The Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme


SMS Bremse, wreck site, Scapa Flow

SMS Bremse was a mine-laying light cruiser, part of the German High Seas fleet scuttled in Scapa Flow in 1919. She was built in 1915 at Vulcan Shipyard, Stetti, one of two ships in the Brummer class. For the remainder of WWI hostilities, she operated mostly with her sister ship: their biggest action came in October 1917, when both SMS Brummer and SMS Bremse ambushed an escorted convoy from Bergen to Lerwick, sinking nine ships.
As one of the ships interned in Scapa Flow under the terms of the armistice of November 1918, SMS Bremse was anchored with a group in Cava Sound. On 21 June 1919 the German commander Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter ordered the scuttling of the fleet. As the German ships began to sink, intervening British guard ships beached several, but 52 of the 74 interned vessels sank. The Royal Naval ships managed to drag SMS Bremse to Toy Ness, west of Swanbister Bay, but she foundered in shallow water and turned on to her starboard side. 
In 1929 Cox and Danks began salvage operations, but they were hampered by leaking oil and had first to turn the ship upright. Considered too fragile to survive the journey to Rosyth, SMS Bremse was towed to Lyness to be broken up. Her forward gun is now on display at the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre in Hoy, and part of the anchor chain can still be seen on the Orphir shore.
Copyright 2011 Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme