The Gas Wrecks

Skagerak, Kattegat & Bay of Biscay,Europe

After second world war the USA,Soviet Union, Britain and France met in Potsdam 17.July to 2.August 1945. On the menu was one of the  problem's how to solve the large amount of chemical weapons that was left from the Third Reich. The solution to this was to fill up condemned ships and scuttle them at sea. A small amount was also taken over by the four representative states. From the Potsdam protocol we can read; "all arms, ammunition and implements of war shall be held at the disposal of the Allies or destroyed". In the four zones the victory powers took control in after the German capitulation, the following official number is given of the amount of chemical weapons in their respective zones; American 102,500 tons, British 122,508 tons, French Zone 9,100 tons, Soviet Zone 70,500 tons. Until 1947 large amounts of chemical weapons was destroyed. Some ships were scuttled in the Atlantic, and some in the bay of Biscay outside France. The American and British scuttled most of them outside Arendal, Lysekil, Skagerak and Kattegat. Nearly 4000 tons that the Allied had cant be accounted for, and their reports seems to be somewhat inaccurate. Also a bit surprising is the knowledge and personal view many prominent Norwegian historians showed back in the late 1990's when this article was first published. A total denial that these wreck's even existed was clearly expressed, and there was no room for "fairy tales in history", as expressed by some. In the waters outside Arendal its believed that only Mustard gas was dumped, but traces of other chemicals have been sampled and verified. All the wrecks rest today in deep waters.

Former names:
See list below

Tons: Built:
Grt - Gross tons

Picture: German cruiser Leipzig & S/S Monte Pascoal
Courtesy of Navypedia & HSDG

Picture: Wreck # 14, south of Arendal in Norway
Loaded with chemical weapons
Courtesy of Norwegian Defense Research Establishment - FFI

Confirmed ship list from 1945-1948:

S/S Alcoa Banner 5183 grt 1946-07-14 Operation Davey Jones Locker.
S/S Arthur Sewall .7176 grt 1947-06-06 Operation Davey Jones Locker.
S/S Balkan. 2209 grt. 1947-10-17 Arendal. Positive id.
S/S Berlin. 3293 grt 1947-05-31 Skagerak. Positive id.
S/S Bernlef, 2482 grt. Kattegat, ?
S/S Brandenburg. 174 grt.1947-05-03. Skagerak. Positive id.
S/S Bremse. 796 grt. 1946-12-16. UJ305 or T-63?
Torpedoboat T190 Claus Von Bevern. 775 grt 1946. Skagerak
?? Dessau, ? ,5933 grt. North Sea, Denmark?
?? Deutschland 1946-09-08
S/S Drau. 5241 grt 122.0 m 1945-10-17, Arendal. Positive id.
S/S Duburg. 2675 grt. 100.2 m 1945-10-04 Jylland. Positive id 1989.
S/S Edith Howaldt. 2538 grt. 88.8 m 1945-10-17. Arendal
M/V Eider. (Sperrbrecher 36) 3288 grt. 115.1 m 1946-10-12,Skagerak
M/V Emmy Friederich. 5061 grt 138.7 m 1945-10-17. Arendal. Positive id.
S/S Empire Severn .6681 grt 1946-10-12, Arendal. Positive id.
S/S Erika Schüneman. 1177 grt. 68.9m 1945-10-17, Arendal. Positive id.
Fahrpram F 192 AM. 240 grt. 1946-05-10. Jylland. Positive id.
S/S Falkenfels. 6318 grt 137.3 m 1946-03-16, Arendal. Positive id.
S/S Fechenheim. 8116 grt. 142.9 m 1946-03-16, Arendal. Positive id.
M/V Freiburg. 5165 grt. 128.7 m 1946-07-13, Skagerak
S/S George Hawley.7176 grt 1947-06-30 Operation Davey Jones Locker.
S/S Gertrud Fritzen. 2999 grt. 98.8 m 1946-07-13, Skagerak
M/V H C Horn. 4132 grt. 1946-05-26. Kattegat. Positive id.
?? Herbert Norkus. 1750 grt. 1947. Skagerak
S/S Hugo Oldendorff. 1876 grt 84.9 m 1946-03-16. Arendal. Positive id.
S/S James Harrod.7176 grt 1947-06-20 Operation Davey Jones Locker.
S/S James Otis 7176 grt 1946-08-30 Operation Davey Jones Locker.
S/S James W Nesmith.7176 grt 1947-07-18 Operation Davey Jones Locker.
S/S Jan Wellens. 1945-10/12
S/S Jantje Fritzen. 6582 grt 125.7 m 1945-11-17. Arendal. Positive id.
S/S Karl Leonhardt (Sperrbrecher 2). 6042 grt 126.3 m 1946-03-16. Arendal. Positive id.
S/S Kindersley, 1999 grt. ?, North Sea
M/V KSB 1. Sperrbrecher #? 6124 grt. 143.7 m 1946-07-01. Skagerak. Positive id.
S/S Leighton. 7412 grt 1947-07-? Skagerrak?
Leipzig, Kriegsmarine. 5825 grt. 1946-07-20. Kriegsmarine. Arendal. Positive id.
S/S Lotte. 2115 grt. 90.2 m 1946-03-16. Arendal
S/S Louise Schröder .1317 grt 73.8 m 1945-10-04. Skagerak. Positive id.
S/S Ludwigshafen .1923 grt 1946-10-12. Skagerak?
Minesweeper M-16. 1946-05-18. Jylland. Positive id.
Minesweeper M-280 ( TS14 ), ?, 874 displ, Positive id.
Minesweeper M-522. 652 grt. 1946-05-18. Jylland. Positive id.
M/V Monte Pascoal.
13870 grt.1946-12-31. Skagerak
S/S Oderstrom. 1511 grt 76.7 m 1945-10-17. Arendal. Positive id.
S/S Olga Siemers. 3347 grt. 101.4 m 1945-10-17. Arendal. Positive id.
S/S Patagonia. 5898 grt 137.0 m 1945-10-04 Positive id 1989.
S/S Philip Heineken. 2042 grt. 1948-07-27. Skagerak. Positive id.
S/S Pillau. 1308 grt 77.5 m 1945-10-04.Jylland. Positive id.
S/S Rhön. 1778 grt 79.5 m 1946-09-08. Arendal. Positive id.
MTB S-7. 76 grt. 1946-05-02. Jylland. Positive id.
MTB S-9. 76 grt. 1946-05-02. Jylland. Positive id.
MTB S-12. 76 grt. 1946-05-02. Jylland. Positive id.
S/S Schwabenland. 7894 grt. 1946-12-31. Skagerak. Positive id.
S/S Sesostris. 2013 grt 76.5 m 1945-11-17. Arendal. Positive id 1989
Torpedoboat T21. 1098 grt.1946-12-16. Arendal
Torpedoboat T38. 2155 grt 1946-05-10. Måseskär,Sweden. Positive id.
Torpedoboat T39. 2155 grt. 1946-05-10. Måseskär,Sweden. Positive id.
Torpedoboat T 63, 2566 displ. ?
Torpedoboat T 65. 1098 grt. 1946-07-01 Operation Davey Jones Locker.
Torpedoboat T156. grt brt. 1946-06-10. Skagerak.
S/S Tagila. 2682 grt 95.2 m 1945-11-17. Arendal
S/S Taurus. 1417 grt 72.8 m 1945-11-17 Arendal. Positive id 1989
?? TF 1. 489 grt. 1946-05-02. Jylland. Positive id.
S/S Theda Fritzen. 2882 grt 100.6 m 1945-11-17. Arendal. Postive id.
S/S Triton. 1620 grt 73.6 m 1945-10-04. Jylland. Positive id.
S/S Trude Schünneman. 1260 grt 1945-10-17
UJ 305. 871 displ 1946-07-02 Operation Davey Jones Locker.
Z 29. 3961 grt. 1946-12-16. Arendal. Postitive id.
Z 34. 3691 grt. 1946-03-26. Skagerak. Positive id

Scuttled at sea, probably North Sea:
S/S Botlea, 5119 grt
S/S Gemlock, 3194 grt
S/S James W. Nesmith, 7176 grt
S/S Lanark, 1904 grt
S/S Miervaldis, 1265 grt
S/S Ocean Transport, 552 grt

Scuttled in the Bay of Biscay, France:
S/S Dora Oldendorff, 2730 grt, Positive id
S/S Empire Conyngham, 1465 grt, Positive id
S/S Empire Cormorant, 5760 grt, ?
S/S Empire Lark, 4971 grt, Positive id
S/S Empire Nutfield, 1561 grt, Potitive id
S/S Empire Peacock, 6098 grt, Positive id
S/S Empire Succes, 5988 grt, ?
S/S Harm Fritzen, 4818 grt, Positive id
S/S Margo, 1377 grt, Positive id

Last updated: December 2020