Friday, September 19, 2008
In February 1945, this 14,600 ton ship that had belonged to the Nord German Shipping Line was involved in transporting over 3,000 wounded, refugees, doctors and nurses from the Danzig area to Swinemunde.
Shortly after midnight on february 10th, Captain Alexander Marinesko in Russian Submarine S-13, lined up the second large ship in his periscope in the space of only 10 days. He was convinced he had found a cruiser of the Emden class. Using his stern tubes he fired two torpedoes, both ran truly and hit below the bridge. General Steyben started to sink.
Torpedo Boat T-196 had been escort to General Steuben and quickly searched for the attacker but S13 departed the scene with dispatch and made her escape.
Within seven minutes General Steuben had rolled over and sunk, but three hundred were being rescued from the icy sea conditions, and it is believed that 3,000 died from this action.
Back to the Russian submarine S13, Marinesko had been ordered to return to his base at Turku, where he arrived on the 14th. of February.
Here, his superior officer Captain Oryel, informed him that he had sunk Wilhelm Gustloff, and that his second victim was not a cruiser of the Emden class, but another ship trying to evacuate refugees, she was General Stuben.