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ANTILLA - german freighter sunk 1940

In early May 1940, the German freighter Antilla anchored in the Dutch waters of Aruba, while a chain of events is unfolding in Europe. May 10th, German paratroopers landed in Rotterdam and De Hague. Fieldmarshall von Rundstedt Army corps cuts thru Holland and Belgium into France. Queen Wilhelmina fled to England. The Dutch Army surrenders four days later. Holland is at war with Germany and thousands of miles across the Atlantic, the tranquil island of Aruba is soaked into it.



Unbeknown of the events taking place in Europe, the German freighter Antilla (supporting German U boats) was caught in Dutch waters. A flotilla of the Dutch Navy warships surrounded the Antilla. The Dutch served a 24 boarding notice to the Antilla and in response, the commander of the Antilla, Captain Schmidt, gave the order to scuttle the ship. The captain ordered the boilers to be supercharged and then flooded her engine compartment, causing an explosion that almost ripped the ship in two. Captain Schmidt and 46 crewmembers disembarked in lifeboats as several explosions ripped holes in the hull of the Antilla, causing her to sink into the shallow waters.



Several days after their capture, as they were transported to a prisoner of war camp on the island of Bonaire, Captain Schmidt and his crew saw the remnants of their once proud ship sticking out of the ocean.