THE ANKARA SHIELD (ANKARASCHILD) An Unknown Navy Honour Shield
While in Germany several years ago, I was fortunate enough to buy a non-portable shield that came with a hand written letter.
The shield is of very fine quality manufacture,and it doesn't look overtly German but it just triggered my interest, as did the hand
written note. It would appear that the story goes back to 1939 with the start of the war and Germany's lack of shipping.
The ship in question being called "Ankara, which was a merchant steamer, was confiscated by the Kriegsmarine in December 1939
in the Triest harbour and became a transporter and auxiliary cruiser, being equipped with 4 ship guns 10,5 cm and 2 set of 4 barrel
of 3 cm calabre.
The Ankara saw active service for the German Navy and on February 8th 1941, it was part of the first convoy of supplies and troops
for the newly formed German Afrika Korps that was assembled at Naples in Italy.
The convoy comprised of three German freighters, the 4,800-ton Ankara, the
2,500-ton Arcturus and the 2,150-ton Alicante and these were escorted by one Italian Destroyer Turbine and three Italian torpedo boats being
the Orsa, Cantore, Missori.
Later she sailed between Tarent, in the South of Italy to Tripoli in North Africa as a transporter for leaving and returning soldiers,
wounded troops and pow´s as well as ammunitions and supply.
In January 1943, the "Ankara" loaded with tanks for Rommel's Afrika Corps ran over a German seamine
off the Tunis and sank. There were only 4 survivors from the crew of the Ankara and each one of these received this honour shield.
This one came directly from the officer in charge of the anti-mine service, who wasn´t on board at the last tour due to illness,
which is probably why she hit a German mine.
The translation of the letter reads
non-portable plaque of the "Ankara":
The "Ankara", a merchant steamer, was confiscated by the Kriegsmarine in
December 1939 in the Triest harbour and used as a transporter and auxiliary
cruiser, equipped with 4 ship guns 10,5 cm and 2 set of 4 barrel anti-airguns
The Ankara was in service on the route between Tarent, South Italy and
North Africa as a transporter for leaving and returning soldiers, wounded,
pow´s , ammunitions and supply. In 1943, the Ankara ran over a German seamine
and sunk. The only 4 survivors received the honor shield. Our piece was
coming direct from the crewmember, who was in charge of the anti-mine
service, who wasn´t on board at the last tour. End of translation.
In January 1943, Rorqual laid mines off the Tunis approach, one of which caused the loss of the German ship Ankara,
loaded with tanks for Rommel's Afrika Corps, followed by the Wilhelmsburg, sunk with two torpedoes at 2,500 yards in
the Dardanelles approach.
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