Today, 100 years ago, the German Navy sank in, 52 German ships sank in the Bay of Scapa Flow, without a shot were heard. The only sound of the dying battle ships was the gurgling and smacking of the invading water, the Tearing of metal and the pop, dropped chains with the anchor.

How could it come to this? Before the First world war, Germany looked with Pride to the Navy. The structure of the deep-sea fleet was the Emperor and the Patriotic German heart. A powerful Navy was to secure the Kingdom throughout the world, the longed-for “place in the sun”.

the first world war: Scapa Flow – the day that the German high seas fleet sank Fullscreen

Stranded German torpedo boats.

Commons began No role in the war

But when the war of 1914, it turned out quickly that it was decided on the ground. In a fast advance of the German Paris wanted to defeat the fleet was not needed. As the fronts in an endless grave the war had bogged down, you should try the fleet to rule the seas, and to decide the war.

“Admiral Kuznetsov” dropped to Dock, Russia’s only aircraft damaged carrier hard By Gernot Kramper

On the Skagerrak, it came from the 31. May 1916 to 1. In June 1916, the only major naval battle of the war. After the first heavy losses of the British, the German battle line went straight into a trap. With a bold maneuver, saved Admiral Scheer his ships and broke off the battle. Of the losses considered, ended the battle with a “draw”. Strategically it was a victory for the British. The Germans could not break out of their ports to challenge the Royal Navy again.

While millions of infantrymen were torn apart by grenades and poison gas, suffocated, and spent the fleet, the war is Essentially in the safe harbors. When the war was irretrievably lost, and wanted to emergence of some officers to a suicidal attack, but the Sailors did not follow them. The Revolution broke out and the Empire collapsed.

Shipped to the allied

The Surrender of the German fleet to the allies was one of the conditions of the armistice, which ended the First world war in November 1918. 70 German battleships, cruisers and destroyers under the command of rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter met on the 21. November on the Scottish coast from the Firth of Forth to the fleet of the British Admiral Sir David Beatty put it under. The Handover was peaceful and Beatty wrote, without irony, to his wife: “Well, Pansy, we’ve finally hit the high seas fleet.” The high seas fleet, which had for many years avoided the encounter with Beatty’s ships.

Fiery false start German frigate “Sachsen” of its own missile flared From Gernot Kramper

The allies were divided as to what should be done with the German ships, so they were placed in the large natural harbour of Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands, there to be interned. There were still more ships, finally, there were 74 with around 20,000 German sailors. Most of the sailors returned to Germany, only a skeleton crew remained. “The ships were not handed over really and that’s why there were no British troops on Board, in order to prevent that, you were sunk,” said Tom Muir from Orkney Museum, told BBC Radio. “They were the property of the German government, and remained during their entire time here.”

to save himself sinking to the honor of the Navy

On the 23. In June, the British wanted to take over the German fleet, but even at 17. June prepared by Reuter to scuttle his fleet. He expected that his ships would be boarded by the Royal Navy and seized. The rear-Admiral believed, to be something not allow. Paul Schell was a seaman on the torpedo-boat G 102. He recalled in a radio interview: “I was on G 102 – so Germania 102. And you already knew some days in advance, so get in touch with the few officers who were still there, and it was then also agreed that the ships will be sunk to a certain Moment.”

Muir, from Orkney Museum, said: “From Reuter had already sent letters to the commanders of the ships, in which he announced that he was planning to leave the fleet to be a Signal sink. Ironically, it was the British boats that transported these letters to the officers on the other ships.”

the first world war, The first tank attack was a huge success – in the Propaganda Of Gernot Kramper

On the 21. In June 1919 gave Reuter the command for self-injection, after most of the British ships had left the Harbor for an Exercise. At 10:30 a.m. the flagship signaled the message Emden – “paragraph Eleven-confirm”. That was the Signal, the sink of the men ordered their own ships. Reuters ships hoisted the German flag, which was prohibited in the internment under. Seacocks, portholes, watertight doors, hatches and torpedo tubes were open. The ships were deliberately flooded from one side, so you turn around and upside down would fall. The Germans believed that it was more difficult for would be to save the ships.

Paul Schell said: “Where the flag is hoisted, then the sinking went, of course. And everyone of course had to turn his valves, ne, and see that he comes out of the ship, ne, and the small boats, rescue boats, since, of course, is clean and has tried to stay so long above water, until there is something going on.“ The remaining 2000 men went into the boats.

shots on the German Sailors

The only civilian witness to the sinking of the German fleet were school children from Stromness, who were on a trip. The 15-year-old James Taylor, wrote: “Suddenly and without warning, these huge ships were listing to one side, some were upside down, her stern raised and pointed skyward. A dull Tearing of anchor chains increased the noise, while large bodies under atrocious absorbent and click the Are perished.”

another student, the observed 12-year-old Leslie Thorpe, the British with a machine gun on a German boat full of fleeing soldiers. “The men were ordered to open fire on the defenseless German Sailors,” said Muir for the BBC. Nine Germans were killed and 16 injured. It is the last dead of the First world war.

The Hindenburg, the largest German battle cruiser was the last ship that went under. 52 German ships, some of the structures no were decreasedsee ch. In the 1920s, the scrap metal merchant, Ernest Cox bought two sunken battlecruisers and 26 of the destroyers and began to lift the vessels, to recycle the metal. Later, he bought more ships, and more than 30 ships have disappeared in this way. An inglorious end for the once-proud vessels.

sources: Germany, Netherlands radio, BBC

see also:

The first tank attack was a huge success – in the Propaganda of

Three sunken wrecks from the Second world war without a trace

the German frigate “Sachsen disappeared” of their own rocket

the Dock flared decreased, Russia’s only aircraft damaged carrier hard

The Marine, it is sufficient – German problem, the frigate returned to the yard

the end of the First world war, such As the Rebellion of the Sailors and soldiers the fall of the Empire sealed

With cheers and pivoting the soldiers in 1914, attracted by hats in this war. Four years later, the world was a different Wilhelm II abdicated his Empire went under. The Weimar Republic never recovered from the mortgage by the end of the war

Gernot Kramper