Hansestadt Danzig

An unknown German cargo steamer

Radio station: On 7 April 1940, General Kurt Himer arrived in Copenhagen in civilian clothes; his purpose was to reconnoitre the capital and make plans for its seizure. He made arrangements with the port authority for the German cargo steamer Hansestadt to dock a few days later. Unknown to the port authorities, that vessel contained a powerful medium-wave transmitter - not domestic electrical appliances as stated in the manifest.

A few days earlier, a German major had arrived with a smaIl force of soldiers, dressed in civilian clothes. They were to await the arrival of the ship, which also contained some small arms. This force - and the radio station - were all that Hitler considered necessary to capture the port and the royal palace, and to secure the occupation of Denmark.

The plan could not have gone more smoothly. After the ship had docked, at midnight, the freight consignment was loaded onto a truck, which was then driven to the Citadel - near the royal palace - and connected to a convenient power point. At 4 a.m. the royal palace was forced by the small detachment of German troops, and disconnected from the outside world. At 6 a.m. the radio station came on air, tuned to the same frequency as Radio Copenhagen, before the real Radio Copenhagen started its daily broadcasting. The bogus Radio Copenhagen made repeated announcements of the King's surrender. Though a smaIl amount of fighting did take place the country was soon back to normal and gave no trouble during the four-year occupation.  [Taken from: German Broadcasting under the Nazis, in: HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING, by James Wood. Published 1992 by Peter Peregrinus Ltd, London]

Location: Copenhagen harbour (Denmark)

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