SS Deutschland (1923)

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For other ships of the same name, see SS Deutschland.
SS Deutschland (1923).jpg
The SS Deutschland
Career (Germany)
Name: SS Deutschland
Owner: Hamburg-Amerika Line
Port of registry: Germany
Route: Hamburg to New York
Ordered: 1921
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Kommandit Ges auf Aktien, Hamburg, Germany
Launched: 28 April 1923
Maiden voyage: 27 March 1924
Homeport: Hamburg, Germany
Fate: Transferred to the Kriegsmarine in 1940.
Notes: Paintwork :
black hull
red boot-topping
upper works white
funnels buff with red, white and black tops
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: SS Deutschland
Acquired: 1940
Fate: Capsized and sank on 3 May 1945 as a result of a British air attack.
General characteristics
Class and type: Ocean liner
Type: Steamship
Tonnage: 21,046 gross tons
Length: 196.6 m overall
Beam: 22 m
Depth: 12.8 m
Decks: 4
Installed power: 8 steam turbines
Propulsion: Twin screw
Speed: 20 knots
Complement: 976 passengers
Crew: 422 officers and crew

SS Deutschland [note 1] was a 21,046 gross registered ton (GRT) German HAPAG ocean liner which was sunk in a British air attack on May 3, 1945 when it was in the process of being converted as a hospital ship. All people on-board the Deutschland survived the attack, though two accompanying vessels sank with great loss of life.


One of a group of four ships that included the SS Albert Ballin, SS Hamburg, and SS New York, the Deutschland was launched on 28 April 1923. She began her maiden voyage on 27 March 1924, to Southampton and then on to New York City. The ship had tremendous problems with vibration, becoming known as the "Cocktail Shaker"; she was re-engined in 1929, with service speed reduced to 19 knots.

Second World War[edit]

In 1940, she became an accommodation ship for the German navy at Gotenhafen. In 1945, on seven Baltic voyages as part of Operation Hannibal, she carried 70,000 soldiers and refugees from the German eastern territories to the west.


In April 1945, she began being converted into a hospital ship. An attempt was made to paint the vessel white, but there was only sufficient paint available to paint her funnels white, and to paint a Red Cross on one side of one of her funnels. Subsequently, on 3 May 1945, she was attacked by British RAF squadrons three times, and capsized and sank in the Bay of Lübeck off Neustadt, but all people aboard survived. A fourth British air attack that day sank the SS Cap Arcona and the Thielbek, with great loss of life.[1][2]

In 1949, her wreck was raised and scrapped.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sometimes called Deutschland IV to distinguish from others of the name


  1. ^ Roy Nesbit: Cap Arcona: atrocity or accident?, Aeroplane Monthly, June 1984.
  2. ^ Heinz Schön: Die Cap Arcona-Katastrophe. Eine Dokumentation nach Augenzeugen-Berichten. Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart 1989, ISBN 3-613-01270-7."