Wreck of the day 03 – The SMS Brummer

SMS Brummer

Displacement: 4385t (design) and 4316t (loaded)

Length: 140.4m (460’)

Beam: 13.2m (43’)

Draft: 6m (19’)

Propulsion: 2 shaft steam turbines, 6 boilers, 33,000shp

Speed: 28kn (52km/h)

Range: 10700km (6700miles)

Complement: 16 officers, 293 enlisted

Armament: 4 × 15 cm SK L/45 guns
2 × 8.8 cm (3.5 in) L/45 AA guns
2 × 50 cm (20 in) torpedo tubes
400 mines


A brief history:

An extremely quick build, she was launched on 11th December 1915 and commissioned on 2nd April 1916. She was a remarkable ship with an impressive top speed of 52km/h but despite carrying 400 mines she was not employed on mine laying duty.

However minelayers by their nature were not designed for defensive purposes and their modus operandi would be to steam into an area, lay their mines and use their light weight and high speed to make an escape.

An interesting thing about the SMS Brummer and the SMS Bremse was that they slightly resembled British warships of the aurora class which was a contributing factor in a successful raid they made on a British supply convoy to Norway in which 2 destroyers were sunk along with 12 merchant ships of which the British ships were escorting. This coupled with their high speed meant that the convoy were sitting ducks and the resulting massacre was proof of this – there were very few survivors.

The success of this operation (which was celebrated with champagne by Kaiser Wilhelm II) the German heads of Navy got excited and lined up the deadly duo for further operations in the Atlantic. However the Americans entering the war and the logistical difficulties of refuelling at sea meant the operation was cancelled.


Diving the SMS Brummer:

Laying on her starboard side with her bow at 32m and the stern at 33m and the top of the hull at 21m this wreck is a firm favourite amongst Scapa junkies.

Although luckily not raised for scrapping she was subjected to heavy salvage work around the engine rooms and boilers etc. The stern is in pretty bad condition but if you focus your attention further forward this is a brilliant dive!

Worth having a look at are the gun turrets which are cool because they are not covered which means you can have a peek inside and inspect the mechanisms and controls.

There is also a cool hole where the funnel used to be but unfortunately don’t go getting ideas about swimming your way through to the engine rooms as there are grates which protected against shells.

If poking your way around machinery is your idea of fun then head to where the salvage work has taken place as it is all exposed and you can check out all the complicated nuts and bolts etc. your heart could lust for.

A nice feature is the armoured conning tower where the well paid officers would hide and control the ship during battles and the slit windows in the front are reminiscent of a fortified castle.

There is a deck gun in front of this and if you have time make your way forward and check out the anchor capstans. Those appropriately trained can make penetration dives between decks and those qualified to use nitrox and/or do some cheeky deco will really get the most from this dive.


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