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Horst Wessel file photo [30946]

Horst Wessel

Ship ClassGorch Fock-class Barque
BuilderBlohm und Voss
Yard Number508
Slip/Drydock NumberII
Ordered1 Oct 1935
Laid Down15 Feb 1936
Launched13 Jun 1936
Commissioned17 Sep 1936
Displacement1,813 tons full
Length295 feet
Beam39 feet
Draft17 feet
MachineryAuxiliary diesel engine
Speed19 knots
Range5,450nm at 7.5 knots with diesel engine
Armament4x20mm anti-aircraft guns, 2x4x20mm Flakvierling anti-aircraft guns


ww2dbaseHorst Wessel was a Gorch Fock-class barque was commissioned into German Navy service in 1936 as a training ship. She was the flagship of the German Navy's sail training fleet, operating out of Kiel, Germany. In late 1938, she and sister ship Albert Leo Schlageter embarked on a four-month voyage, visiting ports in the Caribbean Sea. When the European War broke out in 1939, she was decommissioned from active service and served as a stationary training ship at Stralsund, Germany for the marine branch of the Hitler Youth. In 1942, she returned to active status, resuming her role as a training ship. In Nov 1944, her sister ship Albert Leo Schlageter struck a mine off Rügen, Germany; Horst Wessel towed her by the stern to keep her from sinking before larger ships could arrive to tow Albert Leo Schlageter to port for repairs. In Apr 1945, after the last cadet class had departed, Horst Wessel departed Rügen with a group of German refugees on board. She sailed to Flensburg, Germany where Captain Barthold Schnibbe surrendered her to the British. She was ordered to Bremerhaven, Germany, where she would be stripped of most of her equipment.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, Horst Wessel was given to the United States as reparation. She was given to the United States Coast Guard, which commissioned her into service as USCGC Eagle (WIX-327). She sailed from Bremerhaven to Orangeburg, New York, United States in Jun 1946 with both her new American crew as well as most of her former German crew, including Captain Schnibbe. The German crew was disembarked at Camp Shanks before Eagle proceeded to New London, Connecticut, United States. She visited Kiel, West Germany in 1972 at the invitation of the West German government; Kiel was Horst Wessel's home port for some time during the ship's tenure as a German Navy ship. USCGC Eagle remains an active training ship for the US Coast Guard at the time of this writing in 2021, and is one of only two active commissioned sailing ships in the US military (the other being US Navy's USS Constitution).

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Apr 2021

Barque Horst Wessel Interactive Map


Launching of Horst Wessel, Blohm und Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, 13 Jun 1936Horst Wessel, late 1936
See all 10 photographs of Barque Horst Wessel

Horst Wessel Operational Timeline

1 Oct 1935 The order for the construction of Horst Wessel was issued.
15 Feb 1936 The keel of Horst Wessel was laid down by Blohm und Voss in Hamburg, Germany.
13 Jun 1936 Horst Wessel was launched by Blohm und Voss in Hamburg, Germany, sponsored by Nazi martyr Horst Wessel's mother. Rudolf Hess gave a speech at the ceremony, which Adolf Hitler also attended.
16 Sep 1936 Horst Wessel was completed.
17 Sep 1936 Horst Wessel was commissioned into service.
21 Aug 1938 Adolf Hitler visited the sailing ship Horst Wessel.
14 Nov 1944 Horst Wessel and Albert Leo Schlageter sailed in rough waters near Rügen, Germany. Albert Leo Schlageter struck a mine, damaging its starboard bow. Horst Wessel took Albert Leo Schlageter in a stern tow to prevent Albert Leo Schlageter from sinking.
15 Nov 1944 Albert Leo Schlageter, which had struck a mine on the previous day near Rügen, Germany and kept afloat by a stern tow by sister ship Horst Wessel, was met by large ships which would tow her to Swinemünde, Germany for repairs.
15 May 1946 Horst Wessel was commissioned into the US Coast Guard in Bremerhaven, Germany under the new name Eagle, with Captain Gordon McGowan in command.

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Barque Horst Wessel Photo Gallery
Launching of Horst Wessel, Blohm und Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, 13 Jun 1936Horst Wessel, late 1936
See all 10 photographs of Barque Horst Wessel

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