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For year on end I have been interested in Naval ships disguished as merchant vessels on their solitary missions, during the 1st and 2nd World Wars. The British had their Armed Merchant Cruisers (AMCs), and the Germans had their Hilfskreuzer (HK). Many men who served in these ships received bravery awards, and a study of the ship's histories never is a dull reading.

Thus, I collected some press photos of the German Auxiliary Cruiser SMS Wolf, the converted Hansa-Line freighter "Wachtfels" (all their ships were named "...fels"). This was the most successful German commerce raider, commanded by Fregattenkapitäin Karl August Nerger. Between 1 December 1916 and 26 February 1918 she was on a mission which brought her and her crew great fame, and the cap tally S.M.S. WOLF was much respected [and collectable]. For more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMS_Wolf_(1913)

Enclosed some press photos, and some other photographic material. It is interesting, that the day of return, of SMS WOLF, was obviously celebrated in Kiel from 25 to 27 February 1938, and commemorative postcards of the ship were for sale.

Photo 1 is a 1938 commemorative postcard

Photo 2 is a press photo of Karl August Nerger, with his Pour le Mérite decoration (24.2.1918). A highly decorated and experienced naval officer he was pensioned in 1919 from the German Navy as a Captain, and held the honorary rank of Konteradmiral from 27.8.1939. But was interned as a German icon by the Soviets and died in 1947 (aged 71), in the former Concentration Camp at Sachsenhausen near Oranienburg.

Photo 3 shows the crew at the ship's return to Flensburg, receiving their first mail

Photo 4a is one of the ship's complement, Stoker 1st cl. Paul Klenenhagen

Photo 5 is a press photo, showing the disembarkment of (black) imprisoned (American) sailors

Photo 6 is a picture of the entire complement in the ship's hold

Edited by Odulf
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  • 8 months later...

Some more photos added to my S.M.S. Wolf picture file.


Most interesting is the press photo of the famous reconnaissance seaplane "Wölfchen" (Little Wolf), a Friedrichshafen FF 33E reconnaicance seaplane, whih was the "eyes" of S.M.S. Wolf. She was crewed by Leutnant zur See d.R. Alexander Stein and Oberflugmeister Paul Fabeck.


The unidentified Feuerwerksmaat is wearing the ribbon of the EK2, no doubt for actions o/b S.M.S. Wolf.

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