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Built 1928 as Karl Knudsen. Photo Charlotte_Schliemann_als_Sir_Karl_Knudsen.jpg (592×337) (

Tonnage 7,747 GRT /11,180 DWT

Length 405,5 ft

Beam 59,2 ft

Draught 25,9 ft

Propulsion 2 x Diesel 6 Cyl engines

Armament 1 75mm gun, 1 37mm gun, 4 20mm gun

Complement 90

Charlotte Schliemann was built in 1928 at Nakskov Skibsværft A / S Nakskov Shipyards in Denmark. - It is launched under the name of Sir Karl Knudsen for a Norwegian Company. - In 1939 she was sold to "Reederei Schliemann & Menzell" in Hamburg and renamed "Charlotte Schliemann", then passed under the orders of the Kriegsmarine. - At the start of the war, he was positioned with the "Corrientes" in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. - These two buildings were fitted out for supply operations by the Spanish group of a German organization known as "Ettapendienst". -

At the end of 1941, all auxiliary cruisers were sunk (Kota Pinang on October 31, 1941 - Atlantis on November 22, 1941 - Python on December 01, 1941 - Benno on December 24, 1941). The U-Boote Command abandons the idea of ​​refueling its submarines in the Atlantic Ocean with surface tankers. - From February 20, 1942, he left as an auxiliary cruiser in the South Atlantic. Her departure is so secret that several sailors remained ashore during her departure. - Six months remain in the South Atlantic participating in refueling. - After having exhausted all his stock of fuel for refueling, on September 1, 1942, he received the order to move on a deserted road passing off the Cape, the Indian Ocean and the Sunda Strait. - It does not cross any ship during its transit, which worries the crew who thought they saw some activity from Japanese vessels. - Arrival in Singapore after an eight month cruise.

The crew is not authorized to disembark ... It receives a load of gasoline and then heads for Japan. - October 20, 1942, arrival in Yokohama. He went into unavailability and received a heavy cannon (a Japanese 75mm cannon), anti-aircraft weapons (1 x 37mm and 4 x 20mm) and a surplus of men. The total crew reaches 90 men. - During its technical stop in Yokohama, it was moored to another tanker, the "Uckermark" (12,000 tonnes). On November 30, 1942, the latter exploded, but thanks to rapid action by Japanese firefighters, the "Schliemann" was saved. - In March 1943, he was again ready to go to sea. He was ordered to attempt a crossing to France, but the operation was canceled because of the difficulty in penetrating the Allied blockade. - He then sails with a cargo of coconut oil to Japan. Arrival in Kobe. - Departure from Japan for Singapore. during its transit, it is attacked for a submarine. Several torpedoes are launched, but none reach it. - Arrival in Singapore where he loads supplies.

A week later, departure for Djakarta. - Arrival in Jakarta. He then received the order to go to the Indian Ocean in order to supply U-Boats. - On June 22, 1943, she refueled U-196 (K.K. Eitel-Friedrich KENTRAT) and U-197 (K.L. Robert BARTELS), 1800 nautical miles east of Durban. - Between July 21 and 26, 1943, she supplied U-Boote 700 nautical miles south of Mauritius. Each U-Boot receives 200 tonnes of fuel. - He then joined Kobé (Japan) via Jakarta and Singapore. - Arrival in Kobe in August 1943. He stays there until December. He then sets off for Singapore. - Arrived in Singapore on December 24, 1943. Then departed again for Jakarta with supplies for the U-Boats. - Departure for the South-West of the Indian Ocean where he arrives in January 1944. On the 27th of the month he supplies the U-178 (K.L. Wilhelm SPAHR) and the U-510 (F.K. Karl NEITZEL).

The U-178 receives keying material, 400 tons of fuel to be able to refuel other U-Boats, 90 days of provisions. - The refueling operation is revealed by direction finding (HF / DF (Huff / Duff)). Planes based in Mauritius as well as the destroyer H.M.S. "Relentless" leave for the area. - The "Schliemann" has a rendezvous with the U-532 (F.K. Ottoheinrich JUNKER) on February 11, 1944, 900 nautical miles east of Mauritius. Bad weather conditions prevent the operation. - The "Schliemann" and the U-532 are marked with a "Catalina". The U-532 dives. The plane asks for the identification of the "Schliemann" but is not fooled. It remains in the area for 90 minutes. - The "Schliemann" then sets off at full speed towards the East, hoping that the darkness hides it from all research.

A warship is seen after midnight and after evasive maneuvers which do not give anything, ROTHE orders the scuttling and the abandonment of the boat. - The H.M.S. "Relentless" fires an eight torpedo salvo at 200 yards. The final blow is delivered by a torpedo which hits the middle of the ship. - The scuttling is accelerated by 80 kg of dynamite which explodes after the departure of the last crewman. - The H.M.S. "Relentless" collects ROTHE and forty crewmen. There are therefore forty to fifty men at sea. They are divided into four lifeboats, all equipped with sail. Two of them docked the east coast of Madagascar after twenty-six and thirty days of navigation in nightmarish conditions. The other two lifeboats were never seen again. - The survivors of the crew were interned in a prisoner of war camp in Kenya.

By Charlotte Schliemann (


Feb 20 1942. Charlotte Schliemann left port as an auxiliary cruiser in the South Atlantic. Her departure is so secret that several sailors remained ashore during her departure. - Six months remain in the South Atlantic. 

Apr 16 1942. Charlote Schliemann rendezvoused with Raider Michel in mid south Atlantic when Michel topped off her fuel tanks.

May 8 1942. Charlotte Schliemann replenished raider Michel and take aboard prisoner from raider.

Jun 10 1942. Charlotte Schliemann rendezvoused with Stier and received sixty-eight prisoners from the raider. Only Gemstone Captain and some wounded from Stanvac Calcutta remained at the Stier's sick bay for treatment. 

Jun 21 1942. Minelayer Doggerbank, Michel and Charlotte Schliemann rendezvoused for resupply in South Atlantic.

Jul 15 1942. Charlotte Schliemann received 82 survivors from British ship Gloucester Castle. The women and children were given two cabins, but the others were housed down a small, rat-infested, hold, and all were inadequately fed. The Charlotte Schliemann arrived in Singapore on 30 September and 40 prisoners were landed before she sailed for Yokohama, where she arrived on 19 October. But a number of her prisoners did not live to be repatriated at the end of the War.

Jul 17 1942. Charlotte Schliemann and Stier were set to rendezvous on that day. Because of high seas, oil transfer was impossible and both skippers decided to make another attempt on the 23rd. 

Jul 23 1942. Charlotte Schliemann and Stier returned and oil transfer, prisoners exchange and one probable voyage from Charlotte Schliemann to Japan was discussed. Anoter meeting was set to occur for 28th July.

Jul 27 1942. On this day Charlotte Schliemann rendezvoused once more with raider Stier when the raider transferred his remaining prisoners being thirteen including Gemstone Captain with the exception of the one prisoner who remained at sick bay. 

Aug 7 1942. Charlotte Schliemann and Stier rendezvoused in the south Atlantic where both ships practiced night exercises loading and firing their guns. 

Aug 27 1942. Charlotte Schliemann rendezvoused with raider Stier north of Tristan da Cunha when the raider once again transferred his latest batch of forty prisoners from merchant Dalhousie  and began to pump oil into Stier.

Sep 1 1942. Charlotte Schliemann departed South Atlantic for Japan with prisoners from raiders.

Jun 22 1943. Six Uboats rendezvoused with Charlotte Schliemann for replenish in Indian Ocean. U-177, U-178, U-196, U-197, U-198 and U-181 on Jun 23.

Jan 27 1944. Charlotte Schliemann replenished U-178 and U-510 in Indian Ocean.

Feb 11 1944. Charlotte Schliemann sunk by Destroyer HMS Relentless in Indian Ocean pos. 23º 23’S 74º 37’W.



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