enter image description hereenter image description hereIdentification of port and country. Identification of ships. WWII era, from a German Kriegsmarine album

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    Some more context would be useful. As the question stands, it is basically asking the community to find a needle in a haystack. Jun 21, 2019 at 2:42
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    Do you know anything else about the picture? Harbour identification will require matching up the lighthouse - but there are a few thousand lighthouses (and mole lights) in Europe (directory. I have searched through the Brittany: Finistère: North and noted some similar features as here, but nothing that could be a match. Jun 21, 2019 at 2:44
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    No other information. I thought the lighthouse distinctive enough that someone might recognize it. Jun 21, 2019 at 2:56
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    The first photo on treasurebunker.com/forums/index.php?/topic/… has a lighthouse (if that's what it is) that looks similar to your lighthouse. Jun 21, 2019 at 3:59
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    Yep, Kiel is quite likely, across the Kilian bunker: image.jimcdn.com/app/cms/image/transf/… Jun 21, 2019 at 11:06

1 Answer 1


This is Kiel, before 1958. The signal tower was build in 1912 and dismantled in 1958. It is located at the Kiellinie on the Blücherbrücke:

Datei:Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F005906-0001, Kiel, Jachthafen.jpg

It had to be torn down as it developed some Pisa-esque characteristics after the war.

enter image description here 54°20'19.3"N, 10°9'30.9"E

As it was a frequent guest at exactly this place, I'm going out on a limb and make a wild guess to say the ship was probably the Gorch Fock:

enter image description here (src: Blücherbrücke)

Note that the ship currently named so was only build in 1958. The predecessor is from 1933.

enter image description here

https://img.oldthing.net/7580/15857211/0/n/4996063/AK-Kiel-Signalturm-mit-Hafen-und-Bluecherbruecke.jpg enter image description here (src) Note that the last two pictures are dated "ca 1936".

If it is the first Gorch Fock, then this would date the photo to 1942–1944, when it was stationed at Kiel (according to an unsourced Wikipedia entry, or an history-oriented newspaper but sources seem a bit murky on details), afterwards being transferred to Stralsund while she was again in sea-going service.

A print dated 1942 is sold as

enter image description here
Am Hindenburgufer / Vertäut und verträumt liegt Gorch Fock am Signalturm (Kiel und die Kieler Förde) - historischer Fotodruck / Kupfertiefdruck - 1942

As the slightly later built sister ships look quite similar, the ship in the orignal foto may also be the Horst Wessel or Albert Leo Schlageter.

As it happens, for example the Horst Wessel was at least in 1943 also in Kiel and also seems to prefer anchoring a Blücherbridge when in Kiel and was by 1944 in Stralsund, where it also was in 1941….

enter image description here

Since these ships are so similar and details on the original fotos – whether pictoria or regarding date – are still not enough – and well, yeah, ships can move, a lot – for me it seems undecidable which one of the three most probable candidates exactly this is.

Plus, the perspective of the original photo doesn't even rule out that two of these ships were moored there at the same time:

enter image description here
src: Photo's Kiel Harbour 1920s/30s

Or all three:

enter image description here src

Data for the ships, according to German Wikipedia:

       Gorch Fock  Horst Wessel  Albert Leo Schlageter
Length 82,1 m      89            89
Masts   3           3             3
Sails  23          23            23

Concerning the sail plan, most pictures of Gorch Fock in the 30s do show a 2 sails on the mizzen mast, while the other two ships have three, but it's unclear whether or when a re-fitting might have taken place. The current state of the Gorch Fock shows another difference there:

enter image description here

And by 1940 it seems that the aft-rigging was altered from 2 to 3 sails:


That would point in summary to any one of the three German Gorch-Fock-class ships, dated by flag flown in original picture to after 1935 and obviously before May 1945.

For comparison, pictures of all three ships:

aHorst Wessel bSchlageter and Gorch Fock cSchlageter dSagres today eGorch Fock today fUSCGC Eagle (WIX-327)

a: Horst Wessel; b: Schlageter and Gorch Fock; c: Schlageter; d: Sagres today; e: Gorch Fock today; f: USCGC Eagle

Further hints: there seems to be a coastal vessel and an early u-boat type to the left of the sailor. The two warships in the distance is another possible clue, but too hard to make out all. The presence of a launch type small boat ("Barkasse"; modern version) for private mass amusements or personal transport from A to B across the bay. Both types of transport should be much rarer after July 1944 when allied air raids hit the place and eastern landing piers.

In the centre of the picture might hint at a date somewhat before 1945 when things got tight and the clothing of all the sailors visible might shift the latest date a few weeks before the end of 1944 as well, when things got cold.

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    The Gorch Fock was "a stationary office ship in Stralsund" during the Second World War, as was Horst Wessel. Perhaps one of the sister ships was used similarly in Kiel. Nice work tracking down the lighthouse. Jun 21, 2019 at 18:20
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    @PieterGeerkens According to deWP it was mainly stationary in Kiel before going to Stralsund. But that I'll have try to check with better sources. Jun 21, 2019 at 18:31
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    That is certainly the type of error (which sister ship was where) that might slip into Wikipedia. It strikes me as most likely that the various sister ships were in different harbours through the war, rather than the same one. Jun 21, 2019 at 18:55
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    @PieterGeerkens Hm. After locating images showing GorchFock firmly in Kiel at that place, I start wondering whether the bull's eye configuration might instead point towards HorstWessel or Schlageter? How to tell them aprt, being so similar. Jun 21, 2019 at 19:21
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    The log books of the Horst Wessel for 1936-46 (in German) (search for "Horst Wessel") are somewhere in the Washington area - as it was taken as a prize of war and re-assigned as the USCG cutter Eagle. Jun 21, 2019 at 19:36

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