The wreckage of a German warship that was struck by a British torpedo in 1940 has been discovered off the coast or Norway. Norwegian power grid operator Statnett said the cruiser Karlsruhe was identified more than 1,600 feet underwater from sonar images.
Launched in 1927, the 571-foot ship led the attack on the southern Norwegian port of Kristiansand during the invasion of Norway on April 9, 1940. With nine cannons and three triple turrets, it was “the largest and most fearsome ship in the attack group,” Statnett said.
Gun turrets and a Nazi-era swastika were captured in underwater images taken by Statnett and televised by Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, Reuters reported.
Karlsruhe was struck by a British submarine torpedo while returning from Kristiansand. The ship’s crew evacuated and the vessel was finally sunk by the Germans themselves, resting upright on the seabed at a depth of 490 meters, Statnett said.
“You can find Karlsruhe’s fate in history books, but no one has known exactly where the ship sunk,” Norwegian Maritime Museum archaeologist Frode Kvaloe said. “After all these years we finally know where the graveyard to this important warship is.”
Statnett was able to capture dramatic images of the wreck by using an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) and multi-beam echo sounders.
“When the ROV results showed us a ship that was torpedoed, we realized it was from the war,” said project engineer Ole Petter Hobberstad. “As the cannons became visible on the screen, we understood it was a huge warship.”
Statnett said the warship was first detected in 2017 only 50 feet away from an underwater power cable that connects Norway and Denmark. The grid operator said it never would have laid the cable in that location in 1977 if it had known of the wreckage, Reuters reported.