- Theodor Detmers
Infobox Military Person
name= Theodor Anton Gunther Detmers
lived=22 August 1902 – dda|1976|11|04|1902|08|22|df=n
Wittenin the Ruhr
Weimar Republic(to 1933)
rank="Kapitän zur See"
World War II
Battle between HMAS Sydney and German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran(1941)
awards=Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross
Theoder Detmers (August 22, 1902 – November 4, 1976) was the commanding officer of the German auxiliary cruiser "Kormoran". [HMAS Sydney II and the Kormoran.
Australian War Memorial. URL: [http://www.awm.gov.au/Encyclopedia/hmas_sydney/detmers.htm http://www.awm.gov.au/Encyclopedia/hmas_sydney/detmers.htm] . Accessed on: March 30, 2008.]
Detmers joined the
German Navyin 1921 and served on the battleship SMS "Hannover" and SMS "Elsaß" and was educated on the Segelschiff "Niobe". He also served on the SMS "Berlin". He became a sublieutenant on the "Emden". From 1926-28 he served on the "Albatross" and as of 1927 was a lieutenant. From 1930-32 he served as staff officer and was then stationed on the cruiser "Köln", on which he visited Australiain 1933. [Hilfskreuzer Kormoran. www.bismarck-class.dk. URL: [http://www.bismarck-class.dk/hilfskreuzer/kormoran.html http://www.bismarck-class.dk/hilfskreuzer/kormoran.html] . Accessed on: March 30, 2008.]
In 1934 he served on
torpedo boats and destroyers of the German Navy. In October 1938 he was in command of the destroyer "Hermann Schoemann" and participated in Operation "Weserübung" in April to June 1940.
In July 1940 Detmers became commander of the commerce raider HSK "Kormoran", and captured or destroyed 11 enemy merchant ships. On November 19, 1941 the "Kormoran" was intercepted by HMAS "Sydney". Detmers tried to pose as a Dutch merchant ship. However, he allegedly lacked the necessary naval codes and was finally forced to engage "Sydney". [ [http://www.aamh.asn.au/news/0078.pdf Captain Detmers' book revisited] The Australian Association of Maritime History. pdf.
Although Detmers was to always deny knowledge of allied codes, Admiral Doenitz in 1959 confirmed that allied codes had at that time been broken and that German raiders were in possession of the procedures for challenge and reply. Detmers is known to have possessed the "Straat Malakka"’s secret callsign. This could explain why "Sydney" was so close.] He sank her in battle off
Western Australia. His own ship was severely damaged and had to be scuttled, after which Detmers was captured and became a prisoner of war.
Prisoner of war
He was held as a POW at
HM Prison Dhurringileuntil January 1947. In December 1941, Detmers was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Crossand in 1943 was promoted to "Kapitän zur See". He had earlier received the first class Iron Cross. While a prisoner, he wrote a coded account of the battle between HMAS "Sydney" and German auxiliary cruiser "Kormoran" that survived the war. [cite web |url=http://www.navy.gov.au/HMAS_SYDNEY_and_KORMORAN_DOCUMENTS |title=HMAS SYDNEY and KORMORAN DOCUMENTS |publisher=Sea Power (Royal Australian Navy Archive) |year=1941 |accessdate=2008-09-15 ] Detmers tried to escape Australian captivity with other members of his crew, via a tunnel and then hoping to capture a sailboat to get to Indonesia. However, the attempt was unsuccessful. Later during his imprisonment, he suffered a stroke. [ [http://www.awm.gov.au/Encyclopedia/hmas_sydney/detmers.htm HMAS Sydney II - Captain Theodor Anton Detmers ] ]
Detmers returned to Germany in 1947 and was released from British captivity in Munster. He lived the last three decades of his life with his nephew in Hamburg-Rahlstedt and died there in 1976. Because of his stroke, he was incapacitated for service in the post-war German navy. He wrote a book about his "Kormoran" experiences,cite book |author=Detmers T, Brennecke J.|url=http://books.google.com/books?id=qKVSGQAACAAJ |title="Kormoran", der Hilfskreuzer, der die "Sydney" versenkte" |isbn=3-78220-110-8 |date=1959] which has been translated into English. [cite book |author=Detmers Theodore |title=The Raider Kormoran |publisher=William Kimber |location=London |date=1959 |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=c6-YGQAACAAJ]
* Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). "Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945". Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
* Range, Clemens (1974). "Die Ritterkreuzträger der Kriegsmarine". Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-87943-355-0.
*cite web |url=http://www.navy.gov.au/HMAS_SYDNEY_and_KORMORAN_DOCUMENTS |title=HMAS SYDNEY and KORMORAN DOCUMENTS |publisher=Sea Power (Royal Australian Navy Archive) |year=1941 |accessdate=2008-09-15
* [http://www.awm.gov.au/Encyclopedia/hmas_sydney/detmers.htm HMAS Sydney II and the Kormoran: Captain Theodor Anton Detmers]
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