a neighbor is 
sitting on them, she immediately takes the offensive to re- 
cover them. Then there's one hell of a riot. No, it doesn't say 
that here, I happen to know it. Penguins feed on fish and 
Crustacea. They have few enemies . . ." 

"Not much of a name for this ship in that case," put in a 
brother officer. 

"They are therefore quite tame," continued Schwinne, "and 
they can be met with in vast numbers. There are various kinds 
of penguin: the Emperor penguin, the King penguin, the Rock 
penguin, the little Adelie penguin now isn't that nice! All 
we've got to do is pick ourselves out the right one." 


"An ingenious bird is the penguin . . ." someone began. 

"Not a particularly noble or heroic kind of name/ 7 com- 
plained another officer. "Not like the c Thor/ the 'Orion' or the 
'Atlantis/ but perhaps its very originality puts us under an 

In their hearts they were all thinking, despite their disap- 
pointment, that with a captain like Kriider HK-33 would do 
just as well whether she were called the "Penguin" or the 

"So we're to be called the 'Penguin/ " wrote one of the 
officers in his diary that night. "Typical of Kriider when you 
come to think of it. Always the unexpected." 

The preparations for crossing the Line reached their cul- 
mination, and everything was ready for the great moment. 
Some of the old stagers declared that the equator was already 
in sight, though how they knew that was anybody's guess. 
The mounting excitement was just about to find its traditional 
release when fate took a hand in the game. Despite the festive 
atmosphere throughout the ship and the wildly painted and 
bedizened types to be met with all over the place, the normal 
ship's duties, and in particular the watch, had not been neg- 
lected for one moment. In fact, the men on watch knew that 
they must be more on the alert than ever, for at such times 
the whole crew relied on them absolutely. 

The fact that Kriider was willingly prepared to allow the 
usual festivities and celebrations for crossing the Line even 
in wartime, although he was well aware that the equator 
represented the shortest sea stretch between Africa and South 
America and therefore the easiest to control, said something 
for his own assurance and the confidence he had in his crew, 
particularly in view of the familiarities which inevitably de- 
veloped during such celebrations. He was quite determined, 


of course, that they should remain confined to the one cere- 
mony of crossing the Line and after that be forgotten. In the 
meantime the normal routine continued, with its customary 



rubbed his eyes and had another good look before he decided 
that he was not mistaken. A small, thin column of smoke was 
threading its delicate way into the pale blue sky on the hori- 
zon. Only when he had convinced himself that there was no 
doubt about it and that he was seeing clearly did he report 
to the bridge: 

"Smoke bearing 065 degrees!" 

The officer of the watch dashed out of the chart house. In 
a moment Kriider was beside him. 

"One column of smoke?" he queried, suppressing his excite- 
ment. "I should have said two." 

"I think it only looks like one, sir." 

Kriider studied the smoke for some time. It was becoming 
clearer now. He lowered his glasses and began to stride up 
and down the bridge with his hands behind ids back. Then he 
put his glasses to his eyes and looked again. He was frowning 
when he lowered them. 

"Send the communications officer on to the bridge with the 
signal log," he ordered. 

Lieutenant Brunke appeared with his log, and Kriider care- 
fully studied the reports of the positions of Germany's aux- 
iliary cruisers. There was also a message according to which 
the British auxiliary cruiser Alcantara of 22,209 tons had been 
attacked and badly damaged by a German commerce raider. 



The Alcantara had put into Rio de Janeiro for emergency 
repairs. The report added apologetically that the attacker 
could hardly have been an ordinary commerce raider. It was 
suspected that the much smaller German ship had, in reality, 
been a disguised heavy cruiser. 

Kriider noted the exact position of the action from the secret 
German reports and entered it on the large chart of the Central 
Atlantic in the chart house. 

"That can only have been the Thor, Michaelsen?" he said. 
And when Michaelsen nodded, he continued: "How long do 
you think it would take her to get to our present position?" 

"Assuming that she immediately left the engagement area 
for here at full speed she could perhaps get here the day after 
tomorrow or the day after that/* 

"Hm!" grunted Kriider and puffed at his cigar. The lines 
between his eyes grew closer. He was obviously grappling 
with a tough problem. 

"I've got an idea/* he said finally. "They'll lose no time in 
going after her, you can bet your life on that. Now it seems 
to me we've got a chance of lending her a hand and misleading 
the British about her speed. If we attack this fellow coming 
up now and he starts making signals, which we probably shan't 
be able to prevent, then the British will almost certainly as- 
sume that tihe Thar is up to her tricks again. And when they 
work it out they must come to the conclusion that she can do 
at least twenty-four knots, otherwise she couldn't be here on 
this job. Their very natural error will help not only the Thor, 
but tus and all other auxiliary cruisers. At the same time well 
draw the hunt away from the Thor." 

"Sounds good, sir. Does that mean you think we should be 
justified in going into action before we actually reach our 
proper zone of operations?" 

"You've said it, Michaelsen. YouVe said it/' 

On deck, groups of men were staring first at the smoke in 


the distance and then at the bridge, where they could see their 
captain going about his affairs as though they were on maneu- 
vers in the Baltic. Then somehow the news spread like light- 
ning that the Pinguin was going into action. 

Kriider altered course toward the British merchantman, 
whose hull could now be seen above the horizon. The Pinguin 
had been sighted, and the merchantman turned away. 

A messenger arrived from the communications officer with 
the report that the British ship was transmitting her position 
and the message Q Q Q, which meant: "Am being at- 

Kriider grinned. "He's crying before he's hurt/' he said 
with satisfaction, and then to the radio operator: "What's the 
matter with you, Lindener? You look as though you'd stepped 
in something. Cheer up! Everything's fine." 

"We're already trying to jam him, sir," said Lindener. 

Kriider nodded his approval and turned away. 

"Full speed ahead, both," he ordered. 

The Pinguin responded at once, and the bow waves leaped 
up on either side as she sheared through the water at increased 
speed. A powerful, rushing noise sounded in the men's ears 
as the ship swept them toward their first action and the wind 
rushed past the faces of the sailors on deck and on the bridge. 

Slowly the Pinguin overhauled the enemy ship. The distance 
between the two ships was no longer very great now. "Forty 
hundred!" came the range report to the bridge. The British 
ship was still sending out calls for assistance. Her identity was 
established now. She was the 6,000-ton freighter Domingo de 
Larrinaga, though that had not been easy to discover. Her 
red funnel, the placing of her masts, and the shape of her 
superstructure made it difficult to discover her name, nation- 
ality, and company from the shipping silhouettes because 
the type was very common, bearing marked similarities to 
about three thousand other British ships of a similar tonnage. 


Whatever she was carrying there was a lot of it, for she lay in 
the water well below the normal load line. 

"Warning shot over her bows/' ordered Kriider. 

Boatswain Rauch and his men were already manning the 
forward gun. 

"Range thirty-six hundred and a trifle, boatswain." 

"Aye aye, sir." 

The boatswain laid his gun, took aim, and fired. There was 
a flash, a loud report, and a whistling sound. Then a sudden 
smell of sulphur and hot metal. The boatswain drew it into 
his wide open nostrils with satisfaction and kept his eyes glued 
on the enemy ship. A water spout rose just ahead of the 
Larrinagds bows. It was a well-placed shot, but the boat- 
swain shook his head in disgust. 

"Blast it!" he said. "A good couple of feet too far to the left." 

Another message arrived on the bridge from the communi- 
cations officer: "Enemy still making her position known and 
now describing our appearance and silhouette." 

"He's being a little too saucy," said Kriider. "Another warn- 
ing shot, boatswain." 

"Aye aye, sir." 

A second and then a third warning shot was fired. The 
shells burst so near the Larrinaga that fragments must have 
whistled over her deck. On board her the communications 
officer continued to send out his messages, and now her stern 
gun was manned. 

"Tough baby," said Kriider, and there was the admiration 
of one brave man for another in his tone. But there was a job 
of work to be done, and there were three grim lines in his 
forehead. He turned to the gunnery officer: 

"Guns clear for action. Salvoes. Aim at her bridge." 

And then to the signalman: "Hoist war flag!" 

The screens fell away from the guns. They were already 
manned, and their crews were standing by ready to fire. 


Swiftly they trained the gun barrels onto their target. Simul- 
taneously, the war flag ran up the mast and a sheet of canvas 
was lowered over the side to cover the Greek flag and the 
name Kassos. 

The Kassos was now the Pinguin. Suddenly the whole ship 
shuddered, as her guns fired. Pencils sprang off the table of 
the chart house as though they were alive. A coffee cup and 
saucer which had been standing on a ledge jumped high into 
the air and fell to the teak deck of the bridge, where they broke 
into a score of fragments. Then, for a moment or two, there 
was an ominous silence. The first salvo was on its way. 

"Hit amidships!" someone shouted excitedly. 

A sheet of yellow flame arose from the bridge of the 
Larrinaga, followed by a cloud of smoke. Planks, beams, and 
other debris flew out of it in all directions. And then, as though 
kicked by some giant's toe, two figures sailed through the air 
and dropped into the sea. It looked as though two souls had 
suddenly,been shot out of the depths of hell. To the astonish- 
ment of those who were watching the effect of the salvo was 
it one hit, or several together? they were still alive, for as soon 
as they came to the surface they began to swim. 

The wooden structure of the British ship, dried out in the 
tropic sun, had caught fire and was burning almost without 
smoke, like kindling wood. 

The devastating effect of the first salvo from the Pinguin 
had brought the British captain to his senses, and now he 
stopped his engines. Before the Larrinaga had stopped moving 
through the water, a cutter lowered from the Pinguin was 
alongside her and a boarding party led by Lieutenant Warning 
clambered up on to her deck. Behind the lieutenant was the 
ship's surgeon of the Pinguin, Dr. Wenzel, with two sick-bay 
attendants. Kriider had sent them off with the boarding party 
at the last moment to aid the wounded on board the Britisher. 
After them came the men of the boarding party carrying heavy 


cases with bright red inscriptions. They contained high ex- 

The crew of the Larrinaga had fled from amidships to the 
bows and stern of their ship for safety. There were many 
colored men among them, men with yellow faces and wild 
eyes, and they all crowded as far away from the crackling 
flames, now growing fiercer and fiercer, as they could. The 
captain of the Larrinaga stood there with his pipe between 
his teeth and looked at his panic-stricken men with a cold grin. 

Lieutenant Warning directed the search of the ship and had 
the crew lined up and a roll call taken while Dr. Wenzel and 
his two assistants attended to the wounded, who had been 
laid out on the hatches. 

In the meantime, the fire grew fiercer, pressing back both 
friend and enemy. When his job was done Warning signaled 
a message back to the Pinguin. He received a reply at once: 
"Remove all prisoners from the ship, set charges, and 

As soon as the orders were given a wild scramble for the 
boats started: Malays, Negroes, Chinese, Indians, and Brit- 
ishers shoved and jostled at the boat stations. With some 
difficulty the few German sailors on board managed to get 
some order into the proceedings. The boats swung out and 
were lowered into the water. Lieutenant Warning and Dr. 
Wenzel were the last to leave the ship. Before they left, the 
former noted that the fuses of the explosive charges were 
burning merrily. 

"How much time have we got?" asked the doctor as he put 
his leg over the rail. 

"Nine minutes," answered Warning coolly. "Plenty of time." 
And, after a last look around, he followed the doctor into their 

"Only five minutes now," observed the doctor as he sat in 
the boat a little kter and looked at his watch. He pushed back 


the sleeve of his white tropical jacket to watch the second 
hand ticking around. An impatient remark of Warning's ad- 
dressed to the boatswain made him look up. Something 
seemed to have gone wrong. 

"Don't behave as though you'd never seen a boat's engine 
before/' Warning snapped. "Get a move on." 

But the boatswain and his assistants continued to fiddle 
about under the cover of the engine of the cutter. Nothing 
happened. The engine refused to start. By this time the men 
were beginning to get jumpy. 

"Four minutes to go, gentlemen/* said the doctor, still look- 
ing at his watch. He was beginning to enjoy himself. The men 
of the finguin had all been picked, among other things, for 
their first-rate physical condition, and so far he had had very 
little to do. His leg had been pulled a little vigorously in con- 
sequence. It was his turn to do a little mild leg-pulling now: 
"At the third stroke it will be . . ." 

Warning had been third officer on board the Bremen. This 
wretched cutter came originally from her sister ship the 
Europa. The reproachful look of the anxious boatswain seemed 
to say; "You ought to know something about the engine, sir/* 
Warning took off his jacket and got to work, but he had no 
more success than the boatswain and his men. 

"It went all right just now, sir/' was all the wretched boat- 
swain could say. 

"D'you think I didn't notice that?" snarled Warning. "Why 
the hell won't it go now is the point." 

As the minutes ticked relentlessly on, the doctor began to 
find his little joke not quite so funny, but he kept up the patter. 

The motor just wouldn't go. It was as though it had a will 
of its own and had decided to join the enemy. Only a few 
feet away cases of powerful explosives were resting against 
the ship's hull while their fuses burned steadily away. Those 
explosive charges were made to tear the steel plates apart as 


though they were made of sheets of newspaper. Warning, the 
doctor, and the others in their boat were not protected even 
by steel plating. They were sitting in an open boat, and a 
wooden one at that. The doctor felt a cold shiver go down his 
spine. The nine minutes was very nearly up now. 

Warning and his men had been trained in this business, and 
they had practiced it at home; but none of them had ever done 
it seriously before and no one quite knew what happened in 
real life. Warning ordered the men to push the cutter away 
from the side of the burning ship, but the lifeboat of an ocean- 
going liner like the Europa is no cockleshell, and although 
they managed to push her away a few feet or so, that was all. 
They might just as well have stayed where they were. 

The men sat there and sweated. No one said a word, and 
there was no cursing, but all around there were pale faces 
which grew tauter as the ninth minute arrived. 

Nothing happened. The seconds ticked on and still nothing 
happened. Ten minutes, eleven minutes, twelve minutes. The 
tension relaxed. In his relief Warning bit the head off the P.O. 
in charge of the explosives. 

"What the devil have you been up to?" he demanded 
angrily. "Think you're Father Christmas or something? What's 
the matter with those damned charges ?" 

"All the fuses were burning properly, sir. I checked them 
all myself before we left." 

"So did I, so what's happened to them? Can you have set 
them double by mistake so that the delay is eighteen minutes 
instead of nine?" 

The man swore that he had done everything according to 
the book; he hadn't the faintest idea what had gone wrong. 

"Wrong!" somebody muttered incredulously under his 
breath. Everyone else was too glad something had gone wrong. 
They'd have been in kingdom come by now. 

There was only one provisional explanation; in the humid 


tropical air the fuses must have got damp. They had spluttered 
merrily enough at first, hut then gone out like damp squibs. 

At that moment having had its little lark with them the 
motor started up as though it had never had the slightest 
intention of doing anything else, and the boarding party re- 
turned to the Pinguin where everyone was already wondering 
why the Larrinaga had not been blown into the air already. 

Warning made his report. Kriider was in a hurry to sink his 
capture now; they were unpleasantly close to the British 
naval base at Freetown. To sink her by gunfire might take 
some time, and so he decided to spare a torpedo. The crew of 
the Pinguin watched it as it ran straight toward the Larrinaga. 
It struck amidships and there was a tremendous explosion. 
Slowly at first, but then more quickly, the ship began to settle. 
The hiss and whistle of escaping steam sounded like the 
despairing snorting of a dying beast. Then suddenly, almost 
as though bowing to her conqueror, the Domingo de Larrinaga 
heeled over and slid beneath the surface. Not a breath of wind 
was stirring and a cloud of smoke and steam hung for a long 
time over the spot where she had disappeared. 

"Requiescat in pace" said Dr. Wenzel piously. 
/*Were you asking for anybody, doctor?" inquired Kriider. 
f "No, sir. Just Latin for rest in peace." 

"Latin eh? Think of what a man's got to learn before they 
let him paint a fellow's throat with iodine!" 

Kriider grinned. He was in a good mood, and he remem- 
bered his own disapproving Latin master. The only fly in the 
ointment was that the line-crossing ceremony had been ruined. 
No further reference was made to that. 

The radio was chattering now, and there was great excite- 
ment, with message following message. It was impossible to 
discover whether British naval units had actually put to sea, 
but in any case it was time to move. From what they subse- 
quently learned from the captains of Norwegian Whalers, 


Kriider's conclusions had been very shrewd indeed; the Brit- 
ish naval authorities grossly overestimated the speed of Ger- 
many's auxiliary cruisers, putting it as high as twenty-five 
knots, which meant in practice that their plans for chasing and 
engaging the enemy were based on quite false calculations. 

Kriider's decision to go into action before arriving in the 
zone of operations allotted to him was taken as the result of 
the situation as he found it, and he was quite prepared to 
justify himself in Berlin if the need ever arose. According to 
his instructions, he was to keep out of trouble until he arrived 
in the Indian Ocean; but the captain of an auxiliary cruiser 
must act on his own initiative and take the responsibility for 
it, too. Apart from his own success, Kriider had the satisfaction 
of knowing that he had done his colleague Captain Kahler of 
the Thor a good turn by drawing away his pursuers and send- 
ing them off on a wild goose chase. 

Yes, all in all it had been a good day's work. 



Ships that were about to sail postponed their departure. 

The South Atlantic seemed to have been swept clean. As 
the Pmgtiin steamed steadily southward, her lookouts should 
have spotted an occasional column of smoke from some vessel 
or other, but they did not. It seemed likely that the British 
had temporarily suspended all shipping movements in the 
Central and South Atlantic, This meant that many thousands 
of tons of cargo space were temporarily lost to Britain's supply 
lines because they were lying idle in various ports. Results 
such as this, while not dramatic or spectacular, are of even 
more importance than actual sinkings in any estimate of the 
service rendered by commerce raiders. 

As far as Kriider could judge, the next few'weeks promised 
very little excitement. The duties on board an auxiliary cruiser 
are strict and, when there is no action to take the men's atten- 
tion away from the daily routine, they are rather monotonous, 
Kriicter was well a , /are that he had something more than three 
hundred good sailonnen on board; they were three hundred 
individuals with their own thoughts and feelings, their moods, 
their troubles, and their weaknesses, as well as their strength. 

In his spare time, erf which he had much more now, Kriider 
was afl over the ship, and he could be met with in the most 
unlikely places in the ship's laundry, for exapaple, where 



tough sailorman washed out his smalls. Knider was always 
in the offing with a friendly word and good advice, and he 
never hesitated to take a hand himself and demonstrate his 
suggestions by practical example. On one occasion he was in 
the laundry. 

"Phew! It's hot in here, lads/' he exclaimed, and he peeled 
off his jacket and got down to it. 

At that moment a cheerful sailor galloped into the room and, 
seeing a bending form, he gave it a man-sized slap over the 
haunches, to the horror of everyone else who knew that it 
belonged to their captain. 

"God Almighty!" breathed someone. It was all that was 
said, and hot as it was in the laundry, the atmosphere froze. 
The practical joker turned green when he found himself look- 
ing into the face of his captain. He began to stutter his apolo- 

"All right, all right, man," said Knider. "Lend a hand; don't 
stand there gaping like a codfish." 

And he added: "With all that energy to spare you must be 
well fed on this ship." 

"Captain expressed approval of the men's food," the duty 
officer entered in the log. 

Another part of the ship where one would not normally 
expect to find the captain was the ship's piggery, but, in fact, 
Kriider was a regular visitor. He liked to keep an eye on every- 
thing and he was well aware of the importance of his bristly 
pensioners. He would push open the wood^jtidor to release 
the usual typical smell of pigs. JF 

"Good morning, Eumaeus. How's things this morning?" 

"Morning, sir. Everything in order. All pigs in the pink." 

The pig-keeper's name was actually SchneeHoth, and lie 
often wondered why the Old Man had given him the fancy 
one. JELe was a farmer's son from Flensburg and he knew a 
thfeg or two aboHit pigs, hence his appoMtment by Kriider to 


tend the swine on board the Pinguin. He knew nothing what- 
ever about the faithful swineherd of Odysseus, but he was so 
keen on his job that of late he had taken to sleeping in the 
piggery, thereby unconsciously heightening the aptness of 
the captain's name for him. Kriider had been very tickled 
on entering the place one day to find the man's kit hanging on 
the wall; perhaps the low grunting of his satisfied charges 
helped him to sleep. 

"Taken up your quarters here, Eumaeus?" he asked with a 
nod of the head to the man's tunic hanging there. 

"Oh, no, sir/* Schneekloth hastened to reply, well aware of 
the irregularity of his new sleeping quarters. "Just giving my 
duds an airing." 

Kriider laughed heartily and continued his inspection of 
the pigs. They were obviously well content with their lot, 
and they were waxing fat on the plentiful waste from the cook- 
house and under the expert attention of the fanner's son from 

"Well have to invent a non-substantive badge for you, 
Eumaeus," he said. "What about a couple of intertwined pigs' 
tails surrounded by a laurel wreath?" 

Schneekloth didn't always understand the captain's little 
Jokes, but he knew a real good *un when he met him and for 
a long time now the unofficial pig-man had been amongst 
Kriider's most devoted slaves. In addition, his odd position 
and the interest Kriider showed in his charges gave him a 
certain unofficial standing on board the Pinguin. With his 
^connections," no one cared to rub him up the wrong way 
not even the petty officers. 

One midday, smoke was spotted on the horizon. It was the 
first time for days. The alarm bells rang furiously, and the 
men hurried to action stations. Kriider maneuvered his ship 
into a favorable position and let the stranger come closer. It 


was immediately recognizable as a Japanese freighter, and the 
first lieutenant soon identified it as the Hatoai Maru. She was 
obviously on her way to Buenos Aires. Kriider let her pass. 

In the meantime, a minor tragedy had occurred on board. 
Lieutenant Gabe, the party chiefly interested, apart from the 
victim, noted down the circumstances in his diary: 

"I let Max and Moritz out of their cage for a little exercise, 
and they were flying around happily when Reiche came in 
with Jim, one of the ship's dogs. Everything seemed all right. 
Moritz was out of reach, but Max was perched on a flower pot 
trying out the leaves when Jim suddenly made a snap at him. 
I thought it was the end of Max, but it was only the end of his 
tail feathers. He's got a bare behind now, but apart from that 
he seems all right, except that he doesn't sing any more. What 
a shamer 

Kriider informed the men that although there had been no 
further opportunity of sending letters home, and, of course, 
none at all of receiving any, their dependents were not being 
kept in ignorance of their fate. The authorities were keeping 
in regular touch with them. Of course, they were short com- 
munications only; no details; just an intimation that father, 
son, husband, or whatever it was, was alive and in good health, 
though with no immediate prospect of leave. 

It was a shrewd as well as a kindly move; men do worry 
about that sort of thing when they're away for long in time of 
war. The captain's announcement was a great relief to many 
of them, and no one now had to feel that his family was worry- 
ing about him unduly. 

The Pinguin passed the fortieth degree of latitude and 
continued her way south. Going south usually means warmth 
to men of the northern hemisphere, but here it meant in- 
creasing cold. In addition, winter was beginning. In the old 
sailing days they christened these parts the "Roaring Forties," 
and the name was an apt one for a zone that remains forever 


in a seaman's memory once lie lias experienced it at its dirtiest. 
The crew of the Pinguin were experiencing it now at just that, 
and they saw no reason to quarrel with the old seamen's choice 
of a name. 

This was the moment at which Lieutenant Lewit began to 
complain of terrible pains in his side. It did not take Dr. 
Hassehnann long to diagnose appendicitis. And what was 
more, there was no time to lose: the appendix had to come out 
at once. The ship's surgeon, Dr. Wenzel, went to the bridge 
to ask Kriider if the ship could be turned head on into the sea 
during the operation, to give them as steady a platform as 

"When you're quite ready just give the word," said Kriider 
at once. 

It wasn't the first time that a ship's doctor had altered a 
ship's course. 

*We could hardly keep our feet in the operating room," 
noted Dr. Hassehnann in his diary. "I had to get one of the 
sick-bay attendants to sit behind me all the time and keep me 
pressed up against the operating table as I worked. Dr. Wenzel 
assisted and a sick-bay petty officer acted as anaesthetist. 
Every instrument had to be held in the hand; nothing could be 
put down. The knife had to be used with the utmost care for 
fear the constant movement of the ship should make it slip. 
It meant a great deal of effort and a double dose of concentra- 
tion, and although it wasn't too warm I was soon sweating like 
a bull" 

However, they pulled it off. The operation was successful 
and Lewit was soon on his feet again. 

All around the Pmguin the storm raged and howled like a 
pack of wild beasts. Great waves roared and crashed over her 
with a noise like a thousand erodes breaking while a thousand 
pots clattered wildly. And there was no sign of a let-up. On 
the contrary, the storm had apparently not reached its height 


Something elemental and tremendous seemed to have been 
let loose in air and sea. 

During the storm Kriider spent all his time on the bridge, 
but he was as calm and deliberate as ever. Lieutenant Roll had 
just presented him with the weather report. And before that 
Boatswain Rauch had reported damage on board; one man 
had been injured below decks. Further, he, the boatswain, 
had advised Schneekloth to leave the piggery. "Advised" he 
had said, not "ordered," and Kriider had grinned. 

Eumaeus had proved unwilling to leave his pigs. They 
needed him, he had said, adding that it was warmer 
down below. And in any case . . . just for a bit of a blow 
like that? It would have to get a good deal worse before he 

"Perhaps we'll be able to oblige him/' was Kriider's com- 

Then the cook reported. 

"Can't keep a fire going, sir. Can't keep a pot in its place. 
Impossible to cook." 

"Impossible, eh?" said Kriider. "Don't like the word. Get 
busy, man. Just cook." 

"Aye aye, sir," said the cook, and just as he saluted the ship 
gave a lurch and pitched him on his vast behind as though his 
legs had been swept from under him. 

"Aye aye, sir," he said again, finishing his salute on the 
deck. Then he staggered back to let his buddies know what 
the captain had said. 

It's an old story that the calmest and most capable man in a 
crisis is the man who immediately starts doing something 
about it. Kriider was a man who had become as hard as nails 
and as cool as a cucumber in every form of adversity a sailor 
is likely to meet with, and he had learned that you don't just 
fold your hands and say "impossible"; you have a try at it. 
His own supreme confidence and his complete control of every 


situation, even the dirtiest, was a source of confidence and 
strength to the men under him. 

"Old Man says there's going to be cooking/* the cook in- 
formed his galley. 

His right-hand man staggered out from the corner where he 
had been holding on tight. 

Tn that case," he said, "cooking I suppose there'll be. Well, 
here goes." 

Under the circumstances there might have been curses, 
grumbles and resentment, but not with Kriider. When he 
gave orders they were carried out without question or ill-will. 
The men realized that they might have to do the cooking two 
or three times over, but they got down to it. It was impossible 
to use more than half a potful of water at a time and a good 
deal of that slopped over the galley as the ship lurched and 
rolled, or it swamped the fires with a vast hissing and great 
clouds of steam and smoke. 

Biscuits and chocolate were distributed to the hungry crew 
to keep them quiet. 

Night fell and it seemed almost as though the very heavens 
themselves were falling in. Sometimes it felt as though the 
Pmgttm were about to take a dive for the bottom, but each 
time she reared up again and rode out the waves, towering for 
a moment or two over the tossing gray waters, only to lurch 
down again. 

Gradually the long night passed, and the dawn began to 
wrestle with the grim, dark furies of the night. Toward mid- 
day the weather improved, and blue sky was visible here and 
there between the cloud wracks. By evening the clouds were 
rising away from the sea. The storm was over. Kriider took 
a rest 

He fust took off his top dbthes and lay down; otherwise he 
was fufly dressed. The rest of an auxiliary cruiser commander 
seldom lasts long, and he must be prepared to jump up and 


be ready for immediate action without stopping to bother 
about dressing or making his toilet. He had not been resting 
for long when the sound of hurried steps approaching woke 
him. The door of his cabin was torn open. 


"What is it?" demanded Kriider. He was already fully 

"Ship to port, sir." 

Kriider was on the bridge and studying the stranger in no 
time. Her silhouette could be seen clearly in the starry night. 

A ship in this latitude! Its presence was suspicious. Kriider 
knew that he had every reason to keep quiet. He wanted to 
reach the Indian Ocean his assigned zone of operations 
without attracting attention. Once there he hoped to attract 
a good deal 

His officers were all in favor of tackling the stranger. It 
would be dead easy, they argued. Everyone on board was 
probably asleep except the helmsman, the lookout, and the 
engine-room watch. Kriider listened to their urgent discus- 
sion. Now Lieutenant Michaelsen was pouring cold water 
on their ardor; first of all, the stranger might easily be a 
British auxiliary cruiser, which meant a fight. That was all 
right and they might well gain the upper hand, but the enemy 
would have ample time to use his wireless and that meant 
betraying the Pinguins position, and that was the last thing 
they wanted. Secondly, there was a possibility that the 
stranger was a German blockade runner from Japan, or a 
German prize. Whatever she was, it seemed very unlikely 
that she was an ordinary freighter. An ordinary freighter 
would never be on such a course. 

Kriider listened to the discussion with interest, but made no 
attempt to join in. Finally, without comment, he gave the 
order to turn away, leaving the other ship to go on her way 


Apart from Michaelsen, Kriider's officers were disappointed 
at liis decision, but later on it was seen to have been correct. 
'The commander of another auxiliary cruiser subsequently 
informed them that the strange ship was the Tirana, a German 
prize carrying a large number of British prisoners on board. 
She never reached home. When only a few miles from the 
French Atlantic coast, she was torpedoed by a British sub- 
marine and sunk. At least the crew and their unwilling guests 
were saved, and that was something. But to be so near safety, 
to have negotiated the blockade successfully and overcome a 
variety of other difficulties and dangers, and then to be sunk 
at the last moment it was disappointing. 


and the men of the Pinguin hoped that it would prove pro- 

Almost parallel to the meridian, the Pinguin turned north- 
ward to sunnier climes. The ugly, threatening Roaring Forties 
were behind them now, and warmer weather came with the 
first appearance of the southeast monsoon. The men's oil- 
skins, hard, harsh, and evil-smelling, were hanging unwanted 
in the shrouds. The sea was calm, too, and there was a long, 
deliberate swell. 

One night the men on watch saw an extraordinary sight, 
and for those men alone on a strange sea far away from their 
homes and their friends it was like a glimpse of a ^disbelieved 
fairyland. The sea literally glowed, and the light was so strong 
as almost to be dazzling. It was as though powerful under- 
water searchlights were at work. 

The scientific meteorological officer from Danzig was 
awakened and brought to the bridge to inspect the phenom- 

* c Sea glow is nothing unusual in these latitudes, 7 * he said. 
"It happens to be very strong at the moment, and that is 
probably connected with the currents blown here by the 
monsoon. The great variety of life forms in the sea and the 
never-ending struggle between them is carried nearer to the 
surface at this time of the year." 



Among the glowing bodies in the sea was almost every kind 
of aquatic fauna and flora. There were wheel animalcules, 
molluscs, jellyfish and squids, sea-worms, crabs, octopuses, 
and infusoria galore. And the water was laced with a tremen- 
dous number of shining bacteria. Many of these living things 
were provided with lights to find their prey and spot their 
enemies. They were the glow-worms of the sea. 

Lieutenant Bach recalled that on board the liner Bremen 
a scientist had once told him that the denizens of the ocean 
abysses would often come up to the surface at nights. Apart 
from their skeleton structure of bone and horneous tissue, these 
creatures consisted of nothing but cells of a transparent jelly- 
like substance filled with a watery matter to enable them to 
resist the enormous pressure set up at depths of twelve thou- 
sand feet and more. In appearance they were reminiscent of 
the devil's masks of Chinese mummers. 

"Water is the principle, or element, of all things/* said 
Kriider. It was a reference to Thales of Miletus who only a 
few days before had been the subject of a long discussion in 
the wardroom. 

The discussion began again now in the shining night. To- 
ward morning they had got as far as the discovery of the 
irrational, and returned to the sea as the origin of all life. 
Someone quoted a commentary on the tenth book of Euclid: 

*lt is said that the man who first dragged the irrational 
from the hidden depths into the light of day was punished for 
his temerity by suffering shipwreck. The inexpressible should 
have remained a secret for ever. The culprit who touched 
sacrilegiously on the origin of life was hurled into the depths 
whence life had come and where his body would be rolled 
around by the waves for all eternity." 

Lieutenant Gabe noted in his diary: *lt makes a very pleas- 
ant change to watch motion pictures occasionally. The film 


department at home has provided us with a number of very 
good films and we see one almost every week the war per- 
mitting. As we have only one projector there is always a pause 
between the reels. It takes me back to my schooldays when, 
just at the critical moment, the picture would be cut off with 
the laconic announcement: "End of Reel 5/ 

"There's not much room and there's always a good deal 
of jostling and craning of necks in order to get a glimpse of 
the very small screen, but I've developed such a technique 
that my pleasure is no longer ruined by the crush. I had al- 
ready seen a good many of the pictures, but it's always fun to 
see them again. Owing to the small space available and the 
fact that part of the crew must necessarily be on duty the 
first time they are shown, they always have to be shown again 
anyhow. In one of the recent films there was a floozie doing 
a strip tease. The Old Man, who was present, indignantly 
ordered her to put her clothes on again, which was quite 
simply arranged; all the projectionist had to do was to run it 
through backward. 

"The general opinion is that the Old Man who isn't as 
old as all that! just wanted to see it all over again." 

The Pinguin arrived safely in the Indian Ocean. A vast 
canopy of blue covered the sea, and all day long a warm sun 
shone down. It greatly heartened the men after the cold of 
the southern latitudes, and the general atmosphere grew even 
more cheerful. 

"I can well understand why so many people like to go 
south for their holidays,'* said a sailor, and he added lyrically: 
"Everything's lighter, warmer, happier and more hopefuL 
It makes you open up like a flower." 

"It's north we've just come, not south," a more earthbound 
soul reminded him. 

Having arrived in her proper zone of operations, the Pinguin 


began to quarter the sea in the hope of coining across enemy 
ships. At first there was no sign of shipping. Were they going 
to draw a blank? Had the British got wind of the Pinguins 
presence after all? And had they re-routed their shipping in 
consequence? They weren't dumbbells, and they had had a 
good deal of experience of this sort of thing. It was never wise 
to underestimate an enemy. 

On one such magnificent day, the pilot of the Pinguins re- 
connaissance plane was summoned to the bridge. 

"Well?" asked Kruder. "Can we let you go?" 

"I think so, sir." 

"Right then," and orders were given to hoist the plane, an 
Arado, out of the ship's hold and lower her over the side. 
Almost the entire crew were assembled on deck to watch the 
operation. Her engine started up and the water below began 
to froth in the tremendous wind created by the propeller. A 
hand was raised under the cupola. The motor went into a 
crescendo roar, the slipstream whipped up a torrent of water, 
and the sunlight broke in a thousand rainbows in it. Then on 
the next swell the plane rose into the air, and the watchers 
on deck broke into a cheer. 

But so far the Arado had no height. Just a slight loss in 
altitude and the floats would touch the waves and over she 
would go, nose down into the sea. There was not a sound from 
the deck now apart from a deep sigh as someone gasped for 
breath in his excitement Then the plane gained height. 

Aa Arado over the Indian Ocean, got into the air without a 
catapult; |ust from the surface of the ocean, like a duck off a 
pond- Hie silence was broken, now as the men cheered again 
and shouted enthusiastically, each one trying to make himself 
heard above the other. 

The Arado flew round in circles while Lieutenant Miiller, 
the observer, exchanged Morse signals with the Pinguin. The 
ship immediately altered her course, and the plane's <x>mpass 


was tested and adjusted. After the long wait inside the iron 
belly of the Pinguin, the magnets were a trifle out and that had 
first to be compensated for. In that enormous waste of water 
nothing but absolutely accurate navigation could ever bring 
the plane back to that little dot in the ocean which was the 
Pinguin. It was nothing extraordinary for such reconnaissance 
planes to get lost. One auxiliary cruiser never recovered her 
reconnaissance plane at all, and, later on, the heavy cruiser 
Admiral Scheer lost hers, though fortunately she managed 
to find it again after a day-and-a-half search. 

The observer in the Arado and the navigating officer on the 
Pinguin had agreed on a code: certain colored stars would 
indicate that an enemy warship had been spotted- other 
colored stars meant an enemy merchantman. But first catch 
your hare. . . , 

In the Arado the pilot flew with the chart on his knees. Down 
below the long gaps between one curling swell and the next 
had shrunk to next to nothing. The sea looked like a pond 
with little wavelets just being stirred by a gentle breeze. The 
pilot was not deceived. Wait till we want to get down on it,* 
he thought. It'll look different then/ 

The air was beginning to grow a little misty from the haze 
rising from the sea. At this height the Pinguin was out of 
sight. It is an error to suppose that great heights always give 
longer visibility. Mist often makes visibility poor. On the oiter 
hand, the small, speedy machine could fly rapidly over many 
hundreds of miles of sea, searching as it went 

They had been flying for about an hour and they had seen 
nothing at all. Nothing except the sky and the sea. The 
plane described a steep curve, and the horizon, more felt 
than seen, owing to the haze, swung out of line. Lieutenant 
Miiller looked at his chart and then at the pilot for some 
explanation. The latter raised his hand in the air and 


pointed forward and downward. A grinning face turned 
around and a piece of paper was handed over. Lieutenant 
Miiller looked at the scrap of paper torn out of the pilot's 
notebook. It was none too clean, and on it in big, clumsily 
printed letters were the words: "Something down below. Am 
taking a look!" 

The observer stared in the direction indicated. Yes, there 
was something there. He was annoyed at not having seen it 
first. After all, it was his job. It was a very small speck, like a 
graip of rice dropped among sand. And a heat haze over 
it into the bargain. Damned good eyes the fellow had! 

"Looks like a tanker/ 1 * he shrieked. 

"How right you are," bawled back the pilot, releasing the 
stick and drying his hands which had gone damp with excite- 

The spot grew larger and the black turned to gray. They 
could see now that die stern structure was higher than the 
rest of the ship. In the center was the bridge. The usual con- 
struction. It was a tanker all right. Was it moving, or just drift- 
ing? It was moving; there was a white froth under the stern 
and silver ripples running away from the bows. 

The observer calculated how far away the Pinguin was. 
One hundred and fifty miles! That was a heck of a distance. 
It was two o'clock. If only those fellows hadn't taken so long 
to lower the old kite into the water! They'd treated her as 
though she were porcelain! The good old Arado wasn't as 
delicate as that She could stand a bit of knocking about. And 
% in a storm if need be, just like the albatross they had stared 
at only a few weeks before. 

As things stood, it would take the Pinguin all her time to 
reach the spot before sundown. At the moment she was even 
steaming a course taking her gradually farther and farther 
away from the tanker. It was also quite possible that, with 
dusk, the tanker would alter course. The night would be 


dark, even in the Indian Ocean. Dark and moonless earlier 
on. The moon didn't rise until midnight. 

"Damned nuisance," he shrieked to inform his colleague of 
the results of his calculations. The other nodded and shouted 
back something the observer failed to understand. Taking 
his own notebook he scribbled a message and handed it to 
the pilot, who read it and nodded. 

"Keep clear. Don't want to be seen." 

The Arado turned for "home" and found her way safely 
back to the Pinguin. When Kriider had listened to the ob- 
server's report and plotted the tanker's position on the chart, 
he began silent calculations with parallel ruler and dividers. 
It was obvious from the look on his face that there was very 
little hope of intercepting the tanker before sunset, and there 
was disappointed silence in the chart house, broken only by 
the slight clatter as he let his instruments drop. 

Kriider still said nothing, but the watching officers saw the 
telltale lines between his eyes. Suddenly he picked up his 
instruments again, made further calculations and scribbled 
down a few figures on a piece of paper. 

'There's nothing for it," he said finally. "Well have to 
persuade them to cooperate. Miiller, drop them this message." 

Kriider had scribbled a short message in English: "Steer 
230 degrees. S.W.&W. German commerce raider operating 
ahead of you. (Sig.) Hopkins. Commander H.M.S. Cumber- 

"But . . r Mueller was about to make an objection. 

"I know that perfectly well," Kriider interrupted. "But just 
try it. The gentleman over there may not know the difference 
between an Arado and a Swordfish, It's a chance." 

The superstructure of the tanker grew larger and larger. The 
Arado flew very low to give the watchers on board the least 
possible opportunity of seeing the German markings on the 
plane's wings. Suddenly they were spotted on board the 


tanker, and little figures began running around like chickens 
when a hawk hovers overhead. Some of them were pointing 
upward excitedly. On the bridge was a man in a white cap, 
the captain or officer o the watch: it didn't matter. 

There was a sudden sharp report, something like a cork 
being released from a champagne bottle, as the observer fired 
his signal pistol. Leaving trails of smoke behind them, the 
little balls of light shot out, glowing bright red even in the day- 
light. They shot ahead of the plane to the other side of the 
tanker. With one accord everyone on board watched their 
flight and turned their heads away from the plane, which 
was exactly the idea! For a precious moment or two they 
watched the fireworks instead of the plane. 

The observer had to bend far out of the cockpit. The fierce 
wind of their flight took his breath away and closed his nos- 
trils almost as though a strong hand had been laid roughly 
over his face. In his right hand he clutched the weighted mes- 
sage bag, and his whole body was tensed. It was not more 
than 300 feet to the tanker now. 

'My Godl' he thought. We're going to take the mast with 
us! DaiBn it, can't that fellow see? Or has he gone mad? Lift 
her, you clot, lift her!* The observer forgot the danger as the 
split second in which he had to drop his message arrived. 
The tanker was not more than fifty or sixty feet below them 
now. They had calculated everything so carefully the height, 
the wind speed, their own speed, the speed of the tanker, the 
parabola of the message bag in falling and now this hedge- 
hopping lunatic was upsetting the whole apple-cart and going 
down Bfce a bull at a gate! With a sudden swing of bis arm, 
the observer hurled the bag to the deck. It was only a few feet 
below them. He could see men throwing themselves down 
far safety. For a fraction of a second he saw the bag falling. 
Then tibe sound changed as they hurtled over the tanker and 
zoomed up into the air again. Exhausted, he sank back into his 


seat and pulled forward the cockpit lid. With the back of his 
hand he wiped the sweat from his forehead. When he looked 
down again the tanker was far away, once again a black speck 
on the blue cloth of the Indian Ocean. They circled around at 
a respectful distance. A red flag with a blue cross on it had 
been spread out on the deck of the tanker now. As they had 
thought, she was a Norwegian. 

Anxiously both pilot and observer studied their own instru- 
ments and then the course of the tanker. 

"It's worked!" shouted the pilot. Once again he had noticed 
it first; the tanker had altered course. As they watched eagerly, 
she turned steadily onto the course which would take her into 
the expectant arms of the Pinguin. 

Kfiider's luck was holding. All was f air in love and war 
particularly where the British were concerned. They were as 
artful as a wagonload of monkeys themselves. And the pro- 
British Norwegians must take what was coming to them. 
They should have kept their eyes peeled. The bkck German 
cross was plain enough to be seen. That idea with the red 
signal lights had been a touch of Kriider's genius. A very 
simple trick, but it had served to distract their attention at 
the critical moment. 

The Arado returned to the Pinguin and touched down on 
the water as lightly and easily as a gull. It was only then that 
the pilot remembered his previous anxiety about just that. 
The commander was right: don't worry; get the job done. 

"Check up whether the fellow is still maintaining his new 
course/* shouted Kriider from the bridge. 

"Got to fuel first, sir," 

"Get on with it then. Everything's ready." 

While the Pinguin steamed on her way to meet the tanker, 
the two airmen filled up their tank with the cans that had been 
handed over the side, filled up until the tank was running over. 
Then they started off agaiq. 


By the time they arrived back where the tanker should have 
been, a couple of hours had passed since they had last seen 
her, but now the sea seemed empty. Hastily they checked their 
course and compared times. No, there had been no mistake 
in their calculations. A compass error? Out of the question. 
Well, where the devil was she? 

"There she is!" 

And there she was, far away to the left. Rapid calculations 
indicated that she must have been steaming on her old course 
for at least half an hour. What had happened? Perhaps the 
captain had grown suspicious when there was no sign of 
H.M.S. Cumberland. Or perhaps he was a hardboiled Viking 
who resented outsiders setting his course for him. Or had they 
recognized the German markings on the Arado after all? 
Whatever the truth was, something had to be done. But what? 

They flew nearer to the tanker. Her captain had obviously 
not the slightest intention of taking the new course he had 
been ordered to take. 'Obstinate old so-and-so,' thought the 
observer. He wasn't even on the bridge now. It was as though 
he had turned his back indifferently. "Go and take a running 
jump at yourself," his absence seemed to say. 

Altogether, the men on board the tanker seemed strangely 
indifferent to the presence of the plane. Now and again a 
man would stop and take a squint at her, his hands stuck in 
his trousers pockets, and then go on with whatever he was 
doing. *If they really suspect the message from the Cumber- 
land was a trick, they're pretty cool about it/ thought the 
observer. *A damned fine comedy they're putting up. On the 
other hand, if they don't suspect, then their attitude doesn't 
say much for the harmonious relationship between the British 
and the Norwegians/ 

But that didn't matter either at the moment It was a stupid 
situation. The observer had a 'picture of himself standing 
before Kriider with empty hands. No tanker! He didn't like 


the picture at all. They could compel the obstinate old Nor- 
wegian sea-dog to turn onto the ordered course, but then 
the tanker would have to be kept in view. Evening was draw- 
ing in now, and a pitch-dark night would follow, without a 
moon until very much later. In any case, they hadn't enough 
fuel to keep in the air and wait for the arrival of the Pinguin. 

The Arado swept around close to the tanker and lo and 
behold! the tanker moved onto the appointed course. But 
no sooner had they congratulated themselves gleefully than 
the tanker turned back again to the old one. This cat and 
mouse game went on for a while until Miiller got fed up 
being well aware of the state of the fuel in the tank. 

The Arado dropped a bomb ahead of the tanker's bows, 
ordered the captain to stop his engines and reinforced the 
order with a machine-gun burst hard by the bridge. 

The signal lamp on board got to work. 

*Tm stopping/' they read, "but 111 report this to the 

The Norwegian captain was growing indignant. The Arado 
touched down near the tanker. There was no more fuel in 
the tanks to keep her in the air but the Norwegian did not 
know that. 

In the meantime, the Pinguin was racing at full speed to- 
ward the tanker. Apart from the men actually on duty, the 
crew were resting at the captain's instructions, but "Action 
- stations!" would bring about a sudden change in the silent 

At five o'clock the lookout could see nothing ahead. At 
six o'clock it was the same. Then evening fell, and by 1900 it 
was pitch dark. At 1945 the lookout reported: "Navigation 
lights of a ship hove to on the starboard bow." Almost im- 
mediately after that they spotted smaller lights almost level 
with the sea near the ship; they were dancing up and down 
madly. That could only be the Arado. A searchlight cut 


through the darkness. Yes, there they were: the Arado and 
the Norwegian tanker. The searchlight picked its way along 
the tanker and back again. As far as the men on the Pinguin 
could see, the tanker was unarmed. 

With a great shrieking and rolling of davits, two boats 
loaded with the boarding party were lowered. Two splashes 
announced their safe arrival on the water. An operation which 
had been practiced until it had become second nature now 
proceeded smoothly despite the heavy swell running. Every 
movement had become automatic; it had to be if the two 
boats and their crews were not to be pitched into the 

Lieutenant Warning was in the first boat. As he climbed the 
rope ladder lowered over tiie side of the tanker the first thing 
he spotted was a peaked cap with gold braid. The Norwegian 
captain was waiting for him. When Warning climbed over 
the rail and the Norwegian captain saw a German naval 
officer, instead of the British naval officer he had been expect- 
ing, he started back a step or two in astonishment. 

"God damn," he gasped. *1 suspected something was wrong, 
but I never thought of Germans in these waters." 

Without further orders they had their instructions already 
the prize crew swarmed over the tanker. Most of the men 
had served in the merchant marine before the war and it was 
not difficult for them to find their way about. The communica- 
tions men seized the ship's radio, engine-room ratings seized 
the engine room, and sailors seized the bridge, Everything 
went so quickly that the surprised Norwegians had no time 
even to think of resistance. The bridge personnel did not 
even have enough tine to destroy the ship's confidential 

Just fifteen minutes after he Had lung his leg over the 
tanker's rail Warning signaled back to the Pingwn: 


"Ship safely in our hands. Norwegian tanker Filefjell 
Cargo; 10,000 tons of gasoline; 500 tons of fuel oil. Ship's 
papers safe." 

Still on board the Arado, the observer Miiller had read 
Warning's message. "Ten thousand tons of gasoline/' he mut- 
tered. "No wonder they were such good boys after we dropped 
that bomb!" 

Kriider had already decided to take over as much as pos- 
sible of the fresh provisions on board the Filefjell, when the 
experts sent on board the prize reported that the 500 tons of 
oil fuel was suitable for use in the Pinguin. That was good 
luck. The crude oil carried by tankers was not always suitable 
for use by modern marine engines. Kriider then decided to 
take the tanker into quieter waters and there transfer the 
oil fuel to the Pinguin. 

While the two ships were on their way to the area Kriider 
had chosen, the lookout spotted two faint lights to starboard, 
the one ruby red, the other poisonous green. They were un- 
doubtedly the partly blacked-out navigation lights of a fairly 
big ship. It was midnight and the moon was just rising. From 
the bridge of the Pinguin they could make out the shadowy 
shape of the new ship. 

Kriider ordered his men to action stations and set a parraHel 
course. At the same time he instructed the German prize crew 
on board the Filefjell to take station astern. Once abeam of 
the stranger, Kriider signaled: 

"Heave to at once. Maintain radio silence or we open fire." 

Kriider reinforced these instructions by ordering a warn- 
ing shot to be fired across the stranger's bows. Communica- 
tions officer Brunke appeared on the bridge. 

"Enemy using her radio, sir." 

Kriider ordered tbe searchlight to be switched on. In its 
brilliant light they could observe a gun crew hastily manning 


a typical long-barrelled British gun. Through his night glasses 
Kriider closely followed every movement on board the enemy 
vessel. She was also a tanker. He still hesitated to open fire, 
hoping that the enemy would come to his senses. It was quite 
absurd for them to attempt to defend themselves against the 
Pinguin with that one gun. 

"The captain was probably in his cabin fast asleep/' he said. 
"His men are just doing what they've been instructed to do in 
case of emergency." 

"Enemy still using her radio/' reported the communications 

Kriider ordered his port guns to open fire. It was just as the 
gun crew on board the British tanker were sighting their gun. 
The Pinguin s guns fired salvoes, some of which found their 
mark. The tanker stopped, and the gun crew hurriedly aban- 
doned their gun. 

The order to cease fire was given; and Kriider had a mes- 
sage flashed to the tanker, allowing the crew ten min- 
utes in which to abandon ship. Men could be seen running 
to the boats. Before long they were rowing away from 
the British tanker's stern in the light of the Pinguin s search- 

"To judge from the numbers there's pretty well the whole 
crew in the boats, sir/' remarked the navigating officer. 

"Looks like it/' agreed Kriider. "They've got wounded with 
them. Have Dr. Wenzel and Dr. Hasselmann get the oper- 
ating room ready. . . r 

"Cape Town has acknowledged receipt of radio messages,** 
came a message from the radio cabin. 

"Singapore has acknowledged receipt and relayed appeal 
for help. . . r 

The ether was alive now. 

When the lifeboats were well clear of the tanker's star- 
board side, the Pmgwn approached close to her port side 


and fired a torpedo in the hope of finishing her off. The tor- 
pedo struck amidships and brought down the foremast; but 
the tanker, although listing to port, remained afloat. 

Kriider turned his attention to the survivors, going along- 
side each boat in turn and picking up the occupants. 

The ship was the 7,000-ton tanker British Commander. 

The last man climbed up the Pinguin s side and stood on 
the deck. It was the tanker's captain, Thornton, a fine-looking 
man, tall and slim with sharply chiseled features. He stood 
there calmly and with dignity until he was instructed to go 
to the prison quarters of the Pinguin. At this he showed some 

"What nonsense/' he grumbled. "You'll have a British cruiser 
along any moment now to take us off/' 

But he was mistaken. 

When he joined his men he was received with enthusiasm. 
Apparently he had been a popular commander. 

Lieutenant Brunke appeared on the bridge again: "Enemy 
radio still transmitting sir," he reported. 

A British communications man was apparently still on 
board. In the face of certain death, he was doing his duty 
to the last. If so, he could be in no possible doubt as to what 
would happen next. The Pinguin had already fired several 
salvoes and a torpedo, Kriider now gave the order to destroy 
the British Commander by gunfire and the salvoes crashed 
out once again. While the German officers stood at the salute, 
the vessel slowly heeled over and slid out of sight. 

"It goes against the grain to blow a brave man to hell like 
that," said Kriider quietly, "but war's war. Guts that fellow 

"I've always said the British were very different from die 
picture our propaganda paints," said Michaelsen. It was just 
as well that it was Michaelsen who dared to be so frank 
Kriider had a high opinion of his navigating officer and valued 


his cool and calculating efficiency; it formed a useful contrast 
to his own more impulsive nature. Such talk was bad for 
morale and was definitely discouraged, yet Kriider sup- 
pressed the sharp rebuke any other man would have re- 
ceived and turned away to give an order. He sent a message 
to the British radio operator to be good enough to come to 
the bridge. 

Escorted by two sailors, the radio operator appeared be- 
fore Kriider, who immediately asked him whether anyone 
had been left behind to continue sending messages after the 
British Commander had been abandoned. 

"No," was the emphatic reply. 

< TThen had you a device which would send out a delayed 
distress call after the crew had taken to the boats?" 

Again the radio operator shook his head. 

Kriider realized that he was not going to get to the bottom 
of the mystery and he allowed the man to be taken below. 
Nor did he refer to the matter when he interviewed Captain 
Thornton on the following day. Perhaps the key of the trans- 
mitter, jarred by an explosion, had sent out what appeared to 
be a signal The transmission generators must have been left 
in operation when the ship was abandoned. 

Below in the operating room, the German doctors and their 
assistants were attending to the British wounded. It was six 
o'clock before the two doctors put down their bloodstained 
instruments and began to clear up. All the wounded men were 
now comfortably bunked down in the sick-bay. The two 
sfcfc-bay attendant Schilhabel and Poeten, were silent and 
a little depressed. Tins was their first experience of the real 
thing. They had never seen human beings torn and maimed 
before. They washed their bloodstained hands and arms with 
medicated soap. 

"They've got wives and kids at home, too," said Poeten 
slowly. It makes you tifainL" 


At about ten o'clock in the morning the captured tanker 
Fileffell hove in sight astern, and the prize crew reported that 
they had spotted smoke on the horizon. The Pinguin im- 
mediately turned and steamed in the direction indicated. 

Strangely enough, when they came in sight of the ship she 
made no attempt to turn away in accordance with the general 
instructions issued to all Allied shipping. She did not alter her 
course even when the Pinguin overhauled her on a converging 
course from the port side. 

Kriider and Michaelsen were on the bridge carefully study- 
ing the shipping recognition tables. 

"Looks too elegant for a British freighter/* said Kriider. 
"Shouldn't be surprised if it was American/' 

"That'd be a pity, but I don't think she is/' commented 
Michaelsen, and he thumbed through the section devoted to 
Norwegian shipping. 

The indifference of the stranger suggested that Allied ship- 
ping in the Indian Ocean felt very safe. The nearness of 
Madagascar was Kriider's trump card. 

The stranger turned out to be the Norwegian ship Morviken, 
a splendid modern freighter with almost elegant lines, built 
at Bremen to the specification of the Norwegians. As 
Michaelsen identified her he experienced an unpleasant thrill 
he did not mention to Kriider. 

The Pinguin drew level with the Morwken to starboard, 
and Kruder ordered a warning shot to be fired across her 
bow. The shell sent a column of water into the air ahead of the 
Norwegian, whose captain stopped his engines at once, spread 
out a huge Norwegian flag, maintained radio silence, and 
waited silently for the arrival of the boarding party. It was 
once again in charge of Lieutenant Warning, but this time 
the men set off in rubber boats. After the unfortunate expe- 
rience with the Domingo de Larrinaga, Kruder had decided to 
send his boarding parties off in canoes, like Indians on the 


warpath, so that when they had to blow up a ship they need 
have no fear that a motorboat might let them down at the 
last moment. 

On board the Morviken the Norwegian captain begged 
Warning not to sink his ship. 

"Look at her!" he exclaimed desperately. "She's the finest 
ship in the Norwegian mercantile marine. If you like 111 
take her to Germany myself. You can trust me. Ill give you 
my word of honor as a Norwegian." 

Lieutenant Warning had naturally no authority to deal 
with a matter like that, and he signaled back the Norwegian 
captain's proposal to the Pinguin. 

It was tempting, and Kriider had no doubt that the Nor- 
wegian captain would be as good as his word. However, he 
felt that in the circumstances it was impossible for him to 
agree. The Norwegian was probably honest enough; but the 
desperate wireless calls sent out by the British tanker had set 
the whole western Indian Ocean in an uproar, and the chances 
of getting the Morviken to safety if they made her a prize were 
too slender. Regretfully, therefore, he gave the order to sink 
her by torpedo. The crew and the boarding party left the 
% Morviken. In the meantime all the men of the Pinguin who 
were not elsewhere on duty had gathered along the rail to 
watch the show. Suddenly a shout of delight went up and 
turned into cheering: one of the lifeboats of die Morviken had 
started up an engine and begun to sail merrily toward the 
Pingmn. The motorboat was taken on board with the utmost 
care. It was just what the Pinguin needed. Later on she was 
to capture a second one. 

When the Norwegian captain came on board he immedi- 
ately addressed Boatswain Rauch in fluent German: 

"Didn't we behave correctly?*' he demanded. 

**You certainly did, sir," replied Rauch. "Very correctly, 
in fact By stopping at once and not using your radio you saved 


yourself and your crew a lot of trouble and made it less awk- 
ward for us/' 

The Norwegian, obviously an educated and widely traveled 
man, gave a short bow. The boatswain collected the Nor- 
wegian crew and took them to their quarters. Like all the 
other prisoners, they were immediately given a hot meal. 

Meanwhile, their ship ended her career. The torpedo struck 
her amidships with a tremendous explosion. Slowly the splen- 
did ship sank by the stern, her bows rising in the air like a 
tower. For a moment or so she remained in an almost vertical 
position, her bridge structure half out of the water. Then she 
slid silently backward under the blue surface of the sea. There 
was no cheering on board the Pinguin as she went. No one felt 
particularly happy at this new success. The death of a ship 
is a sad occasion for a sailor, and the Morviken died nobly 
and impressively. 

Lieutenant Michaelsen had said nothing about it to Kriider, 
but he knew the Norwegian captain very well indeed; in fact 
they had been good friends for years. A day or so later he 
asked Kriider for permission to receive the Norwegian in his 

But when the Norwegian spotted Michaelsen he stopped 
and turned pale. 

"You did it/' he stammered. "You of all people!" 

"No, not me," said Michaelsen. *Tm not the captain. Ac- 
tually I tried to persuade him to accept your offer, but it was 
no good. Not that he mistrusted you, but it wouldn't have 
worked. He was right, you know. I couldn't stand out." 

"Couldn't stand out! Yes, I know. The usual story; orders 
are orders. You had to obey. Discipline and all that. Like a 
gramophone record." 

The Norwegian was disgusted. 

"Don't take it too hard, old man," said Michaelsen. "What 


would you say if your chief engineer suddenly raked the fires 
out and said he wasn't going to play any more? You'd call that 
mutiny on the high seas, wouldn't you now?" 

"I suppose so." 

"WeU, there you are. My position wasn't any different. At 
sea you've got to obey orders, whether you like it or not. 
You know that. Don't bear me any ill will, man. Shake hands." 


of the danger area as quickly as possible. The captured tanker 
Filefjell followed at some distance. Twice on that eventful 
day smoke was spotted on the horizon. In the discussions 
that followed, the cautious Michaelsen was against attacking. 
His prudence was well founded; the Pinguin was no more 
than 400 miles from land. 

Night fell and the sky was spangled with unfamiliar stars, 
brighter and more beautiful stars than those of the northern 
hemisphere, with the magnificent Southern Cross, the con- 
stellation the Australians have symbolically incorporated in 
their national flag, as the showpiece. 

Communications Officer Brunke appeared on the bridge. 
Kriider turned to him at once, afraid that he might be bringing 
bad news. Kriider read his message, laughed with satisfaction, 
and handed it to Michaelsen. The Naval Command had sent 
congratulations on the sinking of the British tanker. Obviously 
they had picked up the desperate appeals of the British Com- 
mander and, putting two and two together, rightly concluded 
that the Pinguin had been responsible. 

At eight o'clock that evening Kriider gave orders to sink 
the Filefjett. This time the scuttling party used the new motor 
cutter. Kriider took the Pinguin some distance away; he 
wanted to run no unnecessary risks. Exploding masses of 
gasoline could be very dangerous. Hie explosive charges went 



off dully and a series of reports sounded from the engine room. 
But the expected result did not take place; the gasoline neither 
exploded nor caught fire. The Filefjell settled slowly by the 
stern, but five hours later, at one o'clock in the morning, she 
was still afloat. 

Kriider ordered her to be finished off by gunfire, and the 3.7 
opened up. But the Filefjell still remained obstinately afloat. 
Kriider then decided to sink her with one of the big guns. The 
second shell hit the tanker toward the stern, and immediately 
a spurt of flame shot out of a gaping hole in her hull. Her 
gasoline was running out of the tanks now and flaming high 
into the sky. The whole ship and the sea around the tanker 
were soon in flames. Now and again the flames shot 150 feet 
into the air and more as one after the other the tanks exploded. 

It was a dramatic scene, but Kriider was far from pleased; 
he had no desire to attract attention, and once he was satisfied 
that the tanker was doomed he left the neighborhood at full 
speed. By dawn the Pinguin was fifty nautical miles away, but 
on board they could still see the glow of the fire. 

The communications officer reported that the ether was 

The day was bright and sunny and, encouraged by the 
success of his plane with the Filefjett, Kriider decided to send 
her out on another reconnaissance flight. All the crew who 
were not otherwise engaged assembled on the upper deck 
to watch the take-off, which was always difficult and danger- 
cms. It was odd, but with all the technical progress made in 
recent years very little advance had been made in this par- 
ticular matter; they were hardly any farther forward than 
during the First World War, 

Lieutenant Schwinne and Boatswain Ahlendorf studied the 
restless sea anxiously, wondering whether the take-off would 
go smoothly this time. However they made no objection and 
preparations weait forward far hoisting out the Arado* Sailors 

Captain Ernst-Felix Kruder, captain of HK-33 

Lieutenant Helmut Hanefeld 




















uncovered No. 2 hatch, just before the bridge, and then a 
derrick was used to hoist the plane, which was on a platform, 
out on to the deck. The wings had been folded back for 
storage, and now several men fixed them into place. The pilot, 
P.O. Werner, carefully checked each operation and then 
climbed into the machine to warm up the engine. 

He let it run for about fifteen minutes and then gave the 
signal for the difficult maneuver of hoisting the machine out 
into the water. The purchase was hooked to the Arado at the 
center of gravity between the wings, and as the electric motor 
began to hum the Arado was slowly and gently lifted, swung 
over the side clear of the hull, and then lowered to the water. 
A number of sailors, experienced men, most of them from the 
mercantile marine, assisted the process with steadying lines 
and bamboo poles with padded ends. 

When the plane had almost touched the water the pilot 
started up the engine. This was the critical moment, the mo- 
ment when the plane was actually lowered on to the surface 
of the rolling sea and the purchase had to be released. If the 
hook were disengaged too soon the plane would drop heavily; 
if it were released too late the plane would capsize, for the sea 
was in constant movement. 

The hook came away, the plane sat lightly on the water and 
moved away under its own power from the dangerous prox- 
imity of the Pinguins hull. An audible sigh of relief went up 
from the spectators. 

Kriider was no less relieved. He pushed up his gold-peaked 
cap a trifle. "Thank Godl" 

The Pinguin steamed around the Arado at a little distance 
to create a "duck pond" and then stopped on its weather side. 

The pilot started his run, but he was unable to get the 
Arado into the air before leaving the area of still water the 
Pinguin had made for him, and the plane crashed into a heavy 
sea nose first The engine broke adrift and those on board could 


see smoke beginning to pour out. It was followed immediately 
by flames. The pilot and the observer hastily clambered out 
of the cockpit and crawled out on to the wings. To crown 
the disaster, the ammunition of their automatic cannon began 
to explode, and shells began to whizz and crack in all direc- 
tions, The two airmen dived neatly into the water. They would 
have been better advised to make a landlubber's jump, feet 
first, because as they hit the water the automatically inflated 
life jackets were dragged down to their waists and both of 
them had considerable difficulty in keeping their heads above 
water. Owing to the unfortunate position of their life jackets, 
their rumps were forced upward and their heads correspond- 
ingly forced downward. 

As the burning Arado began to sink, a hurriedly lowered 
boat fished the two unfortunates out of the water. 

There was a spare plane on board, but even that comforting 
knowledge was not enough to prevent the depression the 
disaster caused. Things had gone too well for the Pinguin; 
she had had all the luck so far. This incident was a reminder 
that, no matter how hard you try and how skilfully and cou- 
rageously you go to work, there are days when fate takes a 
hand and nothing goes right. 

Wind and sea began to rise. The upper lookout reported the 
masts and funnel of an almost 12,000-ton tanker not too far 
away. As soon as the Pinguin came in sight the tanker turned 
away sharply and then, probably on the assumption that the 
stranger had also followed the standing Allied instructions 
for altering away when sighting other vessels, altered course 
yet again. In the meantime, her radio was sending out urgent 

**TheyVe got a craning old fox on board, 9 * commented 
Kriider, who immediately realized that the alterations of 
course by the British captain were being carried out to dis- 


cover whether the stranger knew the secret instructions or not. 

He was not long left in doubt. 

A little later the communications officer reported that the 
nearby Mauritius station had answered. After a while Durban 
and Port Elizabeth came in. Then the ether, previously so 
silent, was full of signals. Some hours later the Pinguins radio 
picked up the quick rhythm of a warship's message. For an 
experienced communications man, a warship's transmissions 
are easily recognizable by their speed and the manner in which 
they are sent out. 

"It's a fair assumption that after a general alarm like that a 
raider would make for quieter waters, perhaps even vanishing 
into the Antarctic," said Kriider. "They'll hardly credit us 
with sufficient cheek to stay here. What do you think, 

It was a moment or two before Michaelsen answered. His 
was not an impulsive nature; he thought things out carefully 
before he came to a decision, almost like a businessman 
calculating risks. 

'That's fair enough, sir," he answered slowly. TBut only on 
the assumption that they don't know who's captain of this 
ship. You know the British; they don't leave anything to 
chance, and they've got a psychological character sketch of 
every senior officer in the German Navy for ready reference. 
They know perfectly well that you're a different kettle of fish 
from, say, Rogge, Kahler, or Eysson. If the British happen to 
know you're in command, then we're probably steaming 
straight into the arms erf waiting cruisers," 

Knider laughed and made a movement of his hand as much 
as to say that risks had to be taken. 

"WeTl stay put," he said, "and what's more, well have a go 
at the main shipping lines in the Madagascar area." 

An armchair strategist would no doubt have come to a 
different decision, but Kriider was a seaman and accustomed 


to take imponderables into account and he was no bad 

A few days later, camouflaged as a harmless Dutchman, 
they came across the 5,870-ton British freighter Benavon. The 
Pinguin steered a converging course and came so close to the 
British ship that the latter gave a blast or two on her whistle 
as much as to say, "What the devil's the matter with you? 
You're not alone in the sea." 

Then something seemed to dawn on them, and abruptly 
the ship turned away, showing their armed hindquarters. 
These were the tactics always adopted in such circumstances; 
they gave an enemy the smallest possible mark. On board the 
Pinguin they could see the Benavons gun crew hurrying to 
action stations. 

"Full speed ahead/' ordered Kriider. 

The Pinguin began to throb as she raced forward, and every- 
one on board knew what was happening. Two minutes passed, 
three minutes. Who would open fire first? 

Tlun up the war flag. Clear for action. Warning shot 
ahead of her." Kriider gave his orders calmly. In view of the 
preparations on board the Benavon, Kriider was under no 
obligation to fire a warning shot, but in this case too he stuck 
to the much-disputed rules of the game. 

Hardly had the warning shot left the Pinguin s forward gun 
when the Benavon opened fire with her long-barrelled gun, 
and their shooting wasn't bad at all. Shells hit the water very 
dose to the Pinguin, but oddly enough they did not explode. 
One shell ricocheted off the surface and penetrated the 
Pingwns side Mar hatch No. 5, just a little above the mine 
compartment. The shell hit a ventilator and was deflected, 
ending up in a stoker's locker. Several men ware flat on their 
bellies in the compartment; others had fled through the bulk- 
head, but P.O. Streil was still on his feet He scratched his 
head and went toward the smashed door of the locker, took 


off his cap, and picked up the still smoking shell with all the 
coolness of a fictional hero who knows perfectly well it won't 
go off. He examined it carefully and then threw it into the sea 
through the hole it had made. 

The shell had no fuse cap. None of the Benavons shells ex- 
ploded; in their excitement the gun crew had forgotten to 
screw on the caps. 

When the Benavon opened fire, Rriider gave orders to open 
fire with the Pinguins main armament. The enemy's mast flew 
into the air like a tree stump and the funnel crumpled up. Two 
men of the gun crew were blown overboard. Other men ran 
to take their places. Kriider's guns fired again. Ready ammuni- 
tion in the Benavon exploded. 

There was no need for Kriider to use his glasses. "Useless 
heroism/' he said. "They haven't got a chance." 

When the smoke cleared away, the gun and gun crew 
of the Benavon had disappeared. 

"Cease fire/' he ordered. 

The remainder of the Benavons crew were now taking to 
the boats or diving overboard and swimming toward the life- 
rafts which had been flung over the side. Such rafts were 
always in readiness on all British ships. 

Krizder sent off a boarding party together with Dr. Wenzel 
and several assistants. Fire had broken out on board the 
British ship now and it was spreading rapidly. As they dis- 
covered later, the cargo consisted of rubber, jute, and hemp. 
The boarding party climbed onto the deck of the Benavon, 
where they found three men attending as best they could to 
two of their wounded comrades. Dr. Wenzel bandaged the 
men and gave them morphia injections. 

The second officer of the Benavon was reported missing. 
He had been on the bridge, they were told. Dr. Wenzel and the 
officer in charge of the party made their way through the 
acrid smoke to the burning bridge, where they found the 


second officer lying in a pool of blood. Dr. Wenzel opened 
his jacket and made a quick examination. 

"He's still alive," he said. "Let's get him out of here." 

With difficulty, they managed to get him down to the upper 
deck Their tropical jackets began to smolder and their hair 
was singed by the flames, but they got the wounded man into 
the boat, 

"A few photographs of this sort of thing would do those 
people good who cause wars/' said the German officer as he 
watched the groaning man. 

*And who might you be thinking of in particular?" inquired 
the doctor dryly. 

The disconcerted officer withdrew his bloodstained hands 
from the side of the boat and made no reply. 

"What did you start that senseless stink with your pop-gun 
for?" demanded Kriider of the British captain later. "What 
good did it do? You must have seen at once that our ship was 
much more heavily armed." 

"It wasn't me, as a matter of fact," replied the Britisher. "It 
was my first officer. A few weeks ago our sister ship, the 
Benarty, was caught by another German raider and my first 
officer swore that if you ever came near him he'd show you a 
thing or two. You never know, if he'd had a bit of luck he might 
have done so. I admire him for it anyway." 

**So do I, as far as that goes, but if he was so keen on a scrap 
he ought to have trained his gun crew better. There wasn't a 
fuse cap on any of the shells they fired." 

The British captain looked dismayed. 

"Good God!" was all he could say. 

The Benavon was burning from stem to stern now, and a 
great cloud of smoke was slowly rolling over the Indian Ocean. 
September 12th, 1940 ? said the calendar. 

From the British captain Kriider learned that the Benavon 


had been on her way from Singapore to London, and that 
during the past few days she had been repeatedly warned of 
the presence of German raiders in the neighborhood. How- 
ever, he had trusted to luck and hoped that after her first un- 
expected successes the German raider would have cleared out 
of the area. 

"If you don't mind my saying so, Captain, you're talcing a 
big risk, too. It's a bit of a nerve on your part staying around 
here after what's happened. Still, if you want to be reckless, 
that's your business/' 

"If you always do the opposite of what your enemy expects 
you to do, then it's not quite so reckless as it looks," replied 
Kriider with a smile. "Set your mind at rest, Captain; youTl 
be quite safe with us." 

Despite the efforts of the German naval doctors, three of 
the badly wounded British seamen died. The Pinguin hove to 
and their bodies were consigned to the sea with full military 
honors and under their own flag. 

The crew of the Pinguin and their prisoners were fallen in 
on deck, and they listened in silence as Lieutenant Michaelsen 
said a few words before the three bodies went over the side; 
a few words from a seaman to seamen, innocent comrades who 
had been the victims of a historical crisis in men's affairs. The 
lugubrious hooting of the Pinguin 9 s whistle took the place of 
the firing party and its notes died away sadly over the empty 

The weather was perfect. They might have been on a holi- 
day cruise. The sun shone down and the tropical air was warm* 
At nights the clear sky was covered with the stars of the 

O J 

southern hemisphere. Sunday was, as far as possible, a day of 
rest, and life on board was rather like life in a small country 
town where everyone knew everyone else. The men appeared 


on the upper deck somewhat later than on weekdays; and just 
as people put on their Sunday best on land, so the crew of the 
Pinguin put on their best bib and tucker before they appeared 
on deck to take a Sunday stroll. Some of them spun yarns, 
others rested quietly in deck chairs, Now and again a man 
would play his accordion and sing folk songs or old sea 
chanties, and the others would join in. 

Even Schneeldoth, alias Eumaeus, would emerge from his 
piggery on Sundays, dressed in his best, as a living witness 
that man can rise superior to his environment if he's got what 
it takes. 

The pleasant air on deck made him feel that his own charges 
would be the better for it. They were doing very well indeed, 
and growing fatter and fatter on the galley waste, but a little 
fresh air is good for man and beast Schneekloth determined 
to raise the question not with a petty officer or any of the 
officers. Oh, no! This was a matter between him and the 
captain himself. 

"The after-battery deck?" repeated Kriider doubtfully. 
"But my dear Eumaeus, don't you think they'll break their legs 
sliding around there when we roll? We're not on land, you 

*Tve thought of that, sir. If we could have little nobbles 
welded on to the plates I think they'd be able to keep their 

"WeH try it," agreed the good-natured captain. "Nobody 
shall say we don't do the best we can for man and beast." 

But it didn't help much, and when the Pinguin began to roll 
the pigs rolled, too; they were getting heavy by now, and, as 
Kriider had feared, they did break their legs which meant 
work for the butcher and pork for the men, after Dr. Hassel- 
mann had vetted the carcasses. 

They had taken eight pigs on board in Kiel, but one after the 
other they ended their lives on the voyage. Not that the pig 


population declined; on the contrary. The boarding parties 
found live pigs on board one or two of the prizes, and these 
were added to the Pinguin s piggery. The British pigs had very 
long snouts and were rather darker in coloring, but despite the 
difference they got on very well with their German colleagues. 
There seemed to be no racial laws among pigs. 

The Pinguin was now in more easterly waters, but there 
wasn't a smudge of smoke to be seen anywhere. The swift 
disappearance of a number of freighters with valuable cargoes 
and the various calls for assistance that had gone out seemed 
to have put a stop to individual shipping traffic throughout 
the Indian Ocean. However, after a few days they came across 
the Norwegian ship Nordvard, a 4,1 10-ton freighter on her way 
from Australia to South Africa. 

The Pinguin took her easily. A warning shot over the bows. 
Signaled orders. No attempt at resistance. 

Kriider held a conference with his senior officers. 

"We're getting a bit crowded on board/' he said. "I don't 
like keeping all these men in such cramped quarters. And now 
there's the crew of the Nordvard. That will make 150 prisoners 
in all. For a variety of reasons, I'd like to get rid of some of 
them. There's the feeding problem, for one thing. A nice leg 
of pork's a good meal for you and me, gentlemen, but it's noth- 
ing for a lascar." 

In the end it was decided to transfer prisoners to the 
Nordvard, put a prize crew on board, and send her back to 
Germany. After all, she had a very valuable cargo of 7,500 
tons of grain. Lieutenant Hans Neumeier, a former mercantile 
marine officer, was put in command of the prize crew, and 
when everything was ready they sailed for home with the good 
wishes of the crew of the Pinguin, who lined the rails to watch 
them go hoping that their own letters home would arrive 
safely, which, after many adventures, they actually did 


The Pinguin remained on her easterly course. It would 
bring her to Christmas Island and then to Sunda Strait. They 
were now on the main shipping routes from India to South 
Australia, and Kriider proposed to quarter the area for likely 

In the course of everyday life on board a ship at sea for many 
months on such a mission a certain amount of tension inevi- 
tably arises from sheer boredom, even with the best possible 
crew. Kriider was well aware of the problem, and he had al- 
ready done a great deal to keep the men amused and out of 
mischief. There were all sorts of games on board including 
table tennis, and, in addition, there was a carefully chosen 
library. There were loudspeakers on every deck and in all 
compartments. Their main use was, of course, for disseminat- 
ing orders, but in quiet periods they broadcast entertainment. 
And, above all, there were the motion pictures a stock of 
sixty full-length films and a great number of newsreels and 
educational films. 

The seats in the improvised auditorium were made of old 
boxes and upholstered with woolen blankets. The "architects'* 
even made the rows rise in tiers as in a real theater. And, to 
heighten the impression of reality, the man in charge of the 
canteen would close down during performances and appear in 
the auditorium with a tray suspended round his neck selling 
cigarettes, chocolate and so on. 

A special feature of life on board had been introduced by 
Kriider himself. Shore leave was, of course, out of the ques- 
tion, and so he had thought up another way of giving his men 
a real rest and a change from their ordinary duties. He had 
caused a special room to be comfortably equipped, with pic- 
tures on the wafl, easy chairs to sprawl in, and so on, and pro- 
vided with various amenities not normally belonging to the 
seaman's day. Eight members of the crew at a tkne were then 
given a week's Tteave on board," which meant that they were 


freed from all duties. The recreation room was there for them 
to do as they liked in, shout, sing, play games, and so on, and 
their daily beer ration was doubled. As far as the ship's rou- 
tine was concerned these "leave men" were nonexistent un- 
less, of course, "Action stations!" sounded. In such circum- 
stances Kriider needed all hands. 

The Pinguin steamed around for days at half speed through 
the cornflower-blue sea. Each day passed as uneventfully as 
the one before and as the following day would pass or would 
it? Unknown to the crew, unusual plans were being laid in the 
course of conferences on the bridge between Kriider and his 



of the time lie was in his cabin studying special charts of the 
neighborhood of Australian and New Zealand ports with his 
right-hand man, Michaelsen. 

"It's about time our mines earned their passage, Michael- 
sen/' said Kriider one day. "You know that, as an old mine- 
sweeping hand, Tve got a soft spot in my heart for them." 

And that was the beginning of it. Between them they 
worked out a project. But they needed another ship for it, a 
ship of a certain kind; nothing very special a tanker would 

The first yellow rays of the sun were just above the horizon, 
promising another fine day. The sea was calm, and the Pin- 
gwn rose and fell slowly in a gentle swell. The water was 
green, like a cloth with a dull finish. It was still rather chilly, 
and the men on watch shivered. Now and again a block 
creaked, but that was the only sound to break the silence. 
They did not talk to each other, even in whispers. In some 
respects Kriider was a strict captain. He wouldn't have chat- 
ter among the men on watch; while they were on duty their 
attention had to be concentrated on nothing but their job. 
To their relief the sun was suddenly there in all its glory, red 
and glowing; a magnificent display of colors, almost a waste 


It was then that 3. ship hove in sight. She was quickly iden- 
tified as the Norwegian 8,998-ton motor-tanker Storstad, and 
she stopped at once when ordered to do so and made no use 
of her radio. Lieutenant Hanef eld led the boarding party. On 
deck he was formally saluted by the first officer of the tanker, 
a tall, slim, good-looking man of perhaps thirty, who led the 
German officer to his captain's cabin. 

The captain was a big, broad-shouldered man, named 
Williamsen, who accepted the situation calmly and handed 
over the ship's papers readily. 

"So you're carrying diesel oil?'* 

'That's right. Fourteen thousand tons of it." 

'"You are coming from Miri, I see. Where's that? Borneo, 
isn't it?" 

"That's right." 

"And you're on your way to Melbourne?" 

"Yes, I was to receive instructions there about my subse- 
quent movements." 

"On our account, eh?" asked Hanef eld, nodding toward the 
porthole, through which the Pinguin was visible. 

"On your account as well," admitted the captain with the 
ghost of a smile. "Looks as though it's unnecessary now." 

The tanker's crew assembled amidships. They were almost 
all big, strong fellows. 

On board the Pinguin Kriider had summoned the mine 
officer to the bridge. 

"What do you think, Schmidt? Isn't that just the ticket?" 

"A tanker's a little obvious, isn't it, sir?" 

"Just because, my dear fellow. Just because. You don't 
realize the advantages of the old tub. Come along with me. 
Well go over her together." 

And Kriider left the Pinguin for the first and only time 
throughout her voyage. With astonishment the men on deck 
watched their captain being put across to the Norwegian 


tanker, accompanied by Lieutenant Schmidt; Cramer, the 
chief engineer; and Lieutenant Warning. 'There must be 
something in the wind!' they thought. And they were right. 

"This is just the sort of tub I had in mind/' said Kriider, 
pointing to the reddish-brown hull of the Norwegian tanker 
where the original black paint had peeled off in patches. 
When the sea subsided between swells the underwater hull 
looked as though it were smothered with cinders. Barnacles 
and all sorts of fauna and flora were clinging to the plates. 
"I wonder when they were last in dock for a scrape." 

On board the tanker Lieutenant Vossloh reported the re- 
sult of the search. The tanker had somewhat more than 
14,000 tons of diesel oil on board. Analysis showed that it was 
of good quality and quite suitable for immediate use on board 
the Pinguin. 

"Splendid!" exclaimed Kriider, who immediately decided 
to transfer some of the oil from the tanker to the Pinguin. 
"We've just about got room for another 2,000 tons, haven't 
we, Chief?" 

"That's right, sir. Two thousand tons would just about fill 
us up/* 

Kriider made his way aft. 

*What more do you want, gentlemen?" he cried. "This is 
just the place for mines." 

He pointed to the superstructure housing the cabins of the 
engineer officers and other technical personnel and explained 
his ideas to his companions. It was quite obvious that he had 
already thought the whole matter out carefully; the entrance 
to the mine room would be across the front of the deckhouse 
facing aft. When not in use, it could be covered up with a 
tarpaulin. On a dilapidated old ship like this a tarpaulin or 
two would hardly attract any attention. The cabins and the 
corridor partitions would come otit altogether to leave a big, 
hall-like space for the mines. Rails would be laid to get the 


mines out, together with a runway, which could be unshipped 
easily when not in use, over the deck to the stern. 

"No real problem at all/' Kriider concluded. ""And when the 
mines have been laid there'll be room for the lascars. They 
can live on their own and prepare their own tucker/' 

Then he addressed the chief engineer in particular. 

"How long will it take to complete the transformation 
scene, Cramer?" 

"If we had it done at home in a shipyard, then three weeks. 
If we do it ourselves, three days provided everyone lends 
a hand." 

"Come, come, Chief/' said Kriider with a tolerant laugh. 
"That's a bit of an exaggeration. Even the old imperial yards 
weren't as bad as that. Of course everyone will lend a hand, 
officers and men together. Right, three days, then!" 

Eriider took the captured Storstad to the northwest of 
North West Cape out of the main shipping routes and started 
the work of transforming the tanker into a minelayer. For the 
three days the chief engineer had specified the welders 
worked around the clock, and their blue-white tongues of 
flame bit steadily through girder after girder, while hammers 
rang and riveting machines rattled. 

The men worked in shifts in order that no time at all should 
be lost. Three days was very little for the work involved and 
the chief engineer soon realized that he had cut it rather fine, 
but he had given Kriider his word that the work would be 
finished in that time and now he was determined to keep it. 
Thanks to the enthusiastic support of his men, who had 
worked like galley slaves to back him up, on the third day, 
approaching midnight, it was possible for him to go to the 
bridge to report proudly that the work of turning the Sforstad 
into a minelayer was finished. The room for the mines was 
ready and the rails were laid. In the meantime, too, the 2,000 


tons of fuel oil had been transferred without difficulty, and 
the Pinguin now rode deeper in the water than before. 

That same night the work of transferring the mines began. 
Kriider had been quite prepared to leave this until daylight 
in order to give his men a little rest, but the boatswain in 
charge had arrived to say that they would sooner get on with 
the job; they were in good working form and sooner it 
was done the better. With a feeling of pride and warmth in 
his heart Kriider agreed. 

The first idea had been to transfer the mines to the Storstad 
in the Pinguin s rubber boats, but it soon became clear that 
this was impossible and so the motor cutter had to be pressed 
into service. The bottom was padded with mattresses in order 
to prevent the bottom boards from being broken through, 
and then the mines were lifted out of their hold on a derrick 
and carefully maneuvered over the ship's side and lowered 
into the cutter. It was no easy task because the cutter was 
bobbing up and down in a lively swell. The critical moment 
was when the mine was released from the purchase. A moment 
too soon and the heavy monster would smash right through 
the bottom of the cutter. One of the engine-room artificers 
had contrived a release mechanism for dropping the Arado 
into the water and this was now used successfully for the 
mines. The inventive fellow had constructed a slip-device 
that could be released instantly by means of a simple lanyard. 

In the end all the mines were transferred safely to the deck 
of the Storstad. This was no mean performance, and by the 
time the men had finished they were dripping with sweat. 
Something of a ceremony marked the departure of the last 
mine. Flags decorated the rails, and on the bkck metal hull 
of the last squat ugly brute in the cutter one of the men had 
pasted a sheet of paper on which the ship's poet had written 
a few touching Tenvoi" lines to the enemy. 

All the work was completed, but Kriider now had a problem 


of his own to settle. The Storstad needed a captain, an ex- 
perienced sailor, a man who was accustomed to handling 
merchant ships. Warning was an obvions choice, but the 
thing wasn't as simple as that. Kriider began to rub his nose 
thoughtfully. Warning had experience; he had dash and in- 
itiative and at the same time he was not reckless. But there 
were one or two difficulties. Although he held his master mar- 
iner's certificate, Warning was only a sub-lieutenant, whereas 
Schmidt was a full lieutenant. In addition, Schmidt was their 
mine specialist. On the other hand, he was not a sailor. What 
about Michaelsen? Kriider dismissed that thought at once: 
impossible to do without him. No, it would have to be Warn- 

Kriider could do with impunity things that would have 
caused resentment and mortification on any other ship. He 
called Warning to the bridge. 

"We've now turned the Norwegian tanker Storstad into the 
auxiliary minelayer Passat, and you're going to take command 
of her, Warning. For the period of your command I am ap- 
pointing you senior lieutenant with full authority." 

Warning did not show by any sign how delighted he was 
at this demonstration of Kriider's confidence in him. 

"Very good, sir/' was all he said. 

Kriider looked at him sharply for a moment or two, and he 
was not deceived. He grinned. 

"But when the job's over youTl have to unship that extra 
ring, you know." 

"I understand, sir." 

"But Td keep the braid handy, if I were you. You never 

The following nigjit, Lieutenant Warning boarded the 
Passat with two officers and thirty-five men. Before they went 
Kriider shook* hands with them all and said a friendly word or 
two to each man. 


"Well, good luck, lads," he said finally. "Well be seeing you 
again soon." 

"Aye aye, sir/ 7 came the cheerful chorus. 

Before the two ships parted company, the Passat carried 
out a few trial maneuvers under her new captain. Although 
everything seemed in order and the engines ran sweetly, 
Warning suggested that they should take along one or two 
experienced Norwegians, and Kriider agreed. Six of the Nor- 
wegians, including an ancient and invariably cheerful car- 
penter, were transferred to the Passat. 

These men proved entirely reliable, even when they began 
to suspect the purpose of the ship's mission, and their assist- 
ance was particularly valuable in the engine room. They knew 
every corner of the ship and, above all, they knew the whims 
and quirks of die engines. 

It was three o'clock in the morning. The crews of both ships 
were assembled for the parting of the ways. The tropical 
sky was studded with glittering gemlike stars. It was warm 
and the night was still. In the silence, as they waited, more 
than one of the men thought longingly of home. Then short 
flashes of light came from the Pinguin. 

"Auxiliary minelayer Passat proceed in execution of pre- 
vious orders. Best of luck. Auf Wiedersehenr 

Three rousing cheers broke the silence of the night and 
echoed over the empty sea. Flashes of light stabbed out from 
the Passat. 

"Message received. Thanks! Good luck to you, too. Orders 
will be carried out as instructed.'* 

The metallic clang of the engine-room telegraph sounded 
above the cheering. 

"Half speed ahead both!" 

Auxiliary Minelayer Passat, the creation of Captain Kriider, 
set off on her mission. The two ships, between them, were to 


mine all the important sliipping routes to Australia and New 
Zealand and the waters around all the big ports of South 

Kruder congratulated himself. The Passat was unlikely to 
arouse suspicion. The adaptation of a tanker to serve as a 
minelayer was something unique in the history of naval war- 
fare. The Storstad was, in any case, cleared for Melbourne; 
and her presence in Australian waters was therefore expected. 
All her papers were in order, and there was every reason to 
hope that she would get past the controls without a soul sus- 
pecting for one moment that she was anything but what she 
looked and pretended to be. The fuses of the mines had been 
set to various dates in accordance with a carefully worked out 
joint plan of operations so that they would be alive and ready 
to do their work only after both ships had done theirs and 
were well out of the danger zone. 

The Pinguin was on her way alone again when a signal was 
received from the Naval Command in Berlin. It was as 
though all the work and the planning of the past few days 
was to receive a little recognition and appreciation in ad- 
vance. The message declared that Captain Kruder had been 
awarded the Iron Cross (First Class) and that, at his discre- 
tion, a number of Iron Crosses (Second Class) were to be 
awarded to selected members of the crew. Which meant an- 
other problem for Kriider. One of the Iron Crosses would 
certainly be for Lieutenant Brunke, his communications of- 
ficer. But what about the others? There wasn't a man, what- 
ever his rank or rating, who hadn*t done his duty with 
devotion and enthusiasm. Kriider sighed. Such problems were 
the prerogative of his rank. 

The following day there was another pleasant incident* 
Since leaving her home port, the Pinguin had steered 21,600 


nautical miles, or exactly the length of the equator. Lieuten- 
ant Kiister had worked out the exact spot and the exact time. 
At 1800 the Pinguin completed her trip once around the 
circumference of the earth, 

"So there we are/* said Kriider with satisfaction, and his 
forefinger described a circle on the map. "The first time 
around. Seems to call for a little celebration." 

And the order to splice the mainbrace was given. 

12. "MINES AWAY!" 

Storstad into the auxiliary minelayer Passat had been com- 
pleted, there were many supplementary details to be attended 
to, which was just as well because it kept the crew so busy 
that the days passed swiftly. 

Then a storm blew up, and the Passat plowed straight into 
it. Soon she was pitching heavily, and tie mines had to be 
firmly lashed to prevent their breaking loose. The nearer the 
Passat came to her first objective the worse the storm became. 
"Wind strength 8/* the officer of the watch entered in the log. 

The growing hurricane howled through the ship's rigging 
and whipped the sea into a white froth until it seemed almost 
as though the Passat were plunging through boiling milk. 
When from time to time patches of sea could be spotted, the 
water was glassy green in color, cold, poisonous, and depress- 
ing to look at. The ex-tanker began to labor heavily as sea 
after sea broke against her hull and swept over her deck. The 
best and most experienced quartermaster on board was at 
the wheel, but there was little he could do. In such a wind 
the flying spume and spray were like fine sand slashing along 
the deck, and the men's faces were lashed raw. The men on 
watch ware unable to take cover; they had to keep staring 
ahead into the storm. Somewhere ahead of them was the 
enemy. At any moment he could come upon them unexpect- 
edly, and the Passat must not be taken by surprise, Their eyes 



were inflamed and their faces were raw, and before long they 
were wet to the skin. But they were still cheerful; they had a 
job to do, and hurricane or no hurricane it had to be done, 

In such dirty weather a captain would normally have 
slowed down; in fact, a cautious man would have turned his 
ship and hove to. But these were far from ordinary circum- 
stances, and Warning had not the slightest intention of doing 
either. Kriider had drawn up his plans, and nothing must be 
allowed to interfere with them. The Passat was steaming to 
a timetable. 

In the column "Wind strength and state of sea" was the 
figure "11" now. And below it in small writing was the brief 
comment: "12 in squall." Logbooks contain no fictional mat- 
ter and only a seaman with some experience of dirty weather 
on the high seas can have any idea of the state of affairs con- 
veyed by the sober figure "11." 

The roaring of the wind was like an army of poltergeists 
fleeing before the storm. Like furies, they swept through 
the ship, whistling and shrieking in every hole and corner, 
while down below the sea crashed and thundered. The Old 
Man of the Sea was at large with his phosphorescent glare 
and his shaggy beard. Long and twisted, longer than himself 
it is, say seamen. And he sits on the bowsprit of the ship he 
has chosen to harass. According to tradition, his presence 
means disaster for a ship and death for her crew. No one has 
ever seen him and survived to tell the tale, but very little 
imagination was necessary in that storm to see him crouching 
there in the bows at his favorite spot, rising sometimes to 
his full height, his snow-white hair streaming out in the 
wind like a cerement, and then sinking back into the sea 
with a howl of glee. The next moment he would be peering 
over the ship's side amidships, while water and spume 
thrashed along the decks. 

A day, a night, another day and another night, and still 

"MINES AWAY!" 137 

the eerie spirit haunted the ship. On the bridge throughout 
the storm, Warning began to wonder anxiously whether the 
old tanker would come through. He had the feeling that 
when the ship reared up on the crest of a wave every joint 
and plank strained and groaned. No rivets and no steel 
could stand that for long, and certainly not in an old tub 
like the Passat. When he did try to get a little rest, he 
stretched out fully dressed and covered only with a blanket. 
And all the time he was listening to the howling of the storm 
and the roaring of the sea and to all the noises a laboring 
ship makes as she fights her way through. Then he would 
get up again and stagger to the table, where the chart was 
fastened with drawing pins. Not a pencil or a book was in 
its accustomed place. They had long ago been thrown all 
over the place. 

Warning studied his chart. The Passat was still a long way 
from her objective 400 nautical miles. He consulted some 
old sailing manuals. According to their lore, such weather 
was normal in these latitudes and could last a long time. It 
was the devil's own weather, but considered objectively, it 
was good weather for them if they could make it. Warning 
was unable to remember ever having experinced such weather 
in all his life at sea. 

It would take the Passat much longer to reach her objec- 
tive, but that couldn't be helped. It was only to be hoped that 
the Pinguin was having to cope with similar weather and 
would be equally delayed. 

When day finally dawned it was gray, overcast, and cold. 
The clouds were scudding along, almost touching the sea; 
and there was not a rent, not a crack, anywhere through 
which the sun could have shown its face. 

Life in the rolling, pitching tanker became difficult* The 
decks reared up and then slid down, tipped up on one side 
and then dipped wildly down on the other. To move about 


on deck was a major undertaking requiring the surefooted- 
ness of a mountain goat. At any moment heavy seas could 
break over the deck and sweep the intrepid sailorman from 
his hold. A man who had no more than broken bones to regret 
after tons of water had flung him to the deck was a lucky 
man indeed. 

Hot meals had become a thing of the past. 

"What about an extra tot of rum to give the men heart, 
sir?" suggested one of the officers. 

"A good idea. Two fingers for each man, not forgetting 

The rum went down well, and warmth coursed through the 
men's veins. Not that the spirit on board was depressed; on 
the contrary. Warning was lost in admiration, for most of 
them were only youngsters. He could remember his first ex- 
perience of dirty weather at their age. . . . Well, he hadn't 
actually been frightened, but somehow he had remembered 
all the stories he had ever heard of ships that had foundered 
in just such weather. It was funny, in wartime even a hurri- 
cane like this seemed a bit ridiculous. It had lost its power 
to awe. 

That morning they passed a freighter. They only just 
sighted her. Take evasive action? What for? And the Passat 
plowed steadily and obstinately on her way. They could see 
the other ship reeling in the heavy seas like a drunk, now 
and again showing the red protective paint below her water 
line as she heeled over. Sometimes she almost disappeared 
in the heavy seas and only her masts and funnel were still 
visible. Giant waves were rolling over the sea, monstrous 
masses of water riding over from the Roaring Forties where 
they were born and where they were at home. It was a scene 
to take a man by the throat 

Poor devils! Warning found himself thinking, only to 
remember that he and his men were no better off than the 

"MINES AWAY!" 139 

other captaijj and his crew. It was often like that; to the man 
in the thick of it with plenty to keep his mind occupied, it 
often looked worse for the other fellow. 

At midday the storm began to abate at last. The wind 
dropped, and although the sea was still surging heavily, the 
aneroid needle began to climb back toward "Set Fair/* 

That night they saw shore lights. They were on the 
southernmost point of the Australian continent, and along 
the coasts were dangerous reefs on which more than one good 
ship had foundered. A Dutch explorer named Tasman had 
first set foot there, and the land and the neighboring sea 
were still called after him. The Bass Strait, so-called because 
an Englishman of that name had first surveyed the arm of 
sea between Tasmania and the Australian mainland, was 
the Passat's first objective. It was the main seaway for all ves- 
sels approaching Sydney or New Zealand and the other east- 
ern islands from the south, or leaving them on a southwesterly 
course. At the western end of Bass Strait were Port Phillip 
and Melbourne, where according to statistics, every sixth 
and every seventh Australian lives respectively. The ap- 
proaches to Melbourne and Port Phillip were the Passat's 
second objective. 

In the night the lights of Tasmania disappeared astern, 
and ahead of the Passat, which was again beginning to labor 
in a rising sea, new lights began to show through the darkness. 
They were on the mainland, the home of the kangaroo, the 
symbol of a continent not much smaller than Europe and 
twenty-five times as big as the British Isles. 

Warning spent all his time on the bridge now. These were 
difficult waters with many small groups of islands, dangerous 
reefs, and rocks, and they demanded the constant attention 
of an experienced navigator. In the Bass Strait the Passat 
passed many British ships and Australian fishing boats, and 
no one dreamed that the old tanker was anything but what 


she seemed to be, and no one dreamed that behind the scut- 
tles of the after deckhouse were not tired seamen taking a 
well-earned rest. Like all the other ships, the Passat flew no 
flag and she paid no attention to what was going on around 

On the bridge Warning played his role as an authentic Nor- 
wegian seadog, capable of standing up to inspection through 
the sharpest glasses. He was wearing a peaked uniform cap 
of the Norwegian shipping company he had found on board 
and on his sleeves was the insignia of a Norwegian sea cap- 
tain. He was a well-built man, and the role of Viking suited 
him very well. 

But in the stern, invisible to even the sharpest glasses, 
were the steel hulls of many mines, and out of sight inside 
the deckhouse Lieutenant Schmidt and his men were busy 
preparing the mines for laying. In the dim light of bluish 
lamps, practiced hands were being thrust up to the wrists 
into the mines to screw the fuses into place. After that the 
"asparagus," as German seamen call the long, sensitive strik- 
ers, were attached, and before long the mines resembled 

That night the first mine barrier was laid, a long chain of 
mines extending across the Strait. 

The Passat now set course for Melbourne. As they passed 
Wilson's Promontory they received a signal from the shore: 

"What ship? What ship?" 

"Should we answer, sir?" asked the officer of the watch, 
Lieutenant Lewit. 

"Of course," said Warning. "Politeness always pays." 

"Tanker Storstad, Norwegian, from Miri to Melbourne," 
the morse lamp blinked back. 

There was no answer from the lighthouse for a whfle.No 
doubt they were busy looking up their list; then it came: 

"MINES AWAY!" 141 

"You must have had dirty weather." 

No doubt the station was manned by Australian navy men, 
and the officer in command was astonished to discover that 
a ship due in very much earlier according to his information 
was in fact so very late. 

"We did/* replied the Passat. "Very dirty weather." 

"All's well that ends well. Good luck and keep your eyes 
skinned for German raiders/' 

"Thanks, we will," blinked back the Passat. "All the best 
to you, too. Happy dreams!" 

Just before daylight the Passat became very much the 
innocent again; the runway was taken up and the entrance 
to the mine room closed. And to make doubly sure and de- 
ceive all prying eyes Warning had camouflage in the shape of 
colored bed covers, underpants, tablecloths, and towels hung 
out to distract attention from the odd shape of the Passat's 
structure aft. 

That night the second mine field was laid; this time across 
the narrow entrance to Port Phillip Bay, the only entry into 
the harbor of Australia's second biggest city. When this task 
was completed, the Passat turned southwest and rounded 
Cape Otway to sail up the coast. During the following night 
they went close enough inshore to see clearly the bright win- 
dows of houses, but whether they were poor shacks or the 
villas of well-to-do Australians it was impossible to tell. 

The sight of those lighted windows made both Warning and 
his men think longingly of home and domestic comfort by 
contrast with their present harsh, piratic existence. Two 
lights close together were moving. They seemed to be the 
headlights of a car. It didn't require a great deal of imagi- 
nation to transfer the scene back to home. . . . Warning was 
therefore not altogether astonished to find that the spirits of 
his men were rather low. They were homesick. The helmsman 


had discovered from the chart of the area that the strip of 
land to starboard was called "Young Husband Pen." There 
was more than one young husband on board. 

"Lousy job when you come to think of it," said Lieutenant 

"And do you think I haven't?" grunted Warning and re- 
tired to the chart house to study the sea around Adelaide. 

Three red lines had been drawn on the chart from Kanga- 
roo Island across Backstairs Passage to the mainland. Dotted 
along each line were little blue crosses. They represented the 
mine field to be laid in the southern shipping lane to and from 
Adelaide. Backstairs Passage was hardly ten miles wide and 
therefore very easy to mine. 

Two hours later the Passat was in position, and in the con- 
stantly revolving beams of the lighthouses on Cape Wil- 
loughby and Cape Jervis the first mines were slid into the 
water. Warning's camouflage line of washing proved very 
useful now. 

While the men were at work behind this improvised cover, 
the bridge reported a vessel approaching. Her shadowy out- 
line could be seen distinctly; it was obviously a coastguard 
vessel of some sort, and was passing through the narrowest 
part of the channel where the mines were to be laid. The 
stranger steered toward the Passat, which contined on her 
way serenely. On board they could see the bow wave of the 
enemy vessel rising as she increased speed. Whatever hap- 
pened > it was impossible to turn back now. 

"Action stations!'* ordered Warning. 

Protected from sight by the ship's rails, the men ran bent 
double to their stations. One of them got the war flag ready 
to be run up at a moment's notice. The Australian was right 
ahead of the Passat now, crossing her bows. Despite the des- 
perate situation, Warning had not yet ordered minelaying 
to stop. He was afraid that only extraordinary luck could save 

"MINES AWAY!" 143 

him from discovery now, and he was anxious not to waste a 
moment. In any case, if there was to be any shooting, he pre- 
ferred to have as many mines overboard as possible. 

"Jacobs," he shouted, "signal them: 'Keep clear of my 
bows!' * 

Jacobs flashed a signal to the Australian, who replied with 
the received sign. Jacobs then flashed Warning's curt demand, 
To underline this insolent signal to a British naval unit, Warn- 
ing seized the lanyard of the ship's siren and let off a long 
echoing blast. 

The Australian then turned away and came around onto a 
parallel course. On board the Passat, Warning also altered 
course in order to lay the mines as effectively as possible. He 
was now moving directly along the red line marked on the 
chart by Kriider. 

The Australian described a half -circle and came around 
as though to pass close under the Passat's stern. It began to 
look as though his suspicions had been aroused. Or perhaps 
he was carrying out this maneuver from sheer boredom. At 
the very last moment Warning stopped the minelaying, and 
a few sheets were quickly lowered over the port out of which 
the mines were rolled. There was no time to unship the rails 
along the deck. 

"God damn and blast!" swore Warning. "What the devil 
are they up to? They're going smack into our stern!" 

The overtaking light of the Passat was not actually on her 
stern, but on the after funnel, so that abaft the light there was 
about eighty feet of ship lost in the darkness. The Australian 
had apparently assumed that the light represented the stern 
of the stranger, and he was now carrying out a dashing, de- 
stroyer-like movement to come up under her stem. The intense 
darkness gave him no opportunity of recognizing his error. 

"Let him," exclaimed Lieutenant Lewit. "We've had it 
anyhow. 9 * 


Warning had no time to reply. He dashed into the wheel- 
house and swung the helm desperately hard a-starboard. The 
Passat answered instantly, and a collision was just avoided. 
The Australian passed so close under the stern that a man 
could have sprung down on to his deck. In all probability the 
men on watch on his bridge had also noticed the danger at 
the last moment and hurriedly altered course. In the excite- 
ment the Australians obviously overlooked the rails on board 
the Passat, or, if they saw them, they did not realize their 
significance. After all, a tanker as a minelayer? Too unlikely! 

At the Passat's stern one or two of the minelaying crew had 
dragged down towels, and with these they waved to the Aus- 
tralian coastguard vessel, now fast disappearing in the dis- 

By a strange coincidence, Australia's Premier chose that 
very evening to broadcast a speech of warning. Australians 
must congratulate themselves on having escaped the rigors 
of war so far, he declared, but a word of caution was now nec- 
essary; Australian waters could become the scene of hostili- 
ties at any time, even that very night. 

The captain of the Australian coastguard vessel could have 
confirmed the warning at once if his bridge personnel had not 
been asleep. In addition, the supposed Norwegian tanker was 
allegedly making for Melbourne harbor. She did not arrive 
there. What happened to her after her encounter with the 
coastguard vessel? It was an interesting question, but no one 
seemed to have asked it 

Warning's drawn face was pale except for the eyelids; 
they had been stung and reddened by the storm, which had 
sprung up again. 

"With all due respect, sir," observed the helmsman, "may 
I say something?** 

"Go ahead," said Warning. 

"MINES AWAY!" 145 

"You ought to get a bit of rest, sir." 

"Oh, yes? That would be nice. By the way, when did you 
last get any? I mean when did you last get down to it properly 
in your bunk?" 

"Me? Oh, that was ... let me see. Well, I suppose it was 
just before we started this job, sir." 

"I see. How interesting! Well, go and get some sleep now 

The man hesitated and looked his puzzlement. 

"Well?" demanded Warning. "Aren't you going to?" 

"I can't very well leave my post, sir." 

"Neither can I, so here we are." 

It was dirty weather again. The storm was blowing hard, 
and the Passat's course took her straight into it. Hurricane 
blasts were sending great waves over her bows, and she was 
not making much progress. The propellers thrashed gallantly, 
but she was hardly making good one knot. 

Warning was none too pleased at the further delay, Now 
that he had laid his mine fields, he was anxious to get as far 
away from them as possible before trouble started. He there- 
fore had two big hoses brought up on deck to pump precious 
oil onto the boiling sea. The oil spread out over the surface of 
the water in all colors of the rainbow. It was only a thin layer, 
but it lowered the crests of the great waves. 

The next morning the clouds opened and the sun shone 
through. By evening there was no more than a breeze blow- 
ing. The storm had passed again. 

The Passat now steered toward the spot at which she was 
to rejoin the Pinguin. 



Pinguin on her way into the zone of operations Kriider had 
chosen for her. In the Tasnaan Sea between Australia and 
New Zealand there was no more than a light, almost imper- 
ceptible, breeze. Toward evening the Australian coastline 
loomed up more and more clearly as they approached the 

Apart from the usual harbor lights and the lighthouse 
beams, the sky suddenly became alive with hundreds of 
searchlights moving this way and that, crossing and recross- 
ing each other, and now and again concentrating in one spot. 
At the same time there was the sound of heavy ack-ack fire, 
and when that ceased the throb of airplane engines was 
heard. Australia's air force and antiaircraft batteries were ob- 
viously carrying out wide-scale maneuvers. 

The Pinguin was off the coast between Newcastle and 
Sydney now, steering toward the latter town at a distance of 
not more than about four miles from the shore. From the deck 
they could see a bright line of lights that indicated a broad 
coastal promenade. 

The searchlights around Port Jackson were shining out to 
sea. For a moment or two they caught the mast tops of the 
Pinguin in their beams, and then her funnel. 

The communications officer reported to the bridge: "Last 



plane just announced its safe landing. Air maneuvers over." 

"Right/' said Kriider. "Now's the time. Lay the mines," 

The Pinguin stole up to the harbor mouth. The blinding 
white pencils of light were now sweeping over her bridge 

"Mines away!" 

The first of the Pinguin s mines rolled out of the ports spe- 
cially built for them aft on both port and starboard sides and 
dropped into the boiling water being churned up by her pro- 
pellers. During the operation the sea began to rise, making the 
work of the minelaying party not only more difficult, but also 
dangerous. As the ports from which the mines were dropped 
were only just above water level, a heavy sea meant that 
every time the Pinguin s stern dipped, water flooded into the 
mine room, sometimes with the force of breakers beating on 
the shore. 

Lieutenant Kiister was in charge. He was a careful and con- 
scientious man, and beads of sweat were standing out on his 
forehead. Eight from the start, he had experienced difficulty 
in releasing the mines from their securing chains and getting 
them onto the rails, setting the fuses, and running 'them aft 
to the dropping platform. He had been cautious enough to 
have the men working at the platform roped, and this was 
just as well, for the first heavy sea that crashed into the mine 
room knocked one of them off his feet and then swept him 
back toward the sea. But for the rope around his middle the 
man would have gone after the mines and been lost. 

From the bridge everything looked easy enough, and the 
minelaying appeared to be proceeding smoothly. On the 
bridge they could hear the bell ring at intervals, and each time 
they knew that another mine had been dropped to float away 
in the ship's wake. 

By two o'clock in the morning the last of the mines had been 
laid. A German auxiliary cruiser disguised as a tanker had 


mined the fairway into Australia's largest port, and she had 
done it in full view of the coastal batteries. 

When the job was over the men of the minelaying party 
returned to their quarters. Their comrades were astonished 
to see them covered with sweat and apparently all in. But 
Kriider, when he came to congratulate them, was not; he knew 
a thing or two about minelaying. At his orders a stiff tot of 
rum was waiting for each man. 

The Pinguin sailed away from the scene on a southerly 
course. The weather was fine the next day, with much sun 
and no wind, though a long swell indicated bad weather else- 
where. If the international weather reporting system had still 
been in operation Kriider would have known that the Passat 
was in the thick of it, being tossed up and down like a cockle- 
shell, with no hot meals or hot drinks for the crew for days. 

"Very nice," said Lieutenant Schwinne as he stood on deck 
with his men after the first inspection of the day. "Gently up 
and then gently down; that's how my wife imagines a sailor's 

"Dolphins in sight," came a shout from the bridge, and 
those who had nothing else to do came on deck to watch the 
agile fish disporting themselves. A whole shoal of dolphins, 
perhaps 120 of them, were going through their maneuvers 
in the ship's path, springing out of the water like well-trained 
athletes, sometimes in pairs and sometimes in whole groups. 
Their performance was made even more like a gymnastic 
display because of the uniform flash of their white bellies 
from time to time. According to the naturalists, dolphins can 
swim at about nine knots, but the Pinguin was going at full 
speed now, which meant about seventeen knots, and she 
came rapidly closer to the shoal until her stem drove between 
them. Indignantly they broke away to right and left, leaping 
out of the water and performing wild caprioles. There was no 


uniformity in their movements now but panic; when man 
arrives the harmony of nature is invariably disturbed. 

Night began to fall. The Pinguin was very near her next ob- 
jective now, the southernmost tip of Tasmania,, where she 
proposed to lay mines in the approaches to Port Hobart. 

Dr. Hasselmann made an entry in his diary: 

"We approached from the south to the west of the western 
entrance. The sky was a little misty, but more colorful than we 
had ever seen it before on our voyage. 

"Flashes lit up the horizon, and a blood-red sunset was re- 
flected under thin white layers of cloud. The flashes of light- 
ning seemed to conjure up arches, domes, and dizzy towers 
in the twilight. 

"When the sun finally sank, the horizon turned green. The 
sea was glowing in the distance, and the remains of the clouds 
caught die light and turned purple and violet. 

"No artist in the world could reproduce that coloring; the 
paints on his palette could not compete with such bril- 
liance . . ." 

The equipping of the Passat with a prize crew had reduced 
the numbers on board the Pinguin and as the two doctors 
and their assistants were now doing their turn on watch, Dr. 
Hasselmann was allotted to Lieutenant Gabe's watch. Gabe 
was a cheerful young fellow who had grown himself a little 
pointed beard on the voyage, and he was inordinately proud 
of it. In addition, the sun had bronzed his skin and the hard 
days at sea had given his features more mature lines. Hassel- 
man had known what was coming in the way of extra watch 
duties, and he had worked hard in order to be as free as pos- 
sible for his new task, for he was not only ship's surgeon, but 
also ship's dentist. 

From the beginning to the dramatic end of the Pmgums 


voyage, the health of the crew had left very little to be de- 
sired. Not one man was lost by sickness. The only work Hassel- 
mann had apart from attention to the wounded prisoners 
consisted of one or two accidents, a few cases of relatively 
harmless sickness, Lieutenant Lewifs appendix, and a couple 
of nasty burn cases. 

"In the ordinary way the extra watch duties might have 
been onerous," wrote Dr. Hassehnann in his diary, "but the 
surroundings made up for a good deal. My interest in every- 
thing around us helped me over a good many difficulties. 
When in my life am I likely to see the southern lights again?" 

High, bare, almost polished reefs announced the neighbor- 
hood of Port Hobart. The Pinguin reduced speed in order to 
approach her objective on a northeast arc just as night was 
falling. Black clouds rolled up to make her task even easier, 
and during the night mine fields were laid without incident 
across the two entrances to Port Hobart. 

The interest of the crew in minelaying had greatly dimin- 
ished now, and the first tension had given way to a reaction. 
Those men who were not actually engaged on the work ig- 
nored it altogether and sat around in the mess and the canteen 
playing endless games of cards. The avid card players on 
board were in their element. Apart from the fact that they 
were now in uniform, the only thing that had changed for 
some of them was the place where they played their cards; 
their free time they spent as they had always spent it play- 
ing cards. 

As the Pinguin steamed westward around the southern- 
most point of Tasmania, the dark harbingers of the storm 
fulfilled their gloomy promise. The weather broke loose at 
typhoon strength and, under the raging pressure of the wind, 
the sea on the edge of the Antarctic was soon like a boiling 
cauldron. Kriider had to sail westward, which meant sailing 
right into it. He was unable to take evasive action or turn 


about and run before it; and he was, of course, unable to seek 
the protection of a harbor. The fury of the storm lasted three 
days, with tremendous winds and enormous seas. The Pinguin 
tried to make headway against it at half speed, and she 
succeeded in covering just forty-five miles. Normally she 
could have done the distance in three hours; it took her three 

Another man on board who was enjoying himself was the 
meteorological officer, Lieutenant Roll, For him the zone on 
the edge of the Antarctic through which the Pinguin was 
battling her way was a mine of new discoveries and valuable 
observations. It was the home of those tremendous waves 
British sailors call "monarchs of the deep/* and one trough of 
low pressure follows the other rapidly. Storms lasting 50, 
100, even 160 hours are nothing out of the ordinary, and high 
winds thresh along at between 60 and 90 feet per second and 
more, almost as fast as a projectile. It was new and altogether 
fascinating for Lieutenant Roll. 

Dr. Hasselmann was also keenly interested in the weather, 
but as an artist rather than a scientist, 

"A hurricane is an unforgettable experience for me," he 
noted in his diary, "and during a storm I spend all my free 
time on deck watching the tremendous force being expended. 
There are, of course, lifelines stretched across the deck at 
every possible spot, and our crew have got their sea legs now 
so they manage very well even in the dirtiest weather. How- 
ever, I must confess it is a bit difficult to get any sleep when 
the wind is blowing a hurricane and the seas are mountains 
high. In consequence, hammocks have been at a* premium. 
We all have fixed bunks, but I have slung a hammock in 
my cabin from the scuttle to the door and now I sleep excel- 

"Sometimes the ship heels over as much as twenty-four de- 
grees and, if you happen to be eating, the plates and dishes 


all slide to the raised edge at the side of the table and some- 
times over the edge." 

The bad weather finally abated and the Pinguin set course 
for Spencer Gulf to the west of Adelaide. She approached 
from the southwest. Shortly before midnight, Charlie Brunke 
reported that the radioman on board the guard ship had just 
finished his nightly chat with his colleague of the land station. 

"They've said good night to each other, and IVe no doubt 
they've turned in," he reported. 

In any case, neither of diem could have heard the sound of 
the bell on board the Pinguin as it recorded the dropping at 
fixed intervals of mine after mine over the stern. The mine- 
fields laid by the Passat and the Pinguin between them ex- 
tended not only from Cape Catastrophe on the west of Spencer 
Gulf to West Cape on Yorke Peninsula, through which ship- 
ping passed to Port Pirie and Port Augusta, but also across 
Investigator Strait and Backstairs Passage, the two shipping 
lanes that led into the harbor of Port Adelaide. 

Day dawned. A streak of light spread across the eastern 
horizon and gradually grew broader and brighter, finally be- 
coming a cataract of glowing red light as the sun rose above 
the horizon. To starboard there was a dark shadow like the 
bade of a whale. It was land along Spencer Gulf, once the ob- 
jective of the old windjammers: Private, Padua, Passat, and 
Pinnas, the wheat-ships that fought out the longest race on 

The Pinguin turned away. Her task was done. Her engines 
began to hum as she steered for the spot where the Passat was 
to rejoin her. 

On November eighth Charlie Brunke wordlessly laid a de- 
ciphered radio message before Kriider: 
"'Ship, unidentified, transmitting SOS signals after unex- 


plained underwater explosion off Promontory Point at the 
east inlet o Bass Strait/' 

On November ninth appeals for assistance once again filled 
the ether and were picked up by the Pinguin. The 5,800-ton 
City of Bayville sending out SOS signals at the west inlet to 
Bass Strait off Cape Otway. "Ship sinking." Cause: unex- 
plained explosion in hold or below waterline. 

The City of Bayville was the first United States ship 
to be sunk during the war as the result of belligerent action. 
At the end of November an Australian minesweeper struck 
a mine and sank off Port Phillip. 

On November twenty-third all Australian radio stations 
warned shipping against the zone between Sydney and New- 
castle. On December sixth the zone south of the entrance to 
Newcastle was declared dangerous. On December seventh 
the Spencer Gulf was closed to all shipping. 

Then came SOS messages from the approaches to Port 

After that appeal followed appeal; they did not finally 
cease until the end of 1941, by which time Australia had 
greatly strengthened her minesweeping fleet. In the mean- 
time, those responsible for the minelaying had shown their 
pursuers a clean pair of heels. 

"The commerce raider and minelayer must be under Liick- 
ner's command," was the only explanation or excuse the 
Australian press could think of for the failure of British and 
Australian warships to seek out and destroy the dangerous 
enemy. Who else could have the daring and the skill to op- 
erate right on Australia's doorstep and to lay mines in the 
approaches to her very naval bases? During the First World 
War Liickner had made himself a name not easily forgotten 
in this part of the world. His fame was such that to appeal to 
it was by way of being some explanation for the failure of 
all the present countermeasures. 


The Passat arrived at the agreed rendezvous and stopped 
her engines. There was no sign of the Pinguin, but no one was 
worried; after all, the Pinguin had farther to travel Kriider s 
prestige amongst his men was so great that it never even oc- 
curred to them that his part of the scheme could have gone 
awry. In any case, no one had any time to worry; the men 
wanted a celebration, the sort that always takes place after 
any successful minelaying operation. Warning had no par- 
ticular affection for such harmless festivities; he was much too 
serious and reserved a character for that, but he did not care 
to say no to his men; they would enjoy it, so permission was 

The one-time mine room was speedily turned into a ban- 
queting hall. Signal flags decorated the bulkheads and seating 
accommodation was rigged up, and that evening the whole 
crew, with the exception of the men on duty, celebrated their 
success. It was already known that the cook had a secret, and 
everyone was trying to guess what it was. It turned out to be 
great quantities of snow-white creamed potatoes which 
were served with equally vast quantities of broiled sausage. 
The appearance of the potatoes produced a cheer, as though 
the men had been served with the most precious and rare of 

**Where on earth did you get these potatoes from?" Warn- 
ing asked the cook. 

"Saved them up for the celebration, sir. Served with mine- 
layers before. The cook always has to have something up his 
sleeve to do the thing right, you know." 

Warning laughed. He could not bring himself to rebuke 
the man, though an occasional change from the dried potatoes 
they had been eating all the time would have been pleasant. 
In any case, the real potatoes tasted good now, and he con- 
sumed his share with the greatest enjoyment. 

Despite himself, Warning was carried away to some extent 


by the spirit of the thing, and he could not help feeling that 
it was up to him to add his mite. 

"'Two bottles of beer per man," he ordered. 

He felt that they had certainly earned their little bit of 

Two days later the Pinguin arrived and was greeted by tike 
crew of the Passat with round after round of cheers. 

Kriider was a man who possessed in the highest degree the 
facility for improvisation and making the most of things. Not 
only was he ingenious by nature, but he had a great fund of 
energy to carry out his ideas. He was never satisfied merely 
to do even superlatively well what others had already 
done before him. 

Following on his minelaying operations, he now introduced 
an innovation that had not been thought of by the Naval 
Command in Berlin and which now led to an extension of 
the Pinguin s operations as an auxiliary cruiser. 

The essence of Kriider's new plan might be termed "the 
second eye." Now that the Passat or ex-Storstad had proved 
so useful, he was unwilling to give her up. Her minelaying 
operations had demonstrated how valuable her harmless ap- 
pearance was, and the enemy had certainly not yet learned 
of her new role as a German prize. Kriider therefore proposed 
to use her for long-range reconnaissance, operating between 
50 and 150 miles away from the Pinguin. An encounter with 
the Storstad would make no one suspicious. In addition, there 
was no precedent in the history of sea warfare for the trans- 
formation of a tanker into an auxiliary cruiser. 

Kriider's calculations turned out to be correct, and the old 
fox in him outwitted the pack of British and Australian naval 
units on the hunt for the Pinguin. 

Warning had definitely given up the ammand of the Stor- 


stad. He had been summoned to Kriider's cabin in Ms tem- 
porary rank of lieutenant, and after a long conversation lie 
emerged, apparently in the best of spirits, in his former rank 
of sub-lieutenant. The Storstad, as she was again called, was 
now under the command of Lieutenant Lewit, who had di- 
rected the mining operations under Kriider's command and 
had satisfied the latter of his nautical abilities. Lewit and 
Charlie Brunke arranged a special operational code for the 
exchange of messages between the two ships, and the Stor- 
stad set off on her new task. Incidentally, Charlie Brunke 
was now one of the busiest men in the Pinguin; he was en- 
gaged night after night in breaking the new secret code of 
the British Admiralty for use by Allied shipping. 


smudge of smoke or of mastheads on the horizon. Further 
days passed slowly, and once again came an evening dis- 
playing one of those dreamlike, almost unbelievahly beau- 
tiful, and unreal sunsets typical of that latitude. Groups of 
large and small fleecy clouds, with golden edges gradually 
changing to glowing pink toward the center, moved across 
the sky like a transformation scene against a painted back- 
ground. The horizon was almost lost in all this pageantry, 
but despite the doubtful visibility Lieutenant Bach believed 
that for a moment or two he had seen the longed-for smudge 
of smoke. None of the men actually on watch, not even the 
aloft lookouts, could confirm his belief. 

One of Bach's comrades began to pull his leg. 

"Shore leave is what you need, my lad. You've been too 
long at sea. You're seeing things. It was only a cloud." 

"It wasn't a cloud. All the same, I could do with the shore 

Kriider did not take the matter as a joke. He knew Bach 
better. He discussed the matter with his navigating officeor, 

"Let's assume Bach did see smoke and I shouldn't be in 
the least surprised then the ship was about fifteen miles 
away/* said Michaelsen. "And let's assume she's steaming on 
westerly course; that means, if she makes good the usual 



twelve knots, that we could get her in sight about midnight." 

Kriider agreed with him and ordered full speed ahead on 
the necessary course. 

By midnight, when the watch was relieved, nothing had 
been sighted, although the men had almost stared the eyes 
out of their heads. The two officers went below and restored 
their spirits with the notoriously strong "middle-watch" 
coffee laced with rum. 

It was muggy weather and the night breeze was blowing 
from the sun-baked plains of India, bringing no freshness 
to the men on watch or those trying to get a little sleep down 
below. Steadily and monotonously, the bow wave scoured 
the stem and fell back into the water. The ship's engines and 
the sound of the wind in the rigging joined in the sullen mel- 
ody. Now and again there was a footfall, a sharp command, or 
the distant slam of a door. 

The men of the previous watch were unable to sleep. They 
lay in their bunks and listened irritably to the only sounds 
of life they could hear, turning from side to side restlessly. 

Then suddenly, at 0032, alarm bells shrilled angrily and 
there was the sound of many hurrying feet as the crew rushed 
to action stations. 

On the bridge, Kriider could see the long hull of a ship 
very plainly through his night glasses. It seemed very close 
and enormously long. The Pinguins gun crews were ready 
for action, but he was unwilling to waste ammunition. By 
signal lamp he ordered the stranger to stop. 

"Don't use your radio or we'll open fire,'' he added. 

The ship replied immediately: 

1 am stopping." 

The enemy's large and readily visible gun at the stern re- 
mained unmanned. 

"Well, well," said Kriider doubtfully. "That's difficult to 
believe. Is this some sort of a trap?~ 


It seemed not; the other ship hove to, and there was no 
sign of any suspicious activity on board. There she lay rising 
and falling slowly in the swell and waiting obediently for 
the German boarding party. 

Kriider was not altogether satisfied. 

"Keep well aft/' he ordered the boarding party. "Give us 
room to shoot if they get up to any tricks. 7 * 

The boarding party obeyed his instructions, but nothing 
happened. They reached the ship in safety and clambered 
up the rope ladder which was lowered over the side for them. 
Bach and Warning were in charge. The steps of the boarders 
rang hollow on the deck as they ran to their positions, A tall 
officer with a lantern in his hand waited silently for the in- 
vaders to come up. 

"That's not the skipper," said Bach, and he had a closer 
look at him. Was it his pockmarked face that made the night 
meeting with him so eerie? 

'This way, gentlemen," the man said. "The captain is ex- 
pecting you in his cabin." 

The man with the pockmarked face, who showed no sign 
of any emotion, either astonishment, concern, fear, or dis- 
may, showed them the way to the captain's cabin. On the way 
they passed figures coming out of the shadows, mostly lascars. 
They huddled together like cattle in a storm, and there was 
fear in their great brown eyes. An old white seaman made his 
way through them and looked at the German sailors with in- 
terested, almost childlike, eyes. His hands were thrust deep 
into the pockets of his baggy trousers, and there he kept them. 

The captain received his uninvited visitors standing up. His 
name, it appeared, was Collins. He was a slim, wiry man, 
rather on the small side, with a serious face, but Warning 
judged him not humorless. He wore a little white goatee which 
he had a tendency to pull when answering questions. 

The 8,000-ton British freighter Nowshera with 4,000 tons 


of zinc ore on board, 3,000 tons of wheat, 2,000 tons of wool, 
and a certain amount of piece goods. Armed with, a 15-cncu 
gun of Japanese manufacture. Crew: 25 whites and 120 las- 
cars. One passenger, a British merchant-marine captain 
named Dudley Crowther. 

Bach left the captain's cabin and turned his attention to 
the crew. He had a cyclostyled form distributed to everyone 
on board with instructions in English: 

"Don't forget to take with you: toilet articles, warm cloth- 
ing, blankets, and any valuables you possess ..." A list 
of permissible articles followed. 

The drawing up and distribution of these instructions was 
Kriider's idea. Experience had shown that, in the hurry and 
excitement, prisoners often forgot to take essential articles 
with them; and the Pinguin was not so well provided with 
reserve stores that he was in a position to issue soap, towels, 
and so on to his prisoners. Let them therefore bring their own, 
and everybody would be happy. 

From the bridge of the Pinguin Kriider watched the 120 
lascars coming on board and scratched his ear reflectively. 

*How on earth are we going to feed those lascars?" he 
asked. They won't eat pork and we haven't enough rice on 
board to feed them on that for long." 

"There are sheep on board the Nowshera, sir," reported 
BadL "I expect that's what they're for." 

"Good, then let's have them over before we blow her up." 

Eumaeus was ordered to the bridge. As a fanner's son pre- 
sumably he knew something about sheep. 

"What do sheep feed on, Eumaeus?" 

"Grass, sir * 

"Grass! We haven't got any of that on board. What about 

"We could try it, sir." 

"Very well, take charge of the beasts.* 3 


And Scheekloth, alias Eumaeus, added the sheep to his 

In the night, the work of unloading supplies for the Nou>- 
shera proceeded rapidly. There was food, including smoked 
meats, drinks, and a consignment of Australian Christmas 
parcels. The members of the crew not actually engaged in 
the work stood around silently and watched the unexpected 
windfall being transferred to their own ship. Christmas was 
not far off now; they would celebrate it without mail, with- 
out a word from home, without being able to send a word 
home. At least they would now have Christmas fare. 

Some of the cases contained woolen goods, first-class pull- 
overs, warm scarves, warm gloves, warm underwear. Many 
of the men began to grumble. 

"What the hell do we want with this stuff in the tropics?" 
they demanded disconsolately. 

Kriider overheard their complaints and grinned to htm- 
self. He was the only man on board who knew that before 
long they would be very glad to have extra-warm things. 

To save ammunition Kriider decided to sink the Nowshera 
by means of aircraft bombs hung against her hull The men 
of the scuttling party were to remain on board in order to 
set further charges if necessary. 

As the explosions sounded the ship started as though she 
were a living thing, as though a mettlesome horse had reared 
up under a sudden whiplash. The men of the scuttling party 
felt as if the ground had suddenly been dragged away from 
tinder their feet, as if every bone in their bodies had received 
a violent jolt. Glass was shattered. Pieces of wood and other 
debris showered down on to the deck. Then there was si- 
lence almost like that in a graveyard. The men rushed to the 
ship's side; their one idea to get off this sinlang coffin which 
threatened to take them down with it 
But the Now&hera was not sinking. The 8,00(Mon ship had 


dropped like a stone, but only for a certain distance. She was 
now probably floating on the accumulated air under her 
hatches. From her deck it was now an easy matter to step into 
the cutter waiting alongside. The men did so without waiting 
for further orders. 

It was November twentieth. The tropic night fled as 
swiftly as it had come, and the rays of the early morning sun 
were falling warmly on the deck of the Pinguin where groups 
of lascars were taking the air. They were being accommodated 
in the one-time mine room, and when there was a stern wind 
it was not altogether a joy for the crew. With 120 lascars 
cooped up below the smell rose through the ventilators and 
was wafted over the deck. There wasn't much to be done 
about it, but Kriider ordered the lascars to be allowed on deck 
in the fresh air as much as possible. 

Dr. Hasselmaim found his work greatly increased with the 
coming of these lascars. They were hypochondriacs and "ran 
to the doctor" for the slightest thing, even for a scratched 
finger, "Para darant" they would complain big pain here! 
Hassehnann roped in the services of their serang, who spoke 
a certain amount of English, to act as interpreter. Even then 
it was no easy job, but it was often amusing. 

Through the serang Hassehnann also did his best, at Krii- 
der's instructions, to keep the lascars calm whenever there 
was the likelihood of action, in order to avoid panic among 
the highly strung brown-skinned men. 

The peaceable scene did not last long. The groups of pris- 
oners taking the air were suddenly disturbed by the insistent 
ringing of the alarm bells. In a moment or two the decks were 

Two mastheads had been sighted on the horizon. Then the 
hull became visible. Obviously the Pinguin, too, had been 
sighted, for the ship turned away, came in sight again, and 


once more altered her course. However, she did not use her 

Radio contact between Australian land stations and naval 
units at sea was particularly lively that day. Kriider let the 
stranger disappear below the horizon again, then he studied 
what information the radio messages gave him. After that 
he discussed the matter with Michaelsen, as usual, and then 
ordered the reconnaissance plane to take off. As it happened, 
the Pinguins engines were undergoing a self -refit, and she 
was not fully prepared for action at the moment. 

The plane rose into the air and flew off toward the other 
ship, a 10,000-ton British freighter, which was now out of 
sight of the Pinguin. On coming within range, the plane sig- 
naled an order for the ship to heave to. The only reply was 
machine-gun fire. Lieutenant Muller, the observer and bom- 
bardier, dropped a bomb just ahead of the ship's bows. Even 
this was not sufficient to intimidate the captain and now his 
radio opened up furiously. 

Muller handed his pilot a message. "Carry away his aerials" 
it said bluntly. 

They reeled out their own aerial and raced down toward 
the freighter. The masts and the funnel rushed up to meet 
them, and they could see men running for cover under the 
impression that the plane was carrying out a low-flying at- 
tack. Only the captain stood just where he was, with his 
legs firmly apart, on the bridge. From the movement of his 
arms they could see that he was giving orders. The approach- 
ing Arado offered a fine target to the British machine-gun 
crew, and they took full advantage of it. Though they didn't 
know it, the Arado was not in a position to reply; her guns 
had been dismantled for an overhaul just previously and she 
was unarmed. 

Suddenly there was a hard jolt, and both Werner and Mul- 
ler were jerked forward in their safety belts. At that moment 


the radio messages ceased. They liad torn away tlie freigh- 
ter's aerials. 

But at the same time there was a penetrating smell of gas- 
oline which grew stronger and stronger. Machine-gun fire 
must have riddled one or more of the gasoline tanks. The 
engine stopped. The propeller went on swinging for a while, 
but its force was gone. The pilot brought the Arado down 
skilfully in the rolling sea. 

"We've had it, Werner," shouted Miiller. "We're sitting 
ducks. They'll just shoot us up at their leisure." 

But in fact, the firing had ceased, and the British freighter 
went past them at full speed, with great white waves pouring 
away from her bows. The two helpless Germans could clearly 
see the officers on the bridge and the crew lining the rails. 
Someone on the bridge raised his arm and waved as though 
in salute. 

Apart from her antiaircraft armament, the freighter had a 
powerful long-barrelled gun in her stern. She could have 
blown the German plane out of the water with the greatest 
of ease. 

"Well I must say that's extraordinarily civil of them," said 
Miiller, and he answered the wave, At that the freighter 
sounded her siren. 

"What would you have done in their place?" asked the 
pilot. "Would you have acted differently?" 

"No, I don't think I should," replied Miiller, "but after 
all the propaganda you read in the papers you don't expect 

"Propaganda!" grunted Werner. "Not that theirs is any 
better than ours; bit more experienced perhaps. But those 
fellows there are seamen." 

In the meantime the Pinguin had got her engines ready, 
and she was now racing at full speed toward her plane. Kriider 


was not the man to leave his subordinates in the lurch, and, 
in addition, he had no time to lose if he was to catch up with 
the enemy. 

"Kiister, get a boat ready with blankets, bandages, 
schnapps, and food for two days. Take three men with you 
and get moving/' 

"Bit of a risk to launch a boat at this speed, sir/' put in 

"Not at full speed, of course, man, but we can't slow down 

"If we put the right men in the boat and at the davits, I 
reckon we could do it all right at, say, half speed, sir," said 

"Carry on then. We can't afford to stop. If we do, it's good- 
by to our catch." 

The Pinguin slowed down, though she was still going at a 
fair speed, and the men managed to lower the boat to sea level 
and slip her safely. With her helm hard over, the cutter swung 
away from the Pinguin s side. Kriider had been watching the 
operation anxiously. When the cutter was safely away his 
grip on the rail relaxed and with his right hand he pushed up 
the peak of his cap. There were little beads of sweat on his 
forehead. He hadn't liked the risk either, but he had been 
obliged to take it. 

The machine-gun fire had riddled not only the gasoline 
tanks but also one of the floats, and when the boat arrived the 
Arado was already heeling over. But with the bandages they 
had brought they managed to make the float watertight again 
and prevent her from becoming a total loss. 

The Pingtun was now going full speed after the British 
freighter, which was traveling astonishingly fast. The Pmgmn 
was doing fifteen knots; the other ship perhaps fourteen. On 
the bridge of the Pinguin they calculated when the other ves- 
sel woctld be within range. 


The communications officer reported that the freighter 
was using her radio again; obviously they had succeeded in 
rigging up a jury aerial. They were now systematically de- 
scribing the appearance of the Pinguin her size, her struc- 
ture, her silhouette. Raider listened to it with a frown. The 
whole Indian Ocean and all adjacent naval bases were being 
aroused against him, and there wasn't a thing he could do 
about it. Perhaps the British captain was hoping that the Ger- 
man raider would lay off and make good her escape in order 
to avoid such a detailed description being broadcast. If so, 
he was going to be disappointed. The Pinguin drew grad- 
ually nearer and nearer. The British ship now tried to lay 
down a smoke screen, but owing to her speed and unfavor- 
able wind course it was blown away to one side as soon as it 
billowed out. 

If she had opened fire with her 6-inch long-range gun be- 
fore the Pinguin s own guns came into range she might have 
scored a hit or two and altered the situation. The Pinguin s 
own guns were practically obsolescent; they came from the 
scrapped warship Schlesien. 

At last the Pinguin came within range. She then ran up the 
war flag and became German Auxiliary Cruiser No. 33. Krii- 
der ordered a salvo from his 15-cm. guns. He was anxious to 
try out the system of centralized fire-control which had been 
worked out by the gunnery officer, Lieutenant Bieche, and 
his men from means available on board. When the Pinguin 
had left on her raiding voyage her guns were laid and trained 
independently at each mounting. 

The first salvo left the Pinguin and roared away toward 
the enemy. Four columns of water rose close together beyond 
the British ship's stern. The second salvo was still closer, and 
it must have been perfectly clear to the British captain that 
the third salvo wotild be a hit 

"Enemy striking his flag!" came a joyful shout from the look- 


Steam poured out of the enemy's funnel. It was an indica- 
tion that her engines were being stopped and the surplus 
steam released from her boilers. She now turned off her 
course in a wide arc. 

Hanef eld and Warning were in charge of the boarding 
party. British sailors standing around on deck drew back as 
the Germans clambered over the side and ran to their posi- 
tions to take charge of the ship. One or two stokers were also 
on deck. They were glistening with sweat, and they looked 
exhausted. They had obviously been working like galley 
slaves to get the last ounce out of their ship. 

"General cargo," said the British captain, whose name was 
Cox, in answer to a question as to what his ship was carrying. 
General cargo might have meant anything from shoelaces to 
eggs or machine-guns. 

From the ship's papers the German officers discovered that 
the 10,127-ton Maimoa was a refrigerator ship carrying 
1,500 tons of Australian butter, 17,000 cases of eggs ( over six- 
teen million eggs in all), 5,000 tons of frozen meat, and 1,500 
tons of grain. 

Kriider would have like to exchange some of the valuable 
cargo on board for some of his own less valuable provisions, 
but there was no time for that. The whole Indian Ocean had 
been stirred up, and the idea of taking the Maimoa into more 
remote waters and carrying out the operation, or of talcing 
her over as a prize and sending her back to Germany, was out 
of the question. The British Admiralty was cautious enough 
to send out such valuable ships with only enough fuel to 
take them to the next port, so that they made their way to 
England by stages. 

It was interesting to note that there was not a single lascar 
or colored seaman on board; the crew consisted exclusively 
of Britishers, with one or two Australian and Irish seamen. 
There were also no less than nine engineers on board, two of 
them refrigeration specialists. 


Two propellers in the air and a slack rudder was the last 
they saw of the Maimoa as she slid below the surface with her 
valuable cargo. After the scuttling, the Pinguin steamed off 
to come to the rescue of the Arado and her crew and the four 
men in the lifeboat Where exactly were they? It was true 
that the position at which the Arado had touched down was 
carefully marked on the chart, but there are winds and cur- 
rents at sea and there had been sufficient time for either of 
them, or both together, to have swept the plane a long way 
out of her original position. In addition, it was now 0100 and 

The chief quartermaster, Neumeister, had calculated every- 
thing, including the possibility of drift, and he had discussed 
the matter in detail with the navigating officer; so, when Krii- 
der asked him what time he reckoned to come up with the 
plane, he answered without hesitation: 

"Three seventeen, sir/* 

No sooner had he spoken than he had a disagreeable feel- 
ing in the pit of his stomach. He had been overconfident. 
Finding a helpless plane down in the sea in the middle of 
the night with no radio directions to help was no joke. He 
could see the Old Man's look of mild astonishment at the 
precision of the reply. Kriider rubbed his chin thoughtfully, 
but turned away without a word. 

At 0310 Kriider came into the chart house. The chief quar- 
termaster thought he could feel eyes boring into his back, but 
nothing was said. Lieutenant Michaelsen looked encourag- 
ing. He seemed to be saying, never mind if it isn't exactly 
three seventeen, well do the trick. 

At 0315 the chief quartermaster could stand the strain no 
longer, and he went on to the bridge to help in keeping a look- 
out He kept the glasses glued to his eyes, but behind hi he 
could sense the shadowy form of his captain. Despite all his 
efforts, Neumeister could see nothing* In any case, it took 


about half and hour for a man's eyes to get accustomed to 
darkness after the light. 

At 0317 there was nothing at all to be seen. Apart from the 
hammering of the Pinguin s engines and the wash of the sea, 
there was the silence of the grave. 

But at 0319 there was a shout: "Light right ahead!" 

Eagerly they stared at it; it seemed to be quite a distance 
away. Suddenly Michaelsen shouted an order: "Hard a'portP 

The Pinguin answered her helm at once and it was just as 
well, for she almost rammed the Arado. With his lynx-like 
eyes, Michaelsen had spotted that the light was nearer than 
they had at first thought. The men on the Arado were showing 
a light with their half blacked-out signal lamp, and that 
made it easy to misjudge the distance. 

Within a quarter of an hour the airmen and the crew of the 
lifeboat were on the deck of the Pinguin again. 

"We were gradually making up our disconsolate minds that 
we weren't going to be f ound," said Miiller, and they all found 
it easy to laugh at the thought now. 

Krtider indicated the chief quartermaster. 

"A clairvoyant is just nothing at all compared with Neu- 
meister here," he said shortly. 

Neumeister entered the incident in his diary, concluding 
his remarks with the words, "Although I say it myself, it was 
quite a performance." 

With which modest claim no one is likely to disagree. 

Dr Hasselrnann also made a note of the incident in his 

"I must say I found it astonishing, and even a little un- 
canny, to find that we went straight for the very spot where 
the Arado and the cutter were waiting for us so dead 
straight that we nearly ran them downl" 


the masts of a single ship on the horizon. 

The chief engineer and his men cursed under their breath. 
Only yesterday the Pinguin had sunk the Maimoa, and they 
were anxious to uncouple the port engine and give it a thor- 
ough overhaul. "Blast!" said die chief. "There's nothing for 
it; we'll have to leave the job until later." 

The Pinguin passed close enough to the Storstad for Krii- 
der to shout across by megaphone. 

"Thanks, Lewitl Nice work." 

Before long the masts of the stranger came in sight. Kriider 
turned away and followed a parallel course, out of sight, but 
as the stokers in the other ship shoveled fuel into their fur- 
naces smoke rose into the sky and became visible to the watch- 
ers on the Pinguin. In this way it was not long before Kriider 
was in a position to determine her course and speed. The next 
thing to discover was whether or not she was British. 

"What do you reckon she is?" Kriider asked his navigating 

"Either British or Australian, sir. The Americans don't use 
steamships in these parts." 

For a moment or two the funnels of the other ship came into 



"She belongs to either the Blue Funnel or Port Line/' said 
Warning. "We shall have to clear the prison quarters for- 
ward; she'll have at least fifty lascars on board." 

"No question about it," Michaelsen then confirmed, "she 
belongs to the Port Line." 

Kriider decided not to attack in daylight. The Maimoa had 
not only reported his position, but she had had time to de- 
scribe the Pinguin $ appearance; her superstructure and her 
speed. And the astonished naval bases around the Indian 
Ocean had also learned that the German raider was equipped 
with a fairly fast plane capable of dropping bombs. 

At least the Pinguin was now steering a "reasonable" course. 
You can't steer what course you like in the Indian Ocean if 
you want to remain unobserved. If a ship is not steering either 
east or west she immediately becomes suspect, for to the 
south there is only the Antarctic and no ships on their lawful 
business are to be found either coming or going on such a 
course except whalers. 

The almost invisible chase, or rather, the stalking, went on 
throughout the day. Most of the crew were relieved of all 
duties in order that they should be fresh for the work before 
them that night. 

Thanks to the fact that the British ship was a coal-burner, 
there was always a smudge of smoke in the sky to betray her 
presence and her position. The Pinguin, on the other hand, 
was an oil burner, and there was therefore no trace of smoke 
to betray her to her quarry. In addition, the mast was kept 
as short as possible short enough not to be sighted in such 
circumstances and yet long enough not to attract curiosity 
on account of its stumpiness. And further, the watch and the 
officers of the Pinguin were equipped with first-rate glasses, 
and the lookouts were relieved every two hours to obviate 
exhaustion. Needless to say, only the men with the very keen- 
est eyesight were chosen for such responsible duties, though 


that was not the only criterion a slacker on lookout would 
mean destruction sooner or later. 

Darkness fell suddenly at 1802. One moment it was still 
light and the next moment it was practically dark, as is the 
way of the tropics. Then the Pinguin began the chase proper. 
She altered her course to come up with the other ship pro- 
vided, of course, that the unsuspecting quarry did not alter 
hers or change her speed; though, in fact, most freighter cap- 
tains did not adhere very rigidly probably from a sort of 
natural inertia to the instructions of the British Admiralty 
for steaming at night. 

The Pinguin herself was blacked out with particular care. 
Without any special instructions, the gun crews went to 
their stations to make sure that everything was ready. In the 
galley vast quantities of special "middle watch" coffee 
hot and strong were prepared, because between 1900 and 
daybreak 325 men on arduous duties can consume a great 

From 2000 on, the Pinguin was at action stations. It was 
possible that the British ship would alter course in the dark- 
ness, and if she did she might suddenly appear out of the 
darkness. If that happened the Pinguin must be ready to 
receive her. 

The night was unusually dark. Not a light was to be seen 
anywhere on the water. The sky was overcast, and neither 
moon nor stars were visible. It was literally difficult for a 
man to see his hand before his face. The intense darkness 
seemed to add to the natural tension. The men relieved it by 
discussing the coming operation in their own inimitable 

%ef s hope he caves in without shooting," said one man. 
"Once you start letting off things you never know who's going 
to get a black eye. And weVe got enough stuff on board to 
make a lovely bonfire." 


"Let's hope he doesn't use his radio," said another. "We 
don't want any vulgar publicity/* 

"And when it's all over, nice and quiet-like, let's hope she's 
got fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, tons of cigarettes, and bar- 
rels of Jamaica rum on board," added a third. 

"Amen," said a fourth. 

Fresh fruit and fresh vegetables! Both officers and men on 
board the Pinguin longed eagerly for both. 

At 2330 the chief quartermaster went to the bridge. There 
was nothing further for him to do in the chart house; the prob- 
able point of meeting and the time had already been reckoned 
down to the inch and minute. Neumeister carefully made his 
way through the blackout into the open. There was no con- 
versation on the bridge. Everyone, from the captain down to 
the youngest seamen, knew that the performance was due to 
begin in just seventeen minutes. On the bridge each officer 
had his night glasses to his eyes, and no one took any notice 
of anyone else. The minutes passed slowly. 

Suddenly there was a shout from the flag deck: "Ship in 
sight on starboard bow!" 

As though steaming to a timetable, the British ship ap- 
peared punctually at the one-sided rendezvous. Her course 
was the one they had estimated on board the Pingain, The 
Pinguin reduced speed, ran up the war flag, and uncovered 
her guns. The British steamer crossed her bows at a distance 
of about eight hundred yards, showing no navigation lights. 
The Pinguin followed in her wake. 

"Enemy altering course!" 

The ship ahead had altered course to starboard. A few min- 
utes later she returned to her old course. 

Td say the helmsman had stopped to light his pipe," said 
Lieutenant Schwinne. 

The Pingwn now hauled out to port in order to obtain a 
favorable iring angle. The men on watch on the bridge began 


to get nervous. Surely the other fellow must have seen the 
Pinguin by now. Kriider stood there calmly with his legs 
apart and studied the enemy through his night glasses. Around 
him his officers conversed in whispers, almost as though they 
feared that the men on the other ship would hear them. 
Quietly, too, the range-takers passed their reports down to 
the bridge. Their range-finders were above the bridge and 
camouflaged to look like a harmless water tank. Even inquis- 
itive eyes would suspect nothing when they examined it at 
a distance. 

The Pinguin was very close to the stranger now. Down be- 
low, the gun crews were laying their guns in accordance with 
the information passed down to them from the range-finders. 
In such situations Kriider was calmness itself, and those 
around him felt completely confident that they could rely on 
him to do the right thing at the right moment, whether it 
was the result of mathematical calculations, of reason and 
experience, or of that hunch seamen know so well. 

When he finally gave the order to attack every man on 
board sighed with relief: 

"Switch on searchlight! Half speed ahead both! Open fire!" 

The Pinguin opened fire without warning, and her first 
salvo hit the unsuspecting British merchant ship amidships, 
destroying the radio cabin at once and making it impossible 
for her to send out appeals for help. One salvo was enough. 
The merchant ship stopped at once and waited silently for 
the arrival of the German boarding party. Her bridge was on 
fire now, and the flames were spreading. Kriider ordered the 
searchlight to be switched off; the light of the flames was 
quite enough to guide the boarding party. 

Part of the crew of the burning ship left in the boats before 
the boarding party came on deck, where they discovered 
that, despite the damage done, the firing had caused no 


At this point it may be observed that it was not only after 
the war that interest in enemy timepieces arose. In fact, all 
Pinguin boarding parties always had a couple of men or so 
whose job it was to search rapidly in all likely places for them. 
However, their booty, when they came across it, did not con- 
sist of gold timepieces or modern Swiss wristwatches; no, 
they were much more modest. All they wanted was alarm 
clocks. Sometimes they found them in the sailors' quarters, 
sometimes in officers' cabins, and almost always in the stew- 
ards' and cooks' quarters. Kriider wanted those alarm clocks 
for use with his fuses. The usual issue of long-burning cord- 
fuse did not burn long enough, or went out, as happened in 
the case of the Domingo de Larrinaga. 

A new batch of prisoners was now taken on board the 
guin. To Kriider's astonishment and embarrassment, one 
of them was a woman. The guns of the Pinguin had awakened 
her from her beauty sleep most ungallantly, and she was 
still in her nightgown with a coat hurriedly pulled on over it, 
When the roll was called in cooperation with the British some 
of the men were found to be missing. The second officer as- 
sured Kriider that no one had been killed or wounded, and 
that everyone should have left the ship. Then a boat was dis- 
covered to be missing, and Kriider immediately ordered a 
search of the surrounding area, but without success. After 
sinking the British ship, which proved to be the Port Brisbane 
of the Port Line registered in London, an 8,700-ton refriger- 
ator ship carrying frozen meat, butter, cheese and other 
goods, Kriider moved slowly around the area for a while with 
all available hands on deck to reinforce the lookout, but not a 
sign of the missing boat could be seen. In the end he aban- 
doned the search. 

Kriider congratulated himself on his decision not to attack 
the Port Brisbane during the day. Like the Maimoa, she was 


armed with long-range guns that could have caused the Pin- 
guin a good deal of trouble at a distance before she could 
get into range herself. 

Almost another 9,000 tons of shipping had been destroyed 
and a valuable cargo sent to the bottom. In addition, she had 
been a refrigerator ship and that meant a supplementary loss 
to the enemy, for such a ship was worth vastly more than a 
freighter of the same tonnage. The list of the Pinguins victims 
was beginning to look really impressive. 

"One by one/' said Kriider with deep satisfaction. "Like the 
industrious squirrel collects its nuts." 

The remark was addressed to his navigating officer as they 
decided on the Pinguins new course. 

When they had finished the time was 0230. Kriider went 
first to port and sniffed the night air, and then to starboard, 
where he sniffed it again. Apparently the result was satisfac- 
tory, for after that he said, "Good night, aH," and disappeared 
into his cabin. 

Whoever felt in the mood went below and got himself a 
pair of hot Wurstchen from the galley. Before long the whole 
crew, with the exception of the men on watch, had followed 
the example of their captain and retired. 

A few days later the communications officer arrived on 
the bridge with a report from a British radio station, accord- 
ing to which an Australian cruiser had picked up a lifeboat 
in latitude 30 degrees south, longitude 95 degrees east, with 
men from the Port Brisbane, sunk in the night by a German 
commerce raider. A later message announced that naval units 
were on the track of the German vessel. 

*Ts that so?" said Kriider dryly. 

Chi November twenty-eighth the Buenos Aires Herald 
printed a fuller account: 


"R. F. Dingle, second engineer of the sunk refrigerator ship 
Port Brisbane, declares that her assailant was an armed mer- 
chant ship. 

"Dingle, who took command of a lifeboat with twenty- 
seven survivors and was subsequently picked up by an Aus- 
tralian cruiser in the neighborhood of the sinking, reports that 
he was awakened on November twenty-first at 0052 hours by 

" 1 rushed on deck/ he says, "and I saw the raider, an armed 
merchant ship, standing about a mile and a half off. The Port 
'Brisbane was hit about eight times on upper deck level, but 
as far as I could discover none of the crew was killed or 

* 1 persuaded the men in the boat with me to show no light. 
They agreed and declared they would sooner take a chance 
with me in the open boat than suffer the fate of the AUmark 
prisoners. I watched the raider torpedo the fort Brisbane. 
She was burning fiercely when she slid under water. That 
was at about two o'clock in the morning. 

" When daylight came I fixed our position and proposed 
that we should make for Australia, although in the prevailing 
wind conditions we had not much hope of getting there. That 
afternoon we decided to take advantage of favorable winds 
and make for Mauritius instead. I warned the men to make 
up their minds to undertake a passage of about forty days, 
but at six o'clock that same day we were picked up by an 
Australian cruiser which had come out in search of the 
raider/ " 

The newspaper suggested that the ghost ship responsible 
for all the damage must be commanded by Count Luckner. It 
did not seem to occur to anyone that Count Liickner, though 
still alive, had really readied an age which would effec- 
tively have prevented his taking on such an arduous com- 


Kriider had attacked the Port Brisbane without warning 
because he had decided that ships showing no lights at night 
could properly be treated as auxiliary cruisers, particularly 
when they were heavily armed like the Port Brisbane and the 
Maimoa. In fact, in the case of the Port Brisbane he had felt 
quite certain that she was an auxiliary cruiser. 

Right up to the outbreak of war, international lawyers 
were not in agreement about the exact legal status of armed 
merchant ships. Some authorities were even of the opinion 
that a ship's behavior determined whether it was a combatant 
or not, though this, of course, was an impossible decision and 
provided no clear legal status. When two armed merchant 
ships faced each other on the high seas it meant that one of 
them had the right to the first shot while the other was under 
an obligation to wait until it had been fired perhaps scoring 
a deadly hit. The ordinary rules for taking prizes at sea ob- 
viously could not apply to armed merchantmen, and the log- 
ical conclusion was therefore that such ships could be sunk 
without warning. 

During the First World War the German government held 
firm views on the question, but they were not generally ac- 
cepted. It claimed that merchantmen should have no right to 
resist seizure as unarmed prizes, and that if they did they 
would place themselves in the position of illegal combatants 
and could be treated as pirates or sea-going franc-tireurs. 
On the other hand, it was generally agreed that if the arming 
of merchant ships were to be permitted then it must also be 
permissible to use force against such armed ships, and that 
in such cases the previously valid rules for the taking of prizes 
at sea could be waived. 

Although the Pinguin had got rid of a number of her pris- 
oners to the prize ship Norduard, Kriider had decided to keep 


all his captains on board. There were a quite a number of them 
now, and the most self-possessed and self-confident of them 
all was Captain Thornton of the British Commander, At first 
he had been perfectly convinced that before very long he 
would be released by his colleagues of the Senior Service; 
but, as his hopes of a speedy release faded, he began to feel 
that all was not as well as he had supposed. 

"If I had any say in the matter this damned German raider 
would have been sent to the bottom long ago," lie growled. 

And quite by chance, Dr. Hasselmann made an interesting 
discovery. One of the British captains fell ill; and while at- 
tending him, Hasselmann spotted a piece of squared paper 
with letters and figures on it, the sort of thing he had noticed 
during his visits to the chart house. He confiscated it at once 
and showed it to Kriider. At the sight of it, Kriider allowed 
himself one of his infrequent curses. 

"Who's been blabbing?" he exclaimed angrily. "That's an 
exact record of our position for the past week." 

But no one had been blabbing. The British captains were 
all experienced master mariners who knew a thing or two 
about navigation. With the aid of their watches and the sun 
and the constant alteration of the ship's clock made necesary 
by the zig-zag cruise of the Pinguin, they had worked out 
her approximate position. As new prisoners were brought on 
board, so they were able to check up the accuracy of their 
calculations. It was as simple as that, and Kriider was much 
relieved to learn that his first suspicion was baseless. 

For days the sinking of the Port Brisbane was the subject 
of conversation among the captured British captains. 

" Just as well they caught us, perhaps," observed the captain 
of that ship. "If they'd caught the Port Wellington they'd 
have found seven women on board instead of one.*' 

The captain spoke too soon. A week later the night of the 


the new moon was made bright by a tremendous conflagra- 
tion. Kriider stood on the bridge of the Pinguin and watched 
the Port Wellington burning furiously. 

She, too, had been spotted in daylight by the Pinguin s 
innocent-looking "second eye/' She had been stalked during 
the day in exactly the same fashion, and then at night the 
Pinguin had gone ahead and waited for her to come up. The 
Port Wellington had hove in sight at about midnight, steam- 
ing without navigation lights and in a complete blackout. 
Through their night glasses, the officers on the deck of the 
Pinguin could see that she was heavily armed. The observa- 
tion confirmed Kriider's intention to treat her as an auxiliary 

The first salvo from the Pinguin hit her amidships, des- 
troyed her radio cabin, and set her on fire. 

As usual, Kriider sent medical assistance with his boarding 
party, but they found that no one had been killed or seriously 
wounded. One British seaman who happened to have been 
on deck had a shell splinter in his buttocks, but it was more 
painful than serious, and he was cursing rather than groaning. 
The boarding party hurriedly searched the ship, trying to 
save what papers and so on were to be saved from the burn- 
ing bridge. The Pinguin was interested above all in the ship's 
record of wireless messages received, any instructions as to 
her course, and any other documents of importance includ- 
ing the mail that fast vessels such as the Port Wellington 
usually carried. But one thing they did look for eagerly was 
apart from alarm-clocks rubber erasers. There was more 
rubbing out to be done in the chart 'house than the supply de- 
pot at home could apparently conceive of. A chief quartermas- 
ter without an eraser is like a tailor without a basting iron. 
New batches of prisoners came on board. In the middle of 
the proceedings the alarm bells sounded. The lookout had 
sighted a ship close at hand which he believed to be a warship. 


The Pinguin raced off at top speed, turning on a wide arc. 
Where the lookout had thought he had seen a ship there was 
nothing but a bank of cloud. The man had been seeing things. 
For hours he had been staring into the darkness. In such 
circumstances it is easy to imagine things. 

"Give the fellow twenty-four hours board leave," said Krii- 
der irritably. "All right," he added almost immediately, "For- 
get it. We won't blame him. But the men should say when they 
need a break. Every man should know when he's coming near 
the limit. That's more necessary here than anywhere." 

The Pinguin returned to the scene to pick up the remain- 
der of the boats. 

"Good lord!" exclaimed Kriider. 'What's that? Are my eyes 
beginning to play me tricks, or are there women in that boat?" 

They were women all right, the seven the captain of the 
Port Brisbane had mentioned to his colleagues previously. 
And they had very little on; some of them had hurriedly put 
on a coat or raincoat over their nightgowns. No one wears 
much when they go to sleep in a tropical zone; even thin silk 
is too much. 

"Bach and Hanefeld, you're married men,** said Kriider. 
"You ought to know something about what ladies wear under- 
neath and so on. Go on board and see if you can find them 
something to wear. I don't suppose they've got much with 
them. Here, take Kotter with you; he used to be a traveler in 
ladies' undies if I'm not mistaken." 

Kriider did his best for his unexpected guests. He had a 
cabin cleared for them, big enough to hold the eight ladies 
he now had on board, and when they were settled in he went 
to visit them. He apologized for the distress he was unfor- 
tunately compelled to cause them and assure them that he 
wduld do everything in his power to make them as comfort- 
able as possible. On the whole, they took their troubles very 
well One of them was a very pretty girl indeed. She seemed 


to find the whole adventure highly diverting and when she 
laughed, as she often did, she revealed a set of teeth that many 
a film star might have envied. She was, it appeared, the 
daughter of a British general. 

"You're on top for the moment/' she said to Kriider cheer- 
fully, "but you haven't won by a long chalk yet." 

Kriider grinned at the high-spirited girl. 

*1 know/' he said: "He laughs best who laughs last. Well, 
well see." 

On the bridge a seaman arrived with a message from the 
officer in charge of the prisoners to say that there was a gen- 
eral among them. 

"Army I've never heard of, sir. Something like Sal-vaht- 
se-ohns army." 

Kriider laughed heartily. 

"That's the good old Heilsarmee" he said to the astonished 
seaman. "Salvation Army, it's called in English." 

The general turned out to be a brigadier in "the Army," a 
serene and gentle creature of quite enlightened views. 

"Even damned serious matters usually have their funny 
side if only you can see it," said Kriider. 

In the short absence of the Pinguin, the boarding party 
which had been abandoned on board the Port Wellington 
contined its search of the ship, fetching various things up on 
deck from the holds, including post and parcels, to be taken 
on board the Pinguin. 

The men on board who knew a fair amount of English and 
there were quite a number were set to the job of opening 
and reading the letters. 

"Perhaps well find someone in Durban writing to his aunt 
Nelly in Sydney to tell her he's coming to see her on the Queen 
Mary" said Kriider hopefully. "That would be a titbit." 

The gift parcels were particularly welcome. To some extent 


Kriider was able to use the clothing they contained to supple- 
ment the often very inadequate wardrobes of Ms prisoners, 
a very important matter indeed in view of the coming voyage 
of the Pinguin into the Antarctic. There were some very good 
things available, including woolen clothing, rubber boots, 
leather boots, fur-lined garments and even baby clothes. 

"Baby clothes/ 7 said the irrepressible Lieutenant Gabe 
with a wink and a gesture toward the ladies' cabin. "Perhaps 
our ship's sawbones will have something to do before the voy- 
age is over. Can anyone imagine Able Seaman Poeten as 
a midwife?" 


where he had arranged a rendezvous with Captain Rogge, 
who was in command of the auxiliary cruiser Atlantis. 

One beautiful tropical day followed the other. There was 
no wind, and sea and sky merged into each other almost im- 
perceptibly. Kriider was taking advantage of the fine weather 
and the quiet days to sit out in the sun on the bridge in a deck 
chair. On one such occasion, he was going through the lists 
and papers of the ships he had sunk. 

"Here's a remarkably apt name, I must say," he observed, 
"fits like a fist to a black eye." And he handed a list containing 
the names of the non-British members of the crew of the 
Nowshera to Lieutenant Gabe, who happened to the officer of 
the watch at th time. Gabe read out the names: 

"Li Hing, stoker, Canton; Pang Fung, stoker. Canton; Yung 
Chung, seaman, Onfei; Sambo Na Diage, stoker, Dakar; Ng 
Ah Ding, cook, Shanghai; Salamat Ali, serang, Calcutta; 
Tofazel Hosein, seaman, Bombay . . ." 

"No," said Kriider. "This one," and his broad finger pointed 
to a name. 

"Wong Sow, steward, Kwantung," read out Gabe. 

"Just imagine ordering a dish of pig's feet from Steward 
Sow," said Kriider. 

In the night Kriider left the Australian run. Until his appear- 
ance it had been untouched, but he had exploited it to the 



limit. The ether was still being disturbed by wireless messages 
and appeals. In their nervousness, some of the freighters were 
sending out appeals for Jielp as soon as they sighted another 
ship, usually a friend. 

On December 1st, 1940, Charlie Brunke transmitted a coded 
message home: 

"TK-33 to Naval Command: have sunk 79,000 gross register 
tons to date. Mining successes still uncertain. Am detaching 
prize Storstad on course with orders to make for point Anda- 
lusia in Atlantic/' 

Work then began on the ex-Norwegian tanker to provide 
accommodation for the many prisoners. A cabin amidships on 
the port side was prepared for the British captains, and an- 
other one on the starboard side for the women. They had 
formerly served as cabins for Norwegian officers, so the Brit- 
ish captains would not be able to complain that they were not 
being given suitable accommodation. Apart from that, how- 
ever, the arrangement had the advantage of keeping the cap- 
tains away from their officers and men. Above them were the 
quarters of the German prize crew, and above them again were 
only bridge and wheelhouse. The British officers were accom- 
modated in the former Norwegian crew's quarters, while the 
white members of the various captured crews had to live to- 
gether in the forward holds. It was the best that could be done, 
particularly as the Storstad was, after all, only a tanker. The 
non-European prisoners were given the former mine room to 
make themselves comfortable in, and Kruder arranged that 
they should have cooking facilities of their own. Most of the 
Norwegian members of the crew were left in their old cabins 
aft. The Norwegian engine-room men were asked to look after 
the engines. At first they were doubtful, but finally they 
agreed. Once they had agreed Kruder knew that they could be 
trusted. Lieutenant Hanef eld was to take command. 

"Do you think you can get along with ten men, Hanef eld?" 


asked Kriider. "I really don't think I can spare you any more/' 

Except in an emergency, Kriider rarely gave orders without 
leaving his subordinates the possibility of raising reasonable 

'That'll be aU right, sir. Well manage/' 

"Very well, then consider yourself on board leave until the 
day you part company. Have a really good rest. You've got a 
long and difficult voyage ahead of you, and you probably 
won't get a great deal of sleep." 

"Very good, sir." 

The Pinguin took on another 3,000 tons of fuel oil from the 
Storstad before she left, and on December fifth Lieutenant 
Hanef eld set off to cover the 20,000 miles which separated him 
from home, a voyage likely to be beset with many dangers and 
difficulties. Kriider presented him with a captured bottle of 
"King George V" whisky for luck, and the good wishes of 
everyone on board the Pinguin went with him if only be- 
cause he was carrying their letters home. 

A few days later the Storstad met the Atlantis and took 
further prisoners on board. As they now numbered no less 
than 623, Captain Rogge spared Hanef eld a few more German 
seamen to strengthen his crew. At the next meeting-point, 
"Andalusia" in the South Atlantic, the Storstad took on further 
prisoners from the heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer, and 
Hanefeld was given an officer to assist him in his arduous 

On two occasions the prisoners, and in particular the group 
of British captains, made an attempt to seize the ship, led, of 
course, by the intrepid Captain Thornton. In both cases 
Hanefeld found an amicable solution to the problem, coming 
to a gentlemen's agreement with Thornton. After that there 
was no further trouble. In Thornton's place Hanefeld would 


have acted no differently an appreciation of the other fel- 
low's point of view helps. 

Two of the British captains, Dudley Crowther, who had 
been a passenger on the Nowshera, and, of course, Thornton, 
swore by all the gods that no German prison camp should hold 
them and that as soon as they got ashore they would make 
their escape. 

"I think you're talking very recklessly, gentlemen," was all 
Hanefeld could say. "How do you think you'll be guarded 
when I inform the German escort of your intentions?" 

Thornton looked at the German keenly. 

"But you won't," he said dryly. 

"No," admitted Hanefeld. "I don t suppose I shall." 

Incidentally, both captains were as good as their word: 
before the war was over they had escaped and made their way 
to England via Portugal. 

Shortly before the Storstad reached the French Atlantic 
coast, which would have meant hazardous navigation because 
Hanefeld had no proper charts of the coastal area, a Sunder- 
land spotted them and came down to have a closer look. 
Hanefeld had a bright red Turkish flag spread out on deck. 
The Sunderland was not altogether satisfied. 

"What ship?" it blinked. 

Hanefeld winked back a rude remark in German, but spelt 

"I hope that sounds Turkish enough for them," he said 
thoughtfully. The situation was delicate. 

"Don't understand. Repeat," said the Sunderland. 

Hanefeld duly obliged, only to get the same message. 

This sort of backchat went on for quite a while, until finally 
the men on board the Sunderland seemed to give it up as a bad 
job and the plane disappeared. 


Hanefeld then made for the north Spanish coast, where at 
last he picked tip the message from the German Naval Com- 
mand he had been waiting for: 

"Steer such and such a course. German naval and air units 
are expecting you." 

By chance the alteration of course imposed on the Storstad 
as a result of her encounter with the Sunderland proved to be 
the correct one, and all Hanefeld had to do was to sneak up 
the French coast as far as the mouth of the Gironde. The 
weather was very bad indeed and the nights pitch dark, which 
was all the better. One night they suddenly found themselves 
in the middle of a fishing fleet. The following morning they 
sighted a narrow finger jutting into the sky on the horizon. It 
was the lighthouse off the Gironde estuary. The next day 
Hanefeld and his men were being personally congratulated 
by Admiral de la Periere. At a suitable moment Hanefeld 
asked for a favor for his men. 

"If it's possible, sir, I should like to let my men have some- 
thing for themselves out of the provision stocks on board the 
prize. TheyTl be going home on leave, you see," he said. 

"A very good idea/' agreed the admiral heartily. 'They've 
certainly earned it." 

"How much may they take, sir?" 

"Well, say as much as a man can carry personally." 

"Thank you, sir." 

Hanefeld grinned to himself. He had a picture of Able 
Seaman Dittmann, a Hamburg docker in civilian life, carrying 
away his share. The man could almost pick up a rowboat under 
his arm and walk away with it. 

A few days later the prisoners were taken ashore. Hanefeld 
watched them going down the gangway. When it was Captain 
Thornton's turn he turned toward Hanefeld and stuck out his 
hand with a friendly grin. 


"So long," he said cheerfully, "All the best but only for 
you, not for your side." 

The two sailors shook hands warmly. 

On December eighth the lookout on the Pinguin sighted 
mastheads on the horizon. Kriider sent a signalman with two 
flags into the top to exchange the agreed groups of code letters. 

"Correct," he said when he received the reply. "All hands 
fall in on the starboard side of the upper deck. Dress white 

The Pinguin held her course toward the other ship. It was 
the German auxiliary cruiser Atlantis under the command of 
Captain Rogge. Kriider and Rogge were old friends, and their 
two commands were sister ships, both of the Hansa Line. 
Despite their camouflage, an expert would have spotted the 

Dr. Hasselmann described the meeting in his diary: 

"We fell in in white service uniform, but the parade dis- 
cipline was not very strict. The two ships passed each other so 
closely that you could recognize this face and that aboard the 
other vessel, and soon old acquaintances were waving to each 
other and shouting friendly greetings. When we were actually 
opposite each other, the waving and cheering was tremendous. 
It was rather like a school reunion. . . . Then there were 
visits and return visits. The experts of the various branches of 
the service discussed their experiences and gave each other 
valuable tips. Both the old navy men and the former merchant 
service men found comrades on board the other ship. My op- 
posite number on board the Atlantis was Georgie Reil, an 
old student colleague from Kiel/' 

The meeting sent the men's spirits rocketing, and there was 
a tremendous amount of joking and leg-pulling between the 
two crews, but the joy was all too short; two days later, on 
December tenth, the two ships went their respective ways. 


Kriider was now steering a course which would take him be- 
tween Crozet Island and Prince Edward Island into the 

Reckoned by tonnage sunk, Kriider's ship was the most 
successful auxiliary cruiser in the Second World War, but 
Rogge's ship, the Atlantis, broke the world's record for the 
length of time spent at sea. For 622 days the Atlantis cruised 
through the seven seas as an auxiliary cruiser, ready for action 
the whole time and without ever putting into harbor. In the 
end she was caught at a rendezvous with her supply ship in 
the South Atlantic and sunk by the British cruiser H.M.S. 

On board the Pinguin they all knew by this time where they 
were bound for and everyone consciously enjoyed the last 
warm tropical days before their ship penetrated into the bitter 
storms of the Antarctic. The wind was still velvety and the 
color of the sea was crystal blue and so transparent that a sink- 
ing object could be followed with the eye for a long time 
before it finally disappeared into the depths. 

It seems odd that in the periods of relaxation following 
danger and excitement a man almost goes to pieces. The men 
of the Pinguin were feeling the reaction now. Those who sat 
around and had nothing to do ought to have been feeling 
happy, for they were drinking the very best Bremen export 
beer which enjoys a high reputation all over the world, but 
they were not. There was very little conversation. All they 
had to say to each other had been said long ago and no one 
had any inclination to philosophize and if they had done so 
they would probably have come to the conclusion that war 
was just idiocy: "Fancy being here when we might be at 

The wind began to rise and the weather grew cold and raw 
as the Pinguin approached the great Antarctic Ocean, where 


the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Indian Oceans join together 
to form one vast area of water. The color of the sea changed, 
too; from a transparent blue or green it became a dirty gray. 
The monarch of seabirds, the albatross, grew less and less 
frequent, and instead there were other birds of the storm and 
many, many gulls. Shrieking, croaking, and scolding, they flew 
around and around the unusual visitor. 

In December sixteenth the Pinguin entered the polar sea 
proper and the next day there was almost as much excitement 
on board as though a whole British armada had been sighted 
actually it was only the first iceberg. Deeply impressed, 
the men crowded on deck to watch the deep-blue glistening 
monster sail past. Kriider went as close in as was possible with- 
out taking unnecessary risks in order to give his men a good 
view of the miracle. 

"I don't care for any sort of exaggeration," said the sober- 
minded Michaelsen. "And an iceberg's an exaggeration, if you 
like! They're going to give us a lot of trouble before we're 

It was not long before his pessimistic prophecy was realized 
to the full. The icebergs soon floated along in shoals instead of 
one at a time. Lieutenant Hemmer, in particular, was beside 
himself, staring at them like a schoolboy at a football match. 

"Anyone would think we were surrounded by 150 icebergs/' 
joked Kriider. 

The next morning when he came on to the bridge Hemmer 
was there to greet him. 

"Report the presence of 150 icebergs, sir," he said solemnly. 

Kriider laughed. "You'll put a hefty contribution into the 
wardroom Christmas box if that's not true," he said, and he 
began to count. There were exactly 150 icebergs in sight; not 
one more and not one less. He took the joke in good part, 
laughed again, and put the contribution in himself. 


Year, though after Grristmas he did send out the Arado on a 
reconnaissance flight. The airmen returned without having 
sighted anything. The crew didn't bother their heads about 
this flight and merely regarded it as another example of 
Kriider's caution. But the Pinguin was not in the Antarctic 
merely in order to celebrate Christmas in peace, or even in 
order to evade the net the enemy was spreading for her. 
Kriider had a very definite plan. It was no less than to capture 
the entire Norwegian whaling fleet without firing a shot if 

At the meeting of the Atlantis and the Pinguin Captain 
Rogge had handed over certain very valuable documentary 
material to Kriider for his project, including charts of the 
Antarctic and sailing directions. This material had been found 
on board the Norwegian tanker Teddy after hen capture by 
the Atlantis. In the winter of 1939-40 the Teddy had been 
used as a supply ship for the Norwegian whaling fleet, and her 
course around the Bouvet Islands had been marked on the 
chart. The precaution of rubbing it out again had been taken, 
but thanks to the indentation of the paper it had proved quite 
easy to reconstruct. 

Kriider knew that the Naval Command was considering 
sending the heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer to cooperate in the 
project, as she happened to be in the South Atlantic, but so far 



no definite instructions had been issued for a joint operation, 
and he felt confident that he could do the job on his own. In 
that case the Admiral Scheer could be used for other tasks. He 
decided to take a chance and go ahead on his own. The first 
thing to do was to find out where the Norwegians were. 

At first the situation looked pretty hopeless. It was difficult 
even to know where to start. A glance at the map of the 
Antarctic is enough to reveal what a task Kriider had set him- 
self. However, a few days after the New Year the Pinguins 
radio operators picked up radio conversations in Norwegian. 
Kriider now began to spend a great deal of his time in the 
radio cabin where the operator, Pastor, had taken up his 
quarters in order to be on the job all the time. Pastor's mother 
was a Norwegian, and he spoke Norwegian fluently. Finally 
they managed to work out the position of the Norwegian ves- 
sels from these conversations, but it was extremely difficult 
owing to the disturbances caused by the proximity of the 
magnetic South Pole. 

Pastor translated every scrap of the conversations among 
the Norwegians, and the log began to grow thicker and thicker. 
Kriider studied it hour by hour. In this way an apparent con- 
fusion of lines gradually formed on the chart, but for the ex- 
pert there was nothing confusing about the picture they pre- 
sented. All the lines crossed at one particular point; that was 
the position of the Norwegian whale-factory ship, which was 
the first German objective. 

From the conversations it was evident that the captain of 
the factory ship, which was called Ole Wegger, was expect- 
ing the arrival of a second factory ship, which was reported to 
be already on the way from South America to take over the 
already extracted whale oil and carry it home. This prospect 
was tempting enough to cause Kriider to postpone his attempt 
to surprise the Norwegians. 

In the meantime, his information about the whaling fleel 


grew more and more complete. He knew just how much whale 
oil was ready, how many whalers there were, the names of 
their captains, how many blue whales were still moored along- 
side the factory ship waiting to be worked, and so on. One 
of the captains was grumbling about excessive smoke from his 
furnace, pointing out that there was always a possibility that 
German raiders might penetrate even into these waters. 

Kriider grinned, particularly at the message that went out 
from the factory ship in reply: "Don't get excited, Knud. 
There's nothing to worry about here." 

The disgruntled captain was not so easily satisfied. 

"There's no reason why a German auxiliary cruiser shouldn't 
pay us a visit. They're about, according to reports from Lon- 

"Nonsense!" came the optimistic reply. "They've all been 
sunk, and their cruisers proper are all in Norwegian waters." 

"What about submarines?" persisted the obstinate captain. 

"Think again, Knud! Where would they get the fuel to pay 
us a visit in these parts? You'll be mistaking whales for U-boats 
soon. We're as safe here as in Abraham's bosom. Not so warm, 

They were both wrong: the captain with his smoky funnel 
and the factory ship captain with his optimism. The German 
raider had quite different methods of finding their position. 

On January thirteenth Kriider learned from his communica- 
tions officer that the Ole Wegger had reported the arrival of 
the secondiactory ship, the Polglimt, to the whalers. 

Kriider knew all he wanted to know about the position of 
the two ships now, and he decided to launch his attack in the 
first pale twilight which begins to fall around midnight. At 
2000 the engines of the Pinguin were driving her shafts at 
their full revolutions. The weather was kind. On the way low- 
lying clouds reduced visibility to practically nil, and the Pin- 
proceeded by dead reckoning. When, according to their 


calculations, they were beginning to feel that they must be 
very near to the position of the factory ships, the clouds rose as 
though the curtain at a theater were going up on the perform- 
ance. The pastel evening of the polar night it lasted only for 
an hour showed them the two unsuspecting Norwegian ships 
lying close together with their unworked whales moored be- 
tween them. They obviously felt very safe, for they were 
actually moored together. 

Kriider ordered his boarding parties, who had been standing 
by, to lower their boats; and at the same time he used his 
signal lamp to morse to the Norwegians: "Offer no resistance. 
It would be useless. And don't use your wireless or I fire." 

But there was no one on board the Norwegian vessels in a 
position to read the warning, not even a lookout. There was 
not a soul to be seen and no movement of any kind. Only a 
few oil lamps were swinging on deck in the icy wind. 

"The lads have probably been working hard since the second 
ship arrived," said Kriider, "They must be all asleep. So much 
the better." 

In the meantime, two of the four boats were rapidly ap- 
proaching the Norwegians. One made for the Polglimt, and a 
second for the Ole Wegger. The others went off toward the 
whalers in the hope of taking them by surprise, too. 

The whole drama might have been unrolling in a prehistoric 
seascape; a gloomy misty atmosphere hung heavily over the 
strange scene. 

The men in Lieutenant Bach's boat were almost jerked off 
their thwarts as their boat bumped into the soft, slippery 
belly of one of the whales moored against the side of the Ole 
Wegger. Hurriedly they clambered out on to the back of the 
whale, and immediately wished they had chosen some other 
method of approach. It was worse than being on ice; it was 
like walking on a highly polished floor covered with marbles. 
Mountaineering boots with spikes were needed here. 


Lieutenant Bach was a man of fifty with, hair growing gray, 
but he was wiry. He clambered up the side of the Ole Wegger 
by means of a jumping ladder which had conveniently been 
left over the side. At die top he paused a moment to get his 
breath and see all his men on board. It's like a motion picture/ 
he thought. "Right you are, lads/' he said in an undertone. 
"Off you go." 

The men ran as silently as possible to their prearranged 
stations while Bach himself ran toward the bridge and the 
captain's cabin. The door was, as he had expected, on the star- 
board side. Why should a whale-factory ship be any differently 
constructed in that respect? Making as little noise as possible, 
he pushed open the door. But the captain was a light sleeper, 
and with the instinct of the seaman he felt something was 
wrong before he knew it. He grabbed for his jacket, which was 
hanging over the back of a chair. But Bach was already in the 
cabin, and he kicked the chair over so that the jacket fell out 
of the captain's reach. 

"Take it easy, cap'n," he said. "Leave your gun alone. Your 
ship has just been occupied by a German boarding party, but 
there needn't be any unpleasantness unless you insist." 

The astonished Norwegian gradually grasped the situation 
and then asked permission to get up and dress. Bach removed 
a fat wallet and an automatic pistol from the captain's jacket 
and handed it to him. 

"Andersen," said the captain when he had dressed. "Captain 
of this ship," 

"Lieutenant Bach," said his captor with a short bow. 

In the meantime, the other members of the boarding party 
had done their jobs. The radio cabin was occupied, and the 
Norwegian crew had been aroused and shepherded on deck. 
Thre were about three hundred of them and they stood 
around on deck with their hands in their pockets, giving the 


Germans black looks. One or two of them were huge men with 
shoulders as broad as a barn door. 

Warning signaled over from the Polglimt, Things had gone 
smoothly there, too. Both factory ships were safely in German 
hands. Kriider had been watching through his glasses from 
the bridge of the Pinguin. 

"Working like a charm/' he muttered. "Bringing in the 

But three of the sheep were obstinate. They had realized 
what was going on, and now they began to move away toward 
the west. Through the radio of the Ole Wegger Kruder ordered 
them to return or be sunk. 

"Something wrong with my engines," replied one of them. 
Til be back later." 

"Damn his eyes and blast his soul!" cursed Kruder. "He's 
still moving." 

"We can always blow him out of the water," said the waiting 
gunnery officer. 

"Blow that cockleshell out of the water!" said Kruder irri- 
tably. "No, that would be a bit thick. They can't do anything 
with their radio, thank goodness; they haven't the range." 

"Can't turn," reported the captain of the second fugitive. 
"Rope has fouled my rudder." 

The third captain didn't bother to reply at all, and all three 
continued their flight. 

There was nothing Kruder could do apart from turning his 
guns on them, and that he was unwilling to do. Those whalers 
could do their fourteen knots, and in any case the Pinguin 
was not in a position to chase them at the moment. When they 
came in sight of their quarry Kruder had put his engines from 
full speed ahead to fuU astern and the head of one of the en- 
gines had blown off. The Pinguin was helpless now until the 
damaged engine had been uncoupled. Kruder also knew that 


there was another factory ship not far away, which meant that 
he would have to act quickly. He had no time to waste chasing 
little whalers around, so when their captains defied him he 
just put up with it. 

He gave orders that his men should try to persuade the Nor- 
wegians to work the remaining whales, and as soon as the 
Pinguin was ready he set off to the eastward, leaving a handful 
of German sailors behind. The numerical relationship between 
them and the Norwegians was about twenty to one, and it was 
just as well that the latter did not realize that the Pinguin 
would be away for days. In addition, they did not know that 
the Pinguin was the only German vessel in the area. They felt 
fairly certain that a proper warship was somewhere in the 
offing; the behavior of their captors had been too daring and 
self-confident. In actual fact, the nearest German warship was 
the Admiral Scheer which was 600 miles away and still wait- 
ing for the radio message which would tell her commander, 
Captain Krancke, that Kriider was on the track of the Nor- 
wegian whaling fleet and that the joint operation could be- 

Once again the Pinguin was in luck. Fog and mist cut the 
visibility down to nil, and she was able to surprise the third 
Norwegian factory ship, the Pelagos, as she had surprised the 
others. The final approach was favored by the clouds of steam 
escaping from the factory ship, whose crew was hard at work 
on the whales. Here, too, there was no resistance, and this 
time Kriider, who was a man who learned quickly from expe- 
rience, took precautions to see that none of the whalers es- 
caped. As soon as the boarding party were in charge of the 
Pelagos, he stood off a little way in the Pinguin and got Pastor 
to send out a message in Norwegian telling the whalers to 
return to their base. There was no danger of the whaler cap- 
tains noticing that a strange voice was talking to them because 
the radio distorts all voices. 


The plan worked beautifully. The whaler captains were 
furious at being disturbed, but they all returned to the Pelagos 
dragging their whales behind them, and when they came on 
board to know what it was all about they found themselves 
face to face with armed German sailors. Their faces, when they 
realized what had happened and how neatly they had all been 
caught, were a study in consternation. 

Within twenty-four hours the Pinguin had captured 40,000 
gross registered tons and it had all gone off as Kriider had 
planned, without firing a shot. 

Dr. Hasselmann turned to his beloved diary as soon as 
things quieted down: 

"Work continued without interruption on board the Nor- 
wegian factory ships. The Pelagos alone had thirty-five whales 
to deal with. It was all very interesting for us. None of us had 
ever seen a whale at close quarters. Now we saw them in every 
detail of their structure. They were bigger even than the big- 
gest dinosaur of prehistoric times. The biggest of them was 
almost 100 feet long, and they weighed up to 160 tons, as 
much as 30 or more full-grown elephants, or perhaps a herd 
of 150 oxen. The great beasts and beasts they are, not fish 
as is sometimes supposed are hoisted on to the deck aft and 
flayed. The flesh is then cut into great slices and fed down 
through the deck into the tanks where the whale oil is ex- 
tracted. After that the hulk is pulled forward to the bows 
where the remaining flesh is taken off the bones and immedi- 
ately tinned. 

"We all tried whale meat, though with some diffidence. 
Personally, I found that it tasted quite good, something like 
beef. The bones are not wasted; they are reduced to powder 
after being sawed down to a suitable size in grinding 
mills. The bristles of the great jaw bones are carefully col- 
lected, and, needless to say, particular attention is paid to the 
liver and the other vital organs on account of the concentrated 


vitamins they contain. Nothing whatever is wasted. The whole 
whale except the spout is used. 

"Once the Norwegians had got used to the idea, everything 
went on as though we were not there at all. They carried on 
their work as usual, and their attitude toward us was, if not 
friendly, at least not actively hostile. They took very little no- 
tice of us at all, and they made no attempt to turn the tables 
on us, which they could certainly have done with a well- 
planned coup de main, for in the absence of the Pinguin there 
were very few German seamen left behind as guards. I think 
the explanation of this passivity is that they believed a Ger- 
man warship to be not far away." 

Kriider had thought of a new trick. While the factory ships 
were dealing with the remaining whales, he set off westward 
with the Pinguin; that is to say, precisely in the direction from 
which countermeasures were to be expected. No wireless 
messages had been picked up from the fleeing whalers, but 
it was assumed that they were making their way to the whaling 
base at St. George or to the factory ship Thorshammer which 
was somewhere in the west, and radio conversations picked 
up by the Pinguin confirmed this. 

Kriider steamed at full speed on a northwesterly course past 
Bouvet Island halfway to the South Sandwich Islands, and 
then he deliberately sent a long code message home. It took 
three-quarters of an hour to send and the three radiomen took 
it in turns, cursing under their breath at its inordinate length. 
If Kriider had not been their captain, they would have thought 
him mad to send out such a fantastically long message into the 
expectantly waiting ether so near a British naval base. Every 
enemy radio station within range would have time enough to 
discover their position. But as it was Kriider, they knew that 
there was a very good reason for everything he did. 

There certainly was this time, too. Kriider knew perfectly 
well what he was up to when he sent off this long message so 


far to the west; usually messages were deliberately kept as 
short as possible, but this one was intended to mislead the 
enemy; he wanted them to discover his position. While the 
Pinguin was on her way back, her radio operators picked up 
the first messages after their own had been heard; and Kriider 
discovered with a grin that a battleship, an aircraft carrier, 
and various other British naval units had put to sea from the 
Falkland Islands and from Simonstown in search of the elusive 
German auxiliary cruiser. 

Owing to bad visibility the Pinguin did not sight the cap- 
tured whalers on the way back, and Kriider turned south 
where his men saw the pack-ice limit for the first time in their 
lives and the last. Then the Pinguin raced back. The weather 
had improved now, and they easily made contact again with 
the whalers. The voyage to send the British on a wild goose 
chase had lasted ten days. Now Kriider and his captives set 
off eastward. The Pinguin was in the lead, followed by the 
whalers, and the rear of the little fleet was brought up by the 
three big factory ships with their enormous superstructures. 
The three factory ships represented 35,000 gross register tons 
of shipping space, and they carried 22,000 tons of whale oil 
on board. In addition, the Pinguin had captured eleven 
whalers. It was a unique feat in the history of sea warfare. 

The crew of the Pinguin got a belated Christmas present 
' out of it all. It came from the dark cellarlike holds of the Ole 
Wegger. It was not much to look at, being roundish and lumpy 
in shape and none too clean. Botanically it belonged to the 
deadly nightshade family. All in all, a not very promising 
description, but in fact it was the common not so common in 
the Antarctic potato. For months the men of the Pinguin 
had eaten nothing but the dried variety; and, owing to the 
climate and possibly the presence of salt in the humid air, 
they tasted like nothing on earth certainly not like potatoes 
with the result that many of the men did not eat them at 
all. But the potatoes which represented part of the booty on 


the Ole Wegger were the real thing, and their appearance, 
white and steaming, in the mess was greeted with loud cheers. 

The papers found in the wallet of Captain Andersen of the 
Ole Wegger proved to include valuable secret instructions 
from the British Admiralty and a report concerning the ac- 
tivities of Germany's auxiliary cruisers. Asked by Kriider what 
he reckoned to be the top speed of such ships, Captain 
Andersen replied without hesitation: "Around twenty-five 
knots." Kriider made no comment and suppressed the grin of 
satisfaction that threatened to steal over his face. This fantas- 
tically exaggerated estimate was in all probability due to his 
little independent operation off the Gold Coast. 

As he was not in a position to provide prize crews for all the 
vessels he had captured, he decided to send only the Pelagos 
off, together with her 10,000 tons of whale oil, under the com- 
mand of Lieutenant Kiister, who brought her safely to Bor- 
deaux. The other ships he decided to take to the secret meet- 
ing place, "Andalusia," in the South Atlantic and there get 
prize crews for them from the supply ship. 

The Naval Command informed the heavy cruiser Admiral 
Scheer of the brilliant success obtained by the Pinguin with 
the capture of almost the entire Norwegian whaling fleet and 
instructed her captain to leave prize crews at "Andalusia" to 
take the ships back to Europe. This was done, and the Admiral 
Scheer then set sail for the Indian Ocean. In the Madagascar 
area the cruiser successfully captured a number of enemy 
vessels; and as her operations became known to the British 
through the appeals of the attacked freighters for assistance, 
this led to a still further diversion of enemy naval forces. The 
confusion among the enemy was so great that it was even sug- 
gested that the auxiliary cruiser that had been operating in the 
Antarctic was actually a disguised cruiser and that this ves- 
sel was now operating in the Indian Ocean. 



her way she experienced a sample of all sorts of weather; 
sometimes it grew hot, then it grew cold again and stayed cold 
for weeks. But after she had passed through vast fields if 
that is the right word of sea-grass, it became warm for good 
and grew warmer and warmer. The sky was blue and the sea 
was even bluer. Bonitos were seen, and sharks, and from 
time to time fantastic jelly fish. Once they had passed through 
the South Atlantic anticyclone belt, there was hardly a breath 
of wind and the sea looked like a rippled tablecloth, flat but 
with a ceaseless slow swell. 

When they arrived at the rendezvous they found a strange- 
looking vessel awaiting them. The masts had been cut down to 
stumps and the usual bridge structure was missing. There was 
a long-barrelled gun in the stern, the type usually found on 
board British vessels, but over it floated the German naval 

"She looks a bit like the Duquesa" said Michaelsen as he 
studied the strange object with interest. "That was their big- 
gest refrigerator ship; launched in 1920, 1 think." 

At that moment a message winked over: "Prize ship 
Duquesa welcomes the captain and crew of the Pinguin and 
congratulates them on their successes. Glad to meet you, 
we're bored to death/' 

The boat crew that went over to the Duquesa found a party 



of very well-fed sailormen waiting for them. They looked like 
men on leave, who spent their days living from meal to meal 
and playing cards in between. One or two of the Pinguin men 
found old friends among the prize ship's company. 

As Michaelsen had said, the Duquesa was a refrigerator 
ship. She had been captured shortly before Christmas by the 
Admiral Scheer and taken into the "Andalusia" zone. Un- 
fortunately Captain Rrancke, the commander of the Admiral 
Scheer, was unable to send her back to Germany as a prize 
because she had only enough coal on board to take her to 
Freetown. At the same time he was unwilling to sink her and 
lose her valuable cargo, which consisted of 14.8 million eggs, 
7,000 tons of frozen meat and many, many tons of canned food 
so she was re-christened the Herzogin, under which name she 
entered the naval files as a supply ship. A good many ships, 
including the Admiral Scheer, the supply ship Nordmark, the 
Storstad, the auxiliary cruiser Thor, HK-10, and others, had 
taken supplies from her, but there was still plenty left in her 
enormous holds. 

Since her capture, the fuel on board had been used to keep 
the refrigerating machinery going; after that the prize crew 
had dismantled the wooden parts of her deck structure, torn 
up the teak decks, and, in general, taken everything dis- 
pensable that could be used as fuel. That was the reason why 
the vessel looked so odd. 

"If you hadn't come we should have had to burn the chairs 
under our bottoms to keep the refrigeration going," they said. 
"Incidentally, you're to be the last After you comes Davy 
Jones; we can't keep her going any longer." 

Late that afternoon Kriider gave permisson for the off-duty 
men to be used to transfer provisions from the Herzogin to the 
Pinguin. Pinnace, motorboats, rubber boats, and cutters went 
over the side; and before long there was heavy traffic back and 
forth empty boats going, boats full with cases coming. 


A thousand cases each containing 360 eggs, or 360,000 in all, 
were taken over. The cook could no longer find room for all 
the cases in the storeroom, and some of them were piled up on 

"From today and as long as the stock lasts," ordered Kriider, 
"leave a basinful of boiled eggs and some salt ready. Anyone 
who feels like a boiled egg can help himself." 

Dr. Hasselmann in his diary: 

"Eggs, eggs, nothing but eggs: boiled eggs, fried eggs, 
scrambled eggs, raw eggs; and eggs in every possible dish, 
from omelets onwards. Eggs with sugar, eggs in red wine, eggs 
in brandy, eggs in gin. Egg mayonnaise with everything, 
scrambled eggs with tomato ketchup, and so on and on and on. 
The cook is even offering prizes for new egg recipes that don't 
taste like eggs, because we're all tired of them. A veritable 
Egyptian plague of eggs." 

The chief quartermaster, Neumeister, made a particularly 
interesting entry in his diary: 

"Took a liter of pure alcohol, the yolks of 150 eggs, and a tin 
of Australian condensed milk, and made myself some 
Advokaat. Not bad at all!" 

The next day a freighter hove in sight. The necessary cau- 
tious identification procedure confirmed that she was the ex- 
pected freighter Alstertor from Germany. She brought the 
crew of the finguin something they were looking forward to 
eagerly several sacks of mail. Knider arranged with her cap- 
tain that they should make for the Kerguelen Islands and trans- 
fer supplies at Port Couvreux, where they could work in peace; 
so, after handing over the mailbags, the Alstertor sailed for 
Port Couvreux with one of the whalers. It was Kriider's inten- 
tion to use this little vessel as a new "second eye," as he had 
used the tanker Storstad. He christened her the Adjutant and 
put a young lieutenant in command of her. She was probably 
the smallest German warship afloat. 


Toward evening Kriider gave orders to blow up the 
Duquesa. The British abeady believed her lost, for the Admi- 
ral Scheer had thrown overboard various items of evidence 
to make them believe that she had been sunk, and this had no 
doubt been picked up. During the scuttling operations there 
was a serious accident. When the charges went off a sheet of 
flame shot from the bunkers to where two of the men were 
waiting and set their light tropical clothing on fire. Other 
sailors ran to their aid and with ropes they got the seriously 
injured men out on deck. The Duquesa was already sinking 
and heeling over, and they were able to pass their injured 
comrades into the boat over the ship's side. 

On board the Pinguin Dr. Wenzel and Dr. Hasselmann took 
charge of them at once, and Kriider, from whom they expected 
a reprimand for their carelessness, spoke to them in their local 
dialect a sure sign that he was not angry. 

"The lads looked in a pretty bad state to me/' he said to Dr. 
Hasselmann on a subsequent tour of inspection. "Are you 
going to pull them through?" 

"I think so, sir. We've given them blood transfusions, and 
I reckon they'll be up and about in a few weeks." 

"Good," said Kriider, and went on his way. 

The whalers and the factory ships all arrived safely. The 
crew of the prize Duquesa were now at Kriider's disposal, in- 
cluding two former captains of the merchant service. Lieu- 
tenants Blau and Petersen, whom he placed in command of the 
two factory ships. He was also able to provide them with 
skeleton crews. Even now there weren't many men to spare, 
and the Norwegians still greatly outnumbered them; but at 
least the prize crews were picked men and knew their business. 

The whalers and the factory ships were sent off, one after 
the other, at intervals of a few hours with much waving, 
shouts of encouragement, flag signals, and messages for home. 


With the assistance of the Norwegians, all the factory ships 
and all the whalers except two managed to reach Bor- 
deaux safely, and even the two that failed were not allowed 
to fall into the hands of the enemy. Shortage of fuel oil pre- 
vented their captains from following the route ordered, and 
they were intercepted by British naval units. But, before the 
British prize crews could get on board, the Germans had 
exploded their scuttling charges and abandoned ship in their 

Kriider was already steering for the Kerguelen Islands to 
meet the Alstertor and take aboard supplies when he received 
an order from the Naval Command to meet another auxiliary 
cruiser, HK-41, better known later as the Kormoran, which 
sank the Australian cruiser Sydney, a much more heavily 
armed and armored vessel. The Kormoran was just out from 
Germany; and she was to operate in the Indian Ocean, as the 
Pinguin had done previously. The German Naval Command 
assumed quite rightly that, with his experience, Kriider could 
give valuable information and useful tips to Commander 
Detmers of the Kormoran for his subsequent operations. 

The meeting took place without incident, and the Pinguin 
sailed once again for the Kerguelen Islands, 



for half -blues and then the full blues of winter, and once 
again Knider was to be seen on the bridge wearing his fur 
cap and looking more like a polar explorer than the captain 
of an auxiliary cruiser. The Pinguin was perhaps 250 miles 
from the Kerguelen Islands, and her course took her past 
Prince Edward Island and Crozet Island to the southward. 

Shortly before she arrived she met ffK-45, better known as 
the Comet, which had already been at the new "naval base 
Kerguelen'' for a few days. The Comet was the former 3,287- 
ton motor-ship Ems of the North German Lloyd, the dwarf 
among the German HK's, and she kept to the high seas for 
515 days without once entering a harbor, sailing a total of 
87,000 miles, or four times around the world. 

She also had a fine series of success to her credit, though the 
tonnage sunk was not as great as that sunk by the Pinguin, 
partly, no doubt, because the Comet operated in a less fre- 
quented area of the Pacific. 

When the discussions between Admiral Eyssen and Kriider 
and between the various experts were over, the two ships 
sailed around the Kerguelen Islands and made for the entrance 
to Port Couvreux on the north side. The place had been aban- 
doned for many years and to refer to it now as a port was no 
more than a joke. Eyssen anchored off Port Couvreux, but 



Kriider took his ship on into the natural harbor of the island 
to take over his supplies from the Alstertor in peace, and, in 
particular, to take on board some of the fresh water which 
ran down from the mountains into the harbor. 

The passage into the bay was narrow; and Kriider sent his 
navigating officer, Michaelsen, ahead in the Adjutant to take 
soundings so that the Pinguin, which was about 570 feet long, 
could make the passage safely. She did so without fouling any 
of the submerged rocks and anchored abreast of the Alstertor. 

"Not a very prepossessing spot," said Kriider, taking his first 
look around the bay. There was not a tree nor even a bush to 
make the landscape a little more friendly to look at, not to 
speak of flowers. It occurred to Kriider that there was really 
not a great deal of difference between the latitude of this 
island in the southern hemisphere and that of Rugen Island 
in the Baltic. The comparison was enough to underline the 
great difference in conditions in the southern hemisphere. 
On Riigen at this time of the year there would be leafy trees, 
flowery meadows, and people enjoying themselves on the 
beach and swimming in the sea. But here conditions were 
harsh, and the water was cold even in summer. 

There was only a strip of flat land around the bay and then 
the ground rose steeply to a rocky plateau. Farther away there 
were mountains and behind them, hidden in the mist, was the 
highest point of the islands, Ross Mountain. 

The crew had often thought with pleasure and longing of 
the time when they would once again be able to go ashore; |nd 
now that they could, there was no pleasure in it. This inhos- 
pitable, storm-swept, God-forsaken spot offered them no 
solace. Until someone spotted rabbits. . . . 

Eagerly the men ran to the side and watched a whole large 
family of rabbits racing across the landscape. When the rabbits 
had disappeared, the watchers turned hopefully to Kriider. 
He understood the silent question. 


"Why not, gentlemen?" lie said with a smile. "A little rough 
shooting won't do us any harm, and at least it'll stretch our 

After that the men cheered up, and even the island looked 
less inhospitable. 

The next day Eyssen left with the Comet, and the men of 
the Pinguin had too much to do to find time to be depressed at 
the barrenness of the island. First Lieutenant Schwinne col- 
lected his working parties, the Alstertor opened her hatches, 
and provisions and munitions were swung up and over the side 
into the boats. To the great delight of the Pinguin s airmen, a 
crane even hoisted a new plane out of the bowels of the 
Alstertor, and they immediately began to check everything 
down to the smallest detail, finally obtaining Kriider's permis- 
sion for a test flight or two. 

Another job, and a hard one, was to get rid of the Pinguin s 
uninvited passengers, the barnacles, sea snails, and other 
fauna and flora of the underwater world which cling to ship's 
hulls. As there were no dry-dock facilities available, the only 
way to do the job was to careen the Pinguin first to one side 
and then to the other by trimming and cargo shifting. In this 
way a good deal of the hull below the waterline was exposed 
and scraped clean. It was an important job for a ship so long 
at sea and likely to stay still longer, because such accretions 
below the waterline reduce a ship's speed quite considerably. 

The final job to be done was every bit as important the 
creation of a new disguise. An auxiliary cruiser must appear 
suddenly and unexpectedly at the right spot at the right mo- 
ment, and in the meantime she must constantly show herself 
in a different guise in order to deceive and confuse the enemy. 
Almost all British merchant ships and certainly all naval units 
had lists with details and silhouettes of all types of German 
ships, and of all captured ships likely to be used at sea. Such 
lists contain the length; the beam; the speed; the number, 


thickness, and height of masts; the number, circumference, 
and height of funnels; and so on. For each ship there is also 
a silhouette for ready recognition, showing all the outline de- 
tails of bridge structure, arrangement of the masts, and so on. 

When enemy merchant ships were captured and searched 
some of these lists were found. On one occasion, for example, 
the men of the Pinguin had been delighted to come across 
all the details, including a silhouette, of their ship, once the 
Kandelfels. But not even the men who had built her, or the 
men who had subsequently sailed her, would have recognized 
her in any of her various guises. How much more difficult it 
was therefore for the captains of enemy ships! Even when 
their suspicions had already been aroused, it was extremely 
difficult, if not impossible, for them to discover whether the 
ship in sight was what she seemed to be or not. 

To look at the same problem from another angle, this ques- 
tion of successful disguise is a matter of life and death for the 
crew of an auxiliary cruiser. Now, a captain cannot disguise 
his ship as he pleases; he is limited to certain fixed rules. His 
appearance and silhouette must be deceptively like those of 
some British, Norwegian, or, say, Greek ship. A critical ob- 
server in possession of all the details of the particular ship the 
A.C. captain has chosen must be taken in by the disguise, and 
that is no mean feat. And what is more, he must harbor no sus- 
picion at all. Anything else would be fatal. 

Further, the A.C. captain must be quite certain that the 
ship he has chosen to imitate is likely to sail along the routes 
which he proposes to appear in. 

When it was decided to use the Pinguin as an auxiliary 
cruiser she was thoroughly reconstructed and provided with 
every possible facility for changing her appearance rapidly. 
For example, there was special winding apparatus to raise or 
lower her funnels rapidly, and with specially prepared sheets 
of metal their circumference could be increased. Both masts 


were set in a well, and there was similar winding mechanism 
to raise or lower them according to requirements. The same 
could be done with the ship's guard rails, which could disap- 
pear altogether. With very little trouble, too, the Pinguin 
could imitate various types of deck, flat, sheltered, and so on. 
Big sunshades were carried to help give the appearance of a 
passenger ship if necessary. Empty cases could be piled up 
as deck cargo, and barrels welded to each other could easily 
be set up to represent large ventilating shafts. 

A very important point is, of course, the question of paint. 
An auxiliary cruiser carries enough paint on board to make a 
wholesale dealer grow green with envy. And brushes galore! 
There is not merely one, but several for every member of the 
crew, and they are carried in all shapes and sizes. As soon as 
the captain has decided what type of ship he proposes to imi- 
tate, his ship becomes like a disturbed ant heap with men rush- 
ing in all directions on their various jobs. The first lieutenant 
and the chief boatswain's mate are then the two most impor- 
tant people on board, the one to direct operations, the other 
to see to their execution, and what was once gray now be- 
comes blue; yellow becomes white and red becomes green, 
according to the model chosen by the captain. 

And sometimes this work has to be done very quickly in- 
deed. For example, a ship encountered that very morning may 
have broadcast a full description. The captain is taking no 
risks, so by the following morning his ship is sailing peace- 
fully along in a totally different guise. 

For once the Pinguin had plenty of time to carry out her 
change of appearance. Kriider had decided to sally forth into 
the world next as the Norwegian freighter Tamerlan. How 
well the job was done was subsequently confirmed by the ev- 
idence of British airmen who declared that although they 
were in possession of all the necessary details they never 
doubted for one moment that it was the Tamerlan below 


them, and their impression was shared by British intelligence 
officers who examined their photographs. 

While the others were busy on their various jobs, Dr. Wen- 
zel took samples of the water flowing down into the harbor. 
He brought a glass of it with him when he came on the bridge 
to make his report. 

"Quite potable, captain," he declared. 

Kruder took a sip and then drank some of it. 

"Nice earthy taste," he said. "Thoroughly drinkable." 

The water supply was always a problem, for in the tropics 
a very considerable amount is used. The Naval Command 
was not in a postion to have tankers ready to hand with water 
and the idea of using Port Couvreux as a natural source had 
been thought of in Berlin. Rogge had also been there with the 
Atlantis to take fresh water on board. 

The authorities at home had drawn attention to this water, 
but how it was to be got into a ship's fresh-water tanks they 
left to the captain and his chief engineer. There was no pier 
and no sort of port installation available, and the Pinguin was 
already as close inshore as she dared go without running 
aground. There was sufficient hose on board to reach from 
the ship to the water source but a pump was necessary to 
overcome the differences in gradient. Technically speaking, 
this was no problem at all for the chief and his men, but it 
was a question of time. Some other way had therefore to be 
found if the water were not to be carried in pails and buckets 
from the source. 

Before the chief engineer had a chance to lay his plan be- 
fore Kruder, the latter was explaining his: 

"Look, Cramer, up there's a waterfall. You've seen it? Good. 
Now about a hundred yards lower down, where the stream 
starts to run into the bay, we'll build a dam. Then well put 
a barrel in the water with the end of a hose fixed in it. The 
water will fill the barrel and run into the hose, and there's suf- 


ficient gradient to take it out to sea. I reckon we can run the 
pipe out at least a hundred yards into the bay, and the water 
will still have sufficient pressure to pour into the boats. Oh, 
yes, I forgot to mention that we'll use the boats as a sort of 
bathtub. If they're carefully scrubbed out nothing will hap- 
pen to the water. Our motorboats can then tow them broad- 
side onto the ship. After that there's no problem at all. What 
do you think of that?" 

"Excellent, sir. Just my plan." 

"Your plan, Cramer? Not mine?" 

"Not even ours, sir." 

"Ah, yes, you're right. I got mine from Rogge. He'd already 
solved the problem. And I've no doubt you got yours from 
his chief. Well, anyhow, that's it It's the only quick solution 
of the problem." 

During all this Chief Quartermaster Neumeister had been 
carrying out a special survey of the bay. 

"It's a pity not to use the place more," Kriider had said to 
his officers. "It won't be long before the war's over v ln the 
future I don't want to sink ships, but capture them and bring 
them here where they can lie at anchor and wait. Then, when 
the time comes, well sail home with a whole fleet of merchant- 
men behind us." 

Kriider had given permission for any of the men who were 
not on duty to go ashore. Not all the men did so; there was 
land, the thing they had been dreaming about, and they 
couldn't be bothered to step out onto it. They were tired out 
after a heavy day's work and they preferred to turn in 
needless to say, there were no bars on the Kerguelen Islands. 
Even apart from that, there was not much to be seen. All that 
seemed to grow was moss and a sort of rib grass. However, it 
seemed to suit the rabbits, of which there were great numbers. 

There were seals in the bay, and Dr. Hasselmann reported 
that he had even seen a giant bottle-nosed seal lying on the 


beach at low tide and dozing. There were also wild duck, 
stormy petrels, and a great variety of gulls wheeling over the 
bay or perching on the rocks around it. And the enthusiasm 
was simply tremendous when a party of "shore-leave" men 
returned with a couple of angrily scolding penguins. 

Kriider immediately agreed to keep the diverting little fel- 
lows on board as living examples of the ship's namesake. 
Eumaeus, of course, was given the job of looking after them, 
and after a while, during which the relationship could best 
be described as armed neutrality, Struppi, the ship's dachs- 
hund, and the two penguins became fast friends. 

Some of the men visited Port Couvreux what there was 
of it. The whole facilities of the "port" consisted of a wooden 
jetty, now falling to pieces, and three wooden buildings in a 
similar state. A huge, rusty boiler was a reminder of the orig- 
inal purpose of the place: a station for dealing with captured 
seals, extracting their oil, and preparing their pelts for trans- 
port back to France. There was also a small cemetery with a 
few graves. Some of the men engaged at the station had died 
far away from their homeland, and on little wooden crosses 
were French names. There was nothing to indicate what they 
had died of. 

But one thing there was not: Kriider had hoped to find a 
store, even a very small store, of coal left behind by the former 
settlers, but there was nothing. Either they had taken their 
coal with them or others had been there before him with the 
same bright idea. 

After ten days of hard! work the transfer of provisions and 
supplies from the Alstertor was completed. At the same time 
the engine-room personnel had been busy, and the Pinguins 
engines had been given a thorough overhaul at long last. 
When everything was ready, Kriider was anxious to get back 
into circulation, but on the last day of their stay he let the 
men organize a large-scale rabbit hunt By the afternoon 


enormous quantities of rabbits had been brought on board, 
and the cook prepared a banquet for all. 

The last man to leave the island was the first lieutenant, 
Schwinne. Shortly before the anchor was weighed he made a 
tour along the coastal strip as far as the little harbor. Then he 
returned to the Pinguin. 

"Everything in order, sir," he reported to Kriider. "Nothing 
to be seen/' 

He had been looking for empty cigarette cartons and any- 
thing else the men might have carelessly thrown away. Sub- 
sequent visitors to the island must not find any evidence 
that German sailors had been there. But the men had care- 
fully carried out Kriider's orders. Even while hunting they 
had collected all the cartridge cases. Incidentally, they had 
had to do their rabbit shooting with ordinary carbines; the 
Naval Command had not been f arsighted enough to provide 
'the Pinguin with sporting guns. 

A group of prize officers joined the Pinguin from the 
Alstertor, including Lieutenant Grau, formerly captain of 
the S.S. Antonio Delfino; Lieutenant Bottcher, Grau's former 
first lieutenant; and Lieutenants Steppach, Nippe, and Her- 
mann, all former merchant service officers of the Hapag Line. 
The large number of prize officers told off to join the Pinguin 
by the Naval Command was a hint to the Pinguin as to what 
was still expected of her. 



by the Pinguin would continue were not fulfilled. This was to 
some extent due to those very successes; the main shipping 
routes were hardly used any more, and a concentration of 
routes in the neighborhood of land, often close in to the 
coast, made the operations of Germany's auxiliary cruisers 
very much more difficult It was a nuisance for the enemy to 
re-route his shipping by roundabout and devious ways, but 
he preferred to do that rather than lose even a single ship, 
for lost ships were very difficult to replace. 

The British Navy also became more active. An arranged 
meeting between the Pinguin and the tanker Ketty Brovig, 
which had been captured by the Atlantis and sent to wait in 
a part of the lindian Ocean very little, if at all, used by ordi- 
nary shipping, did not take place, and Kriider searched around 
for several days in vain. Later it was discovered that the 
tanker had been challenged by British cruisers and the prize 
crew on board had had to scuttle her. 

It was suspected that British naval units were following 
German ships that had been forced to put to sea owing to the 
advance of the British forces in Italian Somaliland. One of 
these ships was the 8,000-ton Coburg of the North German 
Lloyd. She, too, had a redezvous with the Ketty Brovig; and 
the enemy knew it because the necessary instructions given 



to the Coburg after she had sailed were in an Italian code 
which the enemy had already broken. 

Instead of the Ketty Brovig, Kriider fell in with the supply 
tanker Ole Jakob, now under the command of Lieutenant 
Vossloh, one of the original members of the mess of the old 
Hansa ship. 

Kriider was not too pleased at the change. The Ketty Brovig 
had good enemy fuel oil. The Ole Jakob had oil from Japan, 
which wasn't half so good. But he had to take what he could 
get and be glad of it, if his ship was to remain operational. 

He continued to scour the seas, but never a mast came in 
sight. Day and night the binoculars were in use. During the 
day the men on watch stared and stared into the shimmering, 
sunbaked haze, but never a smudge of smoke did they see to 
indicate the presence of a ship. While steering a southeasterly 
course Kriider sent a long radio message home, and then 
shifted his area of operations to the neighborhood of the 
Maldive Islands off the southwest coast of India in order to 
try the shipping routes between Ceylon, Madagascar and 

But, although a close watch was kept day and night, there 
was no sign of shipping. The Pinguins reconnaissance plane 
went out again and again, but without result. The Indian 
Ocean had been swept bare. 

The weather was unusually calm. A long, slow swell raised 
and lowered the surface of the sea as though it were breathing, 
rhythmically lifting the Pinguin up and down. On some days 
she did not move at all, but just lay there quietly on the trans- 
parent blue surface of the sea. 

At such time ham bones were at a premium. The men 
wanted them as bait for sharks. There were many in the 
neighborhood, and shark after shark snapped at the bait and 
was taken to be drawn on board and dispatched ruthlessly. 
Men who would have tended an injured albatross as though 


it were a piece of Dresden china made no bones about beat- 
ing the life out of the tough robbers of the deep with a marlin- 
spike, and they were very quick to learn that you had to be 
careful with a shark even when you'd got him firmly on a 
hook; one blow from that threshing tail could easily break a 
man's leg. 

Of course, every shark caught was carefully slit open to 
see what was in its stomach, but very little of interest was 
found. The dorsal and tail fins were cut away and cured. 
There were older men on board who knew how to do the 
trick, and after that there were sharks' fins in every likely and 
a good many unlikely places on board the Pinguin according 
to seafaring tradition they were supposed to bring good luck. 

Having combed the area and drawn a complete blank 
the reconnaissance plane had made no less than thirty-five 
flights without result the Pinguin turned westward. Kriider 
now hoped to find something on the Bombay-Mombasa route 
or on the route leading through the Mozambique Channel. 

On April twentieth the Adjutant, the Pinguin s second eye, 
came racing up with water streaming in great waves from her 
bows. She had sighted a ship. 

Shortly before sunset, the 6,800-ton Empire Light went to 
the bottom with ammunition she had been carrying to 

The surprise on board the Empire Light was so great that 
they even forgot to destroy the ship's secret papers, and 
among those captured was the day-to-day log of a British 
cruiser and a cable map of the Indian Ocean. 

A few days later, at a time when the messes were usually 
deserted, there was something like a card party going on, a 
sort of tournament. Anyone not in the know might have 
thought the men were playing for some valuable prize. Ac- 
tually they were playing only in order to pass the time and 


reduce the tension of waiting. In the afternoon an enemy 
ship had been sighted, and Kruder was following his usual 
plan of drawing out of sight, steaming a parallel course during 
the day, and then altering to a converging course to intercept 
the enemy about midnight. The result was that no one on 
board the Pinguin had turned in; they were all waiting for 
the alarm bells and the order "Action stations!" 

Suddenly a glass fell over, then another one and another, 
and beer, or the homemade tropical lemonade manufactured 
on board with "Kerguelen water/' spilled over white trousers. 
There was no heavy sea to explain it. 

"Sudden alteration of course. What for?" 

The men were no longer interested in their game now. The 
cards lay there in pools of beer and lemonade. 

Kruder had spotted another enemy ship steaming in the 
opposite direction or, rather, the eyes of the unsleeping 
men on watch had. 

"That ship is farther away from her destination than the one 
we've been chasing all the afternoon/' said Michaelsen. 

Kruder knew what he meant; if the second ship failed to 
reach harbor the inevitable investigation would start at a 
later date. He therefore put the helm hard over and began to 
hunt the second ship. 

Before daybreak the 8,000-ton Clan Buchanan sank, taking 
a valuable cargo of leather, mica, tea, and military stores with 
her. As far as the radio operators of the Pinguin could make 
out, she had not had time to use her radio. 

The Pinguin had once again a large number of prisoners 
on board, 180 in all. On board the Clan Buchanan there had 
been one or two wounded, who were attended to by the doc- 
tors and sick-bay stewards on board the Pinguin. 

need another tanker/' said Kruder thoughtfully. He 
had decided to repeat his success with the Passat, and mine 


the waters around Karachi. A signal was sent off to the Naval 
Command: "Request use of Ole Jakob for proposed mining 
operation. Remember success of Passat." 

A few hours later the answer arrived. It was unfavorable. 
"Tanker Ole Jakob not available. Find yourself a British 

"They've got some idea of what it looks like here now/' 
grumbled Kriider. "Find a needle in a haystack." 

Every day the reconnaissance plane went up and every 
day the airmen returned without news. As they came into 
sight the men on deck would watch intently to see what 
colored lights they fired. They were always white or red, 
never green. Green lights were the signal that a ship had been 
sighted. But on May sixth the green light was fired. 

"Mastheads of a tanker in sight." 

The Pinguin immediately took up the chase of what proved 
to be a small tanker steaming on a northeasterly course. Krii- 
der followed, but not without anxiety. He was well aware that 
this course was leading him deeper and deeper into the lair 
of the British lion. Aden, Bombay, and Mombasa were none 
of them very far away, and they were all around him. But he 
needed his tanker. At dawn in the half light of May seventh 
they came up with her and fired a full salvo from the port 
guns, but deliberate near misses. Kriider was anxious to cap- 
ture the tanker intact. 

"So he's going to be awkward," said Kriider when it became 
clear that the tanker captain did not propose to let himself be 
intimidated by the columns of water shooting up in the air 
around him. Kriider ordered another salvo, again to miss. 
And again the British captain ignored it and went on his way. 
At least, he did not entirely ignore it; he kept on his course, 
but his radio began to chatter like mad. There was nothing 
else for Kriider to do now but to order firing in real earnest. 
Of the next salvo one shell at least struck the bridge, and 


probably the wheelhouse, for the tanker immediately veered 
off her course and began to describe a circle. The ship was on 
fire now and trailing long clouds of black smoke. Astern of 
her, dotted around in the water, were men who had jumped 

The cargo of the tanker was well alight, and sheets of flame 
began to shoot up into the misty day. Finally the burning 
ship came to a stop, and Raider sent boats to take off the 
remainder of her crew. A few minutes later, there came a 
hasty report from the radio cabin of the Pinguin: "Enemy 
using his radio again, sending out our appearance and his 

Kriider cursed. For once he had been caught napping. 

"Where the devil are they?" he demanded. "They can't be 
in the radio cabin it's in flames unless they're wearing as- 
bestos suits.'' 

He was desperate, but as long as his own boats and his own 
men were alongside the tanker he was unable to shoot. Fi- 
nally they hauled off, and the guns of the Pinguin opened up 
again. Shell after shell tore away the bridge structure, and 
at last the radio messages ceased. 

"That fellow had guts," said Kriider with admiration. "Let's 
hope he's dead and not merely wounded and unable to move. 
I can't help him now, and I don't like to think of a man like 
that being burned alive." 

By now the ether was alive. The heroic radio operator of 
the British tanker had warned everyone. 

"Send her to the bottom quickly," ordered Kriider with 
determination. "That pall of smoke can betray us. Lieutenant 
Gabe, let her have a torpedo." 

'Very good, sir." 

Kriider was unwilling to waste a torpedo on a small tanker, 
but there was nothing else to do; speed was essential. 

Lieutenant Gabe fired the torpedo. The men on deck 


watched it shoot into the water, come to the surface, and 
turn left. It began to describe a circle, the center of which the 
Pinguin was now rapidly leaving. It did not take Kriider long 
to realize that when the torpedo completed its circle the 
Pinguin would stand a good chance of being precisely at the 
critical spot. The others on deck had realized the same thing, 
and faces were white and strained. Being sunk by your own 
torpedo was no way to end a successful voyage. 

Without excitement, almost in conversational tones, Krii- 
der gave his orders to the helmsman: 

"Hard a' starboard, lad. And put your beef into it. Twizzle 
for your life." 

When the rogue torpedo crossed the bows of the Pinguin it 
was not more than twenty yards away. For a moment or two 
it continued on its course, and then it dived below the surface 
and was seen no more. Everyone heaved a sigh of relief. 

"Try another one, Gabe," ordered Kriider in a quiet voice. 
"See if we have any better luck with her." In his heart he was 
thinking that misfortunes seldom came singly. 

The second torpedo shot out of its tube. There was nothing 
wrong with its performance this time, except that it missed 
its mark and careered off into the distance. Kriider was still 
perfectly calm and he made no comment. 

"All right, Gabe," he said, and there was no anger in his 
voice. "This doesn't seem to be our day. Give her another one. 
Third time's lucky, they say/' 

The third torpedo sped on its way, and this time the tanker 
was hit squarely amidships. 

Gabe was upset, and his face showed it; but Kriider clapped 
him on the shoulder, grinning cheerfully. 

"Don't take it to heart, man. I know your department's all 
right. You've proved it more than once. That fish obviously 
had something wrong with its steering gear." 

No doubt the constant change of temperature in the tropics 


had something to do with the failure of the first torpedo. The 
German Navy of those days had very little tropical experience, 
but as far as possible the torpedoes on board the Pinguin had 
been carefully maintained and their mechanism regularly 
checked; there was always one of them jacked up in hold 
No. 3 for examination. As for the second one, well, no man, 
however good he is, can score a bullseye every time. 

But even the third torpedo had not finished off the little 
tanker completely. When the Pinguin hurriedly left the scene 
part of her was still sticking out of the water, and they could 
read her name, British Emperor. That was in position 8 
North, 55 East, only 400 miles south of the island of Socotra. 



very most he could get out of his engines and steered a south- 
easterly course. The last reserves of their high quality Allied 
fuel oil had already been exhausted. For some reason, there 
was a disagreeable feeling among the crew, too. More than 
one voluntary lookout appeared on deck looking anxiously in 
all directions, for fear the men on watch might have over- 
looked something. This sort of thing happened occasionally, 
but it was happening frequently now. The men were ill at 

It was only a coincidence, of course, but this was precisely 
the moment chosen by Struppi, the ship's beloved pet, to go 
off his food. Dr. Wenzel, his master and also something of a 
vet, examined him, took the little dog's temperature and found 

"They say animals have a sixth sense/' said Kriider. "There's 
something in the air. What do you make of it, Michaelsen?" 

Michaelsen, the calculating sobersides, had no time for sixth 
senses in dogs. 

"Nothing," he said laconically. 

But Kriider noticed that he, too, kept his eyes constantly on 
the horizon, though it was no part of his job to do the work of 
the men on watch. 

Evening came, however, and the day ended just as normally 



as all the others before it, and gradually the feeling of nerv- 
ousness and strain was allayed. 

But at 0200 Lewit, the officer of the watch, sighted a strange 
silhouette. A quick glance at the chronometer and he dashed 
into Kriider's cabin. 

"Object to port, sir. Ship, I think. 0200." 

Kriider was on the bridge in a moment. There was no doubt 
about it, the object was a ship. He followed its movements 

"That's no freighter or tanker," he muttered. "I don't like 
the look of her, Lewit." 

Knider altered course from south to east and south-south- 
east to rid himself of their uncomfortable companion. 

"Cramer," he called down the voice pipe to the chief en- 
gineer, "get the very last ounce out of the engines, will 

"Very good, sir." 

The Pinguin began to shake and shudder as her engines 
raced. In the messes coffee cups and glasses rattled, and so 
did all the instruments in the chart house. Rumor began to 
creep swiftly over the ship. The seamen rolled from side to 
side sleeplessly. 

"This ruddy heat!" they complained. 

But it was not the heat that disturbed them. They could 
feel that the ship was going at full speed, and they had a pre- 
sentiment that it was fleeing from something unknown but 
unpleasant. Something intangible not yet tangible. In their 
hearts they all devoutly hoped that the intangible would re- 
main intangible. 

Dawn broke. At 0600 a small dark object became visible 
on the horizon and crossed ahead in a descending flight. 
"A gull," said Kriider. But he knew perfectly well that it 


was not a gull. Then, almost casually, he ordered the com- 
partment in which the plane was kept in No. 2 hold just for- 
ward of the bridge, to be closed. 

"Get a move on, men/' he called out vigorously. "At the 
double on all that good food can't do you any harm." 

The startled men jumped to it. 

"The question is: has he or hasn't he?" said Kriider softly. 

"I should think it very likely that he has," said Michaelsen 
simply. "Now he's probably getting instructions from the ugly 
fellow we met in the night." 

1005: Object on the starboard bow. 

1015: Object undoubtedly a plane. Disappears astern. 

1028: Plane reappears and circles over the ship, then flies 
on parallel course at a distance of some twelve miles. 

Shortly afterward, machine disappears. 

"Disappeared in the direction in which our nocturnal visitor 
must be lying," said Kriider. 

1202 : Machine reappears. Flies quite close; near enough to 
be fired upon. 

Kriider decided to withhold his fire. There was nothing to 
be gained by shooting down the plane; those in her had no 
doubt reported the Pinguins position long before. The plane 
began to signal: 

"What ship? What nationality? What is your port of desti- 
nation? What cargo?" 

"Inquisitive fellow," said Kriider dryly. "Not much he 
doesn't want to know." 

Sailors in plain clothes made flag signals in reply. This form 
of reply was slower than by signal lamp, and any delay now 
was something gained. In the plane they would probably be 
able to read the flag signals only slowly. They might not even 
know the international code of flag signals, and they might not 
carry a signal book with them. 


On the bridge with Kriider were his navigating officer, 
Michaelsen, and the officers of the watch, Miiller and Lewit. 
They were all in plain clothes, and they were behaving calmly 
and moving around slowly as one would expect of seamen, 
and in particular, Norwegians, in the tropics. 

On the upper deck three sailors were flag-wagging. 

'Take it easy," Kriider called to them. "There's no hurry. 
And a few mistakes won't matter." 

The plane now flew low across the supposed Tamerlan. It 
was a British machine, of course, and they could easily see the 
tricolor roundels of the Fleet Air Arm on its wings. The Pin- 
gums stern gun was uncovered and clearly visible, as was al- 
ways the case with Allied ships. 

"Shoot him down," said Michaelsen grimly. "We must gain 
time. It's all-important now." 

Kriider looked at him. Michaelsen being impetuous! 

"No point in it," he said. "If this one doesn't get back they'll 
send another. And in any case we'd have had it. No, we'll rely 
on our disguise. It's our only hope." 

The British airmen seemed to have their suspicions, but 
why Kriider could not guess. 

"At first we were not suspicious," they subsequently re- 
ported. "The ship looked exactly like a Norwegian, and we had 
no reason to doubt her. The only thing that struck us as odd 
was that there were so few people on deck. And the captain 
of our cruiser was struck by the same thing when he studied 
the photographs. Normally, when we fly over merchantmen, 
and in particular non-British ships, the crew piles on deck to 
have a look at us. A plane is something out of the ordinary in 
such latitudes. We were also a little surprised to see no colored 

Kriider had cautiously kept his men between decks. For 
once he had been overcautious. And as for colored seamen, 
he had about a hundred of them in the prisoners' quarters. 


The commander of the British cruiser below the horizon 
was certainly suspicious, but he had not made up his mind. 
He had studied his shipping silhouettes and checked the ap- 
pearance of the Norwegian Tamerlan in every particular. On 
the other hand, taken in connection with recent happenings 
in the Indian Ocean and with the absence of seamen on deck, 
his suspicions were not dissipated. 

For a long time the British plane circled around the Pin- 
guin. Knider kept his head. He was not going to abandon his 
disguise if he could help it. Then the plane disappeared. The 
Pinguin maintained her course at high speed. Everything on 
board went on as usual. At dinner there were sausages and 
potato salad, followed by compote of pears. Seamen are 
usually hungry mortals. Today not many of them gave any 
signs of being hungry; some did not eat at all. 

There was a constant procession of men on deck to stare in 
the direction in which the British plane had disappeared. 

Then, at 1352, came a shout from the lookout: "Smoke in 
sight astern." 

1353: "Two columns of smoke astern." 

1354: "Could be three columns." 

On the bridge Knider was staring astern through his 

"Could be a ship with two or even three funnels," he said. 
"Or it could be two cruisers steaming in formation." 

1448: "Mastheads in sight astern!" 

Slowly, but quite certainly and they were not to be 
shaken off two thin masts arranged very close together, al- 
most one behind the other, appeared above the horizon. They 
were not the masts of a merchantman; they belonged to some 
type of British warship. 

On the bridge of the Pinguin they kept their glasses glued 
to their eyes and their eyes glued to the two masts. Then the 
funnels and the bridge structure came in sight almost to- 


gether. London or Berwick Class? was the only question now. 
Beyond all doubt, the stranger gaining on them was a heavy 

"Well, lads, this looks like it," said Kriider. "They've taken 
a long time to catch up with us. And we're not finished yet. 
Action stations!" 

The order was passed by word of mouth. Kriider preferred 
not to use the more exciting and dramatic alarm bells. 

The men were hurriedly making arrangements with their 
buddies: "If you get out of it, pal, here's my father's address." 
"Give 'em my best wishes at home if you ever get there." 

No one was in any doubt about the odds that would have 
to be faced if it did come to a scrap, but everyone still hoped 
that the disguise might still see them through. Some of the 
more optimistic hoped that if it came to a fight a chance shell 
might disable the big fellow over there. . . . 

The enemy came nearer and nearer. The whole super- 
structure was visible now. Suddenly her masthead signal 
lamp began to blink. It was an order to heave to. 

"Get busy, Brunke/' ordered Kriider. 

Charlie Brunke was already sitting at his captured British 
set. When transmitting it was very clearly distinguishable 
from German transmitters. Kriider was still banking on his 

Charlie Brunke began to send out radio appeals in English 
for assistance: dot, dash, dot, dot, dash. "Being attacked by 
German raider." Then followed name and nationality. No 
sooner had he finished one message than Charlie Brunke 
started the next. The key of his set worked ceaselessly. 

On board the British cruiser, as was subsequently revealed, 
the captain again became uncertain when it was reported to 
him that the ship ahead was using a British radio transmitter. 
In Berlin the German Naval Command received the message 
and knew what was happening. 


Kriider estimated the British cruiser's speed as between 
twenty-eight and twenty-nine knots. The "heave to" message 
was now being repeated energetically. "Heave to and await 
boarding party!" 

Kriider still made no reply. 

"We'll keep our heads," he said, "and perhaps they'll get 
tired of it first." 

"What a hope!" muttered Michaelsen. 

Minutes seemed to lengthen into ages. The enemy was no 
more than 8,000 yards away now, and he had obviously re- 
duced speed. They could see that all the guns of his turrets 
were trained on the Pinguin. However, even that did not mean 
that he was now quite certain that the Tamerlan was not all 
she pretended to be it could be just a routine precaution. 
If the British commander were quite certain that the Tamer- 
Ian was really a German raider he would never come so close, 
and he certainly would not have reduced speed. 

Kriider had made up 'his mind to fight it out. He had a real 
chance of disabling his enemy, and that was confirmed later 
by the success of the Kormoran in sinking the cruiser Sydney. 
For Ernst-Felix Kriider it was a matter of course that the 
highest standards of the old Imperial Navy should be upheld 
in the new. He did not know that he and the man on the other 
bridge had already faced and fought each other at Skagger- 
rak, or as the other would put it, Jutland. They had both been 
small fry then. 

1602: Kriider turned away to put on his gold-braided 
peaked cap and his uniform jacket. 

"Unmask battery! War flag up! Open fire!" 

The Norwegian flag was run down, and the German naval 
flag ran up into its place. With a dull sound the gun covers 
fell away, There were shouts as ranges were passed down and 
orders given. Then the Pinguin shuddered as her first salvo 
left the gun muzzles. There was a flash of flame, clouds of 


smoke, and then acrid fumes. The marksmanship was good, 
and columns of water rose around the British cruiser. On 
board her there were now sudden stab-like flames as her guns 
opened up. They had not come in close to the suspect without 
being prepared for all eventualities. The Finguin, J7K-33, 
fired salvo after salvo. Shell cases hit the deck with a metallic 
sound as the breech blocks swung back. Shells roared over- 
head. Above the noise of battle they could hear the engines 
of the British plane. 

'That was a hit, Rieche," said Kriider appreciatively to his 
gunnery officer. Rieche grinned, nodded, and went on with 
his job. 

And again they appeared to score hits. The British captain 
seemed to be too close for his liking, for now his engines were 
racing at full speed ahead again, but he was turning away to 
port. Obviously he intended to get out of range, although he 
was greatly superior in gunpower and armor to the German 
auxiliary cruiser, a mere armed merchantman. His fire-power 
was greater; he was heavily armored; he was far less likely 
to sink; and with his much greater speed he was vastly more 

A direct hit damaged the British cruiser on the waterline 
and another shell possibly hit the foremost of her three 

"We may have hit the fire-control director/' shouted the 
gunnery officer, Rieche. "The heavy stuff isn't firing any 

"I hope you're right," Kriider called back, never for one 
" moment dropping his glasses. 

But then the heavy, long-range guns of H.M.S. Cornwall 
opened up again. On the basis of the British Navy silhouettes 
in their possession they had now discovered the identity of 
their assailant. 


"Try your luck with the fish, Gabe," ordered Kriider. 

Lieutenant Gabe already had the torpedo tubes ready for 
action, and a second or two after Kriider's orders a salvo of 
torpedoes left the Pinguin and raced straight toward the 
British cruiser. 

If the Naval Command had equipped the Pinguin with 
ultramodern bubble-free torpedoes the fate of the Cornwall 
might have been sealed that day, but as it was the British 
plane flying overhead spotted the path of the torpedoes and 
radioed their course to the cruiser, which immediately took 
evasive action. The nearest torpedo passed under her stern, 
missing by yards only. 

On the bridge of the Pinguin Kriider was intently studying 
his wristwatch. Amidst the noise of battle he was counting the 
seconds aloud. Then his left arm dropped to his side. 

"Nothing doing, Gabe" 

The figures coming down from the range-finders above 
the bridge showed that the distance between the two ships 
was steadily increasing. H.M.S. Cornwall was withdrawing 
out of range of the Pinguin s guns. The last salvo left the red- 
hot barrels and fell short. The Cornwall could now blow her 
out of the water with impunity. 

The captain of the Cornwall could very clearly remember 
the Battle of Jutland and the speed and accuracy of German 
gunnery and the penetrating power of German shells. He pro- 
posed to take no risks. 

"Not a chance now," said Kriider regretfully. 

In the radio office Charlie Brunke had just passed the same 
message three times to the German Naval Command: "After 
sinking 136,550 gross register tons and obtaining excellent 
mine results am now engaged with British heavy cruiser 
Cornwall (Sig.) Ernst-Felix Kriider. 7 ' It was received. 

His assistant, Bork, was listening to Norddeich, Only a 


little while before the German station had been very lively; 
now it was silent. From thousands o miles away its operators 
were following the hopeless battle. 

H.M.S. Cornwall now obtained her first hit. The rigging of 
the Pinguins foremast carried away and fell to the deck with 
a rattle. 

'That'll do/' said Kriider. "There's no point in going on. 
Free the prisoners Martin, see to that, will you Scuttle 
ship and abandon!" 

The last orders of Captain Ernst-Felix Kriider were never 
carried out. It was too late. The guns of the Cornwall were 
beginning to shoot themselves in. Of a salvo of four shells 
three were over and one was short. The next salvo was a 
direct hit. Four 8-inch shells tore into the thin hull of the 
Pinguin; one hit the fore part of the ship, the second destroyed 
the meteorological office under the bridge, the third burst in 
the engine-room, killing and maiming men there, and the 
fourth exploded in No. 5 hold amongst the 130 mines Kriider 
had intended to lay before Karachi. 

A terrific explosion followed, and a spear of flame shot 
many thousands of feet into the cloudless tropical sky. One 
of the few survivors was in the crows-nest on the foremast. 
He can remember vaguely that the after part of the Pinguin 
was suddenly transformed into a fire-spitting volcano and 
sank immediately afterward. The fore part of the ship then 
capsized and sank, too, and he was flung into the water. 

Another survivor was Chief Quartermaster Neumeister. 
He was one of the very few men on the bridge who survived. 
It was his job to measure the distance from the ship at which 
the enemy shells were bursting, and in carrying out this task 
he was constantly going from port to starboard. Suddenly 
the deck seemed to rise under his feet, and he fell. For a mo- 
ment or two he must have been unconscious. When he came 
to, the first sight that met his eyes was a fire appliance dis- 


charging its contents all over the place. He sprang to his feet 
and saw that the port side of the bridge was no longer there. 

Where he had last seen Kruder and his navigating officer 
there was now a jagged hole in the bridge structure. Neu- 
meister then felt that the ship was sliding backward into the 

"She's going under/' he said. "Time to get off." 

He ran down the steps to the boat deck; and he nearly 
pitched down, owing to the fact that some of the steps were 
missing. By this time the Pinguin was lying at such a slant 
that the water was to up the funnel on the boat deck. Neu- 
meister sprang into the water with someone else, but he could 
never remember, afterward, who it was. He found that his 
life jacket interfered with his swimming, so he got rid of it. 
He wanted to get away from the hull of the sinking ship as 
quickly as possible; he had seen too many ships sink to want 
to be anywhere near one when she did. He knew that, quite 
apart from the down suction, a few minutes later all sorts of 
floating debris rushed to the top from the place where the 
ship went under, and that a solid piece of beam, for example, 
which shot to the surface from perhaps five or six hundred 
feet below water, came up like a projectile, leaping perhaps 
ten or a dozen feet into the air and woe betide anyone who 
happened to be in the way. On the other hand, the man who 
is fortunate enough to be a little distance away can then swim 
in safely and cling to it once it has dropped back harmlessly 
into the water. There are all sorts of things an old hand keeps 
stored up in his head for all eventualities. 

When Neumeister had swum away from the ship he turned 
and looked back. There were the bows of the Pinguin sticking 
vertically out of the water. The bridge itself was already prac- 
tically submerged. Clinging to the rail were a number of 
sailors. In their panic they didn't seem to know that they 
ought to let go and get away as quickly as passible. 


"Jimp!" he shouted. "J unl P ^ or y our 

It was all he could do for them. He turned again and swam 
away from the ship as fast as he could go, and behind him he 
heard the Pinguin go under with a terrific sound of cracking 
and bursting. HK-33 had met her end. 

Neumeister expected to feel something of the notorious 
suction when a ship goes under, and he lay flat on the water 
and waited. He felt nothing whatever. Once the suction 
was past, the next thing to be feared was the violent rise of a 
variety of unsinkable objects to the surface. For this he stood 
upright and trod water in order to offer as little surface as 
possible to the danger. Once again there was nothing, though 
black oil did well up from the depths after a while. 

Most of the survivors had subsequently no idea of how they 
managed to get into the water. Chief Quartermaster Neu- 
meister looked around. A sailor was swimming a few feet 
away from him. Three men together were a little distance 
away, and still further away, dotted around, were others. 

"Anyone seen the Old Man?" he shouted. No one had. 

"Let's get together," he shouted again, "we'll stand a better 
chance/' They all swam toward the group of three sailors who 
proved to be clinging to a damaged life raft. There were ten 
of them hanging on to it now. The other men were still looking 
around and asking after Kriider. 

Some distance away there was another group of survivors; 
they turned out to be chiefly lascars. They were shouting to 
the Germans to come over to them. 

"What happens if we do?" said of the sailors. "They might 
get nasty." 

"Shut up," said Neumeister. "Listen to what they're 

It was something about sharks and black water. 

"Donnerwetterr he exclaimed. "They're right! I'd forgot- 


ten all about it. This is a shark zone. But what does black 
water mean? Let's swim over." 

They found the Indians swimming in oily water. That was 
their "black water." They welcomed the Germans in a 
friendly fashion. Everyone was in the same boat now. It ap- 
peared that they had been shouting that sharks wouldn't go 
into unclear water and certainly not into oily water, so the 
safest thing was to stay where there was oil. There were two 
British officers in the group. They too were perfectly 

"What's the matter with the Cornwall?" someone asked. 
'Why don't they come and pick us up?" 

"Have you got a pistol, Neumeister?" 

"What for?" 

"Just in case. We don't want to drown, and we don't want 
to be eaten by sharks. It doesn't look as though they're going 
to pick us up." 

"Don't be daft! They'll come. If not for us, then for their 
own people; and once they're here they'll pick us up, too/' 

"How do they know any of their own people were on board, 

"They've got to reckon with the possibility. They've prob- 
ably gone after the whaler. That could take a little while." 

Spirits sank at the thought. The lascars began to pray aloud. 

Gradually it became clear who had survived and who had 
not. There were only three officers: Dr. Hasselmann, Lieu- 
tenant Roll, and Lieutenant Bdttcher, who had been trans- 
ferred from the Alstertor. 

Two hours later the Cornwall reappeared and lowered 
boats to pick up survivors. Her crew crowded along the ship's 
side, watching the rescue operations and shouting to the res- 
cue crews as they spotted fresh survivors here and there 
clinging to floating debris in the oily water. 


The survivors were taken to the quarterdeck of the cruiser, 
where friendly, almost comradely, British sailors brought 
along great mugs of hot tea or cool lime juice, an excellent 
drink in the tropics. Cigarettes were handed round. Others 
brought up hot water and soap and towels to help the survi- 
vors get the first layer of oil off themselves. 

Although the temperature was tropical, the men had been 
two hours in the water, and they were cold and exhausted. 

Dr. Hasselmann was asked to go to the operating theater 
of the Cornwall, but first he was rigged out with British 
tropical uniform, as his own was dirty and torn. On the way 
they had to step over fire hoses and thick cables. The Corn- 
wall had obviously suffered damage in the battle. There had 
been fire, and Rieche had perhaps been right when he sup- 
posed that the Pinguin had destroyed the fire-control di- 
rector. This cable was probably the improvised repair; the 
guns had opened up again. 

In the operating room Dr. Hasselmann found survivors of 
the Pinguin, both members of the crew and prisoners. 

"The prisoners speak well of you,'* the British naval sur- 
geon said when they had made themselves known to each 
other. "They say you treated everybody to the best of your 
ability, whether friend or enemy. I'd like you to know we ap- 
preciate that and to see for yourself that we do the same for 
your people." 

Fortunately neither the wounds nor the injuries turned out 
to be very serious; the worst injuries were broken arms and 
damaged ribs. The rest were chiefly cuts and bruises. 

A final count showed that three officers, ten petty officers, 
and forty-seven men had survived of the crew of the Pinguin, 
and twenty-seven of the prisoners who were fortunate 
enough to be quartered forward, including three British of- 
ficers and fifteen lascars. The men in the after part of the 
Pinguin had had no chance at all. 


Of the crew of the Pinguin, 18 officers, 69 petty officers, and 
254 other ratings were missing, and 213 prisoners, most of 
them lascars. 

The survivors of the German crew were accommodated as 
well as possible in a large compartment, and the three officers 
were given mattresses and spotless bedding on the floor of 
the after cabin. 

When he had time, Dr. Hasselmann turned once again 
to his diary: 

"The Cornwall stayed in the neighborhood of the action 
until next day. In the morning the British buried their men 
who had been killed in the engagement. None of the dead 
of the Pinguin had been picked up. It is some consolation to 
us who have survived to know that our comrades died 
quickly and certainly did not suffer. Up to the moment the 
mines exploded no one had been injured, so no one had to 
suffer the horrors of lying wounded in a sinking ship. They 
must all have been killed instantly. 

"The bodies of the dead sailors were covered with the Brit- 
ish flag, and then at the end of the ceremony they were slid 
into the sea. The British captain made a short speech in which 
he also praised the fairness and courage of the German enemy, 
describing Captain Kriider as a worthy opponent and a real 
sea-fox worthy of the admiration of all sailors. There was 
nothing hurtful for us in it when he mentioned with satis- 
faction that with the sinking of the Pinguin, which had sailed 
the seas like a ghost ship, the most dangerous and most suc- 
cessful of all German commerce raiders had been destroyed. 

"That afternoon the British captain came to visit us in the 
after cabin. He was a slim man of medium height, probably 
in his early fifties. He stood there with his back to the fireplace. 

" 'You chaps have done us a good deal of damage/ he said, 
*but youVe always fought fairly, and that means a good deal. 
We know that Captain Kriider avoided unnecessary blood- 


shed, and we also know from our own rescued men that you 
treated your prisoners well. I think it my duty to thank you 
in his absence for that, and it is a duty I gladly perform/ 

*'As far as the food is concerned I can only judge what 
we have been given, and that is excellent. However, on British 
ships officers and ratings do not get the same food so I don't 
know from personal experience how our men are faring, but 
I've heard no complaints. If it weren't for the fact that we 
have no freedom of movement we could easily imagine our- 
selves to be guests of His Majesty George VI. . . ." 

H.M.S. Cornwall entered Port Victoria on the island of 
Mahe in the Seychelles on May fifteenth. The prisoners were 
then asked to sign an undertaking not to attempt to escape. 
Dr. Hasselmann spoke for them all, both officers and men. 

"No, sir," he said firmly. "That we shall not do/' 

When the British commander said good-by to his officer 
prisoners he referred to the matter again. 

"Unofficially I'm rather glad you didn't," he said apprecia- 
tively. "You would have disappointed us if you had." 

One bond of union even war could not destroy, it seemed: 
the feeling of comradeship between sailors of all nationalities. 

Auxiliary Cruiser No. S3, better known as the Pinguin, sank 
within a minute at 1629 in position OS^O 7 North, 535(y East 
just twenty-seven minutes after the opening of the engage- 
ment as a result of a devastating salvo from H.M.S. Cornwall. 

From the beginning the Pinguin s position was hopeless, 
but she fired 200 projectiles and scored a direct hit. Accord- 
ing to the report of tie British Admiralty, the heavy cruiser 
Cornwall fired 136 projectiles from her 8-inch and 4-inch guns. 

The Cornwall was a 10,000-ton cruiser of the Berwick Class 
capable of a top speed of 31.5 knots that is to say, she was 
almost twice as fast as the Pinguin. Her armament was, of 


course, also much superior to that of her opponent. It con- 
sisted of eight 8-inch guns, eight 4-inch guns, four 2-inch guns 
and eight heavy machine guns. She was also equipped with 
a catapult for launching her three aircraft. 

Kriider was quite right when he pointed out that to shoot 
down one plane would be useless the British would only 
send out another. And if he had sunk two they would have 
dispatched a third. 

On her long voyage the Pinguin sailed 59,188 miles, or a 
distance greater than double the circumference of the earth. 
During the course of her cruise she captured a total of 136,550 
gross register tons, of which 52,000 tons was sent to Germany 
with prize crews on board. In this respect she set up an all- 
time record for both the First and Second World Wars. In ad- 
dition, the shipping sunk by her mining operations is esti- 
mated at between 50,000 and 60,000 tons. Thus by the action 
of the Pinguin alone the Allies were deprived of something 
like 200,000 tons of shipping not to mention the loss due 
to delays and disorganization. The total value of the ships 
and cargoes sunk or captured is difficult to estimate, but it 
certainly ran into many millions of dollars. 

And yet, thanks largely to the humanity of the Pinguin s 
commander, the casualties resulting from this astonishing per- 
formance were not very heavy. From every point of view 
Captain Kriider's record was no mean one.