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KPMeteor
 
Germany's Meteor
 
 

Displacement  

1,912 tons  

Launched  

May 1903  

Overall Length  

89.1 meters  

Commissioned  

May 1915  

Beam  

11.3 meters  

Armor Max  

None  

Engines  

One Three-Cylinder Triple Expansion  

Guns  

2-8.8cm SK L/40,  1-5.2cm SK L/55  

Speed  

14 knots  

Torpedo Tubes  

2-50cm  

Crew  

~150  

Mines  

374  


Launched in May 1903 as the British steam packet Vienna, she served as part of the Leith, Hull & Hamburg Steam Packet Company‚Äôs fleet on service between Leith, England and Hamburg, Germany. Stranded in Hamburg as the war started, she was taken over and eventually fitted out as a German minelayer/raider and renamed the Meteor.  

In late May 1915, she sailed on her first voyage around the Kola Peninsula and into the White Sea disguised as a Russian freighter. Her mission was to lay mines in the approaches to Archangelsk. Those mines claimed her first victims in the form of three unknown Russian freighters. On the return voyage to Germany, she intercepted and sank two small freighters, one Swedish and the other Norwegian, and finally captured a Swedish ship as a prize.  

After a short refit she sailed on her final voyage to lay mines, this time in Moray Firth on the east coast of Scotland. Some sources claim that the mines laid during this sortie sank the British destroyerHMS Lynx, but she is not listed as confirmed due to conflicting sources. In any event, the British minesweepers HMS Lilac and HMS Dahlia were heavily damaged while sweeping the area. On the return leg of the voyage she managed to sink a small Norwegian schooner before she was ordered to stop for inspection by the British Armed Boarding Steamer The Ramsey. Since the Meteor was flying the Russian flag, Captain Raby of The Ramsey had no idea as to her true identity. As she approached the slowing raider, the Meteor surprisingly opened fire on the unsuspecting British ship. Shells raked The Ramsey and a Meteor launched torpedo also struck her. The ruse was complete, The Ramsey had no time to clear her 2-12pdr guns for action before she, and her captain and fifty of her crew were lost.  

One day later, British warships of the British Light Cruiser Force intercepted the Meteor when she was only 180 nm from safety in Hamburg. Not willing to risk the lives of her crew in a hopeless situation, or for that matter the British captives on board, Capitan von Knorr ordered her scuttled.  

Ships captured (c), sunk (s), or mined (m): 8 totaling 16,426 tons  

 

Ship  

Displacement  

Date  

Unknown Russian Ship (m)  

~800 tons  

7/6/1915  

Unknown Russian Ship (m)  

~5,000 tons  

7/6/1915  

Unknown Russian Ship (m)  

~5,000 tons  

7/6/1915  

Verdandi (s)  

950 tons  

15/6/1915  

Granit (s)  

662 tons  

16/6/1915  

Thorsten (c)  

1,862 tons  

16/6/1915  

Jason (s)  

~500 tons  

8/8/1915  

The Ramsey (s)  

1,652 tons  

8/8/1915