The German ship Rio de Janeiro has been found outside Lillesand. Around 200 from a total of 380 German troops died when the ship was sunk the day before the German invasion of Norway. The Rio de Janeiro was sunk by a Polish submarine on April 8, 1940. After six years of exploration a team has now discovered the ship at 135 meters depth, NRK reports.
MS Rio de Janeiro was a German steam ship and a cargo ship, owned by the shipping company Hamburg Süd and home ported in Stettin. She was launched on 3 April 1914 as Santa Ines and later renamed Rio de Janeiro. She was requisitioned by the Deutsche Kriegsmarine for transportation of troops 7 March 1940, before Operation Weserübung, the invasion of Norway and Denmark.
The ship left Stettin on 6 April 1940 at 3 AM. Two days later, at 11.15, only hours before the attack on Norway began, a surfaced submarine was sighted off Lillesand. At first it was thought to be a German submarine, but it turned out to be the Polish submarine ORP Orzeł, serving under British command. It had 85 A written on the tower. The submarine signalled for Rio de Janeiro to stop, and the order was followed. Captain Grudzinski, of the Polish Navy, then ordered the ship to surrender or it would be sunk, but nothing happened.
The Polish submarine then torpedoed the ship, and she took in water and began sinking. The crew and soldiers on board began to jump into the sea. At 12.00, an aircraft from the Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service started circling around the sinking ship. At 12.50 the submarine torpedoed the ship a second time, from a submerged position. The torpedo hit the ammunition depot, which caused an explosion. About 180 survived the sinking, and were rescued from the sea and brought by local vessels to Lillesand and Kristiansand; roughly 200 died.
Credits: NRK / Wikipedia