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Researchers identify German wreck next to power cables


The "Karlsruhe" never returned from the "Operation Weser Exercise", the German attack on Norway. Now a robot dived to the wreck of the World War I at the bottom of the Skagerrak.

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Underwater photo of the wreck of the "Karlsruhe"

Photo: Statnett / REUTERS

In the end, Captain Friedrich Rieve wanted to take fate into his own hands.

His ship, the "Karlsruhe", had been hit by a British submarine less than three hours ago.

Since then, the 174-meter cruiser of the Reichsmarine sank continuously in the Skagerrak.

A few hundred sailors were able to save themselves on two torpedo boats.

And now, shortly before 11 p.m. on April 10, 1940, Rieve gave his last order as captain of the "Karlsruhe": He had his own ship completely sunk with two German torpedoes.

All this happened in the Second World War, just one day after the start of the "Operation Weser Exercise".

That was the code name for the attack by the German armed forces on Norway and Denmark. 

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A sonar image shows the wreck on the ocean floor

Photo: Statnett / REUTERS

The "Karlsruhe" sank somewhere off the Norwegian south coast near Kristiansand.

It wasn't until 2017 that researchers discovered the wreck of a warship in the depths.

Now you are quite sure that it is the "Karlsruhe".

The ship was identified from images and sonar scans of its hull and details such as the location of gun turrets.

For this purpose, the wreck was examined by an underwater robot.

It is just 15 meters from an underwater power cable that has been in operation since 1977.

The Nazis had put a swastika on the ship, which was built in the 1920s.

Exactly this swastika can now be seen on underwater recordings that were broadcast for the first time on television by the Norwegian public service broadcaster NRK.

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The "Karlsruhe" had several turrets

Photo: Statnett / REUTERS

The wreck lies upright on the ocean floor at a depth of 490 meters, about 13 nautical miles (24 kilometers) from the coast.

"You can find the fate of the 'Karlsruhe' in history books, but nobody knew exactly where the ship sank," said the archaeologist Frode Kvaloe from the Norwegian Maritime Museum.

Statnett said its underwater power cable, which connects Norway to Denmark, would have been relocated further from the wreck if the location of the wreck had been known at the time of construction.

The attack on April 9, 1940 marked the beginning of the Nazi invasion of Norway and forced the government and the Norwegian king to flee to Great Britain, where they lived in exile until Germany's surrender in 1945.

Icon: The mirror

joe / Reuters

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2020-09-07

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