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posted Monday, November 8, 2004

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Aubrey Soper, has further and better (he says) information, Monday, November 8, 2004, on the tragic loss of the German liner Cap Arcona

Cap Arcona

 The German liner Cap Arcona in her heyday.

Fact and fiction on the May 3, 1945 sinking of "Cap Arcona"

IT appears that there is much better information about the Cap Arcona than what you had put into page 64 of Nuremberg, the Last Battle. In one to those odd perversities of history, the Germans would likely have looked much worse than the British if the latter had not bombed the Cap Arcona.

This is from the squadron's Operations Record Book:

"[Time up, 1515; time down, 1635] DD771. Shipping strikes in Lubeck Bay. All the bombs were dropped on a motor vessel of 15-20,000 tons at 0.0208. The ship was already burning as a result of attacks by 263 Squadron and we scored two direct hits. Now left burning in five places and later seen capsized and burning, CAT.I."

[Source: Operations Record Book, AIR 27/1109, 5822, p. 1, Public Record Office, London]

And from elsewhere:

"Antagonism between the crew and the 500 SS guards on board is recorded, as is Kapitain Bertram's petition to have his ship painted with red crosses, or at least illuminated, so that it might be recognised as a hospital ship. These requests were denied.

"On 3 May Group Captain Johnny Baldwin was in the cockpit of his Hawker Typhoon, leading 198 Squadron over a Neustadt Bay teeming with military targets - among them the Cap Arcona. At 205m long, the liner was easy to spot. The five aircraft dived and fired their rockets before embarking on strafing runs with their 20mm cannons. It was the squadron's last action, and the pilots could never have guessed at the carnage they were wreaking." [source not given]

Aubrey Soper


A useful web page on the sinking of Cap Arcona, with further links

 .. and the similar "Wilhelm Gustloff" disaster, January 1945:

Günter Grass break taboo, writes of the sinking of the liner Wilhelm Gustloff with 8,000 dead in January 1945
and a website on the disaster

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