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ORION HSK 1 (ex-KURMARK)
Notes: ORION was laid down in 1930 as the merchant ship KURMARK of the Hamburg Amerika Line. She was taken in for conversion to an armed merchant cruiser, and commissioned in 1939. Her rebuild was such that she resembled the Dutch TS BEEMSTERDIJK, the Soviet SS SOVET, the Japanese SS MAEBASI MARU and several similar ships. Her 5.9" guns probably originated from the pre-Dreadnought battleship SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN, while her 75mm gun was a captured Polish weapon. Her seaplane was an Arado Ar-196A-1 until February, 1942, when it was replaced by a Japanese Nakajima floatplane. She was the slowest of the German raiders. To the British, she was known as "Raider A".
ORION departed on her only raiding cruise on 6 April 1940; the cruise lasted 510 days! On the first part of this cruise, ORION sank five merchants ships (totaling 36,583 tons: HAXBY - 5,207 tons on 24 April 1940; TROPIC SEA - 5,781 tons on 18 May 1940; laid mines in Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand in June, 1940, which sank NIAGARA - 13,415 tons on 18 June 1940; the New Zealand minesweeper PURIRI on the same day; NOTOU - 2,489 tons on 6 August 1940; TURAKINA - 9,691 tons on 20 August 1940; and RINGWOOD - 7,302 tons on 14 October 1940.). She then rendezvoused with the raider KOMET; together, they sank seven more ships (totaling 43,102 tons: HOLMWOOD - 546 tons on 25 November 1940; RANGITANE - 16,712 tons on 26 November 1940; TRIONA - 4,413 tons on 6 December 1940; VINNI - 5,181 tons on 7 December 1940; TRIADIC - 6,318 tons on 8 December 1940; KOMATA - 3,900 tons on 8 December 1940; TRIASTER - 6,032 tons on 8 December 1940). Then the two ships split up, and ORION had another success, when she sank the CHAUCER - 5,792 tons on 29 July 1941. Her cruise ended with a successful return to Brest; she sank six merchantmen totaling 42,375 tons, and with KOMET, sank seven more ships totaling 43,102 tons. From 1942, ORION was used as a repair ship. On 12 January 1944, ORION became the gunnery training ship HECTOR; in March, 1945, her role change to that of a cadet training ship, and she was once again named ORION. She was bombed by RAF aircraft north of Swinemünde on 4 May 1945, and she foundered and sank. ORION was broken up on site in 1952.