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Germany’s Cormoran  



3,522 tons


July 1913

Overall Length

104.0 meters


August 1914


13.7 meters

Armor Max

Gun Shields Only


One Three-Cylinder Triple Expansion


8-10.5cm SK L/40


14 knots

Torpedo Tubes






Owned by the Russian Volunteer Fleet Association, the Ryazan was built in Elbing, Prussia (now in modern day Poland) in 1909. She became the first merchant ship captured by the Imperial German Navy when she was taken by the Emden on 4 August 1914 while cruising southeast of the Korean Peninsula off Pusan. After first trying to escape, her British captain thought differently about the situation once he recognized the Emden, since Ryazan’s passenger list included women and children.

She was escorted by the Emden to Tsingtao, China, which was the home base of the German Far-East Squadron. There she was converted to a raider by transferring all eight 10.5cm guns from the gunboat Cormoran. Assuming the name of her benefactor, she sailed under the command of Korvettenkapitän Zukschwerdt.

After an unsuccessful few months, Cormoran was running low on coal. She was interned in the US Territory of Guam on 14 December 1914. Since the United States was a neutral nation then, her crew was able to while away their time unencumbered by the cloak of war. There they remained unchallenged until the US declared war on Germany. She was scuttled on 7 April 1917 when her hosts attempted to seize the ship. Her submerged hulk remains a popular spot for divers to this day.

Ships captured (c), sunk (s), or mined (m): None