Nazi Ship Now USCG Eagle

US seized Kriegsmarine Sail Training Ship Horst Wessel As a Prize of War

 “The Coast Guard Cutter Eagle laying at a shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany being rigged and outfitted for her voyage to the United States. The square-rigged sailing vessel was the former German Training ship ‘Horst Wessel’. The bombed buildings of Bremerhaven are in the background.” Photo dated 16 April 1946. (Official USCG photo)

USCGC Eagle under sail in 2015

derelict sail training ship which was to become USCGC Eagle in Bremerhaven immediately after World War Two.

Horst Wessel was a Nazi thug and a pimp who supposedly was killed in a street fight with Communists in Berlin prior to the Nazi seizure of power. He made his living as a pimp and there is evidence to suggest he was murdered by the brother of one of his prostitutes. The ship is has a steel hull and was outfitted as a barque which is a sailing ship with three masts in which the foremast and mainmast are square-rigged and the mizzenmast is rigged fore-and-aft.

Horst Wessel about to be launched. The original ship was built by the German shipbuilder Blohm and Voss, who also built the Bismarck. You have to give it to them: they certainly built strong ships.

Sailing barque Horst Wessel:

Laid down: 15 February 1936
Launched: 13 June 1936
Commissioned: 17 September 1936
Decommissioned: 1939
Recommissioned: 1942
Captured: April 1945

 Horst Wessel in front of German Naval Academy Mürwik in Flensburg in 1937.

The construction of the German naval academy began in 1910. The buildings weren’t badly damaged in World War Two and became the last headquarters of the Nazi government under Admiral Doenitz. Repairs were made in the years after the war and the academy reopened in the mid-1950s when West Germany was permitted to begin rearmament.

The Naval Academy Mürwik with the Gorch Fock (sister ship of the USCG Eagle) on the Flensburg Firth, the Northernmost part of Germany. 

Heroism Unknown: US Coast Guard in WW 2

“the Jaws of Death”
 Omaha beach, early morning of June 6th 1941. D-Day.



“The Jaws of Death.”

  US Coast Guard-manned LCVP from the U.S.S. Samuel Chase lands troops of the U.S. Army’s First Division on Omaha Beach, morning of June 6, 1944 (D-Day). Official Coast Guard Photo #2343 by CPHOM Robert F. Sargent. This photo is in the public domain and cannot be copyrighted. 

Many websites place their copyright on US Government photographs which is against the policy of the Federal Government.

LCVP was an acronym for”landing craft, vehicle, personal.”


The parent ship of the landing craft pictured above was the  USS Samuel Chase, was a specially designed attack troop transport ship. During World War Two, the ship was manned by the US Coast Guard. The ship was named for Samuel Chase, a signatory to the Declaration of Independence. Held in the US Navy’s reserve fleet for decades, the Samuel Chase was sold for scrap in 1973. US Coast Guard manned attack transport USS Samuel Chase circa 1941. Official US Coast Guard photo in the public domain.

While not well-known today, the officers and men of the US Coast Guard performed heroic actions in World War Two. Their history gets subsumed into the history of the US Navy because the President of the United States has the authority to place the US Coast Guard under the command of the navy in time of war. This happened in both world wars although the USCG retained its status as an independent service.



US Reinforcements being landed Normandy invastion

American reinforcement troops arriving at Normandy coast, France, in 1944. Official US Coast Guard photo in the public domain.




A LCT  (Landing Craft, Tank) and an US Coast Guard-manned boat operating off Normandy, France, June 1944; note jeep vehicles on board the LCT. (photo courtesy of the US National Archives and in the public domain)

Many landing craft and small boats were manned by US Coast Guardsmen both in the European Theater and the Pacific Theater.



“From Coast Guard-manned “sea-horse” landing craft, American troops leap forward to storm a North African beach during final amphibious maneuvers.” James D. Rose, Jr., ca. 1944. 26-G-2326. National Archives Identifier: 513171.  Official US Coast Guard photo in the public domain.



USCG Guadalcanal

World War Two: US Marines show their appreciation to the Coast Guard during the invasion of Guam 21 July 1944 – 10 August 1944. Guam is part of the Marianas islands which lie to the east of the Philippines and to the south-south-east of Japan. The United States Navy captured Guam from the Kingdom of Spain on 21 June 1898 during the Spanish–American War.  Official US Coast Guard photo in the public domain.



Turning the Helm

Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle turn the helm Tuesday, June 21, 2011 while in London. The Eagle is underway for the 2011 Summer Training Cruise, which commemorates the 75th anniversary of the 295-foot barque. (US Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class NyxoLyno Cangemi)

[Image courtesy of United States Coast Guard Website.]