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NAME

MV. ROBERT LEY

CLASS

CRUISE SHIP

LAUNCHED

MARCH 29th 1938

BUILT

HOWALDT / HAMBURG / GERMANY

WEIGHT

27,288 TONS

LENGTH

667 FEET

WIDTH

78 FEET

SPEED

15.5 KNOTS - DIESEL ENGINES - TWO PROPELLERS


Robert Ley was the second purpose built cruise ship to enter service for the German Labor Front. This ship had been named after the leader of the new German union, Dr Robert Ley. Hitler took a great interest in these ships attending the launch and later the ceremony when Robert Ley entered service March 24th 1939. During the Spanish Civil War July 1936 - April 1st 1939, there had been a large number of German forces operating in Spain. The assistance of the German military helped the Franco Nationalists take control of the country. For the return of the German servicemen, Robert Ley along with the other German Labour Front ships Wilhelm Gustloff, Stuttgart, Der Deutsche and Sierra Cordoba were requisitioned as troop transports.

Robert Ley

During the German invasion of Poland that followed four months later, Robert Ley was used as a hospital ship then later to transport the victorious troops back to Germany. Between 1940 and 1944, Robert Ley served as an accommodation ship based at Neustadt. She joined all the other available German ships in January 1945 to take part in the mass evacuation of troops and refugees from the eastern territories to save them from the merciless Soviet forces. Two month later, Robert Ley lay at anchor off Hamburg when the Royal Air Force attacked the city on March 9th. With the British pilots succeeding in hitting the ship as well, fire spread throughout her decks until all that remained was a burned out hulk. The wreck of Robert Ley lay abandoned for almost two years after the war had come to an end May 7th 1945. She was eventually towed to Britain in 1947 for scrapping.

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