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Operation Hannibal

// Operation Hannibal, as it was called, was a much more ambitious plan than Operation Dynamo, the British evacuation of Dunkirk.

Early April 1945 - Operation Walpurgisnacht:
Eight thousand men of the 7th Armoured Corps were rescued from the Oxhofter Kampe and were taken across the bay to Hela.
 
Night of 4th to 5th April:
A flotilla of small boats, landing crafts evacuated over 30,000 refugees from the same Oxhofter Kampe and took them to Hela.
All told, nearly 265,000 people were evacuated from Danzig to Hela during the month of April alone.
 
April 15th:
Another large convoy consisting of four liners and other transports left Hela with over 20,000 refugees. One of the escorts was, again, the T-36. They, too, made it safely to their port of destination.
 

 
1st to 8th May:
Over 150,000 survivors were evacuated from the beaches of Hela during that period. They were ferried aboard small vessels to transports and warships where they embarked. One of those warships was the T-36 and this was to be her last voyage.
 
May 4th:
Steuben was bombed off Swinemunde and after hitting a mine, it was sank taking with it Lieutenant Commander Robert Hering. The T-36 had been engaged without respite on convoy duty since the beginning of Operation Hannibal and had contributed to the savings of many of the survivors during that period.
 
May 8th:
On the last day of the war, a convoy consisting of sixty-five small vessels left Libau carrying 15,000 men. Three hundred of them who had boarded the last of the small ships did not make it to port as they were captured by Soviet warships. They were sent to Soviet labour camps while those who made it to port helped rebuild Germany. It was an act which marked the beginning of a new era.
 
 
In addition to the Goya, Gustloff, and Steuben, 158 other merchant vessels were lost during the 15-week course of Operation Hannibal (January 23 – May 8, 1945).
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