MV Wilhelm Gustloff

German military transport ship which sank in 1945; former cruise ship / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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MV Wilhelm Gustloff was a German military transport ship which was sunk on 30 January 1945 by Soviet submarine S-13 in the Baltic Sea while evacuating civilians and military personnel from East Prussia and the German-occupied Baltic states, and German military personnel from Gotenhafen (Gdynia) as the Red Army advanced. By one estimate,[3][4] 9,400 people died, making it the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history.

Quick facts: History, Germany, Germany, Germany, General c...
Wilhelm Gustloff as a hospital ship, before being converted into an armed military transport. Docked in Danzig, 23 September 1939.
NameWilhelm Gustloff
NamesakeWilhelm Gustloff
OwnerDeutsche_Arbeitsfront.svg German Labour Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront)
OperatorHamburg Süd
Port of registryHamburg, Germany
BuilderBlohm & Voss
Cost25 million 
Yard number511
Laid down1 August 1936
Launched5 May 1937
Completed15 March 1938
Maiden voyage24 March 1938
In service1938–1939
Out of service1 September 1939
IdentificationRadio ID (DJVZ)
FateRequisitioned into the Kriegsmarine on 1 September 1939
NameLazarettschiff D (Hospital Ship D)
OperatorWar_Ensign_of_Germany_%281935%E2%80%931938%29.svg Kriegsmarine (German navy)
Acquired1 September 1939
In service1939–1940
Out of service20 November 1940
NotesConverted to floating barracks beginning 20 November 1940, including repainting from hospital ship colours to standard navy grey
NameWilhelm Gustloff
OperatorWar_Ensign_of_Germany_%281938%E2%80%931945%29.svg Kriegsmarine
Acquired20 November 1940
In service1940–1945
Out of service30 January 1945
FateTorpedoed and sunk on 30 January 1945 by Soviet submarine S-13
NotesUsed as floating barracks for the Second Submarine Training Division until the vessel returned to active service ferrying civilians and military personnel as part of Operation Hannibal
General characteristics [1]
Class and typeCruise ship
Tonnage25,484 GRT
Length208.5 m (684 ft 1 in)
Beam23.59 m (77 ft 5 in)
Height56 m (183 ft 9 in)
Draught6.5 m (21 ft 4 in)
Installed power9,500 hp (7,100 kW)
Speed15.5 kn (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph)
Range12,000 nmi (22,000 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Capacity1,465 passengers (as designed) in 489 cabins

Originally constructed as a cruise ship for the Nazi Strength Through Joy (Kraft durch Freude) organization in 1937, Wilhelm Gustloff had been requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine (German navy) in 1939. She served as a hospital ship in 1939 and 1940. She was then assigned as a floating barracks for naval personnel in Gotenhafen before being fitted with anti-aircraft guns and put into service to transport evacuees in 1945.

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