SS Alcantara (1913)
|Builder:||Harland & Wolff|
|Fate:||Sunk 29 February 1916|
|Armament:||6 x 6in guns
2 x 3pdr guns
SS Alcantara was an ocean liner that went into service just weeks before the start of World War I, was converted to an armed merchant cruiser in 1914, and was sunk by the German armed merchant cruiser SMS Greif on 29 February 1916 in the North Sea.
Battle with Greif
Greif was disguised as the Norwegian Rena out of Tønsberg, Norway when intercepted by Alcantara on the morning of 29 February 1916. Alcantara closed to 2000 yards and slowed to lower a boarding cutter when Greif hoisted the German battle ensign, increased speed, and opened fire.
Alcantara returned fire from the port side guns. Range was never more than 3000 yards. One of Greifs torpedoes detonated amidships against Alcantaras port side, and one of Alcantaras shells exploded the ready ammunition for Greifs after gun. Both ships lost speed.
Greifs crew abandoned ship 40 minutes after opening fire. Alcantara sank first. The C-class light cruiser HMS Comus and M-class destroyer HMS Munster then arrived to sink the stationary Greif and rescue 210 German survivors.
- Poole, Francis (July 1975). "Alcantara vs. Greif: Duel of the Merchant Cruisers". Proceedings (Annapolis, MD: United States Naval Institute): 52–57.
- Schmalenbach, Paul (1977). German Raiders. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-85059-351-4.