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BuilderDeutsche Schiff- und Maschinenbau AG
Yard Number917
Slip/Drydock NumberIII
Launched12 Nov 1936
Commissioned1 Feb 1937


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Pinguin Interactive Map

Pinguin Operational Timeline

12 Nov 1936 The keel of Pinguin was laid down at the Deschimag shipyard in Bremen, Germany.
31 Jul 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin sank British ship Domingo De Larringa in the South Atlantic 1,000 miles east of Pernambuco, Brazil. 8 were killed and 30 were taken prisoner.
26 Aug 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin's seaplane attacked Norwegian tanker Filefjell off Madagascar at 1748 hours. Pinguin soon arrived to capture the ship which was carrying 10,000 tons of gasoline and 500 tons of oil.
27 Aug 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin stopped British tanker British Commander off Madagascar at 0418 hours. Shortly after, she stopped Norwegian ship Morviken. Pinguin would imprison both crews and sink both ships by gunfire.
12 Sep 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin intercepted British ship Benavon 330 miles east of Madagascar. Benavon resisted with her 4-inch gun, but her inexperienced gun crew failed to fit the shell with fuse caps, thus one of the shells that hit Pinguin right next to the magazine failed to detonate. Pinguin returned fire. After 24 deaths, the remaining 25 members of Benavon's crew surrendered.
7 Oct 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin stopped Norwegian tanker Storstad 500 miles northwest of Australia. With 12,000 tons of diesel oil on board, Storstad was taken as a prize ship and sent back to Germany; she would later be commissioned into German Navy service as Passat. 25 of Storstad's crew became captives aboard Pinguin, while 5 of them chose to serve the Germans aboard Storstad/Passat.
28 Oct 1940 German raider Pinguin and auxilliary minelayer Passat began to lay mines off Sydney, Newcastle, Hobart, Melbourne, and other locations along the long Australian coast line.
20 Nov 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin stopped British ship Maimoa with gunfire in the southern Indian Ocean after a long chase. The crew of 87 were taken prisoner and the ship was scuttled.
21 Nov 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin attacked British freighter Port Brisbane in the southern Indian Ocean after sundown, killing the radio operator in the process; 67 were taken prisoner and 27 escaped in a lifeboat. Port Brisbane was sunk by torpedo after scuttling charges failed to sink her.
30 Nov 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin attacked British ship Port Wellington in the southern Indian Ocean overnight. 2 were killed and 87 were captured. Seeing some of the female captives were shivering in their nightgowns, Pinguin's First Officer personally returned to the burning wreck and retrieved clothes for the women.
14 Jan 1941 German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin captured almost an entire Norwegian whaling fleet (whale oil tanker Solglimt, factory ships Ole Wegger and Pelagos, and 11 of their attendant whalers) without firing a shot in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica; three whalers escaped and provided warning to another whaling fleet nearby. Pinguin captured 20,000 tons of whale oil and 10,000 tons of fuel oil with this success.
15 Jan 1941 German merchant raider Pinguin captured Norwegian whalers Star XIX and Star XXIV in the South Atlantic 400 miles north of the Azores when the two ships were sailing from Montevideo, Uruguay to South Georgia.
26 Mar 1941 The 287-ton fishing vessel Millimumul (Captain Rixom) was on voyage from Sydney, Australia with fish and a crew of 12, when she sank after hitting by a mine, laid by the German raider Pinguin, north-east of Sydney, 33 miles east of Broken Bay. Seven of her crew died.
25 Apr 1941 German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin attacked British ship Empire Light, stopping the ship. After the 70 crew members were taken off, Pinguin scuttled Empire Light.
28 Apr 1941 German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin attacked British ship Clan Buchanan in the Arabian Sea 1,200 miles east of Mogadishu, British Somaliland. Before the crew of 110 surrendered and the ship scuttled, a distress signal was sent out, and British warships were dispatched to the area to hunt for Pinguin.
7 May 1941 German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin stopped small British tanker British Emperor 400 miles off British Somaliland with gunfire, whose crew was able to send distress signals before being taken prisoner. The tanker was scuttled with torpedoes from Pinguin. Meanwhile, British cruiser HMS Cornwall sailed toward the location of the distress signal.
8 May 1941 A Walrus seaplane from British cruiser HMS Cornwall spotted German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin 400 miles off British Somaliland. The two ships fired on each other at 1714 hours; Pinguin was fatally damaged by Cornwall's superior firepower, but Cornwall was also hit, killing 1 and wounding 3. Shortly after Pinguin's commanding officer gave the abandon ship order, an eight-inch shell hit Pinguin, detonating her store of 130 naval mines and sinking her; 341 crew and 214 prisoners were killed, 66 crew and 22 prisoners survived.

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