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We have scuttling drill on the Columbus

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We have scuttling drill on the Columbus

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We have scuttling drill on the Columbus.
Following the scuttling of the Admiral Graf Spee on 17 December 1939 came the news of the loss of the 32,000 ton north German Lloyd steamer, Columbus. She left Vera Cruz an 14 December 1939, and an in 19 December 1939 was stopped by a British warship. The story of her scuttling as told by her master, Capt Daehne, is here reprinted from the Daily Express and Daily Telegraph.

The only two casualties in the scuttling of the crack German liner Columbus were too happy-go-lucky fireman. According to captain William Daehne, master of the ship.

He said that they must have thought he was kidding when he ordered the ship's suicide to avoid capture by a British warship. United States destroyers, said captain William Daehne followed his ship all the way from Vara Cruz until Monday 18 December 1939 when the United States cruiser Tuscaloosa, Captain Daehne said that he sighted the British warship about 1430 hrs in the afternoon. I could make out the British flag at 1455 hrs, he said, and I sounded the general alarm, for the crew, stand by, scuttled, burn. I had drilled the crew for a month for this task, and they knew what to do. I radioed all ships in of our position, saying we were ready to scuttle. at 1457 hrs, we got flag signals from the warship stop immediately. At 1505 hrs she fired two shots across our bows. At the same time, we lowered the lifeboats, and one minute later, we opened the sea cocks. By 1514 hrs, all the boats except the two left from the scuttling crew and fire brigade had been lowered. At 1516 hrs, the chief engineer reported that the men had left the engine room. At 1539 hrs, all the boats were away except the captain's motorboat. When the whole ship was ablaze, said captain Daehne, I slid down the rope and circled the Columbus in a motor boat. The destroyer was about 50 feet away, but I could not make out her name. The captain said there were originally twelve women aboard. When he got orders to leave Vera Cruz he said to them. I'll leave you behind. The trip is so dangerous for women. Nine of them refused to be left behind. Asked what were his reactions to the order sending a Columbus out of a refuge from. He said, when you get an order you don't ask questions.

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Sources

The Second Great War.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

The War Illustrated.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

2194 Days Of War.
ISBN-10: 086136614X

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