Comet (ship, 1937)

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Komet (auxiliary cruiser) .jpg
Ship data
flag German EmpireGerman Empire (trade flag) German Empire German Empire
German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge) 
other ship names
  • Ems
Ship type Cargo ship
auxiliary cruiser
Shipping company North German Lloyd (NDL)
Shipyard Deschimag AG Weser , Bremen
Build number 926
Launch January 16, 1937
takeover April 15, 1937
Commissioning as an auxiliary cruiser: June 2, 1940
Whereabouts Sunk on October 14, 1942
Ship dimensions and crew
115.05 m ( Lüa )
109 m ( KWL )
width 15.3 m
Draft Max. 6.5 m
displacement 7500  t
measurement 3,287 GRT
crew 251 to 270 men
Machine system
machine 2 × 6-cylinder diesel
3,900 hp (2,868 kW)
16 kn (30 km / h)
propeller 1
Armament from 1940
Armament from 1942
  • 6 × Sk 15.0 cm L / 48 C / 36 (1,500 shots)
  • 4 × Flak 3.7 cm (8,000 rounds)
  • 4 × Flak 2.0 cm L / 65 (8,000 rounds)
  • 6 × torpedo tube ⌀ 53.3 cm (above water)

The Komet was the German merchant ship Ems, which was converted and armed for the trade war in World War II . She had been taken over by the Navy as ship 45 for military service. Under the designation Handelsstörkreuzer 7 ( HSK 7 ), the ship was used as an auxiliary cruiser . The Comet was known as Raider B in the British Royal Navy .

The Komet ran from July 1940 with the help of Soviet icebreakers through the Northeast Passage to its deployment area in the Pacific . There she attacked the phosphate island of Nauru . From her first trip, she returned to Hamburg on November 30, 1941 after 516 days and a circumnavigation of the world. The attempt to leave the country again failed on October 14, 1942 near Cape de la Hague when the Komet was torpedoed by a British motor torpedo boat and sank with the entire crew (251 men).

The Ems of the North German Lloyd

The later auxiliary cruiser Komet was launched on January 16, 1937 as a freighter Ems at the Deschimag AG Weser shipyard in Bremen for the South American service of North German Lloyd (NDL). The 3,237 GRT ship was 115.5 m long, 15.3 m wide and had a draft of 6.5 m. She was the fourth ship of the new river class, of which the NDL put six ships into service until 1939. All ships were built in the same shipyard; nevertheless they had small differences. They were called Memel ( launched as Cairo in 1934 ), Saar (1935), Eider (1936), Iller (1938) and Lech (1939).

Tore the comet with the Arado 196

The Ems was delivered to the NDL on April 15, 1937. With a crew of 40, she was deployed mainly to Brazil (also to Central America). The ship with a load capacity of 4420 tdw had a facility for 12 passengers and was powered by two 6-cylinder diesel engines of the MAN-Weser type with a total output of 3900 PSe, which acted on a screw via a gear and the freighter a service speed of Gave 14.2 knots (kn). The maximum speed was 16 knots.

When the Second World War broke out , the ship was at home and was confiscated by the Navy. At the Howaldtswerke in Hamburg it was converted into an auxiliary cruiser. As armament, it received six 15 cm L / 45 guns, a 6 cm L / 18 stop gun as well as two 3.7 cm and four 2 cm anti-aircraft guns and six torpedo tubes. There was also a small 15-t class LS 2 ( meteorite ) speedboat on board, which was to be used to lay mines , and an Arado 196 A1 aircraft on board . On June 2, 1940, the Ems was put into service as the ship 41 Komet with a crew of 279 men.


First drive

The Komet set sail from Gotenhafen on July 3, 1940 . With the help of Soviet icebreakers, they made their way through the Northeast Passage into the Pacific . The ship then crossed the Pacific, where it operated together with the Orion , on December 27, 1940, shelled the phosphate loading facilities on Nauru and met the Pinguin on March 12 . After the penguin was sunk on May 8, 1941, the whaling boat remained adjutant (a pinch of penguin , ex Pol IX ) without its own mother ship. The whaling boat was then converted by the Komet into an auxiliary mine-laying machine on May 24th and received 20 mines of the TMB type, the 6.0 cm L / 18 stop cannon and two captured 2 cm automatic cannons from the Rangitane . After meeting the Atlantis in the Pacific, the Komet finally marched around Cape Horn in the Atlantic. Arrived in Cherbourg on November 26th , she went back through the English Channel to Hamburg, where she traveled around the world after 516 days and a journey of 100,000 nm (approx. 185,000 km) on November 30, 1941 arrived.

Ships sunk on the first pirate voyage

Surname Type country date Tonnage in GRT Whereabouts
1 Holmwood freighter Great Britain November 25, 1940 546 over 1,000 sheep on board, sunk ( location )
2 Rangitane Passenger ship Great Britain November 27, 1940 16,712 Sunk together with Orion ( location ), 16 dead
3 Triona freighter Great Britain December 6, 1940 4,414 Sunk together with Orion ( location ), 3 dead, cargo of supplies for Nauru
4th Vinni freighter Norway December 7, 1940 5,181 sunk, empty
O Triadic freighter Great Britain December 8, 1940 6,378 sunk by Orion , 1 dead, empty
5 Comata freighter Great Britain December 8, 1940 3,900 sunk, 2 dead, empty
O Triasters freighter Great Britain December 9, 1940 6,032 sunk by Orion , empty
6th Australind freighter Great Britain August 14, 1941 5,020 sunk ( location ), 3 dead
7th Kota Nopan freighter Netherlands August 17, 1941 7,322 sent to France on August 17, 1941 in Bordeaux
8th Devon Reefer ship Great Britain August 19, 1941 9,036 sunk ( location )

This results in a total of 64,540 GRT for the combat operations of the Comet and Orion together , or 43,162 GRT for the Komet alone.

This comparatively small number of sinkings can be explained by the fact that the Komet was used by the naval war command in the Pacific Ocean, which had a much lower traffic density than the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, in which, for example, Atlantis , Penguin and Thor were used.

Second ride

When preparing the Komet for the second voyage, the ship received a new armament in 1942. The old Sk 15.0 cm L / 45 were replaced by new Sk 15.0 cm L / 48 C / 36 torpedo boat cannons with a range of 17,000 m. There were also four 3.7 cm flak and four 2 cm flak, the old torpedo armament was retained. No mines, no stopping cannon, no speedboat and no seaplanes were carried. The Komet set sail for her second voyage in early October 1942 under the command of Captain Brocksien and with an almost completely new crew.

The end

Just one week after leaving Hamburg, on October 14, 1942, the Komet was sunk by a torpedo hit by the British motor torpedo boat MTB 236 near Kap de la Hague ( Lage ). No member of the crew survived the sinking.

Silhouette of the comet with and without the Arado Ar 196 A1, the hidden armament cannot be seen

Discovery of the wreck

The wreck of the Komet was discovered by the wreck seeker Innes McCartney in July 2006 near Cape La Hague and dived and mapped in 2007. There it lies keel up and in two parts on the bottom.


June 2, 1940 to February 1942 Sea Captain / Rear Admiral Robert Eyssen
February to October 14, 1942 Sea captain Ulrich Brocksien


  • Zvonimir Freivogel: German auxiliary cruiser of the Second World War - pirate drivers on the seas, Motorbuch Verlag, 1st edition 2003, ISBN 3-613-02288-5
  • Jochen Brennecke: The German auxiliary cruisers in World War II. 4th edition. Koehler Verlag 2001, ISBN 3-782-20828-5
  • Robert Eyssen: HSK Comet. Pirate voyage on all seas. Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft, Hamburg 2002, ISBN 3-782-20856-0 .
  • Hans Hildebrand, Albert Röhr, Hans-Otto Steinmetz: The German warships. A mirror of naval history from 1815 to the present day. Biographies. Volume 8. Licensed Edition. Mundus Verlag, Essen 1990, ISBN 3-8364-9743-3 .
  • Otto Mielke: Auxiliary cruiser "Komet". A Siberian ice trip during World War II. Stade, Kiel 2005, ( Ships - People - Fates, Fates of German Ships. 139, ZDB -ID 1325248-3 ).
  • Paul Schmalenbach: The German auxiliary cruisers. 1895-1945. Stalling, Oldenburg et al. 1977, ISBN 3-7979-1877-1 .

Web links


  1. ^ Zvonimir Freivogel: German auxiliary cruiser of the Second World War - pirate drivers on the oceans of the world, Motorbuch Verlag, 1st edition 2003, ISBN 3-613-02288-5 , p. 167
  2. Information on the coastal freighter Holmwood , 1911 Goole Shipbuilding
  3. Information on Rangitane , 1929 John Brown, Clydebank
  4. Report on the sinking of the Rangitane engl.
  5. Information on Vinni , 1937 Götaverken
  6. Information on the Triadic , 1938 Lithgows, Glasgow
  7. Information on Komata , 1938 Stephen & Sons, Glasgow
  8. Information on the Triaster , 1938 Lithgows, Glasgow
  9. Information on Australind (3), 1929 Wm. Denny & Bros, Dumbarton
  10. Information on Kota Nopan , 31 RSM, Vlissingen
  11. The Armed Merchant Raider HK "KOMET" website (accessed on Aug. 12, 2009) ( Memento from July 28, 2011 in the Internet Archive )