Friday, April 19, 2019

The Navy's Most Unwanted Ship, USS Prinz Eugen-- Part 3: Target Ship in Operation Crossroads


U.S. navy Captain A.H. Graubart, with a crew of 8 officers and 85 enlisted men, with the help of the former German captain and 574 German crew members to help, sailed from Germany and went half way across   the globe with stops at Philadelphia and San Diego.  Along the way, everything of scientific value was stripped from the Prinz Eugen.

In San Diego, the last of the German crew was released.  With difficulty, the remaining skeleton American crew were able to reach Hawaii and from there it was towed to Bikini Atoll.  It was to be a test ship in the testing of the atom bomb at Bikini Atoll  in what was called Operation Crossroads.

A huge flotilla of American and captured enemy warships was assembled to see how they would do in an atomic test.  The Prinz Eugen survived two tests and remained afloat, though with a little flooding. Afterwards, it was towed  to Kwajelin Atoll, 200 miles away, where the leaks  continued to worsen.  The radioactive condition of the ship made repairs too risky and on December 22, 1946, it capsized about 200 yards offshore.

Today, its two propellers, minus one that was taken to Germany for a memorial in 1978 are easily visible at low tide

--GreGen



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