Segelschulschiff Niobe


Segelschulschiff Niobe

The Segelschulschiff Niobe was a tall ship used by the German Navy to train cadets and aspiring NCOs. She sank during a squall on 26 July 1932.

She was built as a four-masted schooner in 1913 by the Danish shipyard Frederikshavns Værft og Flydedok (Frederikshavner Werft und Schwimmdock) under her original name "Morten Jensen" and initially sailed as a freighter for "F. L. Knakkegaard" in Nykøbing. In 1916 she was sold to Norway and renamed "Tyholm".

Later that year, while carrying mine timber to England, she was captured by a German Kaiserliche Marine submarine and sold to private German owners. Following several intermediate phases under various names ("Aldebaran", "Niobe", and "Schwalbe"), including one as a charter ship for a film company, she was purchased in 1922 by the German navy which named her "Niobe" and converted her into a three-mast bark to train future officers and non-commissioned officers. The previous training vessels, Grossherzog Friedrich August and Prinzess Eitel Friedrich, had been given away as war reparations.

The ship had a steel hull and displaced 675 tons. After her conversion into a training ship she measured 57.8 m in overall length, 46 m without the bowsprit, and 9.15 m in width. The height of the main mast was 34.8 m, and she carried 15 sails with about 960 m² of total sail area. She had an auxiliary diesel engine with 240 hp. Her crew comprised 35 plus 65-80 cadets.

On 26 July 1932 the ship capsized near the German island of Fehmarn in the Baltic Sea (Pos.: 54° 35,7´ N; 11° 11,2’ O) in a sudden squall and sank within minutes. 40 of her crew were rescued, but 69 died. The ship was raised on 21 August 1932, towed to Kiel and inspected. On 18 September 1933 the wreck was ceremonially sunk by a torpedo boat, attended by much of the then small German navy.

At Gammendorfer Strand on Fehmarn island, within view of the site of the sinking, the "Niobe-Denkmal" monument was erected.

In 1961, in a similar incident, the "Albatross" sank, killing 6. The movie"White Squall (film)" of 1996 was based on this.

Literature

*Gerhard Koop: "Die deutschen Segelschulschiffe" Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Bonn 1998


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