A Nazi warship was found sunk by the British after 80 years, after an electric company stumbled across it while inspecting its underwater lines.
Karlsruhe was returning from the Nazi invasion of Norway in 1940 when it was torpedoed by HMS Truant, forcing the Germans to scuttle the sinking ship.
But while the Karlsruhe story has been recorded, its location has remained a mystery – for now.
The Norwegian energy company, Statnett, found the ship after spotting debris close to its underwater lines in the Skagerrak Strait.
The Nazi warship, Karlsruhe, (pictured) was returning from invading Norway in 1940 when it was hit by a torpedo from a British submarine, the HMS Truant
The site of the wreck has been a mystery for 80 years – until now. It was found off the coast of Norway by the Norwegian energy company, Statnett. Pictured: a survey of debris
“You can find the fate of Karlsruhe in the history books, but nobody knows exactly where the ship sank,” said Frod Kvallo of the Norwegian Maritime Museum.
Moreover, it was the only large German warship lost during the attack on Norway, with an unknown location.
“After all these years, we finally know where the graveyard is of this important warship.”
The presence of debris 13 nautical miles from Kristiansand in southern Norway was first detected by sonar during a Statnet inspection in 2017.
But Statnett’s engineer, Ole Petter Hobberstad, was not given the opportunity until June this year to inspect the ship with a remote-controlled submarine.
The presence of a wreck about 13 nautical miles from Kristiansand, a city in southern Norway, was first detected by sonar in 2017, but in June of this year an examination of the ship was carried out that was discovered to be the lost Nazi warship.
Karlsruhe footage, found at 490 meters below sea level, shows the ship upright with its cannons pointing to the sea (pictured)
“When the results of the ROV showed us a ship that had been torpedoed, we realized it was from the war,” said Mr Hobberstad.
When the cannons became visible on screen, we realized that it was a huge warship. We were very excited and surprised that the wreck was so big.
Footage of the wreck site reveals how it was decorated with a swastika topped by a Nazi eagle or partialer, with an anchor shape underneath.
The rifles and the fishnet superstructure are also visible.
The first images also show that, unusually for a ship with a high center of gravity, Karlsruhe remained upright after its sinking.
“Karlsruhe is standing tight at 490 meters below sea level, and the cannons are pointing dangerously into the sea,” said Kvallo.
With the main battery of nine guns in three triple turrets, this was the largest and most feared ship in the attack group against Kristiansand.
“Finding such special war wreckage is rare and very interesting for those of us who work on underwater investigations,” Huberstad added.
Examination of the wreckage with a remotely controlled submarine found that the rifles and the caped upper structure are clearly visible.
Statnett engineer, Ole Petter Hobberstad who inspects the ship, said: “ We understood it was a huge warship. We were very excited and surprised that the wreck was so big.
It is rare to find private war wrecks. The battleship had nine cannons in three triple towers, and was the largest and most dangerous ship in the attack group against Kristiansand.
Despite its range of firepower, Karlsruhe was only used as a means of transporting troops to attack Kristiansand.
But after coming under fire from Norwegian coastal cannons at Odderøya Castle, she quickly joined the fight.
Later that same day, after successfully landing troops in Norway, it was hit by two British torpedoes.
With its power soon disrupted by the influx of water, the ship’s pumps were cut off and Commander Friedrich Reeve made the decision to abandon the ship.
One of her escorts, a torpedo boat, Griff, rescued the crew and blew up Karlsruhe two more times to ensure it sank.
Reeve was severely blamed for his actions, as he did not attempt to tow the battleship to Kristiansand for repair.
The HMS Truant would surpass its competition by six years, sinking its way to shipwashers in December 1946, having been sold for scrap the previous year.