Nazi warship found 80 years after being sunk off Norwegian coast

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By Euronews
A multi-beam echosounder has made a sonar scan of the wreck
A multi-beam echosounder has made a sonar scan of the wreck   -   Copyright  Statnett/Isurvey

The wreck of a sunken Nazi warship was discovered off the coast of Norway by an energy company inspecting undersea cables.

The Karlsruhe, the German cruiser which led the attack on the southern Norwegian city of Kristiansand on April 9, 1940, during the Nazi invasion of the country, was set on fire by Norwegian artillery, torpedoed by a British submarine and eventually sunk by the German themselves.

Although its fate had been well-documented — through the published account of German Rear Admiral Otto Schenk — the wreck had never been found.

Sonars used by energy company Statnett first detected the wreck three years ago during inspection work on power connectors between Denmark and Norway. But it was only this summer that Ole Petter Hobberstad, the company's senior project engineer, was able to investigate it with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and multi-beam echo sounders — a type of sonars used to map the seabed.

"When the ROV results showed us a ship that was torpedoed, we realised it was from the war. As the cannons became visible on the screen, we understood it was a huge warship. We were very excited and surprised that the wreck was so big," Hobberstad said in a statement.

The ship measures 174 metres, is equipped with steam turbines and nine cannons. It now lies 490 metres below sea levels some 13 nautical miles from Kristiansand.

Frode Kvalo, an archaeologist and researcher at the Norwegian Maritime Museum, flagged that underwater images have shown the vessel to lay flat on the seabed — a rare sight for such warships which tend to turn on their flanks when sinking.