Part One – Leaving the North Sea
July 5th 1915 late evening, SMS Roon
Korvettenkapitaen Andreas Findert saw the last of his guests leaving. Standing on the deck of Roon he could smell the soot from many smokestacks, see the flickering of the waves, and hear the cries of the seagulls. They all had been there, the bold, straightforward Fregattenkapitaen von Buelow of SMS Berlin, his fast wing, as his CO, Fregattenkapitaen Ziethen had called her. Also there had been Korvettenkapitaen West from SMS Albatross, their modern fast purpose built minelayer, the newest ship of their little fleet, Korvettenkapitaen Windmueller from SMS Undine, the sister ship of famous SMS Frauenlob and Korvettenkapitaen von Hippel from SMS Arcona, their oldest unit. All had brought with them their XO's and their NO's. While that group was meeting, Roon's Artillery Officer, Kapitaenleutnant Hoehne and Roon's Torpedo Officer, Oberleutnant zur See Kleeberg, had their own meeting with their fellow comrades.
That one ended much earlier, Findert expected. Ziethen had made a formidable speech, when he explained their mission. Now all knew where the voyage would lead, if all went well. But first they had to leave the German Bight and then the North Sea. Best if they were not detected, better still if they did not have to fight at all. For the first part of the journey First and Second Scouting Groups would render assistance, but it would be a fleeting companionship after all.
Findert was still impressed about the vigor in Ziethen's voice. There was no question that the journey would not be finished in a simple fortnight. Ziethen had made clear that their voyage north will last some more weeks at least.
They had discussed a lot of things and plans. Findert was pleased that Meteor's NO was with them now, to augment his Flag staff. That guy had have a wonderful time up there already and knows well the environment.
It had not been easy to accomodate all the new members of the crew, but Roon had had flagship facilities since she was commissioned in 1906, so they could offer some comfort for the more than 730 strong crew. He was glad he was not on those small cruisers, where circumstances might turn out much more critical and cramped.
They had stowed coal everywhere, coal in sacks was stowed even onboard all available deck space. Their displacement was above 10.500 tons now. Never ever had Roon been that heavy. Stll, their draught was less than that of SMS Derfflinger and SMS Seydlitz. That would cause not that much trouble and their huge amount of coal would be reduced much too fast anyway, once the journey began tomorrow.
Since their return from the night exercise early morning yesterday, they had stowed so much equipment and supplies that Findert frequently wondered if Germany was empty of goods now.
Wilhelm Wudtke was watching his XO from his guard position near the gangway. He was "Wache unter Gewehr“ (Note ) at the moment. So many officers had entered his ship this evening, that he felt that he had paractically saluted his arm off. Finally, they had all left. Findert looked weary, the young man thought. When that one looked up, their glances crossed. Findert straighted himself up and walked over to his place.
"Sailor, everything fine with you“? Findert was not annoyed by the obvious interest of the young soldier. "What is your name, Soldat“?
"Aah, Matrose Wudtke, Sir“, a quick answer after a short hesitation.
"Wudtke, soso. You are one of our new soldiers, are you? You boarded us in Kiel, correct“?
"Jawoll, Herr Korvettenkap'taen“. Wudtke was not sure what he should think of this situation; never before had he been questioned by that high an officer.
"Matrose Wudtke, what do you think of our situation, all our recent guests“?
In Wilhelm's head, thousands of thoughts bobbed and twirled in a most confusing dance. "Korvettenkapitaen Findert, to be honest, I am not sure what kind of an answer you expect from me. I think our operation, wherever it may lead us, will start soon. And“, he hesitated again, "the uniform of the other Fregattenkapitaen was of very good quality“. The words just left his mouth. Wudtke was very confused now, otherwise he just might have held his tongue.
"Uniform of...“? Findert was quite taken aback by that answer. "Oh, you are a good observer. ‚Good quality uniform‘, to be honest, whatever answer I might have expected, it wasn‘t that one! What is your profession or, better, what did you do before the war“?
"My profession was one of a tailor, before I was drafted this March. I am Schneidergeselle“.
"Oh, good that profession. How old are you, young man“?
"I turned nineteen in March“.
"You were drafted when you turned nineteen“? Findert was stunned. Surely someone had made a mistake; this boy was too young for regular service. Of course, he did not share his thoughts with Wudtke. "Brilliant! Your profession might turn out useful, soon“.
Findert was confused about himself as well. What was he doing? In less than twelve hours they ought to leave Wilhelmshaven and he was making smalltalk. But, why not. "Where is your Gefechtsstation?“
"Port Searchlight above the bridgewing“, Wilhelms hand pointed to his right.
Shortly later, Findert entered Ziethen's stateroom for their evening review.
July 5th 1915 late evening, SMS Amazone bridge
Kontreadmiral Mischke was happy. Some action, at last. SMS Amazone, his flagship since last August, was leaving its berth in Kiel. This would be their last journey together. SMS Amazone is the last of the long list of cruisers to go east to Aufklaerungsgruppe Ostsee.
Mischke was not pleased about that at all. His mission was to guard all three main entrances to the Baltic, the "Kleine Belt“ (Note ), the "Grosse Belt“ (Note ) and the Oere-Sund. (Note )
Since the beginning of the war all this was done with a motely collection of auxiliary warships, backed up by two small cruisers, a gunboat and a Torpedoboot Halbflottille. The cruisers where normally rendering assistance to the Torpedoboote, which controlled the Sund-Traffic. Early June he had to transfer one of his cruisers, SMS Undine, east to augment Aufklaerungsgruppe Ostsee. Due to the war efforts, especially after Letters success in the North Sea, Germanies small cruisers were stretched extremely thin. Now the time drew near, when he had to let go his flagship. Other, less suited ships had to take the guarding mission. He had frequently protested against the removal of his most potent units, but to no avail.
This mission however, was approved by Grossadmiral Prinz Heinrich von Preussen. One of the reasons is to train the crews of both his newly recommissioned Grosse Kreuzer, SMS Vineta, recommissioned June 24th and SMS Victoria Louise, recommisioned June 29th. Of course not much training could be done in this short timeframe with both crews, but a fight with the British was highly unlikely however. The second reason was that the experience with Meteor after her minelaying was quite encouraging. And the third was the fleet sorties in the North Sea would and could need another diversion. "The question of competence will be risen in the Admiralty and the Government of our enemies. Let the "Tommies“ have some fun at home“, Mischke thought.
Their plan was to pass the "Kleine Belt“ during the short hours of darkness, which was only about five hours in this latitude. And some of those would be twilight still.
The Kuestenschutzdivision Ostsee would be full strength in this sortie, both above mentioned "Geschuetze Kreuzer“ (Note ), his Amazone, and the gunboat SMS Panther, the last survivor of a class of six (Note ). Accompanied by the nine boats of 7th Torpedohalbflottille this would be a real little fleet.
"Helm, bring her to course 40. Signals hoist 10 knots“. The weather was overcast but the wind was blowing gently.
July 6th 1915, predawn, SMS Roon
Ziethen had tried to find at least some sleep after Findert had left. But it was in vain. He had given it up an hour past midnight. He came back from looking out of the porthole, where he had watched his two small cruiser companions. Satisfied he saw Undine now "camouflaged“ as a cruiser of the Bremen-Class due to her faked third stack.
"Will go to the bridge“, he told himself. He imagined that he could feel the trembling of the deck getting stronger, as more boilers began to be brought on line. Still his mind raced with thoughts of the last days, especially the meeting with Viceadmiral Letters yesterday afternoon. He remained profoundly impressed by the Baron. That man had somehow touched his soul. When he had left, he told Admiral Necki that nothing of this shared privacy would ever be told to anyone. He had vowed to himself to do everything to make his mission successful. Ziethen was more than eager to leave now.
"Captain to the bridge“, Roon's third Officer, Oberleutnant zur See Sven Harksen's voice was audible some minutes later. Ziethen was glad he had this Danish speaking officer on board. Actually, each of his ships had Danish or Norvegian speaking personel aboard. He personally had taken care of that.
July 6th 1915, predawn, SMS Berlin
Fregattenkapitaen von Buelow was sleeping soundly; his first Officer Korvettenkapitaen Walter Hildebrand, was contolling the final preparations now. Literally said, they had worked until the last minute to get their ship ready. That was a fact now.
July 6th 1915, predawn, SMS Undine
"All boilers on line and piping warmed, preparations complete“, Undines XO told Korvettenkapitaen Windmueller. "The tugs are standing ready“.
July 6th 1915, predawn, SMS Arcona
"Have you seen to our freight“? Korvettenkapitaen von Hippel asked. Yesterday, accompanied by SMS Albatross, they had proceeded to the arsenal and loaded 200 mines. That was their full capacity. And the real reason for their mission, at least the first part, as Ziethen had made abundantly clear during their mission briefing yesterday evening. Ziethen was "burning“ with his mission, that was for certain. What was even more clear was that he was expecting the same dedication from everyone. That was fine with von Hippel, as he himself was quite confident of their success.
Both ships had raised a fake third stack as well.
July 6th 1915, early morning, SMS Roon bridge
The harbor was bristling with energy. The minesweepers had already left their berth and proceeded to the outer Jade.
Many pipes were sounded. Second Scouting had already proceeded to the pathways. Tugs had already shoved Roon clear of the quay. Ziethen frowned as the battlecruisers gave voice, but his was one born of nervousness, not suspicion of augury. It had begun.
"Ahead slow“, Ziethen ordered in an even tone. "The others“?
Korvettenkapitaen Findert understood the question. Ziethen's two small cruisers – SMS Berlin and SMS Undine - were berthed nearby, but his two minelayers – SMS Arcona and SMS Albatross - were across the way. Berlin and Undine had already edged nimbly away from the piers.
"Not yet, sir“, and he stepped out to call up orders to the lookout section.
Wilhelm Wudtke was excited. Their sortie had begun. He had a brilliant look at those big Battlecruisers, which were on Roon's port side ahead. That one with the raised forecastle must be the famous SMS Seydlitz. There on the one ahead he could see the clear harmonic lines of SMS Derfflinger, flagship of Kontreadmiral Necki. And there were four smaller ships as well. Cruisers, he was told.
July 6th 1915, early morning, SMS Albatross bridge
"Follow Arcona, ahead slow“, Korvettenkapitaen West commanded. "Where is Roon“? His little ship had loaded 288 mines and coal was everywhere. "His Kaiserliche Marine coal transport Albatross“, he had facetiously reported to his XO, Kapitaenleutnant Buehler.
July 6th 1915, early morning, SMS Amazone
They had passed the "Kleiner Belt“ in darkness. But surely they were seen by many. The Belt is much too narrow for unseen passage. At Middlefart, it is only about 2 Kilometers wide. The Danish city of Fredericia was already on their port quater. "Signals, form search formation; engine, prepare for 14 knots“, Korvettenkapitaen Lutter commanded after his conversation with the admiral. "Hoist ‚detached‘ for Panther and her two Torpedoboote“.
Kontreadmiral Mischke was watching the massive form of SMS Vineta behind them. Most prominent was the big 21 cm bow turret. Rebuilt from 1909 to 1911, she was used as a training ship until the war broke out. She was decommisioned in November 1914 after a brief stay with Fifth Scouting Group. The main reason for that was the need of crews, though her military value was limited. The offical reason, bad condition, was not the exact truth. "Enough for patrol duties, and now for commerce warfare“.
"Admiral, Vineta has acknowledged. As has Panther“, Lutter said. "Victoria Louise has just acknowledged as well“.
Seventh Torpedoboot – Halbflottille, normally stationed at Warnemuende, Rostock's Baltic harbour, had already taken their escort positions. The three most modern, 1908 vintage boats, V 154 with the flag of Fregattenkapitaen Wolfram, V 152 and V 155 where dashing ahead. These boats were the only ones armed with the powerful eight-eight L/30 guns.
The oldest boats, 1905 vintage S 122 and S 127 were only armed with three 5 cm L/40 guns, the 1906 vintage G 132, G 133, G 134 and G 136 were a bit better armed with four long barreled 5.2 cm L/55.
Fourth Torpedoboot Flottille, consisting only of Seventh Halbflottille, had recently exchanged their formerly older still boats for those relatively new ones.
"So all German small calibers are nicely collected in this Flottille“, Mischke was thinking sarcasticly. But at least nine boats will be there to guard them and to complete their mission.
July 6th 1915, morning, SMS Roon bridge
They went to 16 knots after clearing the outer Jade. Weather was cloudy, early morning mists were rolling when they had left Wilhelmshaven.Roon took position on the starboard side of SMS Derfflinger. On the far side of their formation was Conda's SMS Bremen and six new large Hochseetorpedoboote of the 1912/13 type. Three of them belonged to Korvettenkapitaen Borys, whom Ziethen knew briefly from his Baltic experience.
One time Wilhelm Wudtke, now at his observation post at the searchlight, thought he might have seen something on the surface. But, when he blinked and rubbed his eyes and looked again, there was nothing there. He frequently thought what a pretty sight those big units on his port side were.
Actually, there was no indication that they had been spotted by an enemy submarine. Ziethen would have been delighted if he only knew that his Roon in the British Admirality had been thought by some distant Britishers in Room 40 to be the unfinished SMS Luetzow. But, of course, he did not know about "Luckless Layton“ or even that a Room 40 existed at all.
July 6th SMS Amazone, later morning,14 knots
SMS Panther was detached and closest to the Danish shore. Together with two Torpedobooten, they were out of sight. Those had steamed north east, in direction of the Danish city of Grenaa. There they could take a close look of the traffic coming from Aarhus.
The rest of the formation has steered first east northeast, then north east direction Danish island Anholt. There they turned due north. The Kattegat was just about 35 nm wide between Anholt and the Swedish coast of Schonen. Their formation was now SMS Vineta about 9 miles east of Anholt, 9 miles further east his SMS Amazone, and finally same distance still further east SMS Victoria Louise. Their remaining 7 Torpedoboote where in a searchline about three miles north of their position
"Much traffic in the aether“, the wireless officer of Amazone was stating.
July 6th SMS Prinz Adalbert, noon, near Bornholm
Aufklaerungsgruppe Ostsee had reached its planned position just east of Bornholm. They had left Danzig-Neufahrwasser early this morning. Now that Mischkes Kuestenschutzverband Ostsee had left for the Kattegat, this backup was thought necessary.
Kontreadmiral Hopman's Aufklaerungsgruppe Ostsee, after all the transfers of mid June, was back to strength now. Still, his flag was hoisted on SMS Prinz Adalbert and old companion SMS Prinz Heinrich was there as well. SMS Kaiserin Augusta had joined them shortly after Roon's departure. She had taken Roon's old position as third of the line. So they were back to the old number but not old strength.
SMS Thetis was there of course, now the only old one of his small cruisers. She was now augmented by her sisters, which were on duty with Kuestenschutzverband Norsee. Those units are SMS Niobe, once stationed in Bremen, SMS Nymphe and SMS Medusa, formerly stationed in Cuxhaven, to guard the Elbe. The only other operational unit of this class was Mischke's flagship SMS Amazone, which was to join his formation after the termination of the current operation. SMS Gazelle was decommisioned February this year after hitting a mine back in January. She had lost her propellers and was not considered worth repairing. Currently she was laying in Danzig, used as a floating office. (Note ) The seventh unit of this large class had been SMS Ariadne, sunk in the Battle of the Bight.
"It is a good opportunity anyway to train with all those new fleet members and it is a necessity. Should the Russians come out, and there are signs of increased activity, I might have good use for well trained units“, Hopman was thinking.
"Here we are in quite a good position to sail west and render assistance to Mischke or strike east, should the need arise to counter a Russian move“. His units were ready.
July 6th SMS Victoria Louise, Kattegat, noon
"Captain, signals from G 133, steamer is trying to escape into Swedish coastal waters. They can not stop her in time“, the excited voice of his Second Officer was heard by Fregattenkapitaen Dominik.
"G 133 is about 4 miles northeast. The steamer is further northeast, about 035“.
"We are too slow to stop her and too far away to intimidate“, Fregattenkapitaen Dominik thought. "Artillerie officer, do we have a solution?“
Seconds later, "Target is a larger steamer and in range of our bow gun. Shall I open fire“? After a short hesitation, that one went on "Kommandant, they are very close to Swedish territorial waters.“
"I want to stop that one, permission to open fire“, Dominik was in no mood to let that one escape.
Slowly the long barrel of the 21 cm bow single turret was lifting and turning to starboard.
"Range to target 125 hm, ranging shot, fire“, Victoria Louises Artillery Officer commanded.
"KABOOM“, the long barrel recoiled, the pressure wave was felt on the bridge. "Bow turret, reload“.
Some miles ahead, on G 133, a freight train was heard rushing overhead. "Victoria Louise, has opened fire,“ Oberleutnant zur See Arndt, the commander of G 133 commented.
About fifteen seconds later, the 108 kilogram heavy shell arrived. Its huge splash was not very accurate and off target, though, and detonated about three hundred meters to port and four hundred meters far.
After some corrections Victoria Luise fired again, "KABOOM“, this time the shell detonated shortly ahead of the steamer‘s bow.
That one stopped immediately. Shortly later, G 133 arrived for inspection.
July 6th SMS Berlin, 16 knots, noon
Von Buelow was watching the distant form of sister SMS Bremen. How he would have loved to have those pretty 15 cm guns as well.
He could not get these pictures out of his mind. There they had stood, waiting for being fitted on his Berlin, and then they had been transported off to another sister, be it SMS Muenchen or SMS Danzig, both being repaired as well.
"Conda's force must be on a special mission, as well, otherwise it is strange to have them accompanying the Scouting Force, they are too slow for them“, he adressed his XO, Korvettenkapitaen Hildebrand.
July 6th SMS Panther, 12 knots, afternoon, course north
Not that he was feeling lonely, being detached with S 122 and S 127 since the early morning. Since then Panther has controlled four merchant vessels and the Torpedoboote three and five, respectively, most of them fishing boats. So far they had found nothing suspicious. The weather had improved, it was only partly overcast, and the sun was coming through. Visibility had improved a lot and was now above 100 hm.
Suddenly Korvettenkapitaen Velten was worried. "Where is S 122“? he asked. Without cruisers nearby he might have a hard stand against enemy warships.
"About 3 miles north of us, she just finished controlling one vessel“, his XO answered.
"And S 127“?
"She is on our starboard side course...“, he never finished his sentence for in the distance there was the sound of rolling thunder.
Looking east he saw the stern of a grey vessel heading 065, suddenly turning sharply to south. Fountains were erupting around that vessel, now identified as S 127.
"Capitain, she is under fire. Seems to be that merchant northeast of her“.
"Gefechtsalarm, all men to action stations!! Helm bring her to course 30, ahead flank“!
Obviously S 127 is struggling to get clear. A detonation was viewed near her forefunnel. Both S 127 small guns which could bear were replying in earnest. "Crack, Crack“.
"Signals from S 127, they are under fire from a disguised merchant“, voices from the W/T office were heard.
"Guns, prepare to open fire“!
"Signals, to S 122...“
July 6th S127, 22 knots,increasing, emergency rudder
Oberleutnant zur See Ladisch knew he was in trouble. He had signaled that steamer to stop. After their second attempt that one seemed to heave to but, once they had closed to about 2000 meters, she had suddenly opened fire with guns she should not have had.
What Ladisch did not know was that his adversary was the 1459 GRT British Q-Ship Stephenson, newly commisioned in April 1915 and armed with one 12 pounder and three 6 pounders. On one hand her mission was to prey on German submarines ,and on the other hand to scout the Kattegat.
"Whanng“, a second hit was received which destroyed their W/T. Wounded were crying in agony; acid smoke crept into his nostrils.
"Shit, our own guns seem to have no effect“, he shouted to his gunnery officer. Unfortunately their torpedos were not ready at the moment. He cursed about that mistake.
A small fire was already burning at their first stack. Luckily their machinery and boilers were not hit, yet.
"Engine, make smoke! Hurry up“.
July 6th SMS Panther, 14 knots, course northeast
"Fire“, commanded Korvettenkapitaen Velten, after S 122 was clear and the target was finally visible. A lot of smoke was eminating from the single stack of that merchant.
"CRACKCRACK“, both 10.5 cm cuns were erupting in unison. Their enemy was about 6000 meters east, still firing at S 127 with three guns at least. That one was smoking, not only from already taken hits, but also in an attempt to conceal herself. Watching her, a third hit was observed. S 127 guns had frequently hit the merchant, but no effect was visible so far. But 5 cm guns could not have much effect. S 122 was coming around at the northwest.
"So it is up to us“, Velten thought grimly.
"Enemy is speeding up“, lookout reported.
"Signals, to Amazone. Have encountered armed enemy merchant. We are under fire. Proceeding to S 127, rendering assistance“.
"CRACKCRACK“, second salvo went out. A third before the splashes were fountaining.
"Still short and to port“, corrections were shouted from the Artillery officer.
Meanwhile S 127 seemed to come clear; no more hits were observed.
Fifth salvo brought Panther's first hit. It erupted high in the superstructure, but the heavy shell was leaving traces unlike the small 5 cm of their Torpedoboot companion. A fire started.
"Guns, you are on target, keep it up“.
"Whuuush, splash“, obviously the enemy has changed target. Three fountains erupted around the Panther.
Their target was turning towards them.
"Hit, another“, the lookout reported. "CRACKCRACK, whuuush, splash“.
"Whannng“, a shell ricocet from the aft gunshield. "Casualties“? Velten demanded. Luckily the armored gunshield had deflected the sixpounder shell. No one was really hurt. Seconds later the aft gun commenced firing.
Their target, now burning in three places, changed course due north, still firing with three guns, the biggest obviously on the bow.
S 122 was coming up fast from the east. She was running at 24 knots, at least. Even S 127 had turned around and was accelerating as well. Soon it was three to one.
The next minute with range down to 3000 meters brought some more hits on the enemy, a couple of them near the waterline. Stephenson started to list to port. Still she fired back.
"Whaang,“ this was starboard side admidships. A small fire started.
"CRACK, CRACK“, four seconds later "CRACK, CRACK“. The heavy shells, one out of two hitting now, were seemingly overwhelming their enemy. Only one gun now was firing at Panther, though the gun on enemy's far side opened up on S 122.
List was increasing, and the fires were burning out of control. It was nearly over.
July 6th SMS Undine, 16 knots, late afternoon
"Here they go“ Korvettenkapitaen Windmueller said to no one especially. He had watched the flags going up on Derfflinger, detaching the formation of Conda. Very quickly he watched those small grey forms disappear.
"Flaggs going up on Derfflinger“. Still they are accompanied.
July 6th SMS Roon, 16 knots, late afternoon
"Raise speed to 18 knots, course due north“, Ziethen commanded after receiving and acknowledging Derfflinger's signal.
"Lookout, our cruisers“?
July 6th SMS Amazone, 14 knots, dusk
They had controlled a lot of ships today. Four prizes where taken, three swedish vessels with contrabande and one english merchnant with military goods, obviously bound for Russia via Sweden.
Some hours ago SMS Panther has radioed that they sunk British Q-Vessel Stephenson, after that one put up a fierce fight. S 127 was detached with wounded from Panther as well. The coup de grace was delivered by a torpedo from S 122. Panther was not seriously damaged, though. 35 crew members were rescued, including Stephenson's captain. Panther has had three crew members seriously wounded and S 127 had five dead and 13 wounded.
Kontreadmiral Mischke's force continued north into the Skagerrak. Panther, now only accompanied by S 122, was ordered not to leave the Kattegat.
July 6th SMS Roon, 18 knots, nearly dusk
The morning and the afternoon had went by uneventfully. "Where are the British“? It seems too good to be true but no enemy had shown up. Obviously the British do not have forces out here in the middle of the North Sea. The only course of concern was the continous very high speed, which melts away their precious coal resources.
Their "scout“ U – 19, had so far reported nothing. Kapitaenleutnant Kolbe was very reliable, Ziethen have had discussed their mission and expectations back then, end of June. U – 19 had left Wilhelmshaven during the darkness hours after dusk July 4th.
There could be another reason for not reporting, but Ziethen was not that pessimistic. He watched the grey form of SMS Seydlitz to port. Soon those will have to leave.
July 6th SMS Roon, 18 knots, dusk
"Derfflinger has hoisted the signal“, Kapitaenleutnant Hoehne reported to the bridge.
"Signals, acknowledge“, Ziethen commanded. "Andreas, our cruisers“?
"Acknowledged as well“, Korvettenkapitaen Findert confirmed.
"There they go“, Ziethen fought the feeling of weariness as their strong escorts turned away on their western horizon. Soon they disappeared in the gloom.
"Signals, hoist 16 knots, we ought to reduce fuel consumption“. For nearly 16 hours they had steamed at this relatively high speed, first 16 and then 18 knots for the last couple of hours. "When it is dark we reduce to 14 knots as planned“. Darkness though in this latitude would be less than two hours.
"Kapitaenleutnant Trapp, please visite our Chief-engineer Marine-Stabingenieur Naves and inform yourself about about our current fuel situation. Report to me immediately thereafter.
Roon's second officer vanished.
"Oberleutnant zur See Harksen, I want fuel reports of our companions, as well. Especially of SMS Albatross“.
"Obviously we are lucky ones, no british ships shown up. We are in the middle of the North Sea now, have had left the German Bight and our home behind“, Ziethen thought satisfied. "Time to make a speech to the crew. They ought to know a bit more, now“.
Wilhelm Wudtke has changed his observation post and was temporarily stationed in the fore fighting mast, now. The last ship he had seen disappear minutes ago was a four stacked cruiser. He did not know at this point of life that once he will be a crew member of SMS Stralsund, but this will be no part of this story.
Main Story, Part Two
Written for Letterstime by Uwe Ziethen.
Story is permitted to be placed on Jim Byrds “Thequickbluefox.com” server.
Uwe likes to thank Jim very much for his encouragement and support.
Footnote 1: Wache unter Gewehr = Guard with gun, under gun?
Footnote 2: Kleiner Belt = little Belt, between Jutland and Falster, partly german controlled
Footnote 3: Grosser Belt = great Belt, between Falster and Seeland, under danish controll
Footnote 4: Oere-Sund = between the Danish Main Island named Seeland and Sweden, the main entrance
Footnote 5: Geschuetzte Kreuzer = Protected Cruisers, Cruisers second Class, Grosse Kreuzer in German
Footnote 6: Sistership Eber interned in Brasil, Iltis, Jaguar, Tiger and Luchs lost in Tsingtao, the German possesion in China.
Footnote 7: historical fact
 Wache unter Gewehr = Guard with gun, under gun?
 Kleiner Belt = little Belt, between Jutland and Falster, partly german controlled
 Grosser Belt = great Belt, between Falster and Seeland, under danish controll
 Oere-Sund = between the Danish Main Island named Seeland and Sweden, the main entrance
 Geschuetzte Kreuzer = Protected Cruisers, Cruisers second Class, Grosse Kreuzer in German
 Sistership Eber interned in Brasil, Iltis, Jaguar, Tiger and Luchs lost in Tsingtao, the German possesion in China.
 Historical fact