Sperrbrecher_I__b_.jpg War transport PARANAGUA off the Belgian or Dutch coastline in August/September 1940ThumbnailsMine clearance vessel SPERRBRECHER I in the port of Hamburg in 1939
SPERRBRECHER I (8552 grt / 5302 nrt)

23 May 1918: launched by Palmer’s Shipbuilding & Iron Co., Ltd., Yarrow as GOTHIC PRINCE, yard number 864.
Aug. 1918: delivered to Prince Lines Ltd., Newcastle (Furness, Whity & Co., Ltd., Mgrs.).
11 Febr 1927: sold to the German company Deutsche Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft "Hansa", Bremen.
15 March 1927: taken over at Immingham, renamed SONNENFELS.
6 July 1937: chartered by Germany Navy (Kriegsmarine) for transferring Scout Group 121 from Königsberg to Stettin, afterwards handed back.
Sept. 1938: sold to Hamburg-Südamerikanische Dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft (Hamburg-Süd), Hamburg.
2 Jan. 1939: renamed BAHIA CAMARONES.
1 Sept. 1939: requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine and converted into a Sperrbrecher (mine clearance vessel) at Blohm & Voss, Hamburg.
2 Oct. 1939: commissioned as SPERRBRECHER I into the 2nd Sperrbrecher Group.
Nov./Dec. 1939: acted also as auxiliary cruiser in the southern Baltic Sea, searching neutral vessels for contraband.
Dec. 1939/March 1940: acted also as auxiliary icebreaker, due to the very harsh winter, escorting destroyers and U-Boats in the southern North Sea, and also used for provisioning Heligoland.
April 1940: took part in Operation Weserübung, transporting troops and war stores to Denmark and between the Danish islands.
30 July 1940: handed back to Hamburg-Süd after a general overhaul, renamed back BAHIA CAMARONES.
5 June 1941: again requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine, this time as a war transport.
20 Jan. 1944: west of Sletnes, Finnmark, attacked by the Soviet submarine S-102 with 4 torpedoes whilst in convoy, but not hit.
29 Sept. 1944: in collision with the German s/s SCHIRMECK (1592 grt/1905) at Copenhagen.
11 Jan. 1945: whilst in convoy from Kristiansand to Egersund attacked by British heavy cruiser Norfolk, light cruiser Bellona and destroyers Onslow, Onslaught and Orwell at 2345 h, sustaining several serious hits.
12 Jan. 1945: after some more hits the BAHIA CAMARONES sunk on fire at 0020 h in position 58°23‘20‘‘N 6°0‘10‘‘E, with 59 personnel lost, incl. 25 seaman, 33 Flak troops and a Norwegian pilot, the survivors were rescued by the German U-Boat U-427 which fired 5 torpedoes at the British ships, but missed.

Text and Photo: Sebastian Boreck, Berlin