A Nazi warship sunk by the British was found 80 years later after an electric company stumbled upon it while inspecting their underwater lines.
The Karlsruhe was returning from the Nazi invasion of Norway in 1940 when it was torpedoed by HMS Truant, forcing the Germans to sink the sinking ship.
But while the history of Karlsruhe is documented, its location has remained a mystery, until now.
Norwegian power company Statnett found the ship after identifying a wreck near its underwater lines in the Skagerrak Strait.
The Nazi warship, the Karlsruhe, (pictured) was returning from the invasion of Norway in 1940 when it was hit by a torpedo from the British submarine, the HMS Truant
For 80 years the location of the wreck has remained a mystery, until now. It was found off the coast of Norway by a Norwegian power company, Statnett. Pictured: a scan of the wreck
“You can find Karlsruhe’s fate in the history books, but nobody knows exactly where the ship sank,” said Frode Kvalø of the Norwegian Maritime Museum.
‘Furthermore, it was the only large German warship that was lost in the attack on Norway with an unknown location.
“After all these years, we finally know where the graveyard of this important warship is.”
The existence of a wreck 13 nautical miles from Kristiansand in southern Norway was first revealed by sonar during an inspection of Statnett in 2017.
But it wasn’t until June of this year that Statnett engineer Ole Petter Hobberstad got the chance to inspect the ship using a remote-controlled submarine.
The existence of a wreck 13 nautical miles from Kristiansand, a city in southern Norway, was first revealed by sonar in 2017, but an inspection of the ship was carried out in June this year which found which was the lost Nazi warship
Footage of Karlsruhe, found 490 meters below sea level, shows the ship in an upright position with the guns pointed towards the sea (pictured)
“When the ROV results showed us a torpedoed ship, we realized it was from the war,” Hobberstad said.
‘When the guns became visible on the screen, we knew it was a huge warship. We were very excited and surprised that the wreck was so big. ‘
Footage of the wreck site reveals how it is adorned with a swastika, topped with a Nazi eagle or Parteiadler, with an anchor shape underneath.
Also visible are the cannons and the superstructure encrusted with barnacles.
The first images also show that, unusually for a ship with a high center of gravity, the Karlsruhe remained standing after the sinking.
“Karlsruhe sits firmly 490 meters below sea level with the guns pointed menacingly into the sea,” Kvalø said.
“With the main battery of nine guns in three triple turrets, this was the largest and most formidable ship of the attack group against Kristiansand.”
“Finding such a special war wreck is rare and extremely fun for us underwater investigators,” added Hobberstad.
An inspection of the wreck by a remote-controlled submarine found that the cannons and barn-encrusted superstructure are clearly visible
Statnett’s engineer, Ole Petter Hobberstad, who inspected the ship, said: ‘We knew it was a huge warship. We were very excited and surprised that the wreck was so big. ‘
Finding such a special war wreck is rare. The warship has nine guns in three triple turrets, and was the largest and most fearsome ship in the attack group against Kristiansand
Despite its firepower, the Karlsruhe was only used as a troop transport for the attack on Kristiansand.
But coming under fire from Norwegian coastal guns at Odderøya fortress, he soon joined the fight.
It was later that same day, after successfully landing troops in Norway, that she was hit by two British torpedoes.
With its power soon deactivated by the influx of water, the ship’s pumps stopped and Commander Friedrich Rieve made the decision to abandon ship.
One of its escorts, the torpedo boat Greif, then rescued the crew and torpedoed the Karlsruhe twice more to ensure it sank.
Rieve was severely censored for his actions, however, as he did not attempt to tow the warship to Kristiansand for repairs.
HMS Truant would outlive her rival by six years, sinking en route to a shipwrecker in December 1946, having been sold for scrap the previous year.