German auxiliary cruiser Hansa

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Career (Denmark)
Class and type: Merchant vessel
Name: Glengarry
Builder: Burmester & Wain, Copenhagen
Fate: Requisitioned by Kriegsmarine
Notes: Under construction when Denmark was occupied by Germany
Career (Nazi Germany)
Class and type: Auxiliary cruiser (1943), Training Ship (1944)
Name: Hansa
Builder: Wilton, Rotterdam
Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 5
Acquired: 1940
Commissioned: 12 February 1944
Renamed: Zielschiff Meersburg, Hansa
Nickname: HSK-5 (II)
Schiff 5[1]
Fate: Interned, 1945
Career (United Kingdom)
Class and type: Merchant vessel
Acquired: 1945
Fate: Scrapped 1971
General characteristics
Class and type: unclassed auxiliary cruiser
Displacement: 19,200 tons (9,138 gross register tons (GRT))
Length: 153 m (502 ft)
Beam: 20.1 m (66 ft)
Draft: 8.7 m (29 ft)
Speed: 20.5 knots (38.0 km/h)
Range: 65,000 nautical miles (120,000 km; 75,000 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Complement: 400 men (plus 400 cadets as a cadet training ship)
Armament: 8 × 149 mm guns (8 × 1)[2]
1 × 105mm/45 caliber[2] gun
6 × 37mm[2] AA guns
36 × 20 mm AA guns (2 × 4, 28 × 1)[2]
Aircraft carried: One

The Hansa was an auxiliary cruiser of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine used during World War II.

She was known to the KM as HSK 5(II) (i.e., the second of that designation; the first was Pinguin), or also as Schiff 5. She was not given a raider letter by the Royal Navy as she did not enter active service as a commerce raider. The last German vessel to be converted into an auxiliary cruiser, the Hansa was named after the Hanseatic League.

History[edit]

Hansa was originally conceived as the cargo ship Glengarry. She was taken over by the Germans during the occupation of Denmark, while under construction at Burmeister & Wain in Copenhagen. She was temporary renamed Zielschiff Meersburg and served as a target ship for the 27th U-boat flotilla.

In the winter of 1942/43, she was sent to the Wilton shipyard in Rotterdam, and later to Blohm & Voss, Hamburg, where she was converted into an auxiliary cruiser. She bore the designation HSK 5(II), reflecting the number of the ship yard she was converted in.

De-commissioned as a Hilfskreuzer in February 1944 the ship became a Kadettenschulschiff (cadet training ship).

From September 1944 to May 1945 she participated in the Baltic Sea evacuations, transporting over 12,000 soldiers and civilians at a time. The Hansa was the last ship, which escaped from Hela (pol. Hel).

Fate[edit]

On 20 May 1945 she sailed off to internment to Fehmarn. She was taken over by the British and sailed under different names until 1971 when she was scrapped.

Commanders[edit]

  • Kapitän zur See Hans Henigst, from April 1943 to August 1943;
  • Kapitän zur See Fritz Schwoerer, from February 1944 to May 1945.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ward, Ian, ed. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weapons and Warfare (London: Phoebus, 1978), Volume 11, p.1217, "Hansa".
  2. ^ a b c d Ward, p.1217.

Books[edit]