Video 09:02 min
From our dive on the wreck of KT-12 (German WWII transport vessel). Location - Sardinia, Cala Gonone.
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The KT 12 was built by the Italian OTO shipyard in Livorno by order of the German Navy and left the docks on May 19, 1943. The design was originally delivered from a German shipyard in Hamburg. The ship was a fully armed and armoured militairy transport vessel for heavy cargo. Her destination was to supply the North African troops with trucks and fuel. During her maiden voyage on the 10th of June 1943 she was attacked by the Allied Forces submarine â€œSafariâ€ and one torpedo struck into the bow, which was destroyed and separated from the rest of the ship instantly.
The bow sunk straight away and the rest of the ship burned in flames for 41 minutes on the surface until it finally sank to the bottom.
The eye witness report from Giovanni Mele from Orosei:
I was six years old and it was a beautiful morning in June. When we heard the explosion, my mother brought me to a big rock for shelter. We didnâ€™t know what happened but we thought that a close by militairy base was under attack. I climbed up into an amandel tree to have a view over the sea. It was very quiet and then I saw it, the ship was almost destroyed. Without its bow, the ship was burning and surrounded with flames. The fuel, which was the main cargo, was leaking from the ship and lit the sea into flames. All adults ran quickly to the beach to have a look. An airplane circled over the area where the KT 12 was attacked and was bombing the submarine that fired the doom torpedo. The spectators wanted to help the crew but there was not much aid to provide. I remember the arrival of two Militairy transport trucks in the village. Each of them brought 8-10 survivors, or what was left of them. They were hardly alive, their bodies were covered with oil and fuel, the flames left hardly any skin on their bodies and burned their flesh wounds severly.
In the next two weeks many crew members of the KT 12 were released by the sea and were found on the beach. By order of the Orosei regiment, they were brought to the village square in a closed truck. Some of them were honoured as "The annonimous soldier".
The â€œSafariâ€ had fired three torpedos but only one of them actually hit the ship. The other two smashed into the beach, without exploding. The bigger children played with them and sat on them as if they were horse riding. After a few months, the militairy command ordered to close all doors and windows in the houses and the two torpedos were destroyed.
Two parts of the KT12 lay on the sandbottom. They are surrounded with a large number of debris and parts of the cargo. The rear part is located on a depth of 24 Meters. The bow lays on its leftside and the highest part lays on a depth of 26 meters.
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