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Ship ClassDithmarschen-class Auxiliary
BuilderDeutsche Werke Kiel
Slip/Drydock NumberII
Ordered18 Feb 1937
Launched8 Jun 1939
Commissioned17 Mar 1943
Sunk8 Apr 1945
Displacement22,850 tons full
Length587 feet
Beam72 feet
Draft33 feet
MachineryFour MAN 9cyl diesel engines, two shafts
Power Output24,000 shaft horsepower
Speed21 knots
Range11,000nm at 15 knots
Armament3x15cm L/48 C36 guns, 2x3.7cm anti-aircraft guns (6x after 1944), 4x2cm anti-aircraft guns (16x after 1944), 8x machine guns
Cargo Capacity10,000t fuel


ww2dbaseAlthough the supply ship Franken was launched prior to the outbreak of the European War in Sep 1939, the final completion work progressed slowly due to other war demands. In 1940, she was towed to the Burmeister & Wain shipyard in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she would finally be completed and commissioned into service in Mar 1943. With a capacity of 10,000 tons of fuel, she supplied cruiser Prinz Eugen, torpedo boats, minesweepers, and patrol boats in the Baltic Sea. In Apr 1945, she was struck by Soviet aircraft, broke into two pieces, and sank to a depth of between 48 and 72 meters, with some of the fuel tanks still filled. After the war, the sunken wreck was deemed the property of the Polish government. Because the recovery of the lost fuel was not deemed profitable, and that the wreck posed no maritime danger, she remained at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. In 2018, maritime experts concluded that salt water could breach the steel tanks in the near future, and in such case the estimated 3,136 cubic meter fuel that still remained in the wreck would create an environmental disaster.

Deutsche Welle

Last Major Revision: Oct 2021

Auxiliary Franken Interactive Map

Franken Operational Timeline

18 Feb 1937 The construction of Franken was ordered.
8 Jun 1939 Franken was launched at the Deutsche Werke Kiel shipyard in Kiel, Germany.
17 Mar 1943 Franken was commissioned into service.
8 Apr 1945 Franken was struck by Soviet aircraft and sank near the Hela Peninsula off Danzig.

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