Caio Duilio class ironclads (1879)

Enrico Dandolo launched

Italy (1879)
Caio Duilio, Dandolo

A concentrate of innovations

Caio Duilio was the lead ship of the namesake class of ironclad turret ships, built for the Italian Regia Marina in the 1870s. The name recalled Roman Admiral Gaius Duilius. The Duilio was started in January 1873, launched in May 1876, and completed in January 1880. The class also comprised the Dandolo, and both replaced the sail and steam Principe Amedeo-class ironclads (1865), both missed the battle of Lissa. The Duilio class was designed by Cuniberti, and the first Italian steam-only ones. Strategically, they fitted with Italy’s large naval expansion program pitted against Austria, compounded by new possibilities offered by the opening of Suez Canal in 1869.

Blueprint of the Duilio, showing the short and concentrated “all or nothing” armour scheme.

The most powerful artillery in the world

The centerpiece of this Ironclad was a main battery of four 17.7-inch (450 mm) guns, then the largest ever put on a ship afloat worldwide. The following classes Italia class, (designer Benedetto Brin) were laid down in 1876, and the Ruggiero di Lauria class, (designed by Giuseppe Micheli), in 1880, all kept a powerful, unmatched heavy artillery. Originally the design was intended to carry Armstrong 35 t muzzle-loading guns. However the plans were modified several times during the lengthy construction, and eventually the largest guns that Armstrong produced, next to 60 t (59 long tons; 66 short tons) has been envisioned, but the choice fall ultimately on to the 100-long-ton (102 t) 450 mm gun proposed by the firm.

Dandolo after completion

The two turrets were placed en echelon amidships. The Armstrong guns fired a 1,905-pound (864 kg), shell at a muzzle velocity of 1,490 (to 1,670 feet per second or 450 to 510 m/s) with varying propellant charge. Rate of fire was one per fifteen minutes. This slow rate was due to handling of the large size of the guns and propellants. The ships also carried three 14 in (360 mm) torpedo tubes, each holding a 125 kg (276 lb) warhead with a 600 m (2,000 ft) range.


In 1890, Caio Duilio received three 4.7 in (120 mm) 40-caliber guns, each firing a 36 lb (16 kg) shell at 2,854 ft/s (870 m/s), and in 1900, two 75 mm (3.0 in) guns, eight 57 mm (2.2 in) Nordenfelt 40-caliber quick-firing guns, and four 37 mm (1.5 in) 20-caliber revolver cannon were also added to deal with TBs.
Enrico Dandolo was rebuilt later, in 1895–1898, and received four 10 in (250 mm) 40-caliber QF guns as main armament. They fired a 494.3 lb (224.2 kg) armor-piercing shell at 2,460 ft/s (750 m/s). Secondary battery consisted of five 4.7 in (120 mm) 40-caliber guns, sixteen 57 mm (2.2 in) QF guns, eight 37 mm (1.5 in) Hotchkiss revolver cannon, and four machine guns.


Admiral Benedetto Brin She was still capable of a top speed of around 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph). Both ships had a small superstructure forward, including the conning tower and a funnel, connected via a hurricane deck to a central military mast and aft superstructure, joining the second funnel. First ironclads in any navy to get rid of sails they had a crew of 420 officers and men (later 515). Both carried a number of smaller boats, but Caio Duilio also had a compartment in her stern, to house a small torpedo boat of the 26.5 t Clio class. This also was unique at that time. This gave an additional “torpedo range” well beyond the range of artillery. This TBD could also perform reconnaissance missions.

The armour was forged by French firm Schneider-Creusot. There was a steel belt armor 21.5 in (550 mm) thick at its strongest section, protecting the ship’s magazines, and machinery spaces. Central citadel and gun turrets received had nickel steel armor. Transverse bulkheads were installed, 15.75 in (400 mm) thick. The armored deck was 1.1 to 2 in (28 to 51 mm). Gun turrets had 17 in steel plate, but Enrico Dandolo’s new turrets (1898) had only 8.8 in (220 mm). The bow and stern were left unarmored, but they subdivided into a cellular “raft” to keep the ship for flooding. In fact this was a radical solution for the time as armour only protected the ships’s engines and ammunition magazines.

This “all of nothing” configuration sparked controversy when Royal Navy Edward James Reed visited the ships under construction. The new Italian Minister of the Navy, Simone Pacoret di Saint-Bon, replied during a Parliament session that such flooding event was very unlikely, as it needed all the bulkheads of the watertight compartments being HS.

Propulsion system comprised two vertical compound steam engines. Each drove a single screw propeller, and was fed by eight coal-fired, rectangular boilers, in two groups, forward and aft. Each trunked into a single large funnel. Top speed was 15.04 knots (27.85 km/h; 17.31 mph) at about 5,750 kW. New engines were installed in her 1895–98 refit, slightly more powerful, (top speed of 15.6 knots) and 8,045 ihp (5,999 kW). Range was 3,760 nautical miles (6,960 km; 4,330 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).

Ironclad Dandolo

This Italian Ironclad was named after the 42nd Doge of Venice. The ship was laid down at La Spezia on 6 January 1873 and launched on 10 July 1878.
Its design was similar to the Duilio, with similar armour, configuration, and powerplant made of two vertical compound steam engines each driving a single screw propeller. Its first assignation were the annual fleet maneuvers of 1885, in which it served as the flagship of the 1st Division, “Western Squadron”, under command of Vice Admiral Martini. This exercise took place off Sardinia with an attacking Sqn and a defending “Eastern Squadron”, in a Franco-Italian war scenario.

Enrico Dandolo launched

This was followed by the 1888 fleet maneuvers, and the ship was later flagship of the 3rd Division of the Active Squadron for the 1893 exercises. There was a full reconstruction (1895-1898) to a new design under Inspector Engineer Giacinto Pulino supervision. The major upgrade consisted in the addition of quick-firing 10 in (250 mm) guns (in replacement to the former 450 mm battery), and she received a new secondary battery. A new engine was also fitted, but performances stayed the same.

In 1901, Enrico Dandolo joined in the 2nd Division. It was in the Active Squadron in 1902, with Andrea Doria, Francesco Morosini, three Re Umberto-class ironclads, and the new pre-dreadnought Ammiraglio di Saint Bon. In 1905 she was transferred to the Reserve Squadron, and later versed to the Gunnery School as a training ship. In the 1911-12 Italo-Turkish war, She was versed to the 5th Division of the Italian fleet (ironclads Italia and Lepanto) but saw no action. In 1913 she was sent as a guardship at Tobruk, Libya, and transferred to Brindisi and then Venice during the war. She was eventually stricken on 23 January 1920 and later sold for scrap.

Ironclad Dandolo full steam, in sea trials, 1890s.

Details of the Duilio’s central battery

Active carrer

Caio Duilio’s career was uneventful, spending her first two decades with the Active and Reserve Squadrons, in charge of training maneuvers and exercises. The Ironclad was withdrawn in 1902 and only employed later as a training ship, until 1909. At that time she was converted into a floating oil tank, renamed GM40. Its ultimate fate is unknown.


Duilio class on Wikipedia
About the Caio Duilio
About Benedetto Brin
Specs Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1860-1905.

Duilio class Ironclads specifications

Dimensions Lenght 109.16 m (358 ft 2 in), Beam 19.74 m (64 ft 9 in), Draft 8.31 m (27 ft 3 in)
Displacement 10,962 long tons (11,138 t), 12,071 t FL
Crew 420
Propulsion 1 screw, Two compound steam engines, 8 boilers, 7700 hp,
Speed 15.04 knots (27.85 km/h; 17.31 mph)
Range 3,760 nmi (6,960 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Armament 2×2 450 mm, 3 × 14 in (360 mm) TT.
Armor Belt armor: 21.5 in (550 mm), Turrets: 17 in (430 mm), Deck: 1.2 to 2 in (30 to 51 mm)

Gato Class Submarine

USA (1941)
About 77 subs

Situation in 1940

In 1939, designs for a new class of submarine, closely resembling the Tambor Class were submitted and approved in response to President Roosevelt’s statement of “limited emergency”.
By 1940, the designing phase for the new class of submarine was complete, and the first boat of the new Gato Class, the USS Drum, was laid down for construction in September of that year. Drum was completed by November of 1941, just in time for the start of hostilities toward Japan.

Launching of USS Robalo at Maniwotoc Shipbuilding Co, 9 may 1943.


The Gato Class of diesel-electric submarines had a length of 311 feet (95 meters), a draft of 16-17 feet (4.8-5.1 meters), and a beam of 27 feet (8.3 meters), with a displacement of 1,525 tons while surfaced and 2,424 tons while submerged.
A conning tower was placed near the front-middle part of the deck where the periscopes and anti-aircraft guns were located. A deck gun was mounted either on the bow or stern of the deck.
The boat was relatively cramped, as 60 crew members had to stay in a space only slightly longer than an American football field for up to months at a time. The smells were often horrible, crew could only shower a couple of times a week, and casualties were high.

USS Bar (SS-220)


American submarines and the Gato Class in particular were some of the most heavily armed of the war, with armament comparable to some surface ships.
Standard armament of a Gato Class boat was 1x 40mm Bofors Anti-aircraft cannon, 1x 20mm Oerlikon Anti-aircraft cannon, and 1x 3 inch (76mm) or 5 inch (127mm) deck cannon. On some Gato Class subs, the 3 inch gun was replaced with a larger 4 inch one. Additionally, small arms such as the M3 Grease Gun or M1 Thompson were carried for boarding and security, and M2 Browning machine guns were also carried.
As for underwater armament, the Gato had 10x 433mm torpedo tubes, 6 fore and 4 aft. These fired the Mark 10 and often problematic Mark 14 torpedoes, which were later supplemented by the Mark 18 electric torpedo.

USS Trigger
USS Trigger, Mare island Navy Yard, April 6 1942

USS Wahoo, SS-238
USS Wahoo, SS-238


4 electric motors driven by 4 diesel engines powering 2 propellers gave the Gato Class a top speed of 21 knots while surfaced and 9 knots while submerged.
As opposed to German submarines at the time which used diesel transmission on the surface and electric transmission subsurface, American diesel-electric engines used on the Gato and Balao Class submarines used diesel engines to charge electric batteries and power an electric motor. This had multiple advantages, as it allowed for the diesel engines to run at a high speed without breakdown. It also allowed the diesel and electric motors to run at different speeds, giving to freedom for one or more of the diesel engines to be shut off for maintenance while the others kept working.

USS Gato

While at 10 knots, the Gato had a range of 20,000 km (11,000 nm, 12,400 mi), enough to get it from Hawaii to Japan and back.
While submerged, a typical Gato Class boat could stay underwater for up to 48 hours at a speed of 2 knots, however this rarely had to happen as most attacks would be done in half that time.

USS Gato
USS Gato, 30 december 1941

Active Service

The Gato Class served from 1941 to 1969 in 6 different navies. It served in both the Atlantic and the Pacific during World War 2, with the most successful boat sinking more than 60,000 tons of merchant shipping. It can be safely assumed that Gato Class submarines sank in excess of 200,000 tons of shipping, although numbers vary across sources.

The role of the Fleet boats, which included the Porpoise, Salmon, Tambor, and Sargo Classes and later the Gato Class was to protect the US Fleet while on patrol. However, after Pearl Harbor fleet tactics drastically changed, and so the Fleet submarines would have to change as well. Fortunately for the US Navy, the Fleet type submarines were perfect for attacks on Japanese merchant shipping as they were fast, could carry lots of fuel, and were heavily armed.

USS Bashaw
USS Bashaw

As soon as hostilities opened between the Axis Powers and the United States, Gato Class submarines were sent on patrol. Most submarines were based out of Hawaii, Australia, and while it was still under US control, the Philippines. Attacks and patrols were conducted from the Java Sea to the Sea of Japan and everywhere in between.

USS Drum, SS-228 in Mobile, Alabama

There were also a limited amount of Gato submarines that were based out of Scotland for a short time, before they were considered a waste of resources as German shipping in the area was rather limited and thus the subs were sent back to the Pacific theater of operations.
After World War 2, the US Navy still had plenty of surplus Gato Class submarines. While many were sold to allies that were rebuilding their navies, some were kept to carry out other duties that other submarines couldn’t do. These included hunter-killer patrols, radar picket duties, and guided missile carrying.

USS Grouper as AGSS-214, underway circa 1961
Radar Picket Boats

With Kamikaze attacks and air raids becoming more frequent, 6 Gatos were increased in length by 24 feet and had their aft torpedoes removed to make room for more radar equipment. This allowed for early warning against aircraft for American fleets.

Hunter Killer Boats
After World War 2, the Soviet Union began to mass-produce late war German Type-XXI U-Boats under the designation of Whiskey Class. These could be very dangerous to American and European ships in the Atlantic, so 7 Gato boats were converted to dedicated Hunter-Killer subs by adding sonar equipment and removing a pair of diesel engines to reduce sound. A snorkel was also added to allow the subs to stay underwater for a much longer period of time.
Gato Hunter-Killer submarines remained in service until 1959, until they were scrapped or turned into memorials.

Guided Missile Carrier and UDT/SEAL Transport
In 1953, a single Gato submarine (USS Tunny) was converted to be able to fire Regulus nuclear missiles. She served in this role until 1964, when she was converted once again to be able to transport UDT/SEAL teams to and from missions.
USS Tuny, SSG-282 Regulus launching sequence

USS Flounder, SS-251, July 1945


The Gato Class would see 77 models produced at $2.6 million until 1944, when it was replaced by the Balao and Tench classes in production. The Gato would see service in 6 different navies until 1969, when it was ultimately replaced by more modern diesel-electric and nuclear powered submarines.

Even though it wasn’t necessarily the best submarine of World War 2, the Gato Class undoubtedly had an impact on the Pacific Theater and on submarine design in general. Ships, weapons, and tactics were developed just to counter American submarines, with the Gato making up the majority of the US submarine fleet during the early parts of the war.

USS Cod postwar


Specifications (Gato class)
-Displacement: 1,525 tons surfaced, 2,424 ton submerged
-Dimensions: 312 x 27 x 17 feet
-Propulsion: 4 Fairbanks-Morse Diesel Engines, 4 Electric Motors, 2 Sargo Batteries, top speed of 21 knots surfaced or 9 knots submerge
-Armament: 1 Bofors 40mm cannon, 1-2 Oerlikon 20mm cannons, 1 3 inch/5 inch deck cannon, 10 533mm torpedo tubes
-Crew: 6 officers, 54-64 enlisted sailors



USS Gato (1/700)

USS Tench (1/700)

USS Grunion, SS-216
USS Grunion, SS-216

USS Harder, 1945, Mare Island Navy Yard
USS Harder, 1945, Mare Island Navy Yard

USS Mingo
USS Mingo

USS Paddle
USS Paddle

USS Runner
USS Runner

USS Riversides
USS Silversides

US subs Captains documentary

USS Tench, HD 1/400 illustration
USS Tench, HD 1/400 illustration

Balao, Tench, Gato class, HD 1/400 illustrations
Balao, Tench, Gato class, HD 1/400 illustrations


SMS Emden’s Incredible True Odyssey

Battle of Penang 191 German postcard

SMS Emden

The white pacific corsair: Her 1914 odyssey would deserve a big budget Hollywood movie*.

The truly epic saga of SMS Emden and her crew began shortly after she entered into service in 1909. Sent to subdue the colony of Ponape, one of the Carolinas, she represented there the authority of the Kaiser. By the year 1914, she was detached to the colony of Tsing-Tao (SE China), an old Prussian historical trade post of the middle empire. On the day of the declaration of war in 1914, Commander Von Müller decided to leave the base quickly so as not to be cornered by a superior enemy.

Captain Von Muller - SMS EmdenOther colonies (from the triple alliance) were close indeed, and the danger of Russian, French and English patrols was ever present. While joining Von Spee’s squadron in the Pacific through the Strait of Korea, SMS Emden boarded the Russian liner Riasan, whose crew was taken prisoner. However Admiral Jerram and his squadron arrived off Tsing tao, and Von Spee decided to try to return to the mainland and abandon the pacific. Fleeing south, because the Japanese entry into the war on 23 August, the Emden obtained to be able to stay and try a corsair war in the Indian Ocean.

The Indian Ocean raider
SMS Emden
The SMS Emden at sea.

By leaving Spee, the white cruiser rampaging and preying on British shipping at will was to work as a diversion, allowing Von Spee’s squadron to sail to the Cape Horn without attracting too much attention. Thus, Emden crossed the shores of Indonesia, with a fourth fake chimney to be taken for an English Weymouth class cruiser, which precisely operated in these waters. Not seeing the Markomannia assisted by modest junks and coasters on September 8th, she then met the Greek coaler Pontoporos, neutral. Von Muller compelled, by means of finance, to dissuade the captain of the latter from going to deliver his cargo to Bombay. She became the second Emden coal supply ship instead. On the 10th of September, Emden seized the freighter “Indus”, loaded with food, which was seen as a blessing by the crew, and added extra range to this makeshift squadron.

However the ship was slow and her crew was transferred to the Markomannia, and sunk. The next day, the “Lovat”, a cargo, suffered the same fate. Later this day, it was the turn of the Kabinga, showing the English flag but carrying an American payload, bitterly seen by the boarding team when consulting the log book. In fact, it had not been sunk, but rather used to receive all prisoner crews, as well as later the small coaler Killin’s own cargo, also captured on the night of 14. “Von Müller’s squadron” counted by then four cargo ships in addition to the Emden herself. The Killin, after transfer of its cargo on the Kabinga, was sunk. The same day, it was the turn of the big “Diplomat” to be caught and sunk.

The chase began
However, Von Muller impunity had hitherto ceased the same day. Seizing the Italian cargo ship Loredano, and because of the triple alliance making the Italians allies of Germany, Von Muller was reluctant to let her go. Now on her guard, she made her way to her little squadron. Shortly after sending to the bottom the small coaster Trabboch, Von Müller finally intercepted by radio the message he most feared: The captain of the Loredano had spoken, and the hunt was now starting as since Von Muller’s position was known by the Admiralty.

Raiding British Ports
The Emden therefore leaved the Kabinga with all its crews on board and sailed at full speed. The news also caused maritime traffic to stop on this area, so no new prize will be taken. The Emden therefore attempted to attack the British ports on the Indian coast. On September 22, she raided the oil tanks of Madras, sending them volleys from 3000 meters. The weak English artillery could not counter-fire, leaving her to sail out unmolested, leaving all but burning wreckage, and replay this feat at Colombo. She gone as far as sinking a large transport of sugar in the harbour, wildly burning with a black panache kilometers high.

The raid on Madras

On Diego Garcia
But such an uproar attracted the English squadron. As far, the diversion perfectly working so much that Von Muller decided to keep a lower profile by hiding on the small and remote British island of Diego-Garcia, one of the Mauritius islands. As expected, Islanders did not had any fresh news for weeks, in fact, from well before the war. Von Müller of course briefed his staff and crew to kept shut about the state of war. Indeed the Emden, also still in its peace white colonial livery, came as for a “courtesy visit,” bearing the German National peace pavilion, and was well received by the Governor.

Emden's 1914 cruise map
Emden’s 1914 cruise map

She can replenish serenely to the delight of the crew. In the drydock, she begins to make a new life when the TSF received warning of the imminent arrival of English ships. She left the island precipitately, and during the subsequent hangout, lost the cargo ship Markomannia. She then went hiding behind the island of Minnikoy, surprising and sinking no less than five English steamers in the process. The rescued crews were all transferred to the sixth.

Minicoy Island (Now Maliku, SW Indian Ocean).

The British Admiralty was now at a standstill, for the national press was unleashed against German war prowess and feats at the expense of the Royal Navy, at the other end of the world. Numerous warships constantly patrolled these waters that Von Müller decided to leave and eventually rally Von Spee’s squadron via the Malacca strait. But this was barely the start of an amazing story for her crew…

The Battle of Penang
Battle of Penang 191 German postcard
Battle of Penang, commemorative German postcard.

The Emden presented herself on the 28th of October, just before dawn, off Georgetown, all lights shut. There were four French ships, at anchor, the Torpedo cruiser d’Iberville and three destroyers. One of these, the Mousquet, was patrolling all night long, and did not realized anything. There was also nearby at anchor the more threatening Russian cruiser Jemtchug. Arrived at point-blank range in the middle of the harbour, the commander order to hoist the flag of war. While crews were still asleep, a torpedo was launched, blowing up the Jemtchoug. The latter remaining afloat, and all the Emden artillery pieces went ablase, ripping off the unfortunate Russian ship from bow to stern.

HMAS Sydney, Emden’s opponent. Its 152 mm, with greater range and caliber, left no chance to what was classed as a light cruiser, essentially.

Commemoration postcard of Sydney’s first fight against the Emden.

Her crew however managed to put some of her 120 mm pieces in battery and open fire. The Emden launched a second torpedo, hitting the Jemtchug just in the ammunition hold. The Russian cruiser blew up skyhigh and sank in tens of seconds. Having sent down his flag, Von Muller had the nearby D’Iberville believing the cannonade was a mistake, and sent a signal that the French ship is not to be worried. But when Jemchug exploded, D’Iberville captain observed Emden’s fourth artificial chimney to be a fake, and realizing its sent the alarm. But by then the Emden is already too far for the Aviso’s puny guns.

Russian Cruiser Jemtchug. It has been already badly damaged at Tsushima a few years before.

The Emden left for the other side of the harbour, boarding the steamer Glen Turret when the French destroyer Mousquet (Musket) returning from her patrol, surprised the German cruiser. However disproportion of armaments meant that the Mousquet was in very bad position. Too close to flee and too far to act effectively, Mousquet’s captain decided to take on the Emden with torpedoes. However Emden’s tremendous fire left her not chance to approach. After a quarter of an hour of struggle, and despite her agility, the Mousquet sank off the harbor. During this time, the second destroyer was ready to sail and open fire. However when the latter managed to launch her attack, it was too late. The Emden had all but disappeared, and after a few hours the French destroyer, soon short of coal had to renounce chasing her.

Map of the Raid and battle of Penang
Map of the Raid and battle of Penang

The Cocos Islands Battle
The Emden then joined the Cocos Islands. One of these islands had a radio station that Von Müller wants to destroy, in order to refuel without being worried. But a message was sent nevertheless when the German cruiser presented itself. The report is given to Australian cruisers HMAS Melbourne and Sydney, which escorted a convoy not far away. Japanese Ibuki, another escort, is order to remain guarding the convoy.

Full speed ahead, the two ships arrived in sight of the Cocos just half an hour later. At this very moment, a German infantry company had disembarked, now attempting to cut the radio cables on Direction Island with improvised tools. Australian cruiser Sydney then fired a first burst of its 152 mm pieces, too long. Widely superior in artillery, it can only overwhelm the Emden which does not have now the resource to flee. Her captain would then try to get closer and open fire with her main lower range artillery. However this had no serious consequences for the Australian cruisers that countered her very effectively. The salvo that follows blew up the Emden telemetry station, disrupting her accuracy. When the Emden tried to come closer again, the Sydney evaded its range at full speed and replied without being worried.

Emden’s wreck on North Keeling Island, took the day after.

At each salvo that weakened the Emden, losses were not replaced. Indeed, Von Mücke’s company had disembarked with fifty men and did followed the unequal action from the beach, the action wen so fast they never had any chance to get back onboard. Emden scored sixteen hits on Sydney, killing three of her crew and wounding another thirteen. But here fate was sealed. When all gun is silenced, her chimneys tumbled, her machines pierced, her steering damaged and her speed down to near zero, the German corsair is condemned. HMAS Sydney indeed poured 670 rounds of ammunition, and claimed about around 100 hits. Making water from all sides, Von Muller decided to beach the wounded ship with all engine power remaining onto the reefs of North Keeling.

Captain Glossop, from the observation deck of HMAS Sydney, ordered an approach, and after a first injunction to surrender, at first refused, and two warning salvoes, his face lightened up with satisfaction seeing at last the German white flag brought up. Meanwhile, 133 officers and enlisted men on the German ship died, out of a crew of 376. The remainder were either badly wounded or shocked, but still resolute: Von Muller indeed ordered to flood the engines and boilers, and throw overboard the breech blocks and torpedo aiming gear while and all signal books and secret papers were burned.

Emden's 105 mm cannon trophy now in Hyde Park, Sydney
Emden’s 105 mm cannon trophy now in Hyde Park, Sydney.

The Sydney however leaved the beached Emden immediately after seeing the flag hoisted, going back to Direction Island, in order to land a company of riflemen to fight Von Mücke’s own men. But the latter meanwhile managed to storm the governor’s own schooner Ayesha, and sailed with all supplies available on board towards the island of Padang in the Dutch East Indies. Von Müller’s own men were taken prisoners the day after, the wounded men were interned in Australia while the uninjured were send to a POW camp in Malta. They only returned to Germany in 1920.

Sailing to Sumatra
Von Mücke’s infantry company, 50 strong, was then converted back as sailors, occupied by the rigging of the 95 metric tonnes schooner Ayesha all the way back to Sumatra. They crossed the path of rare ships in the process, unmoved by the white sailing ship showing a civilian flag. Eventually they managed to reach their destination on November, 7, but were refused all help by the Dutch. They waited and embarked in a German steamer which halted there, bound to Yemen. They disembarked a few days later near Bab-el-Mandeb, and Von Mücke’s leaved for an extraordinary journey back to Germany.

Von Mücke's landing party at Direction Island
Von Mücke’s landing party at Direction Island. The governor’s schooner can bee seen in the foreground.

Von Mücke’s Arabian odyssey
The German commander started the long trip on foot and camel fom Bab-El-Mandeb, crossing all the Arabian peninsula, part foot, part on camel, as Yemen and Arabia were part of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany. Well received by local tribes, they eventually managed after several weeks to join Constantinople in june 1915. There, they met fellow Vice-Admiral Souchon, head of the Turkish fleet onboard the Goeben. From there, they can finally, in June 1915, join the fatherland and embrace their family, being treated as heroes.

In three month the Emden covered about 30,000 nautical miles (56,000 km; 35,000 mi), destroyed two Entente warships and sank or captured sixteen British steamers, one Russian merchant ship, plus Russian Cruiser Jemtchug and French warships d’Iberville and Mousquet, totaling 70,825 gross register tons. Von Muller succeeded in its main objective, creating a diversion in order to leave Von Spee’s own Pacific Squadron to reach the cape Horn. The latter however will met his fate in the Falklands, first with success, by destroying Admiral Cradock’s own British squadron, before being wiped out by a British fleet countering two battlecruisers in the second Falklands battle. This was the end for German’s oversea fleet.

Emden wreck Keeling Island

Kaiser Wilhelm II awarded the Iron Cross to the Emden, and announced that a new cruiser would be built to honor the original one. bearing a large Iron Cross on her bow to commemorate her namesake ship. It however was never achieved and instead a new one was built to serve with the postwar Reichsmarine. Under the Kriegsmarine flag and ww2, she managed herself to sink several Soviet destroyers, as the first of brand new Kriegsmarine cruisers. The named was honored in the Cold War with Köln-class frigate Emden (1959) and the Bremen-class frigate (1979) still in service. No doubt the legacy will endure for some time in the next Century.

Movies about the Emden: How We Beat the Emden and How We Fought the Emden, 1928 The Exploits of the Emden, all produced in Australia. German, side 1926 silent Unsere Emden (footage) later incorporated in Kreuzer Emden, a 1932 feature film, and Heldentum und Todeskampf unserer Emden (1934). All three films were directed by Louis Ralph.

More recently, in 2012,Die Männer der Emden (The men of the Emden) was released, but only covering how Von Mücke’s men made their way back to Germany after the Battle of Cocos.

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