The mystery of the sunken "Thistlegorm" ...
• The mystery of the sunken "Thistlegorm" ...
For many years on the board, "Thistlegorm" (Thistlegorm), nothing has changed. Here, since the Second World War, rusting trucks, trucks and motorcycles. The ship did not have time to deliver military equipment and ammunition, it was sunk by German bombers off the coast of Egypt.
"Thistlegorm" was built at the shipyards "Thompson and Sons" in Sunderland for "Albin Line Ltd." in April 1940. The vessel has been in private ownership, but also partly funded by the British government and was classified as an armed freighter. Due to wartime "Thistlegorm" was armed with a 4, a 7-inch (120 mm) anti-aircraft cannon and heavy machine gun after the ship's construction. Based in Sunderland.
The British boat "Thistlegorm" at the bottom of the Red Sea in the Strait Gubal.
The ship conducted three successful flight after his descent. The first was in the US to raise the steel rails and parts of the aircraft, the second in Argentina for the grain, and the third to the West Indies for the rum. Prior to his fourth and last voyage "Thistlegorm" was renovated in Glasgow.
Truck on board the sunken British ship "Thistlegorm".
"Thistlegorm" was involved in a secret operation called "crusade", the essence of which was that the convoy of 16 ships have to go around Africa to ensure the equipment of troops operating in the north of the continent. This route was much longer crossing the Mediterranean, but allowed British Transport without risk to reach Alexandria. Set before the freighter task was delivery of ammunition, equipment and technology for the Eighth British Army, numbering 200,000 people, which was located in Egypt and eastern Libya. In May 1941, "Thistlegorm" with a crew of 39 people came from the Scottish port of Glasgow.
The vehicle was equipped with cargo munitions, bombs for various purposes, antitank mines, rifles Lee-Enfield MK III, one hundred motorcycles BSA W-M20, Matchless G3L and Norton 16H, Bedford vehicles, Morris and Ford, trailers, portable power generators, parts to airplanes and automobiles, pharmaceuticals and rubber boots. The complement to the main cargo tanks were two light MK II, two locomotives Stanier Class 8F complete with a water tank.
When the "Thistlegorm" ends its way to the Red Sea, were ordered to drop anchor in the Strait Gubal, near the reef Shaab Ali and wait for an opportunity to pass the Suez Canal, is temporarily blocked by blown up by a German mine ship.
In the night of 5 to 6 October 1941 two German bomber Heinkel He 111, exiled from Crete to explore the English transports to supply the 8th Army in North Africa, quite accidentally stumbled into one of the bays at the entrance to the Gulf of Suez, standing anchored transport "Thistlegorm" in the holds was a large arsenal of explosives - anti-tank mines, artillery shells, bullets and grenades. On the deck of the ship were two light tanks, two railway cars and two locomotives. At full moon, going from the stern, and without encountering the slightest anti-aircraft fire, they attacked him. Bombs hit just the fourth hold, which was loaded with ammunition. Feed was cut off, the deck littered with debris. In 1 hour 30 minutes ship went down and sunk roll to about 45 ° at a depth of about 30 m.
For the first time, "Thistlegorm" was discovered in March 1955 a team of Jacques Cousteau during his expedition to the Indian Ocean on the research ship Calypso. Follow the prompts of the local fishermen, Cousteau was able to find the skeleton of a sunken ship and lifted him a few items, including a motorcycle, the captain's safe and the ship's bell. These studies are described in detail in the famous book of Jacques Cousteau "The Silent World" and the underwater scene of a sunken vessel entered the eponymous documentary.
Now tropical fish drift slowly past the twisted metal casing of a warship, which lies on the same place where he was shot down by German bombers.
Russian underwater photographer Andrey Nekrasov made a dive and made extraordinary images of a sunken cargo ship.
Scheme of the British ship "Thistlegorm".