Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Sms Emden: Swanbister Bay, Scapa Flow, Orkney

Cruiser (20th Century)

Site Name Sms Emden: Swanbister Bay, Scapa Flow, Orkney

Classification Cruiser (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Sms Emden (2); Sms Emden Ii; Cava Sound

Canmore ID 226263

Site Number HY30SE 8004

NGR HY 3635 0467

NGR Description Removed from HY c. 333 027

Datum Datum not recorded


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2017.

Administrative Areas

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Maritime - Orkney
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Maritime
  • Former County Not Applicable

Archaeology Notes

HY30SE 8004 c. 3635 0467 removed from c. 333 027 [N58 54.4 W3 9.5]

N58 55.5 W3 63

NLO: Holm of Houton [name: HY 315 029]

Calf of Cava [name: HY 322 006]

Cava [name: ND 327 995]

Barrel of Butter [name: HY 352 009]

Point of Tuberry (Cava) [name: HY 334 993]

Stromness [name: HY 253 090]

Scapa Flow [name centred HY 36 00].

For other ships within this group, see:

HY30SW 8002 Dresden (cruiser)

HY30SW 8004 Konig (battleship)

HY30SW 8007 Markgraf (battleship)

HY30SW 8008 Kronprinz Wilhelm (battleship)

HY30SW 8009 Brummer (cruiser)

HY30SW 8010 Koln (cruiser)

HY30SW 8011 Grosser Kurfurst (battleship)

HY30SW 8012 Friedrich der Grosse (battleship)

HY30SW 8014 Bayern (battleship)

HY30SE 8003 Frankfurt (cruiser: secondary location)

HY30SE 8005 Bremse (cruiser: secondary location).

For general plans of High Seas Fleet (Internment Formation) wrecks in Scapa Flow, see Van der Vat 1986 (endpapers), Smith 1989, 4, Macdonald 1998, 19 and George 1999, 35.

Not sunk: handed over to France.

P L Smith 1989.

Listed among 'German salvage sites'.

G Ridley 1992.

This ship was interned in the Cava Sound group, but an attempt at scuttling proved inadvertent as British forces brought the ship ashore in Swanbister Bay [name centred HY 360 048].

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 8 November 2002.

R and B Larn 1998.

Length oa: 497ft (151.4m)

Length wl: 478ft 3ins (145.8m)

Beam: 47ft (14.3m)

Draught: 16ft (4.8m) (also cited as 21ft or 6.32m)

Displacement (standard): 5440t

Displacement (full load): 7125t (also cited as 5300/6150 tons)

Armament: 8 x 15cm (5.9ins: 45 cal: single mountings); 2 x 8.8cm AA (3.4ins: 45 cal: single mountings); 4 x 50cm (19.7ins) torpedo tubes; 120 deck-mounted mines (also cited as having only two torpedo tubes)

Armour: belt 2.5in (64mm); deck 0.75in (19mm); conning tower 3.9 ins (100mm)

Propulsion: ten coal- and two oil-fired Schulz-Thorneycroft boilers; two sets steam turbines; two propellers; 45,000 shp; 28.5kts (also cited as 27/28 kts)

Fuel: 1340t coal; 500t oil

Range: 1200 miles at 27 kts

Complement: 475/500

This second class or light cruiser ('Kleiner Kreuzer') of the four-strong Konigsberg II class was built at the Weser Dockyard, Bremen, being laid down in 1915, launched on 1 February 1916 and completed in (probably) August 1916. Her war service was apparently undistinguished but she served as the flagship of Admiral van Reuter after he was displaced from the SMS Friedrich der Grosse by a putsch, and it was from this ship that the order to scuttle the Internment Formation was given. The ship herself was not scuttled but was beached by a retrurning British destroyer. In 1920 she was transferred to France for scrapping.

The cited location of this wreck falls within the area of Swanbister Bay and is evidently the location of beaching. Van der Vat (1986, endpaper maps) locates this vessel on the N side of the Cava Sound group, at HY c. 333 027 [N58 53.9 W3 9.3]. This location appears broadly correct and falls about 1.3nm NW of Barrel of Butter light and about 1.4nm NE of Calf of Cava light. The charted depth in this area is about 25m (sloping towards the S), and the seabed is sand and stone. The chart displays no indication of a wreck or foul ground.

This ship may be considered as falling within the Cava Sound group of heavy ships and cruisers, which were scuttled within the area defined by Holm of Houton [name: HY 315 029], Calf of Cava [name: HY 322 006], Barrel of Butter [name: HY 352 009] and Point of Tuberry (Cava) [name: HY 334 993]. Cava Sound (which is not noted as such on the chart) may be understood as a relatively deep eastwards extension of Hoy Sound, leading into the broad expanse of Scapa Flow. It has a generally flat bottom at a charted depth of between 30 and 45m; the seabed type is defined sparingly but is apparently of sand and stones.

Apart from the specifically-indicated wrecks, an extensive area of foul ground and numerous obstructions and wrecks attest to the former presence of the High Seas Fleet. The former is situated around N58 53.85 W3 11 [HY 31 01], while the latter form a broad band extending from E to W between about N58 53.8 W3 8.4 [HY 34 01] and N58 53.9 W3 10.8 [HY 32 01].

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 8 January 2003.

H M Le Fleming 1961; G Bennett 1983; D Van der Vat 1986; R Macdonald 1998; S C George 1999; [Jane] 2001.

HO Chart 35 (1980, revised 1991).

This vessel is considered a 'casualty' rather than a craft on account of its successful salvage, the available evidence being written rather than material. In the absence of diver survey, however, artifacts, fittings and, possibly, structural elements may survive on or in the seabed at the location of scuttling. Depressions in the seabed may also represent the locations of the turrets or superstructure.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 10 January 2003.


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions