CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
German auxiliary cruiser HK-33, otherwise known as the Pinguin
CRUISE OF THE
by hi J* Brennecke
THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY NEW YORK
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
BEFORE DEALING WITH THE OPERATIONS OF THE MOST SUCCESS-
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
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
FOLLOWING PAGE 114
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
CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
1. THE STORM BREAKS
IN THE MESS OF THE KANDELFELS, A NEW SHIP ONLY 3RECENTLY
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
2 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
and rattled and wire ropes and lines now made fast from the
ship to the shore shook and strained before they finally settled
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.
THE STORM BREAKS 3
"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
4 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
"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
THE STORM BREAKS 5
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
6 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
THE STORM BREAKS 7
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
8 CRTJISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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 STORM BREAKS
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
10 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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.
KEEL. FOR DAYS NOW THE COMING OF WAR HAD UPSET
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
12 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
"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,
"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
14 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
"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
16 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
"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.
18 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
"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
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
20 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
* And, with greater emphasis: "An officer must win the men
22 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
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
24 CBUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
engaged on more heroic tasks pulled the legs of the "defensive
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
26 CRUISE OF THE BAIDER HK-33
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
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
EIGHT BELLS SOUNDED. MIDNIGHT. THE CAPTAIN WAS ON DECK.
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
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
30 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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,
32 CRUISE OF THE RAJDEK HK-33
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
"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
34 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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/'
4. OBJECTIVE: DIRTY WEATHER
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.
36 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
"Lee side if you must get rid of your tucker," ordered a
"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
OBJECTIVE: DIRTY WEATHER 37
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
"Helm hard a'starboard."
The helmsman twisted the wheel frantically, his eyes on the
shining compass dial. Kriider himself put the engine-room
38 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
telegraph to "Full speed ahead." With a metallic rattle the
repeater swung round.
"Helm hard a'starboard, sir."
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
"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-
OBJECTIVE: DIRTY WEATHER 39
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
"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
But now the submarine captain was losing his temper.
"Heave to or we open fire!" came the signaled warning.
40 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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-
OBJECTIVE: DIRTY WEATHER 41
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
"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."
42 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
"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.
OBJECTIVE: BERTY WEATHER 43
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-
44 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
OBJECTIVE: DIRTY WEATHER 45
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
46 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
OBJECTIVE: DIRTY WEATHER 47
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.
48 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
OBJECTIVE: DIRTY WEATHER 49
"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-
50 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
OBJECTIVE: DIRTY WEATHER 51
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
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.
5. HK-33 RUNS THE BLOCKADE
"07.15. FOGBANK BEABING S.S.E.," ENTERED THE BOATSWAIN'S
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-
HK-33 RUNS THE BLOCKADE 53
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
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
54 CRUISE OF THE HAIDER HK-33
faint twilight of the misty day was reflected in their highly
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
"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."
HK-33 RUNS THE BLOCKADE 55
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.
56 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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,
HK-33 RUNS THE BLOCKADE ' 57
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.
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
58 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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-
"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
"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?
HK-33 RUNS THE BLOCKADE 59
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
60 CHUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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-
"How right you are," agreed Kriider. "See to it."
And patches of rust were carefully painted in the appro-
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*
HK-33 RUNS THE BLOCKADE 61
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
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 ? *
"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?"
62 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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-
HK-33 RUNS THE BLOCKADE 63
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
64 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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-
"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
HK-33 RUNS THE BLOCKADE 65
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
"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.
66 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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.
6. HK-33 BECOMES THE PINGUIN
IN ACCORDANCE WITH IMMEMORIAL CUSTOM, THE CREW OF
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
68 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
HK-33 BECOMES THE PINGUIN 69
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
70 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
With red ears, Warning quietly but hurriedly shut the door
behind him, leaving Kriider grinning happily to himself.
HK-33 BECOMES THE PINGUIN 71
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
"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."
72 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
"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,
HK-33 BECOMES THE PINGUIN 73
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
7. THE PINGUIN GOES INTO ACTION
SCHNEEKLOTH WAS ON WATCH AT THE FOREMAST HEAD. HE
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 PINGUIN GOES INTO ACTION 75
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
76 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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.
THE PINGUIN GOES INTO ACTION 77
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
"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.
78 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
THE PINGUIN GOES INTO ACTION 79
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
"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
80 CKUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
THE PINGUIN GOES INTO ACTION 81
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
82 CRUISE OF THE KAIDER HK-33
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,
THE PINGUIN GOES INTO ACTION 83
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.
8. THE "ROARING FORTIES"
THE RADIO CABNIVAL CONTINUED. SHIPS ALTERED THEIR COURSES.
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
THE "ROARING FORTIES" 85
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
"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
86 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
THE "ROARING FORTIES" 87
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
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
88 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
It wasn't the first time that a ship's doctor had altered a
*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
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
THE "ROARING FORTIES" 89
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
90 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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,
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
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
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
THE "ROARING FORTIES" 91
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
92 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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.
9. THE INDIAN OCEAN
THEY HAD ROUNDED CAPE OF GOOD HOPE, rr WAS A NICE NAME
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,
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."
94 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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 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
THE INDIAN OCEAN 95
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
"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
"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
96 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
THE INDIAN OCEAN 97
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
98 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
THE INDIAN OCEAN 99
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
100 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
THE ESTDIAN OCEAN 101
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.
102 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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 INDIAN OCEAN 103
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
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
104 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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:
THE INDIAN OCEAN 105
"Ship safely in our hands. Norwegian tanker Filefjell
Cargo; 10,000 tons of gasoline; 500 tons of fuel oil. Ship's
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
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
106 CRUISE OF THE HAIDER HK-33
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
THE INDIAN OCEAN 107
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
108 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
"They've got wives and kids at home, too," said Poeten
slowly. It makes you tifainL"
THE INDIAN OCEAN 109
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
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
HO CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
THE INDIAN OCEAN 111
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
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
The Norwegian was disgusted.
"Don't take it too hard, old man," said Michaelsen. "What
112 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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."
10. THE BAG INCREASES
KRUEER STEERED A SOUTHERLY COURSE IN ORDER TO GET OUT
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
114 CKUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
THE BAG INCREASES 115
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
116 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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-
THE BAG INCREASES 117
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
'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
118 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
"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
THE BAG INCREASES 119
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
120 CRUISE OF THE HAIDER HK-33
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
"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
THE BAG INCREASES 121
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
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
122 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
"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
THE BAG INCREASES 123
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
124 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
THE BAG INCREASES 125
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
11. TANKER INTO MINELAYER
THE MEN SAW THEIR CAPTAIN LESS AND LESS FREQUENTLY. MOST
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
TANKER INTO MINELAYER 127
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,
"And you're on your way to Melbourne?"
"Yes, I was to receive instructions there about my subse-
"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
128 CRUISE OF THE BAIDER HK-33
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
"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
"That's right, sir. Two thousand tons would just about fill
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
TANKER INTO MINELAYER 129
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
"If we had it done at home in a shipyard, then three weeks.
If we do it ourselves, three days provided everyone lends
"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
130 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
TANKER INTO MINELAYER 131
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.
1S2 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
"Well, good luck, lads," he said finally. "Well be seeing you
"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
"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
TANKER INTO MINELAYER 133
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
134 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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!"
ALTHOUGH THE MAIN WORK OF TRANSFORMING THE TANKER
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
136 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
138 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
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
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
140 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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,
"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
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
142 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
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
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 *
144 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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.
13. "UNEXPLAINED UNDERWATER
THE WEATHER HAD NOT BEEN BAB ENOUGH TO DELAY THE
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
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
"UNEXPLAINED UNDERWATER EXPLOSIONS" 147
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
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
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
148 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
"UNEXPLAINED UNDERWATER EXPLOSIONS" 149
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
150 CKUISE OF THE HAIDER HK-33
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-
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
"UNEXPLAINED UNDERWATER EXPLOSIONS" 151
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
152 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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-
"UNEXPLAINED UNDERWATER EXPLOSIONS" 153
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.
154 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
"UNEXPLAINED UNDERWATER EXPLOSIONS" 155
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-
156 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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.
14. THE HARVEST CONTINUES
SEVERAL DAYS PASSED AND STILL THERE WAS NO SIGN OF A
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
158 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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-
"Well, well," said Kriider doubtfully. "That's difficult to
believe. Is this some sort of a trap?~
THE HARVEST CONTINUES 159
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
160 CBUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
THE HARVEST CONTINUES 161
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
162 CRUISE OF THE HAIDER HK-33
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
THE HARVEST CONTINUES 163
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
Suddenly there was a hard jolt, and both Werner and Mul-
ler were jerked forward in their safety belts. At that moment
164 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
the radio messages ceased. They liad torn away tlie freigh-
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
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
"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
THE HARVEST CONTINUES 165
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
"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.
166 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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-
THE HARVEST CONTINUES 167
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.
168 CRUISE OF THE KAIDER HK-33
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
THE HARVEST CONTINUES 169
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"
15. EMBARRASSING CAPTURE
THE "SECOND EYE" OF THE PINGUIN EEPORTED HAVING SIGHTED
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
EMBARBASSING CAPTURE 171
"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
172 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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."
EMBAKRASSING CAPTORE 173
"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
The Pingwn now hauled out to port in order to obtain a
favorable iring angle. The men on watch on the bridge began
174 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
EMBARRASSING CAPTURE 175
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
176 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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:
EMBABRASSING CAPTURE 177
"R. F. Dingle, second engineer of the sunk refrigerator ship
Port Brisbane, declares that her assailant was an armed mer-
"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
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-
178 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
EMBAKKASSING CAPTURE 179
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
180 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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.
EMBARRASSING CAPTURE 181
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
182 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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,
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-
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
EMBARRASSING CAPTURE 183
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
16. THE PINGUIN TURNS SOUTH
KRUDER STEERED FOR THE WESTERN PART OF THE INDIAN OCEAN
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
THE PINGUIN TXJBNS SOUTH 185
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
"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?"
186 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
THE PINGUIN TUKNS SOUTH 187
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
"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.
188 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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.
THE PINGUIN TXJUNS SOUTH 189
"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.
190 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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 PINGUIN TURNS SOUTH 191
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/'
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.
17. THE CAPTURE OF THE WHALING FLEET
KRUDER GAVE THE MEN A REST FROM CHRISTMAS TO THE NEW
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
THE CAPTURE OF THE WHALING FLEET 193
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
194 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
THE CAPTUBE OF THE WHALING FLEET 195
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
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
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.
196 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
THE CAPTURE OF THE WHALING FLEET 197
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
"We can always blow him out of the water," said the waiting
"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
198 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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 CAPTURE OF THE WHALING FLEET 199
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-
"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
200 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
THE CAPTURE OF THE WHALING FLEET 201
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
02 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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.
18. PAUSE FOR REFRESHMENT
THE PINGXJIN WAS NOW MAKING FOB "THE SUNNY NORTH." ON
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
204 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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.
PAUSE FOR REFBESHMENT 205
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.
206 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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.
PAUSE FOR REFBESHMENT 207
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,
ONCE AGAIN TROPICAL KIT WAS PUT AWAY IN EXCHANGE FIRST
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.
210 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
"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
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
212 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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-
214 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
216 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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.
20. LAST SUCCESSES
THE HOPES THAT THE RAPID SERIES OF SUCCESSES OBTAINED
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
218 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
LAST SUCCESSES 219
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
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
220 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
LAST SUCCESSES 221
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
222 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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-
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
LAST SUCCESSES 223
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
224 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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.
21. END GAME AND MATE
WITH A DISAGREEABLE FEELING IN HIS BELLY, KRUDER GOT THE
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
226 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
"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-
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
END GAME AND MATE 227
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.
228 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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.
END GAME AND MATE 229
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
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-
30 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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.
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.
END GAME AND MATE 231
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
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
232 CKUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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
END GAME AND MATE 233
"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
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
234 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
'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-
END GAME AND MATE 235
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.
236 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
"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
"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-
END GAME AND MATE 237
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?"
"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.
238 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
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.
END GAME AND MATE 239
Of the crew of the Pinguin, 18 officers, 69 petty officers, and
254 other ratings were missing, and 213 prisoners, most of
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-
240 CRUISE OF THE RAIDER HK-33
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
END GAME AND MATE 241
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.