Antonio Bonomi wrote:
Ciao Terje and all,
here few responses my friend
Harbour visited during the cruise June 12th, July 26th, 1939.
Starting Wilhelmshaven, ....... than Tangeri, Ceuta, Gibraltar, ... Las Palmas,...... Madeira, .. Horta( Azores ), ... arriving in Kiel.
I have the original map of this trip if you like it ...... but it is also visible in a small version into Kahler-Gneisenau book at page 55..
I have this map as well, although not in my Kähler book which instead show the "Jungfernfahrt"
at 30 June - 8 July 1938 p. 51. The map I have is marked with "Atlantikreise, 12 June - 26 July 1939"
although I have not seen her making port at either Tangier or Ceuta. It was my understanding that she merely made a brief pass past Gibraltar. I haven't seen any photos of her making port anywhere but Las Palmas and Funchal, Madeira.
Antonio Bonomi wrote:If you need Ditmarschen and Neumark classes ship profiles,.. let me know....I have it,..as well as all the support ships of KM......
The reason why I suspected this ship is based on the photos from Las Palmas and Funchal. The supply ship seems to be rather new and I know from german-navy.de that Westerwald, later Nordmark, was available at the time. The site however offers no clue to her activities before the outbreak of war thus I'm left with the assumption. A clue that helped me land at this conclusion was Kähler's rather warm remarks about these ships while at Trondheim, 4 - 14 july 1940. I drew the assumption that since he made such a fine remark about them, he would have had some earlier experience with them, hence the notion of Westerwald during the Atlantikreise. However, I'd really appreciate a profile drawing of the Nordmark.
Antonio Bonomi wrote:Your flag analysis seems correct, but never the ship is seen in photos sailing with all flags flown, so those parade flags should have been ON only if anchored.
On Kahler-Gneisenau book there is a photo on page 56 were you can see Hitler and Horty with Adm Reader on board Gneisenau during Prinz Eugen launch, on August 22, 1938 in Kiel.
A few comments about this event is of course that the Reich Minister of Ostmark, Dr. Seyss-Inquart, delivered the launching speech while the wife of Admiral Nikolaus Horthy von Nagybanya blessed the ship and I'd therefore assume that both Horthy and Hitler would have to be present at the slipway at Krupp Germania, not aboard the Gneisenau which, as I previously mentioned, was moored off Olympia Hafen. Gneisenau flew an Admiral's pennant at the launch, as seen on the photo where she fired an Ehrensalute
as the Prinz Eugen was launched. This same pennant can be seen during the parade which I take to have occurred shortly after the launch. At that point both Hitler and Horthy were aboard the Aviso Grille or..? From photos, I've seen the Grille and the Gneisenau moored at the buoys off a place I suspect must be Strande, on the opposite site of the U-boot Marine Ehrenmal
at Möltenort. The buildings ashore looks rather familiar. Here the Nixe can be seen actively shipping people from land and aboard the ship thus my obvious guess would be that the Gneisenau must have been visited during this period. Unfortunately, I've not yet seen any photos from this day showing the Führerstandarte along with the Hungarian state flag. But I see that I really need to get a few more pages ahead in my Kähler book! I'm translating hard as I can right now.
Autumn 38 and spring 39 are rather big holes in her timeline to me. At least I know now that Hitler and Horthy really came aboard, thanks to your reference..!
Antonio Bonomi wrote:It seems that Hitler was on board Gneisenau on several occasions, March, than May and July 1938, .. than in August too.
On the same book there is a photo were you can see Gneisenau with the Hitler insigna on the mast flying.
I knew Hitler was aboard July 1938, his navy visits, and I've seen him at her bridge wing this day along with other characters which I preume must be Kpt.s.Z. Erich Förste, General Wilhelm Keitel, General Admiral Dr. Erich Raeder, Admiral Alfred Saalwächter (at this time he was commander of the Baltic naval command) and also Admiral Rolf Carls (C-in-C aboard the Graf Spee. And now I know he was also aboard 22 August, presumably post-parade. But March and May? Was he aboard during her commisioning? Or at the shipyard cruise..? I'd love to hear if you have some info on the matter as Kähler unfortunately makes no mention of this.
Antonio Bonomi wrote:
I am not a fan of those things,..but those are the historical facts. ...and dates....
I'm not too devoted to such visits aboard my G either but as you say, they did occur and so forth is part of her story. Unfortunately, it seems that most authors are devoted to the war years and so its hard to find proper sources for her early years, the so-called "Friedensjahre"
. I rely heavily on images. Or that is, images and my own deduction.