The cruiser SMS Emden was part of the German East Asia Squadron based at the Tsingtao in China during the First World War. Designed to be a commerce raider, attacking Allied merchant shipping rather than fleet battle action, she achieved much more than that under the command of her swashbuckling commander Kapitän zur See Karl Friedrich Max von Müller. From the outbreak of hostilities she began to attack the shipping lanes, vital to the Allies, sinking and capturing over 20 vessels in the first few months. She then surprised and sank a Russian cruiser and a French destroyer in the audacious raid on Penang before heading for the Cocos Islands to wreck British naval assets there. Unfortunately for the Emden and her crew, they were hunted down by the more powerful HMAS Sydney and the raider was forced to run aground. The epic efforts of the Emden and her crew are herein brought to life through the memoirs of her First officer, Kapitänleutnant Hellmuth Von Mücke.
Following the end of the Emden the majority of the surviving crew were captured, but Von Mücke led a group all the way back to Germany in the commanded schooner Ayesha – this epic journey is told in a companion book the “Ayesha”.
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