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Career (Germany) Name: SMS Bremse Builder: AG Vulcan Stettin, Stettin Laid down: 1915 Launched: 11 March 1916 Commissioned: 1 July 1916 Fate: Scuttled in Scapa Flow (Gutter Sound) on 21 June 1919 General characteristics Type: Brummer-class minelaying light cruiser Displacement: 4,385 tonnes standard 5,856 tonnes full-load Length: 460 ft 6 in (140.36 m) oa 442 ft 10 in (134.98 m) (waterline) Beam: 43 ft 4 in (13.21 m) Draught: 19 ft 8 in (5.99 m) Propulsion: 6 x 3-drum superheated boilers (2 coal, 4 oil) 2 x steam turbines direct drive to two shafts 33,000 shp nominal Speed: 34 kn (63 km/h) (maximum) Range: 1000 tons oil 500 tons coal Complement: 309 Armament: 4 × 150 mm (5.9 in) guns (4×1) 2 × 88 mm (3.5 in) AA guns (3×1) 2 × 500 mm (20 in) torpedo tubes 400 mines Armour: Belt: 44 mm (1.7 in) Deck: 15 mm (0.59 in) Conning tower: 100 mm (3.9 in) SMS Bremse was a Brummer-class minelaying light cruiser of the German Kaiserliche Marine. She was built by AG Vulcan Stettin and launched on 11 March 1916 at Stettin, Germany, the second of the two-ship class after her sister, SMS Brummer. She served during the First World War, operating for most of the time in company with her sister. The two sisters took part in an ambush on a convoy in the North Sea, where they sank two destroyers in a surprise attack, before hunting down and sinking nine merchantmen, after which they returned to port unscathed. Bremse was one of the ships interned at Scapa Flow under the terms of the armistice in November 1918, and was scuttled there with many of the ships of the German fleet on 21 June 1919. She was salvaged in 1929 by teams working for Ernest Cox, though they had to contend with large quantities of oil and the risks of fires and explosions. Having been brought back to the surface after a decade underwater, she was then scrapped. Contents 1 Design 2 Career 2.1 Convoy ambush 3 Internment and scuttling 4 Salvage 5 Notes 6 References Design The Brummer class were designed as fast offensive minelayers, and to facilitate their operations in British waters, they were designed to resemble the Royal Navy's Arethusa-class cruisers, with a distinct curvature to their bows, three slender funnels of equal height, and masts crossed in the British style.[1] The mainmast could also be quickly struck, to add to the deception. They could carry 400 mines, but were liable to be difficult to handle when fully loaded.[1] Bremse was named after a 1884 gunboat, with Bremse itself being the German term for a horse-fly.[2] Career Bremse was commissioned on 1 July 1916 and entered service with her sister, with whom she would serve for most of the war.[2][3] In October 1916 Bremse and her sister were assigned to the II Scouting Group, then to the IV Scouting Group in December 1916.[3] Convoy ambush Britain had agreed to ship 250,000 tons of coal a month to Norway, and a regular stream of convoys carrying shipments of coal was crossing the North Sea by late 1917, usually escorted by a couple of destroyers and some armed trawlers.[4] Attempts to interdict them with U-boats had so far been ineffective, so Admiral Reinhard Scheer decided to deploy a surface force to carry out a surprise attack. The convoys passed between 300 and 350 miles from the German anchorage at Horn Reefs, a distance that could be covered in 14 hours by ships steaming at over 30 knots (56 km/h).[4] As winter approached, the poor light decreased the chances of raiders being detected, and Scheer decided to assign Bremse and Brummer, both capable of a maximum speed of 34 knots (63 km/h) to carry out the ambush.[4] Bremse's sister, SMS Brummer On 17 October 1917 the target was a westbound Scandinavian convoy consisting of ten merchant ships headed from Bergen to Lerwick, escorted by the destroyers HMS Strongbow and HMS Mary Rose and two armed trawlers.[5] At dawn lookouts aboard Stronghold reported two unidentified ships closing on the convoy. Mistaking them for British cruisers Strongbow flashed recognition signals, but was suddenly fired upon at a range of 3,000 yards by a barrage of 6-inch shells.[4] Mary Rose tried to come to her assistance but was also hit, with both ships sinking. Brummer and Bremse then turned their attention to the convoy, hunting down and sinking nine of the merchants, before returning to port.[4] One of the armed trawlers, the Elise, was fired on by Bremse while attempting to pick up survivors.[5] None of the ships were able to send a wireless report, and despite having a squadron of sixteen light cruisers at sea to the south of the convoy, the British did not learn of the attack until 4:00pm, when it was too late. Admiral David Beatty said of the action that 'luck was against us.'[4] The Admiralty responded to the raid by adding more and bigger escorts.[5] Internment and scuttling Ships of the German High Seas Fleet sailing to be interned. Visible are SMS Emden, SMS Frankfurt, and SMS Bremse. After the signing of the Armistice in November 1918, Bremse and the remainder of the High Seas Fleet were interned at the British naval base at Scapa Flow pending the outcomes of negotiations of the final peace treaty. After being inspected by Allied crews the ships were interned at Gutter Sound. Many of the ships were then scuttled on 21 June 1919, on Rear-Admiral Ludwig von Reuter's orders. An armed British naval party had attempted to board Bremse and close her bottom valves, but found that they were already below the rising waterline.[5] Instead they blasted off her anchor chains and she was taken in tow by a tug and the destroyer HMS Venetia, in an attempt to beach her before she sank.[5] They managed to run her bow onto the beach, south of Cava, but the steeply sloping approach meant that her stern settled in deeper water, and she rolled over and sank in 75 feet of water, leaving her bow visible at low tide.[5][6] Salvage Though the Admiralty arranged for some of the ships to be salvaged, most were left at the bottom of the sound until entrepreneur Ernest Cox bought the salvage rights and began to raise the remaining ships. Bremse presented particular challenges. She had come to rest perched precariously on a rock, which sloped away dramatically, causing fears that she might slip off and sink in deeper water.[6] Cox's salvage team sealed her bulkheads and divided the hull into watertight compartments. The hull was patched up and an airlock fitted, but the team ran into difficulties with the large amount of oil which covered the wreck, more than had been found in any other of the ships salvaged previously.[6] A three-man team using oxyacetylene torches ignited some oil, causing an explosion. The men escaped without serious injuries, and thereafter small explosions and fires were common over the two months it took to prepare the ship, though no one was injured.[7] 15 cm naval gun salvaged from Bremse and displayed at Scapa Flow By July 1929 the last of the superstructure had been cleared, and Bremse was turned upside down using techniques developed on salvaging some of the destroyers. Compressors were then used to pump air into the hull and bring her to the surface, while she was supported by 9-inch wires attached to two floating docks anchored on her port shoreward side.[8] The salvage teams had almost raised her when she suddenly toppled onto her side and then heeled over gradually during the night, settling onto the rocks inshore.[7] It was thought that the failure had been caused by there being too much remaining superstructure, and attempts were made to clean out the large quantity of oil that had spilled out during the attempt to raise her. The decision was made to burn off the oil, but the fire spread and had to be brought back under control.[7] She was again patched up and pumped with air, breaking the surface on 29 November. The Bremse was eventually considered too unsafe to tow to Rosyth for scrapping, as had been done with the other ships Cox had salvaged, and instead she was taken to Lyness on 30 November 1929 and broken up there.[7] Notes ^ a b Ireland. The Illustrated Guide to Cruisers. p. 172.  ^ a b "Bremse Ship Info". german-navy.de. http://german-navy.de/hochseeflotte/ships/smallcruiser/bremse/index.html. Retrieved 16 August 2010.  ^ a b "Brummer Class Minelaying Cruisers". worldwar1.co.uk. http://www.worldwar1.co.uk/cruisers/sms-brummer.html. Retrieved 16 August 2010.  ^ a b c d e f Massie. Castle's of Steel. p. 747.  ^ a b c d e f Booth. Cox's Navy. p. 114.  ^ a b c George. Jutland to Junkyard. p. 87.  ^ a b c d George. Jutland to Junkyard. p. 88.  ^ Booth. Cox's Navy. p. 115.  References "Brummer Class Minelaying Cruisers". World War 1 Naval Combat. worldwar1.co.uk. http://www.worldwar1.co.uk/cruisers/sms-brummer.html. Retrieved 16 August 2010.  Booth, Tony (2008). Cox's Navy: Salvaging the German High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow 1924-1931. Barnsley: Pen and Sword Maritime. ISBN 978-1-84415-181-3.  Emmerich, Michael (2003). "Bremse Ship Info". World War 1 Naval Combat. german-navy.de. http://german-navy.de/hochseeflotte/ships/smallcruiser/bremse/index.html. Retrieved 16 August 2010.  George, S. C. (1999). Jutland to Junkyard: The Raising of the Scuttled German High Seas Fleet from Scapa Flow - The Greatest Salvage Operation of All Time. Edinburgh: Birlinn. ISBN 1-84158-001-5.  Ireland, Bernard (2008). The Illustrated Guide to Cruisers. London: Hermes House. ISBN 978-1-84681-150-0.  Massie, Robert K. (2005). Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea. London: Pimlico Random House. ISBN 1-8441-3411-1.  v · d · e Brummer-class cruiser Brummer · Bremse Preceded by: Königsberg class · Followed by: Köln class List of cruisers of the German Imperial Navy