Tonnage 7,320 / 9,916 dwt
Scuttled 5/01/44 to avoid capture by USS cruiser Omaha and Destroyer Jouett on pos. 05º 00”S 25º 00”W
In the first lights of 4/Jan/44, one PBM Mariner aircraft, from Natal, located one blockade runner some 640 miles off Recife. Detached from the original patrol sweep, Cap. Stanley Brown intercepted and questioned ship’s identification. The same answered by Aldis lamp as 7,320 ton merchant Floridian. Cap. Brown checking his plotting chart, confirmed that merchant was not in that grid, what raised his suspicions and made to transmit one detailed description of the vessel to the Fourth Fleet Headquarters, Recife.
The response came giving the Floridian as German blockade Burgenland, trying to pass the narrows. Cap Stanley received orders to proceed with an attack with demolition bombs. Before any other Mariner could join the one of Cap. Stanley, the group of Adm. Read ran into action. Cruiser Omaha altered her course and at flank speed, could pick up the runner in the radar in that same afternoon.
When visual contact was established, Omaha sent a warning for the enemy vessel to halt what was not corresponded. She fired 2 salvoes over the bow and even though there was no manifestation from the part of the Germans. Sure that no flowers are sent to the enemy, Omaha opened fire with her main batteries.
Doomed Burgenland was rocked by several explosive shells, and sank in mid of large columns of water and smoke. 150 crewmen were rescued. USS Omaha advanced easterly in the hope to find more survivors. Other US and Brazilian ships also took part in the salvage task and rescued more survivors. During interrogations at Recife, the Germans informed, that the time for the blockade runners had come to an end.
A few days later, 21 crewmembers adrift in the sea, were picked up by USS Davis on position 08º 06'S 26º 45'W. USS Winslow also picked up 35 Survivors on position 08º 14'S 29º 22' W. Finally on 14 Jan, Brazilian minesweeper Camocim, as part of an escort group attached to Convoy JT-19, when sailing off Recife, picked up signals from one US blimp informing one lifeboat loaded with survivors was just ahead of the convoy.
Steered by one ingenious lighter than air, on 13 Jan 1944, Camocim rescued 36 extenuated German survivors from Burgenland being 28 Germans and 8 Italians. Later the Brazilian Sub Chaser also rescued 34 survivors at Lat. 09º 00"S 34º 45"WWhen interrogated at Recife, they informed the blockade runner sailed from Japan loaded with vital cargo bound for Germany. After the sinking, they said they intended to reach neutral Argentina with the concourse of a sail boat they were sure it would be easy to found at those environs.
If necessary, they would make use of 2 sub machine guns and four pistols. The same were thrown overboard with the closing of the Brazilian vessel which picked them up. Same fate they gave for one Nazi flag and its wooden case. Survivors were handed over to the US Naval authorities at Camp Ingram, Recife.
Pictures of US Navy Destroyer Jouett and Cruiser Omaha. Both engaged in pursuit of three German Blockade Runners loaded with vital supplies, mainly rubber from Japanese held territories. Photo www.navsource.org
Photo by: www.naval.com.br
Brazilian Corvette Camocim and USN Destroyer Davis which rescued dozens of survivors from German Blockade Runners. Photo by. www.navsource.org