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Another wreck found and identified in the Baltic

Last month, the remains of another German vessel sunk during World War II were located and identified. This time divers have discovered the final resting place of the steam cutter “Taunus”. The new position is accessible from the vessel M/Y “Litoral”. The found wreck began as the “Geo Plate”. It was built under number 111
Published: July 6, 2018 - 07:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 17:00
Another wreck found and identified in the Baltic

Last month, the remains of another German vessel sunk during World War II were located and identified. This time divers have discovered the final resting place of the steam cutter “Taunus”. The new position is accessible from the vessel M/Y “Litoral”.

The found wreck began as the “Geo Plate”. It was built under number 111 at the shipyard of Unterwesser AG in Wesermünde in 1916, as one of many steamboats of the Blücher type. It was 39 metres long and 6.9 metres wide, with a draft of 2.8 metres. The ship was propelled by a triple expansion steam engine.

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Taunus 8

“Taunus” in 1919 served as a minesweeper in the 4th Flotilla of minesweepers. In 1922 it was renamed to “Hans Joachim” and in 1936 to “Taunus”. In 1940 the unit was intended (together with dozens of others) to participate in the operation “Sea Lion”, but it did not come into effect. The cutter was sunk on October 12, 1944, after the torpedo attack north of Władysławowo.

Taunus 1

According to the log of combat operations, at 2:33 a.m., the crew of the minesweeper “M 3619” noticed an explosion on the starboard side, at position 55 07,5 N 18 03,0 E. At 2:40 a.m. one sailor was fished out of the water and the vessel was identified as “Taunus” from the remains.

Taunus 7

A communiqué was then broadcast to the Eastern Baltic Area Naval Command reporting that the survivor had been rescued and advising that prompt medical attention was required. At 6:30 it was noted in the log that the rescued sailor had died.

Taunus 3

The fact that plates bearing the prints of both the Reichsmarine of 1935 and the Kriegsmarine of 1942 were present on the wreck indicates that the vessel was under naval management for most of the time.

Taunus 6

Severe damage is evident on the wreck. The hull itself has collapsed and the broken bow lies upright several metres from the rest of the hull, next to an overturned mast, which may suggest sinking as a result of a mine or torpedo explosion.

Auslaufende Vorpostenflottille

Erich Groener gives as the cause of the sinking, the torpedoing by the Soviet submarine “Lembit” (as in the case of “Terra” – wrongly), but it is more likely to attribute the sinking to the S-4 submarine, the same one that sunk “Terra” 24 hours later.

KTB

Historical background: Piotr Karaś
Photo: Michal Procajło

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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