As a result of the German–Soviet Commercial Agreement of 1940, the two countries had agreed to send 26 ships, including four armed merchant cruisers, but only the Komet was selected to make the passage. Equipped with a specially strengthened bow and a propeller suitable for navigating through ice.
On July 3, 1940, departed for her first raiding voyage from Gotenhafen (Gydnia, Poland) disguised as the Soviet icebreaker "Semyon Dezhnev". During July-August, delayed at Teriberka Bay and assumed the name "Donau".
Traveling through the Arctic Ocean during August with assistance from icebreaker Stalin, reportedly paid 950,000 Reichsmarks. In September, crossed the Bering Strait into the Pacific Ocean.
During mid-October, off Lamutrik Island Komet and met Orion and Kulmerland and held a conference on strategy, deciding to work together, concentrating on the New Zealand to Panama passage. They decided on Japanese disguises, Komet assuming the identity of "Manyo Maru" (or Manio Maru). Orion poses as "Mayebashi Maru". Supply ship Kulmerland poses as "Tokio Maru".
In early November, Komet resupplied and refueled in Japan. On November 27, 1940 with Orion, participated in the sinking of Holmwood and RMS Rangitane.
During December, Komet and Orion sank five Allied merchant ships (Komet sank three), with a combined tonnage of about 41,000 tons, waiting off Nauru to load phosphate. On December 27, 1940 shelled the phosphate processing and loading facilities on Nauru.
On February 22, 1941 in the Antarctic Ocean, Komet searches for the Anglo-Norwegian whaling fleets in the area spots Tonan Maru No. 2 and Nisshin Maru, and hails the ship, learning Anglo-Norwegian whaling ships are further west.
During August 1941, with Orion sank two British ships and captured the Dutch freighter Kota Nopan ( 7,300 ton ) which was sent as a prize to Bordeaux. France.
Returning from the mission, Komet then sailed through the West and East Pacific, around Cape Horn and north through the Atlantic, returning to Cherbourg, France then onto Hamburg on November 30, 1941 after a voyage of 516 days and about 100,000 nautical miles.
70m / 229'