Count Dohna and His SeaGull ©
Ships - Meteor
In May of 1903, the British steam freighter Vienna was launched by Ramage and Ferguson, Leith, Scotland. She was of 1,912 tons, 280 feet in length with a speed of 14 knots. She sailed for the Leith, Hull and Hamburg Steam Packet Company on a regular schedule between Leith and Hamburg, Germany.
When World War I started on August 4, 1914, she chanced to be in Hamburg and the German government detained her. She was converted to a minesweeper with the addition of two 8.8-cm and two 3.7-cm guns, and two 45-cm torpedo tubes. Renamed Meteor she served as a minesweeper in the Baltic until May 1915.
On May 29, under Korvettenkapitan Wolfram von Knorr, Meteor sailed as a minelayer and freighter raider. She set 285 mines at the entrance to the White Sea near Archangel, Russia claiming three Russian ships. Meteor captured and sank an additional three ships then slipping through the British blockade successfully returned to Germany.
Escorted by the German submarine U-17, Meteor sailed on a second voyage on August 6. She set mines at the Firth of Moray, Scotland. One British destroyer was claimed by the mines and two ships were captured and sunk. In addition to the ship sunk by the mines, two British minesweepers, Lilac and Dahlia, were severly damaged while sweeping the mines with the loss of 21 lives. Mine sweeping is a dangerous endeavor.
On August 9 the crew of Meteor, when approached by a squadron of five British cruisers, scuttled her to prevent capture. Plucked from the North Sea by a Norwegian sailing ship, the German sailors took charge of that ship and under Korvettenkapitan Knorr journeyed through Lister Tief, to Sylt Island, Germany.
Following the loss of Meteor the German Naval Command started a project to replace the ship. The project was refered to as "Ersatz Meteor" or in English "Meteor Replacement". The ship selected was the Pungo, which on November 11, 1915 was named SeaGull.
List of ships captured by Meteor during the two voyages from May 29 to August 9, 1915.
Verdandi, a Swediah steamship of 950 tons, captured and sunk June 15.
Granit, a Norwegian steamship of 662 tons, captured and sunk June 16.
Thorsten, a Swedish steamship of 1,634 tons, captured and sunk June 16.
The Ramsey, a British armed boarding steamer of 1,621 tons, captured and sunk August 8.
Jason, a Danish sailing ship captured and sunk on August 9.
List of ships sunk by mines set by Meteor during her two voyages.
Three Russian Steamers, stuck mines and sank on June 7.
HMS Lynx, a British destroyer struck a mine and sank August 9 with the loss of 70 lives.
THE SEA RAIDERS, by Edward Keble Chatterton.
KRIEGSFAHRTEN DEUTSCHER HANDELSSCHIFFE, by Carl Herbert.
AUF KAPERKURS, by Walter von Schoen.
DIE DEUTSCHEN KRIEGSSCHIFFE, Hans Otto Steinmetz.
Last Revision: March 4, 2007.
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