German weather ship Sachsenwald

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Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: Sachsenwald
Namesake: Sachsenwald
Launched: 1939
Fate: Sunk on 6 August 1944
General characteristics
Class & type: Converted trawler
Tonnage: 639 GRT
Length: 187 ft (57 m)
Beam: 29 ft (8.8 m)
Propulsion: Triple expansion engine
Speed: 12.5 knots (23.2 km/h)

Sachsenwald was a German weather ship during the Second World War. She was built in 1939 as a commercial trawler and operated out of Cuxhaven, but was requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine after the outbreak of war and used as a weather ship under the designation Wetterbeobachtungsschiff 7.[1][2]

Bismarck survivors[edit]

Sachsenwald was returning from a 50 day operational cruise in the Atlantic under her commander, W. Schutte, when she received orders on 27 May 1941 to move to the area where the Bismarck was known to be.[1] After sailing through heavy seas, and being briefly attacked by a Bristol Blenheim with machine gun fire, she reached the debris field left after the sinking of Bismarck on 28 May. After several hours searching the field, which contained only bodies and debris, Sachsenwald communicated with two U-boats which were also searching the area.[1] Finally, late in the night, they discovered a raft containing two survivors, and took them on board. They were Matrosengefreiter Walter Lorenzen, and Matrosengefreiter Otto Maus.[1][a] Sachsenwald continued to search the area, recovering an empty raft from Bismarck but failed to find any more survivors. She briefly communicated with the Spanish cruiser Canarias, which was also searching the area, before making for the French coast on 31 May, escorted by several patrol boats.[1] She reached it without incident, discharging the survivors, and tying up at Bordeaux on 1 June.[1]

Sinking[edit]

She was later designated a vorpostenboot, named Vorpostenboot 414 (V-414) and was assigned to the 4th Outpost Flotilla (4. Vorpostenbootflotille) in the Bay of Biscay and operating out of Bordeaux.[1] In August 1944 she formed part of a seven-ship convoy, consisting of the Otto, Höheweg, V-414, M-263, M-486 and FT-3 which was carrying ammunition from St. Nazaire to La Pallice.[2] They were intercepted early in the morning of 6 August by Force 26, which was carrying out Operation Kinetic.[1] The taskforce, consisting of the cruiser HMS Bellona, and the destroyers HMS Ashanti, HMS Tartar, HMCS Haida and HMCS Iroquois, attacked the convoy, sinking six of the ships, including V-414.[2] The wreck lies in 180 feet (55 m) of water.[2]

Notes[edit]

a. ^ A number of internet sources state that Sachsenwald recovered five Bismarck survivors. This appears to be a widely repeated error based on a faulty source. The official report of Sachsenwald's commander states only two survivors were picked up, Lorenzen and Maus.[1]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Fishing Vessel 'Sachsenwald': Report Regarding The Rescue Mission 'Bismarck': 30 May 1944". kbismarck.com. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d "V-414 (ex-Sachsenwald) (+1944)". wrecksite.eu. 6 January 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 

Bibliography[edit]