Career (Nazi Germany)
Class and type: Merchant vessel
Name: Togo
Namesake: Togo
Operator: Woermann Line
Builder: Bremer Vulkan, Vegesack
Launched: 13 August 1938
Homeport: Hamburg
Fate: Requisitioned by Kriegsmarine, 1939
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: Schiff 14 (1940)
Namesake: Battle of Coronel
Operator: Kriegsmarine
Builder: Wilton, Rotterdam
Yard number: 10
Acquired: Requisitioned, 1939
Recommissioned: December 1942
Renamed: (HSK Coronel, 1942)
Reclassified: Minelayer, 1940

Auxiliary cruiser, 1942 Minesweeper, 1943

Homeport: Kiel
Nickname: HSK-10

Raider K

Fate: Transferred to Luftwaffe, 1943
Career (Nazi Germany) [1]
Name: NJL Togo
Operator: Luftwaffe
Acquired: 1943
Recommissioned: 1943
Reclassified: Night fighter guide ship, 1943
Homeport: Kiel
Fate: War booty, 1945; transferred from UK to USA, then to Norway
Career (Norway)
Class and type: Troop and DP transport
Name: Svalbard, then Tilthorn and Stella Marina
Acquired: 14 March 1946
Fate: Sold
Career (Germany)
Class and type: Cargo ship
Name: Togo
Operator: Deutsch Afrikanische Schiffahrts GmbH, Hamburg
Acquired: November 1956
Fate: Sold
Career (Panama)
Class and type: Merchant vessel
Name: Lacasielle, then Topeka
Acquired: March 1968
Fate: Ran aground on 21 November 1984

Coatzacoalcos, Mexico 18°10′12″N 94°18′36″W / 18.17°N 94.31°W / 18.17; -94.31

General characteristics

As NJL Togo

Type: Night fighter guide ship
Displacement: 12,700 t (12,500 long tons)[1]
Length: 134 m (439 ft 8 in)
Beam: 17.9 m (58 ft 9 in)
Draft: 7.9 m (25 ft 11 in)
Installed power: 5,100 hp (3,800 kW)
Propulsion: 1 × 8-cylinder diesel engine

1 × shaft

Speed: 16 kn (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Endurance: 36,000 nmi (67,000 km; 41,000 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph)[2]
Complement: 283 crew plus 74 radar specialists from the Luftwaffe
Sensors and

processing systems:

FuMG A1 Freya radar early warning radarWürzburg-Riese gun-laying radar
Armament: 3 × 10,5 cm anti-aircraft guns8 × 3,7 cm anti-aircraft guns(4x2)

22 × 20 mm anti-aircraft cannons (5x4, 2x1)

Aircraft carried: She could guide two night fighters simultaneously
Badge: [2]
[3][4]A Würzburg radar, similar to the one on Togo
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Launched in 1938, the MS Togo was a German merchant ship. At the outbreak of World War II in early September 1939, she was in the French port of Douala in Africa, but avoiding internment and running the Allied blockade, she successfully returned to Hamburg. Requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine as Schiff 14, in April 1940 she participated in the invasion of Norway; in August 1940 was converted to a minelayer as part of the German plan to invade England; then from June 1941 began undergoing conversion to become the armed auxiliary cruiser (Hilfskreuzer), HSK Coronel.

Following Coronel's unsuccessful attempt in February 1943 to become the last German commerce raider of World War II, she was then used as a minesweeper (Sperrbrecher) before being recommissioned in late 1943 as the NJL Togo, a night fighter direction vessel (Nachtjagdleitschiff), operating in the Baltic Sea.

As NJL Togo, she was the second of the Kriegsmarine's World War II radar ships, and the only one to survive the war.[3]

Togo was equipped with a FuMG A1 Freya radar for early warning, which had a range of around 40–75 km (22–40 nmi; 25–47 mi). She also had a Würzburg-Riese gun laying radar with a similar range plus night fighter communications equipment.

She was heavily armed with three 10.5 cm FlaK 38 anti-aircraft guns, four twin 3,7 cm FlaK 43 guns, four (later five) quadruple and three (later two) single 2 cm FlaK 30 guns.

In early 1945, Togo took part in the evacuation of German troops and refugees from the eastern shores of the Baltic. She survived the war's end and, as a war prize, was eventually allocated to Norwegian control, serving as a troop transport, and later as a refugee transport. From 1956-1968, she returned to German ownership and her original role in trading with Africa.

Passing through various changes of ownership, name and function, Togo was finally wrecked off the Mexican coast in 1984.


[hide] *1 History during World War II

History during World War IIEdit

The M/S Togo[4] was launched in August 1938 for the Woermann Line.[5] for trade with African countries as a freighter with cabins for 12 passengers.[6]. At the outbreak of World War II, when German ships in Allied ports were interned, Togo was at Douala, French Cameroon.[2] To avoid Togo being interned, her Belgian-born captain, Eugene Rousselet, slipped her out under cover of darkness to the Belgian Congo port of Boma. On 25 October, she sailed from Boma and, breaking through the Allied blockade, returned to Hamburg on 23 November 1939, where she was requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine.[7]

As minelayerEdit

In April 1940, Togo was a support ship (Werkstattschiff) for the German invasion of Norway[8] and on 21 April 1940 sustained damage in a British minefield in the Kattegat east of Cape Skagen laid by the submarine HMS Narwhal.[9]

She was rebuilt as a minelayer (Minenleger)[10] and based in Cherbourg from August to November 1940 as part of Operation Sea Lion, the planned German invasion of England.[11]

As commerce raider CoronelEdit

In late 1942, Togo was converted into an auxiliary cruiser (Hilfskreuzer). As intended 'merchant harassment cruiser' (Handels-Stör-Kreuzer, HSK) Coronel, she was known to the Kriegsmarine as HSK 10, and designated Schiff 14. To the Royal Navy, she was Raider K. She was to be named after the Battle of Coronel, Admiral Maximilian von Spee's victory over a British cruiser flotilla off the coast of Chile in November 1914.[2]

Converted at the Wilton-Fijenoord shipyards in Rotterdam and the Stettiner Oderwerke yard at Stettin,[2] she was recommissioned in December 1942. Her armament consisted of six TK15 15 cm guns, six 4 cm AA-guns, four 2 cm machine guns in twin mounts, and a few 2 cm guns in single mounts.

She was also designed to carry three aircraft, but these were never installed.

She was commanded by Kapitän zur See Ernst-Ludwig Thienemann,[12][13][14][15] and carried a crew of 16 officers and 331 men.[6]

Relying on the element of surprise, Schiff 14 Coronel departed from Norway on 31 January 1943 and attempted to break out into the Atlantic through the English Channel. However, her presence was already known to the British through ULTRA decrypts.[16] With a large escort of minelayers and patrol boats, but hampered by storms and minefields, and by twice running aground on sandbanks, she moved on by stages to Sylt, Dunkirk and Calais and on 10 February successfully ran the gauntlet of the coastal artillery at Dover. She then came under repeated air attack, and having suffered bomb damage, was forced to put in to Boulogne.[13] As the damage was too severe to be repaired in an occupied French port, she was forced to return to Kiel, arriving there on 2 March 1943.

As it was the custom for German commerce raiders to be named by their captains after reaching the open sea, her failure to clear the Channel meant that she was not formally designated as the Hilfskreuzer Coronel but instead remained as Togo for the remainder of the war.[2]

As night fighter direction vesselEdit

Later the same year, Togo was employed in a minesweeping role as a Sperrbrecher ('Pathmaker', to clear a safe lane through a minefield),[17] before being converted into a night fighter guide ship, under the command of Korvettenkapitän Rudolf Lück.

From October 1943, Togo cruised the Baltic Sea under the operational control of the Luftwaffe's 22/Luftnachrichten Regiment 222[18]. In March 1944, after the three great Soviet bombing raids on Helsinki, she arrived in the Gulf of Finland to provide night fighter cover for Tallinn and Helsinki.

Near the end of the war, Togo took part in the evacuation of German troops and refugees from Poland, East Prussia and Latvia.[19][20]

Postwar historyEdit

In Kiel at the end of the war, Togo was seized as war booty and transferred first to Britain on 13 August 1945, then to the US Navy on 15 January 1946, and used to repatriate Polish ex-prisoners of war. Handed over to the Royal Norwegian Navy on 14 March (and renamed KNM Svalbard in December 1946), she was then used as a fleet auxiliary to transport occupation troops to Germany.[2][8][21] By this time her passenger capacity had been increased to 900,[6] and between December 1947 and December 1949 she was chartered by the International Refugee Organisation for transport of Displaced Persons from Europe to North America and Australia.[8] As part of the "Fifth Fleet", Svalbard undertook six voyages between June 1948 and October 1949, carrying a total of 5242 DPs for resettlement in Australia.[6][22]

There were several further changes of ownership in 1954-56 which saw her briefly renamed as MS Tilthorn (April 1954) and later MS Stella Marina (July 1954), she was then re-purchased by her original owners, the Woermann-Deutsche Afrika line in November 1956. Refurbished and with her original name Togo restored, she sailed the Africa run for another twelve years.[2][8]

In March 1968, she was sold again, to Taboga Enterprises Inc. of Panama, and renamed Lacasielle. She was later sold again to Caribbean Real Estate SA, Panama, on 8 April 1976, becoming Topeka. It was under that name that she was last sold in 1984 to Lineas Agromar Ltda.[8]

It was as the tramp steamer, MS Topeka that she finally ended her days, by running aground after being blown from her anchorage by strong winds 8 mi (7.0 nmi; 13 km) off Coatzacoalcos, Mexico( WikiMiniAtlas18°10′12″N 94°18′36″W / 18.17°N 94.31°W / 18.17; -94.31Coordinates: 18°10′12″N 94°18′36″W / 18.17°N 94.31°W / 18.17; -94.31) on 21 November 1984, with the death of two men out of her crew of 27.[2][8]

Model of the Norwegian troopship Svalbard at Bergenhus Fortress Museum.
Displaced Persons about to board KNM Svalbard in Genoa, Italy, in December 1948 for resettlement in Australia.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Not to be confused with the figure of 5042 BRT (Brutto Register Tonnage, equivalent to Gross Register Tonnage, used as a measure of the cargo carrying capacity of ships, not their displacement) which is quoted for Togo by some sources, (e.g. (blog contribution by 'Zerstörerfahrer') Retrieved 27 May 2010).
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h John Asmussen, Hilfskreuzer (Auxiliary Cruiser) Coronel Retrieved 28 May 2010
  3. ^ The first had been the NJL Kreta (ex-French Ile de Beauté) which had been taken over by the Kriegsmarine in January 1943 and was rebuilt for use as a fighter direction ship. The conversion was completed in August 1943. The ship was lost on September 21, 1943 near the island of Capraia in the Tyrrhenian Sea, after being torpedoed by the British U-class submarine HMS Unseen. In September 1943, the Premuda was equipped with Freya-type radar for a time in order to operate as a radar picket and fighter direction ship, but she never served in this capacity; she was recoverted into a destroyer, renamed TA 32 and, based in Genoa, served in the Ligurian Sea until being scuttled on 25 April 1945.
  4. ^ Not to be confused with Hafenschutzboot Togo (ex-Norwegian Otra, NT05) or the patrol boat (Vorpostenboot) Coronel, V5909
  5. ^ TheShipsList: German East Africa Line / Woermann Line Retrieved 23 May 2010
  6. ^ a b c d Plowman, Peter (2006): Australian Migrant Ships 1946—1977. Rosenberg Publishing Pty Ltd.
  7. ^ Chronik des Seekrieges 1939-1945: November 1939 Retrieved 24 May 2010
  8. ^ a b c d e f,2962,2968#msg-2968 (blog contribution by Theodor Dorgeist) Retrieved 26 May 2010.
  9. ^ Chronik des Seekrieges 1939-1945 April 1940 Retrieved 24 May 2010
  10. ^ Führer der Sonderverbände und Führer der Minenschiffe In German. Retrieved 24 May 2010
  11. ^ Chronik des Seekrieges 1939-1945: September 1940 Retrieved 24 May 2010
  12. ^ (blog contribution by 'Zerstörerfahrer') Retrieved 27 May 2010
  13. ^ a b February 1943 Retrieved 27 May 2010
  14. ^ From the beginning of the war, Thienemann had overseen the German commerce raider conversion program. He spent the last year of the war as captain of the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer, and later became a Flottillenadmiral in the post-war Bundesmarine.
  15. ^ Thienemann was promoted to Kapitän zur See on 1 September 1942 blog contribution by 'Twilight'. Retrieved 27 May 2010
  16. ^ J,C.B. Dear (Ed., 1995): The Oxford Companion to the Second World War. Oxford University Press, Oxford. page 96.
  17. ^ Sperrbrecher Retrieved 24 May 2010
  18. ^ Luftwaffe radar stations (Flugmeldemess Stellungen): Nachtjagdleitschiff Togo Retrieved 23 May 2010
  19. ^ Dieter Jung / Berndt Wenzel / Arno Abendroth (1977 ): Schiffe und Boote der deutschen Seeflieger 1912-1976, Motor Buch Verlag Stuttgart. (Retrieved 26 May 2010.)

Includes (pp 314-360): Nachtjagdleitschiffe in der Ostsee - Nachtjagdleitschiff Togo: Einsatz von 1939-1943 / Umbau und Ausrüstung 1943 / Die operativen Einsätze bis Ende 1944 / Kampfeinsatz Ostpreußen im Rahmen der Flüchtlingsrückführung (Januar—März 1945)

  1. ^ The Fisherery and Harbour Museum in the German Baltic port of Sassnitz held an exhibition in 2003 called Flucht über die Ostsee 1944/45 (Flight across the Baltic 1944-45), which has a reference to Togo taking evacuees from Libau to Sassnitz in 1945.
  2. ^ Transport og forsyninger Troppetransportskipet KNM Svalbard In Norwegian. Retrieved 19 October 3010
  3. ^ Retrieved 20 May 2010


  • Paul Schmalenbach (1977): German Raiders 1895-1945 ISBN 0-85059-351-4
  • August Karl Muggenthaler (1977): German Raiders of World War II ISBN 0-7091-6683-4
  • Stephen Roskill (1956): The War at Sea 1939-1945 Vol II ISBN (none)
  • Kurt Petsch (1988): Nachtjagdleitschiff TOGO, Preuss. Militär-Verlag, Reutlingen. (In German, typeset in Fraktur.) Petsch was Togo's first officer during her career as a night fighter direction vessel.

External linksEdit

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