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BuilderDeutsche Werft Hamburg
Yard Number214
Slip/Drydock NumberI
Launched16 Mar 1938
Commissioned6 May 1938


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Thor Operational Timeline

1 Jul 1940 After arrival of WS1 at Capetown, South Africa, HMS CUMBERLAND carried out unsuccessful search for the German commerce raider THOR reported in South Atlantic.
14 Jul 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Thor sank British ship Gracefield 500 miles off the coast of Brazil. The crew of 36 was taken prisoner.
16 Jul 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Thor sank British ship Wendover in the South Atlantic, killing 4 and capturing 36 civilian crew and 1 Royal Navy gunner.
19 Jul 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Thor sank Dutch ship Tela off the coast of Brazil. The entire crew of 33 were taken prisoner.
28 Jul 1940 British HMS Alcantara was hit by 3 shells from German armed merchant ship Thor 740 miles off Brazil, near the island of Trindade; 2 were killed and 7 were wounded; as Thor turned away to disengage from battle, Alcantara fired and hit Thor with 2 shells, killing 3. On the same day, German submarine U-99 sank British merchant ship Auckland Star 80 miles west of Ireland at 0557 hours. The entire crew of 74 were taken to lifeboats and would make it to the Irish shore.
26 Sep 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Thor sank Norwegian whaling factory ship Kosmos 400 miles northwest of Natal, Brazil with her deck gun after imprisoning the crew of 89; Captain Kahler of Thor would later be criticized for not transferring Kosmos' valuable cargo of whale oil aboard before sinking the ship.
8 Oct 1940 British submarine HMS Trident and German submarine U-31 exchanged fire in the Bay of Biscay off France; Trident hit U-31 with the deck gun, causing minor damage; both torpedoes fired missed. German submarine U-58 hit British ship Confield 88 miles west of Barra Head, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom at 2131 hours with two torpedoes, killing 1; the ship remained afloat, allowing the remaining 36 to escape via lifeboats. Far to the south, 350 miles northeast of Natal, Brazil, German armed merchant cruiser Thor attacked British refrigeration ship Natia, killing 2; after the remaining 83 crew members were captured, Natia was sunk by a torpedo and two more shells from Thor's 150-mm gun; after this attack, Thor now had 368 prisoners aboard, outnumbering her crew.
5 Dec 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Thor and British armed merchant cruiser HMS Carnarvon Castle exchange 6-inch shells 300 miles south of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. HMS Carnarvon Castle was hit 27 times (4 killed, 32 wounded) while Thor was able to disengage unharmed. HMS Carnarvon Castle would soon receive temporary repairs at Montevideo, Uruguay, using steel plates salvaged from the scuttled German pocket battleship Graf Spee.
9 Dec 1940 HMS CUMBERLAND deployed with HM Cruiser ENTERPRISE in search for German commerce raider THOR.
25 Mar 1941 German armed merchant cruiser Thor sank British liner Britannia 750 miles west of Freetown, Sierra Leone, British West Africa. 203 crew and 281 passengers (most of which were British military personnel) took to lifeboats. Thor began to rescue the survivors, but after taking on only one man, Thor detected British radio transmissions and fled the area before British warship arrived (which never came). 255 survivors of Britannia would be lost. Later on the same day, Thor sank Swedish merchant ship Trolleholm, capturing the entire crew of 31.
4 Apr 1941 German raider Thor and British armed merchant cruiser Voltaire engaged in a 55-minute gun duel 900 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands at the distance of 9 kilometers. Voltaire was sunk, killing 74; Thor picked up 195 survivors.
16 Apr 1941 German armed merchant cruiser Thor stopped Swedish ship Sir Ernest Cassell with two warning shots 500 miles southwest of Cape Verde Islands. The crew of Sir Ernest Cassell was taken aboard, and the ship was scuttled with demolition charges.
23 Apr 1941 German armed merchant cruiser Thor arrived at Hamburg, Germany, ending a 322-day raiding mission that covered 57,532 miles which saw the sinking of 11 merchant ships and 1 British armed merchant cruiser.
17 Jan 1942 German armed merchant cruiser Thor departed La Rochelle, France, for her second raiding cruise.
23 Mar 1942 German submarine U-124 sank US tanker Naeco 65 miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, United States at 1023 hours; 24 were killed, 14 survived. In the afternoon, U-754 sank British tanker British Prudence 50 miles south of Newfoundland at 1531 hours; 3 were killed, 47 survived. In the Souther Atlantic, German armed merchant cruiser Thor stopped Greek freighter Pagasitikos, forced the 33 aboard to abandon ship, and sank the freighter with a torpedo. After sundown, Italian submarine Morosini sank British tanker Peder Bogen with torpedoes and gunfire; all 53 aboard survived.
30 Mar 1942 German armed merchant cruiser Thor attacked British freighter Wellpark in the South Atlantic at 1400 hours, which was later scuttled by demolition charges; 7 were killed, 41 survived. At 2243 hours, U-68 sank British transport Muncaster Castle 200 miles south of Liberia; 24 were killed, 329 survived. To combat such attacks in the South Atlantic, US Army engineers arrived at Ascension Island on this day to began building an airfield; upon completion, it would be named Wideawake Field.
1 Apr 1942 German submarine U-71 sank British ship Eastmoor 500 miles north of Bermuda at 0403 hours; 16 were killed, 32 survived. About two hours later at 0618 hours, U-754 sank US tanker Tiger 10 miles off Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States, killing 1 of 43 aboard. To the southeast, 60 miles off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, United States, U-160 sank British ship Rio Blanco at 1622 hours; 19 were killed, 21 survived. In the far south Atlantic, at 1724 hours, German armed merchant cruiser Thor sank British freighter Willesden with gunfire and a torpedo; 2 were killed. Finally, U-202 sank British ship Loch Don 500 miles north of Bermuda at 2314 hours; 3 were killed, 44 survived.
3 Apr 1942 German submarine U-552 sank US collier David H. Atwater with her deck gun 10 miles off Chincoteague Inlet, Virginia, United States at 0340 hours; 24 were killed, 3 survived. German submarine U-754 sank US freighter Otho 150 kilometers east of Hampton Roads, Virginia, United States, killing 31 of 53 aboard. In the South Atlantic, German raider Thor forced the crew of Norwegian ship Aust to abandon ship and sank her with gunfire. At 2331 hours, U-505 sank US ship West Irmo 200 miles off Ivory Coast, French West Africa; 10 were killed, 90 survived.
10 Apr 1942 German submarine U-654 sank British ship Empire Prairie in the middle of the North Atlantic at 0220 hours, killing all 49 aboard. 20 miles off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, United States, U-203 sank British tanker San Delfino with 7 torpedoes at 0508 hours; 28 were killed, 22 survived. In the same area, U-552 sank US tanker Tamaulipas at 0627 hours; 2 were killed, 35 survived. In the middle of the South Atlantic, German raider Thor stopped British vessel Kirkpool; Kirkpool's crew suffered no losses during the attack, but 16 would drown as the men abandoned ship; Thor rescued 30 survivors. Finally, Norwegian ship Chr. Knudsen disappeared some time during this day with her crew of 33; she was presumably sunk by German submarine U-85.
10 May 1942 German armed merchant cruiser Thor stopped Australian cargo and passenger transport Nankin with gunfire 1,500 miles west of Australia at 1430 hours, killing 2; Nankin's crew attempted to scuttle the ship, but the attempt was stopped by a boarding party from Thor which took control of the ship.
19 Jun 1942 German armed merchant cruiser Thor captured Norwegian tanker Herborg off the western coast of Australia.
4 Jul 1942 German armed merchant cruiser Thor stopped and captured empty Norwegian tanker Madrono 1,500 miles east of Madagascar; a prize crew sailed the renamed tanker Rossbach for Japan.
7 Jul 1942 Norwegian tanker Herborg, captured by German armed merchant cruiser Thor off the western coast of Australia on 19 Jun 1942 and renamed Hohenfriedberg, arrived at Japan with a prize crew.
20 Jul 1942 German armed merchant cruiser Thor sank British ship Indus 1,950 miles west of Australia; 22 were killed, 49 survived.
9 Aug 1942 German tanker Rossbach, formerly Norwegian tanker Madrono captured by German armed merchant cruiser Thor in the Indian Ocean on 4 Jul 1942, arrived in Japan.

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