Ondina built in 1939 famous in Maritime history

The predecessor of ‘my’ Ondina was the Ondina built in 1939. She is pretty famous in Maritime history as, after being attacked in the Indian Oceanby by two Japanese commerce raiders or auxiliary cruisers the Hokoku Maru and the Aikoku Maru, she managed to sink one of them, the Hokoku Maru.

The Ondina was escorted by a small Indian ex-minesweeper the Bengal which was very lightly armed, the Ondina had a bigger 10.2 cm gun on the poop deck then the escort! The ship’s were massively outgunned by the two raiders. Each of the raiders carried 8 guns of larger caliber and larger range.

While being shelled continuously and without a proper gun sighting and by estimation only, the Ondina’s second officer B. B. Bakker starting firing slowly at one of the raiders. His fifth and six shot were direct hits and that raider steamed away, smoking heavily in an easterly direction. What followed was an enormous explosion on board that ship. The other raider continued firing on the Dutch tanker, which resulted in a lot of damage. Captain Horsman was killed on the bridge by shrapnel as were the Chief Engineer and three Chinese stokers which were killed in Japanese fashion by opening close range machinegun fire on the drifting lifeboats. All later returned on board the ship where the engine was still in good order.

Both ships managed to return to Australia on their own power and after the war Captain Horsman was posthumously knighted in the Military Willems Order, the highest Dutch military award.


See also this video about this battle, the story starts at 5:48 min.


Cool story, thx Dutchie.


Great youtube history lesson. Another instance where bravery, luck & determination flipped the odds in a battle resulting an unlikely victory for an underdog.

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I served in a Bathurst class minesweeper as Navigating Officer. The superstructure directly under the bridge contained the Commanding Officers accommodation and my tiny cabin on the starboard side. The heads and showers were aft for me . 50 South in the winter time and you can probably guess what the little lumps either side of my ears were as I made my way aft dressed in a towel.

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This is the story of the Dutch tanker Mijdrecht that sank the German sub U-70 after that same sub had torpedoed the ship a little while earlier, the ultimate revenge!.


This is the previous Mijdrecht, 7493 tons, built in 1931 and owned by Phs. Van Ommeren at Rotterdam.


What I can read from the picture is the ship’s name, Du for Dutch, a date 8-22-43, Anch meaning probably Anchored and USCG which is the United States Coast Guard. However, no indication were the ship was anchored then. Ship maintenance leaves to be desired! It really looks battle weary in this picture.

The wartime ms Mijdrecht which is shown in the picture above, which was under the command of Capt J. Swart, was attacked by the U-70, commanded by lieutenant Joachim Matz, one of the subs in the pack. It was a clear night and the attack occurred at 05.50 AM on the 7th of March 1941. A torpedo slammed into the Mijdrecht which was lying still in the water to pick up survivors from the British tanker “Delilian” which has previously been torpedoed by the U-70. A sitting duck situation. The torpedo hit the Mijdrecht just in front of the engine room and in the cofferdam, causing great damage. Bunker oil leaked into the engine room which however could still be used. The stern of the ship sank a couple of meters, but the ship got under way again.

The amount of damage to the hull caused by the torpedo fired by the German sub U-70 was, as can been see from this photo, quite extensive. It is surprising that the Mijdrecht attacked the U-boat after being torpedoed and with that kind of damage.

Captain Swart was at that moment on deck with the survivors of the Delilian. The Chief Officer on the bridge suddenly sighted the U-70 to the starboard side of the ship getting ready to take a repeat shot at the Mijdrecht to finish it off. However, the Chief Officer after sighting the submarine immediately planned to ram the U-boat. The Radio Officer was at the wheel at that moment and was given the order ‘Hard to starboard’ and ‘We are going to ram the motherfucker’, which they did shortly afterwards when the ship was doing 7 miles again.

The attack from a defenceless, already torpedoed tanker was for the sub totally unexpected and to the horror and surprise of the crew hit the U-70. The sub lost both periscopes and the command tower was damaged. Water poured into the ship from a hole were once the radio direction finder was protruding through the hull. The sub rolled over and disappeared under the keel of the ship. It was seen shortly after at the portside with the stern raised about 4 meters above the sea after which the sub marine disappeared. Later the sub reappeared on the surface and when the hatch was opened 6 crew members were blown out of the ship by the tremendous air pressure which existed inside the hull. Half an hour later the U-70 sank taking 20 crew members down with it. Lieutenant Matz and 25 survivors were picked up by one of the ships of the convoy and taken prisoner.


This aquarelle portrays the moment that the ms Mijdrecht hit the U-70 at the command tower position. It is now hanging in the Town hall of the town called “De Ronde Venen” which consists now of the cities Mijdrecht, Vinkeveen, Waverveen en Wilnis.


Unveiling of a bronze plaque (Royal Mention to Day Order) by the Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, Mr. D.G.W. Spitzen on board the Mijdrecht on March 28, 1949. Better late then never!.

The moral of the story is: “Don’t mess with the Dutch, whether Jap or Kraut!”