Built by Deutsche Werft Hamburg, (DWH) in Hamburg, Germany during 1938. Named Santa Cruz the vessel was owned by Oldenburg Portuguese Line (OPDR). During the winter of 1939 requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) and converted to a war ship by Deutsche Werft Hamburg.
During March 1940, commissioned as a commerce raider named Thor under the command of Captain Otto Kähler.
Departed Germany on June 6, 1940 starting 328 days at sea sinking or capturing 12 ships, for a combined tonnage of 96,547. Returned during the middle of April 1940.
Departed November 30, 1941 under the command of Captain Günther Gumprich. During 328 days at sea, sank or captured 10 ships total of 58,644 tons. Operated in the Indian Ocean At the end of her cruise she transited via Batavia then northward to Yokohama arriving on October 9, 1942 for refit in prepairation for her next cruise.
On November 30, 1942 while moored alongside Uckermark in Yokohama Harbor, an explosion aboard the supply ship sent burning debris onto Thor, Nankin/Leuthen and Unkai Maru, destroying all four ships. The fire damaged Thor beyond repair and twelve of her crew died. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.
Fates of the Crew
Many of the surviving crew boarded the blockade runner Doggerbank in an attempt to return to Eurpoe. Ironically, Doggerbank was mistakenly sunk on March 3, 1943 by German submarine U-43 with all but one crew lost at sea.
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January 10, 2018