Destroyer Z13 Erich Koellner


12 Oct 35: Laid down at Germaniawerft, Kiel

18 Mar 37: Launched

08 Aug 39: Completed

10-11 Jan 40: Conducted offensive mining operation off Cromer with Z8and Z9. This field sank three ships of 11,153 tons.

09-10 Feb 40: Repeated offensive mining operation off Cromer Knoll withZ8 and Z9. This field sank three ships of 11,855 tons.

22-23 Feb 40: 1st DD FLOT, FS Z16 (Fregattenkapitan Berger) with Z1, Z3Z4, Z6, and Z13 conducted operation Wikinger, an offensive sortieintended to attack the British fishing industry in the North Sea. Theforce was attacked by German aircraft and then ran into a hithertounknown British minefield resulting in the loss of Z1 and Z3. Z13 didnot distinguish herself in this event, losing some crew drowned in anaccident launching her picket boat, abandoning survivors in the waterwhen her captain believed he saw torpedo tracks and almost ramming thewreak of Z1, mistaken for a submarine’s conning tower.

06-07 Apr 40: Part of Group 1 (Narvik) in invasion of Norway with Z9,Z11, Z12, Z17, Z18, Z19, Z21 and Z22. She embarked approximately 200troops of the 139th Regiment. The force assembled at Wesermunde at thebeginning of April to embark supplies and troops. It departedWesermunde at 2300 hours on the 6th and rendezvoused with the Hippergroup. The force underwent an ineffective air attack on the 7th.Throughout the 7th weather conditions deteriorated, winds reaching force7 that night. A number of crew and soldiers were washed overboard fromships in the force.

09 Apr 40: Arrived Narvik. With the other ships of the 4th DD FLOT (Z19and Z9) she landed her troops at Elvegard at the head of Herjangsfjordwhere the depot of the Norwegian 6th Division was located.

10 Apr 40: Z13 was one of only three destroyers that managed to refuel.She then anchored at Elvegard at the head of Herjangsfjord north andwest of Narvik Harbor with Z9 and Z12.

10 Apr 40: First Battle of Narvik. The British destroyers Hardy, Hunter,Havock, Hostile and Hotspur slipped past the two U-Boats guarding theentrance to Ofotfjord, sailed 25 miles up the fjord and completelysurprised the five German destroys at Narvik. At 0530 they launched agunfire and torpedo attack that sank two of these ships and crippled theother three while receiving only one minor hit in return. After almostan hour of mayhem, the British were making their last pass prior towithdraw when Z9, Z12 and Z13 emerging from Herjangsfjord to thenortheast surprised them. The Germans advanced in line with, each shipoffset to port which allowed all six of their forward guns to bear.They opened fire from 6,500m; the British replied and a running fightdeveloped. The visibility was poor, however and the three German ships(commanded by Fregattenkapitan Erich Bey) were forced to turn hard toport to avoid torpedoes fired out of Narvik harbor by Z18. At thispoint, 0657, Z2 and Z11 emerged from Ballangenfjord, ahead of theBritish ships and opened fire. The Z9, Z12 and Z13 turned back to thefight and the two forces (particularly Z2) brought the British under aneffective crossfire. Hardy was blasted and forced aground. Hunter washit hard by gunfire, then torpedoed and finally rammed by Hotspur,herself damaged. Hotspur managed to extract herself, but Hunter sank.Z9, Z12 and Z13 briefly pursued the three retreating British destroyersup the fjord and then broke off to return to Narvik. Z12 was extremelyshort on fuel although Z9 and Z13 had refueled the night before. Bey’sdecision to abandon the pursuit was unfortunate, because the Britishdestroyers encountered and sank the ammunition ship Rauenfels coming upthe fjord loaded with 5″ shells. These would be sorely missed duringthe Second Battle of Narvik. .

11 Apr 40: Z13 was fueled and operational. However, while moving to herdispersal point in Ballangenfjord, she ran aground and ripped her bottomopen, flooding #2 and 3 boiler rooms, torpedo warhead room andtransmitting station. This event rendered her useless for furtheroperations except as a floating battery. She also retained twotorpedoes, having delivered her others to Z11 and Z2.

13 Apr 40: Second Battle of Narvik. Z13 was in the process of beingescorted by Z19 to Taarstadt were she was to lay in ambush for theexpected British attack when British ships were reported coming down thefjord. While Z19 proceeded ahead to better assess the strength of theBritish force, Z13 limped into Djupvik in the hopes of still being ableto effect an ambush. However, spotter aircraft from Warspite reportedher position and Bedouin and Eskimo rounded the point north of Djupvikwith guns and torpedoes tubes ready for action. At 1309 hours bothsides opened fire at a range of 3,500m. Unable to maneuver, Z13 was aneasy target. Although she fired both her remaining torpedoes, she washit in #1 boiler room and #2 turbine room and took a torpedo forwardwhich blew off her bow. Even Warspite got in the action firing twosalvos into the unfortunate ship. Her captain ordered her scuttled,but only after 31 men were killed and many more were wounded.


K.Kpt Schulze-Hinrichs from commissioning until 13 Apr 40when the ship was sunk.