The Stier underway.
|Career (Nazi Germany)|
|Class and type:||Merchant vessel|
|Owner:||Atlas Levant Line|
|Fate:||Requisitioned by Kriegsmarine, 1939|
|Career (Nazi Germany)|
|Recommissioned:||10 May 1942|
|Reclassified:||Auxiliary cruiser, 1939|
Schiff 23 Raider J
|Fate:||sunk South Atlantic, 27 September 1942|
|Displacement:||11,000 (4,778 GRT)|
|Length:||134 m (440 ft)|
|Beam:||17.3 m (57 ft)|
|Draught:||7.2 m (24 ft)|
|Propulsion:||1 x 7 cyl Diesel; 3,750HP|
|Range:||50,000 nm @12k|
|Armament:||6 x 150 mm L/45,
1 x 75 mm L/35, 1 twin 37 mm, 4 single 20 mm, 2 x submerged 533 mm torpedo tubes
|Aircraft carried:||2 Arado Ar 231|
Built by Germaniawerft in 1936 as the freighter Cairo, she was operated by the Atlas Levant Line (ALL) until being requisitioned for Kriegsmarine services in November 1939. After merchant warfare operations in the Baltic Sea, she was converted into a mine layer and was planned to be used during Operation Sea Lion. After this operation was canceled, the now renamed Stier was modified into an auxiliary cruiser in April 1941, first at the Wilton shipyard Rotterdam and later at Oderwerke, Stettin, and Kriegsmarinewerft, in Gotenhafen (Gdynia).
On 10 May 1942 she left Germany for operations in the Atlantic. Moving by stages down the English Channel, and after an engagement with British coastal forces on the 13th which saw the loss of two torpedo boats (German) and one MTB (British), Stier reached Royan in occupied France on the 19th. From there she departed under the command of FK (later KzS) Horst Gerlach for operations in the South Atlantic. After a cruise of 4 ½ months, in which she engaged and sank three ships, on 27 September 1942 the ship was sunk during a battle with an American cargo ship the SS Stephen Hopkins, which was also lost. Stier sinking an allied merchant ship.During her operation the Stier sank 4 ships of 29,409 tons (GRT).
Closing in foggy conditions the two ships sighted each other around 08:52 at a distance of 4,000 yards. Gerlach sent his men to action stations; the master of the Stephen Hopkins was suspicious of the unidentified vessel and did the same. The Stephen Hopkins had a small defensive armament (1 × 4 inch gun astern, and several machine guns), but when firing commenced, around 08:55, she put up a spirited defence. She scored several hits on Stier, damaging her engines and steering gear. However, overwhelmed by fire from Stier, the Hopkins drifted away; by 10 am she had sunk. Forty-two of her crew were killed in the action, and three more died later; the fifteen survivors finally reached Brazil 31 days later. Stephen Hopkin's commander, Captain Paul Buck, was posthumously awarded the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal for his actions. So was US Merchant Marine Academy cadetEdwin Joseph O'Hara, who single-handedly fired the last shots from the ship's 4-inch gun. Stier possibly showing battle damage during battle with Stephen Hopkins (speculation based on picture contents).Meanwhile Stier had been fatally damaged; unable to make headway, and not responding to the helm, Gerlach made the decision to abandon ship. Stier exploded and sank at 11:40 . All but two of her crew survived and were rescued by the supply ship Tannenfels, which was accompanying Stier at the time of the action.
|4 June 1942||SS Gemstone||British||4,986||Sunk|
|6 June 1942||SS Stanvac Calcutta||Panamanian||10,170||Sunk in combat|
|9 August 1942||SS Dalhousie||British||7,250||Sunk|
|27 September 1942||SS Stephen Hopkins||American||7,181||Sunk in combat|
- ^ Turner, L.C.F. (1961). War in the Southern Oceans: 1935-45. Oxford University Press, Cape Town. pp. 148.