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"Mysteries of the Baltic Wrecks" - episode 3 SS "Stuttgart" - premiere

Already tonight, at 10.40 pm, on the Canal+ Discovery channel, there will be a premiere of the third episode of a new documentary series “Mysteries of the Baltic Wrecks”. Together with the protagonists of the series we will have the opportunity to learn the tragic fate of the hospital ship “Stuttgart”. During World War II,
Published: November 21, 2018 - 18:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 17:32
“Mysteries of the Baltic Wrecks” – episode 3 SS “Stuttgart” – premiere

Already tonight, at 10.40 pm, on the Canal+ Discovery channel, there will be a premiere of the third episode of a new documentary series “Mysteries of the Baltic Wrecks”. Together with the protagonists of the series we will have the opportunity to learn the tragic fate of the hospital ship “Stuttgart”.

During World War II, Gdynia, then renamed Gotenhafen, was the main port of the Third Reich in the Baltic Sea area. In order to inflict heavy losses on the Kriegsmarine, the Allies decided to launch an air raid in which 350 planes of the US 8th Air Fleet took part. As a result of the bombing, the SS “Stuttgart” was momentarily engulfed in flames.

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wrecks-baltic_03_02

[blockquote style=”2″]”A hospital ship that in theory could not sink. According to the laws of war, these ships are protected against attacks from enemy sides. However, the Germans, for unknown reasons, camouflaged the SS “Stuttgart”; the Americans, making a daylight bombardment on the port of Gdynia, hit the SS “Stuttgart” several times, which immediately burst into flames.”[/blockquote]

The ship, a danger to other ships in the harbour, was towed to the roadstead and sank there after 4 hours. At this time, between the hours of 14.00 and 18.00, the silence after the bombardment was shattered by desperate cries for help coming from the throats of hundreds of wounded soldiers trapped on the burning hospital ship.

The Stuttart, hit several times by bombs, became the biggest victim of the American air raid. It is not fully known how many people were on board, but those who had the misfortune died in unimaginable agony. Trapped below deck amidst the raging flames consuming the ship, they cried out for help, crowding in through portholes too narrow for a grown man to climb out.

[blockquote style=”2″]”Towed outside the harbour it sank; many people died in tragic circumstances, unable to get out. They drowned and burned alive. Many years later, the wreck of the ship is blown up to make communication with the port more efficient. Among its remains at the bottom of the Baltic Sea lies mazut – heavy fuel oil.”[/blockquote]

wrecks-baltic_03_01

Today, divers rarely go to the site of the sunken ship. Although the depth of 21 m is not a big problem, the remains called wreck are not very interesting and usually it is a one-time visit. Another factor is mazut. A petroleum-derived oily substance lying on the bottom, which used to be the ship’s fuel. For an untrained diver, a descent into this vessel ends with the necessity to clean all the equipment, while for the local fauna and flora, it has been a real ecological disaster for years.

[blockquote style=”2″]”Experts talk directly about a ticking ecological bomb, and our experts together with a team of divers will check to what extent mazut threatens users of Polish beaches. This time the team will communicate with each other using special cables. Some of the divers will face life-threatening situations.”[/blockquote]

The American Air Fleet in a force of 350 planes, each carrying a load of bombs weighing 5 tonnes, covered the sunny sky over Gdynia. Situated in a valley, the Germans masked the port with artificial fog, trying to make a precise raid as difficult as possible. Although the ship was painted white with a red cross painted on it (an attack on such vessels was qualified as a war crime), it was at the same time partially covered with camouflage and artificial fog, which made the vessel completely invisible to aircraft flying at a height of 2.3 km. The Germans deliberately camouflaged the ship, because its bright shining hull was too good a landmark for the airmen attacking the harbour.

You can read more about the fate of the SS “Stuttgart” in our article about this unit.

The series premieres on the Canal+ Discovery channel and via the nc+go app.

Source: canalplus.pl

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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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