I’ve worked hard the last month or so putting together a piece on the Nazi School ships. It wasn’t fun to do as I couldn’t seem make it work. This week, the writing started to flow at last. I include one or two paragraphs here for your amusement.
“When I first saw the United States Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Eagle, I fell in love with her. I had grown up in San Diego with our one tall ship, the much admired, iron-hulled Star of India. I’d even been lucky enough to accompany the Star out to sea on her first sail in 1979 on my stepfather’s boat. But the Eagle captivated me in ways that the Star didn’t. Perhaps it was that pure white hull or her size. Maybe it was the forceful red and blue strips on her bow. She was a modern, working, sailing ship, and I wanted to know more about her from the first day I saw her.”
Then further down in the article, I wrote:
"By the 1930’s, Hitler’s Nazi party saw a place for sail training ships in their fleet. They commissioned four barques in the Gorch-Fock-class. The keel of the SSS Horst Wessel was laid February 15, 1936, and she was commissioned September 17 that same year. “SSS Horst Wessel served as the flagship of the Kriegsmarine sail training fleet, which consisted of Gorch Fock, Albert Leo Schlageter and Horst Wessel. A fifth ship, the Mircea was also built in 1937 for the Romanian Navy and work began on a sixth, the Herbert Norkus, but stopped with the outbreak of war.” After the war three completed ships were disbursed as war reparations. The Horst Wessel, now the Eagle, sailed for America in 1945 with its German crew aboard to train the new American crew.”
There’s a book written about her crossing. We didn’t have a sail trained crew available when the Eagle sailed for America. They sailed with an American crew and many of the original German crew. Part way across, they encountered a hurricane. Oh, don’t those details leave you wanting more. They do me.