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  SMS Kormoran (HSK-8, Steiermark)
Passenger Vessel
Auxiliary Cruiser

8,736 tons
540' x 66' x 28'
6 x 150mm guns (hidden behind counter-balanced covers)
2 x 37mm anti-tank guns
5 x 20mm FlaK AA guns
2 x twin torpedo batteries above waterline
2 x single torpedo tubes below the water line
390 sea mines
2 x Arado 196 seaplanes

Ship History
Originally the passenger vessel Steiermark.

Wartime History
Acquired by the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) at the start of World War II and converted into an armed Merchant ship raider. Administered by the Kriegsmarine under the designation Schiff 41, to the Allied navies she was dubbed "Raider G". She was the largest merchant raider operated by Germany during World War II under the command of Captain Theodor Detmer. Responsible for the destruction of ten merchant vessels and the capture of an eleventh during her year-long career in the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean.

Sinking History
On November 19, 1942 sank HMAS Sydney during a mutually destructive battle off Western Australia. Kormoran’s success is commonly attributed to the proximity of the two ships during the engagement, and the raider's advantages of surprise and rapid, accurate fire. However, the cruiser's loss with all hands compared to the survival of most of the German crew have resulted in a controversy, with some alleging that the German commander, Theodor Detmers, used illegal ruses to lure Sydney into range, that a Japanese submarine was involved, and that the true events of the battle are concealed behind a wide-ranging cover up. Damage sustained during the battle prompted the scuttling of Kormoran. While 318 of the 399 aboard the German ship were rescued and placed in prisoner of war camps for the duration of World War II, there were no survivors from the 645 aboard the Australian cruiser.

This shipwreck was discoverd on March 13, 2008.

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Last Updated
August 4, 2020


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