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Anybody Know of Captured Warships that were Used by Other Countries?

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  • Anybody Know of Captured Warships that were Used by Other Countries?

    I've just finished writing about the Norwegian coastal defense battleship HNoMS Tordenskjold that was captured by the Germans after the invasion of Norway in 1940 and then converted into a floating flak battery for the remainder of the war. The Germans renamed her Nymphe and she was eventually bombed by Allied aircraft and beached to prevent her from sinking. After the war, what was left of the ship was given back to Norway and it served as a floating barracks for three years before being scrapped. If you want to read more about this ship and its long history, you can go here.

    My question is, does anyone know of any ships that were built for one country but were captured and then used by another country during the war? I know the Japanese captured some small American river gunboats in China and in the Philippines at the start of the war and then used them, but are there any other examples of ships being captured as a "prize of war" and then used by another country? Would like to find out more about these types of ships and what they did during World War II.
    navalwarfare.blogspot.com

  • #2
    Originally posted by Libertyship46 View Post
    I've just finished writing about the Norwegian coastal defense battleship HNoMS Tordenskjold that was captured by the Germans after the invasion of Norway in 1940 and then converted into a floating flak battery for the remainder of the war. The Germans renamed her Nymphe and she was eventually bombed by Allied aircraft and beached to prevent her from sinking. After the war, what was left of the ship was given back to Norway and it served as a floating barracks for three years before being scrapped. If you want to read more about this ship and its long history, you can go here.

    My question is, does anyone know of any ships that were built for one country but were captured and then used by another country during the war? I know the Japanese captured some small American river gunboats in China and in the Philippines at the start of the war and then used them, but are there any other examples of ships being captured as a "prize of war" and then used by another country? Would like to find out more about these types of ships and what they did during World War II.
    Try this site: http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/index.html
    "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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    • #3
      Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
      Interesting site. Thanks!
      navalwarfare.blogspot.com

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      • #4
        I know there were some, but can't think of any exampls and references at the moment.

        I pretty sure the British even used (albeit in a limited role) a captured U-Boat.

        Of the Japanese used plenty of captured merchant ships (but they aren't war ships).

        I know it is beyond the scope of your question, but I always found this interesting. It relates to WWI not WWII:

        More than half of the American troops sent overseas travelled on German ships which had taken shelter in US ports when the war broke out. These ships were seized by the US when it entered the war. They included the Vaterland (renamed Leviathan) which was the largest passenger ship in the world at that point.
        The Navy Times book of Submarines by Brayton Harris (Page 221)

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        • #5
          HMS Thracian was captured in HongKong and used by the Japanese Navy.

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          • #6
            Well.....You Know

            The French Fleet Scuttled itself in 1942 @ Toulon.

            The Italian Navy raised a lot of those ships & repaired them.

            Then when the Italians were giving up in 1943, The germans captured & seized the Former French/New Italian Ships and used them for their purposes.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Duke William View Post
              The French Fleet Scuttled itself in 1942 @ Toulon.

              The Italian Navy raised a lot of those ships & repaired them.

              Then when the Italians were giving up in 1943, The germans captured & seized the Former French/New Italian Ships and used them for their purposes.
              Now that sounds interesting. Amazing that ships can change hands so many times in one war!
              navalwarfare.blogspot.com

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              • #8
                Originally posted by String View Post
                HMS Thracian was captured in HongKong and used by the Japanese Navy.
                I'll have to look that one up. Wonder if it was sunk by the Allies during the war while under Japanese control?
                navalwarfare.blogspot.com

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                • #9
                  Does merchant vessels captured and then converted to armed vessels count?

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                  • #10
                    Take a look at: http://uboat.net/fates/captured.htm

                    Of particular interest:

                    U-570 was captured by the British:

                    U-570 was towed to Iceland and beached there while being hastingly repaired before she was towed to Britain where she was to be commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Graph (pictured below) on Sept 29, 1941.

                    As HMS Graph she even later fired a torpedo towards U-333 but missed. She later ran aground on the Island of Islay of Scotland. She was broken up in 1961.


                    The Germans captured and used HMS Seal.

                    HMS Seal was commissioned into the Kriegsmarine as UB but had limited value except for propaganda use. She was scuttled on May 3, 1945 in Heikendorf Bay (in position 54.22N, 10.11E). Her wreck was later raised and broken up.

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                    • #11
                      Starting in 1943 there were many reports of an American destroyer sighted deep in the heart of Japanese-held territory. Reconnaissance aircraft reported her in the Java Sea, west of New Guinea, several times.

                      This turned out to be the former USS Stewart, a Semmes class "Four piper" destroyer of WW1 vintage. Damaged in action during the Java Sea engagements, in Febuary 1942 she was placed in dry dock in Soerabaja. When the ABDA forces withdrew, Stewart was demolished on site.

                      With patrol ships in short supply, especially away from the main front, the Japanese garrison in Java refloated and repaired Stewart. She was commissioned into the IJN as PB-102 on 20 August 1943. It is possible she was involved in sinking the submarine USS Growler in November 1944.

                      In October 1945 she was discovered by USN personnel in Kure harbour. She was ordered re-commissioned into the USN and sailed home. In May 1946 she was expended as a target, and sunk for good.

                      http://www.magweb.com/sample/ww2/ns11phan.htm
                      Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ogukuo72 View Post
                        Does merchant vessels captured and then converted to armed vessels count?
                        Sure, they acted as "auxilliary cruisers" when they were armed.
                        navalwarfare.blogspot.com

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Roadkiller View Post
                          Starting in 1943 there were many reports of an American destroyer sighted deep in the heart of Japanese-held territory. Reconnaissance aircraft reported her in the Java Sea, west of New Guinea, several times.

                          This turned out to be the former USS Stewart, a Semmes class "Four piper" destroyer of WW1 vintage. Damaged in action during the Java Sea engagements, in Febuary 1942 she was placed in dry dock in Soerabaja. When the ABDA forces withdrew, Stewart was demolished on site.

                          With patrol ships in short supply, especially away from the main front, the Japanese garrison in Java refloated and repaired Stewart. She was commissioned into the IJN as PB-102 on 20 August 1943. It is possible she was involved in sinking the submarine USS Growler in November 1944.

                          In October 1945 she was discovered by USN personnel in Kure harbour. She was ordered re-commissioned into the USN and sailed home. In May 1946 she was expended as a target, and sunk for good.

                          http://www.magweb.com/sample/ww2/ns11phan.htm
                          Great Story!!! Really interesting.
                          navalwarfare.blogspot.com

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mechashef View Post
                            Take a look at: http://uboat.net/fates/captured.htm

                            Of particular interest:

                            U-570 was captured by the British:

                            The Germans captured and used HMS Seal.
                            How ironic would that have been if a captured British submarine sank British merchant ships? Wow.
                            navalwarfare.blogspot.com

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                            • #15
                              The British sub HMS Splendid was sunk 21.4.43 by the German destroyer Hermes.

                              According to yesterday´s obituary in the London Daily Telegraph of the Splendid´s skipper, the Hermes had started life as the British-built Greek naval ship Vasilefs Georgios.

                              Could not find confirmation of this on either the Kriegsmarine web site, or elsewhere.

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