Count Dohna and His SeaGull ©
Ships - Greif
Greif was sunk on February 29, 1916 by the British armed merchant cruiser Alcantara
and her sister ship Andes 230 miles east of the Faroe Islands.
Guben was built by A. G. Neptun at Rostock, Germany and launched in 1914. She was a steam freighter of the Deutsch Australische Dampschiffgesellschaft line (German-Australian Line) of Hamburg, Germany, 432 feet in length and of 4,963 tons with a speed of 13 knots.
Guben was requisitioned by the German Navy in 1915, renamed Greif and outfitted at Kiel as a freighter raider. Her armaments included four 150-mm guns, one 105-mm gun and two 50-cm torpedo tubes. Her mission was to raid merchant ships in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean.
Greif translated from the German is "Griffin", that is a mythical flying animal.
With Korvettenkapitan Rudolf Tietze in command of a crew of 307, Greif sailed from Hamburg on February 27, 1916. She was escorted by the German submarine U-70. On February 29, northwest of Bergen, Norway the British armed merchant cruisers Alcantra and Andes encountered the Greif. During the engagement Alcantra was struck by a torpedo and heavily damaged. The British cruiser Comus and destroyer Munster joined the battle and sank the already heavy damaged German ship.
Alcantra lost 74 men and the Greif lost 187 officers and men including her commander.
Some historians believe that the British blockade ships relaxed their efforts after the Greif was sunk and that this aided SeaGull when she passed the location of the sinking three days later. SeaGull was returning from her first Atlantic voyage, arriving in Wilhelmshaven, Germany on March 4, 1916.
Following World War I, the Torpedo Boat Greif was built for the Germany Navy. She was launched July 15, 1926.
On May 23, 1944, the Torpedo Boat Greif was bombed by aircraft and sank in the English Channel off the coast of Northern France.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Das Bundesarchiv Official German war records archive site.
SMS Greif German torpedo boat in WWII.
DER MOEWE FAHRTEN UND UBENTEUER, by Graf zu Dohna, 1927.
KRIEGSFAHRTEN DEUTSCHER HANDELSSCHIFFE, by Carl Herbert.
KRIEGSFAHRTEN DEUTSCHER HILFSKREUZER, by Hermann Albert Karl Jung.
Hermann A. K. Jung was the Gunnery Officer on the SeaGull.
DIE DEUTSCHEN KRIEGSSCHIFFE, Hans Otto Steinmetz.
Last Revision: March 4, 2007.
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