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BuilderHowaldtswerke Kiel
Yard Number695
Launched21 Dec 1929
Commissioned1 Mar 1930


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Widder Interactive Map

Widder Operational Timeline

6 May 1940 British submarine HMS Snapper attacked German armed merchant cruiser Widder 30 miles east of Denmark at 1525 hours. Both torpedoes missed.
10 Jul 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Widder sank British ship Davisan 500 miles of the coast of Florida, United States. The entire crew of Widder was taken prisoner.
13 Jul 1940 German raider Widder sank British ship King John 200 miles northeast of Antigua; 5 crew and 21 survivors of Panamanian ship Santa Margarita (sank on 2 Jul) were taken prisoner. The total prisoner count aboard Widder was now 100, exceeding her capacity, thus some were put to lifeboats so that they could paddle toward islands in the Carribean Sea on their own.
4 Aug 1940 After sundown, German armed merchant cruiser Widder stopped Norwegian tanker Beaulieu with one shot from her gun in the Atlantic Ocean about 1,700 miles east of Florida, United States, killing 4 in the process. 28 survivors were taken to lifeboats and abandoned; they would be rescued by British tanker Cymbeline on 13 Aug 1940. Beaulieu was sunk by scuttling charges.
8 Aug 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Widder sank Dutch collier Oostplein carrying 5,850 tons of coal from Britain to Buenos Aires, Argentina; the entire crew of 34 were rescued by Widder.
10 Aug 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Widder stopped Finnish sailing ship Killoran 300 miles southwest of the Azores. Most of the German crew were against sinking this old ship built in 1900, Widder's on-board surgeon wanted a dramatic finale for a film he was making, and persuaded Captain Ruckteschell to sink the sailing ship by gunfire after detaining the crew of 18.
21 Aug 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Widder sank British collier Anglo Saxon 1,000 miles west of Africa. Survivors in lifeboats were machine gunned. In total, 34 crew members were killed. 7 survivors got away in a lifeboat, but would not reach land, Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, 2,500 miles away, for 71 days; by that time, only 2 were still alive. One of the survivors, Able Seaman Robert Tapscott, would later provide testimony to convict Captain Ruckteschell of Widder as a war criminal.
2 Sep 1940 German submarine U-58 departed Lorient, France; only 30 miles out of the port, she was detected by British submarine HMS Tigris, which fired a spread of torpedoes at her; all torpedoes missed. German submarine U-46 sank British ship Thornlea 200 miles northwest of Ireland at 2200 hours, killing 3; 19 survivors were rescued by Canadian destroyer HMCS Skeena, while another 14 survivors would be rescued on the following day by the Norwegian ship Hild. 200 miles west of the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, United Kingdom, German submarine U-47 sank Belgian ship Ville de Mons with four torpedoes at 1900 hours; all 54 aboard survived. Far to the south, German armed merchant cruiser Widder sank British tanker Cymbeline with the deck gun and a torpedo in the Central Atlantic 800 miles west of the Canary Islands, killing 7; Widder remained in the area for four hours and rescued 26 survivors.
8 Sep 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Widder stopped Greek collier Antonios Chandris in the Central Atlantic. Captain Ruckteschell of Widder ordered the crew of 29 to abandon ship. The Greek ship would be sunk by demolition charges on the next day.
9 Sep 1940 Greek collier Antonios Chandris, abandoned by her crew as forced by German armed merchant cruiser Widder, was sunk by demolition charges at dawn. Lifeboats containing 22 of her crew of 29 would be rescued by Portuguese freighter Serpa Pinto on 8 Oct 1940.
27 Oct 1940 Italian submarine Maggiore Baracca encountered German auxiliary cruiser Widder in the Atlantic Ocean at 1505 hours.
29 Oct 1940 German submarine U-29 made made rendezvous with German armed merchant cruiser Widder, which was returning from her merchant raiding mission for repairs, in the Bay of Biscay west of France.
31 Oct 1940 German armed merchant cruiser Widder arrived at Brest, France after a 179-day long operation in the Atlantic Ocean that saw the sinking of 10 ships totaling 58,645 tons.

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