SS Spreewald

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Name: Spreewald
Namesake: Spreewald
Operator: Hamburg America Line
Builder: Deutsche Werft, Hamburg
Launched: 1922
Renamed: Anubis, 1935
Spreewald, 1939
Homeport: Hamburg
Fate: Sunk, 31 January 1942
General characteristics
Type: Merchant vessel
Tonnage: 5,083 gross register tons (GRT)
Armament: None

Spreewald was a German passenger-carrying freighter built in 1922 by Deutsche Werft at Hamburg for the Hamburg America Line. The ship was renamed Anubis in 1935, but reverted back to Spreewald in 1939. On 31 January 1942 when returning to Germany in disguise, she was sunk by U-333.[1]

Service history

At the outbreak of World War II, the ship was interned at Port Arthur, China.[2] In 1941 she was brought back into service and sailed on 21 October 1941,[2] loaded with 3,365 tons of rubber, 230 tons of tin and 20 tons of tungsten, and quinine.[1] While en route to Germany she rendezvoused with the German supply ship Kulmerland and embarked 86 British prisoners,[1] survivors of ships sunk by the auxiliary cruiser Kormoran.[2]

On 31 January 1942 Spreewald was on her approach to Bordeaux in France when she was torpedoed by U-333, whose commander, Kapitänleutnant Peter-Erich Cremer, believed her to be a British ship. The U-333 fired two torpedoes, which hit the vessel amidships, causing it to burn furiously and slowly sink[2] in position 45°12′N 24°50′W / 45.2°N 24.833°W / 45.2; -24.833Coordinates: 45°12′N 24°50′W / 45.2°N 24.833°W / 45.2; -24.833[1]

A search for survivors was promptly launched in which U-333, U-575, and U-123, were joined by U-701, U-582, U-332, and U-105, as well as five Fw 200 Condor long-range patrol aircraft from France.[1]

U-105 picked up 25 crewmen and 55 prisoners in lifeboats and rafts. Of the 152 aboard the Spreewald, 72 were killed.[1]

Cremer was subsequently court-martialled, but found not guilty.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Helgason, Guðmundur. "Spreewald". Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Duncan, George. "More Maritime Disasters of WWII - 1942 - Spreewald". Retrieved 12 April 2010.