International Registry of Sunken Ships

Fact or Fiction

Over time I have probably had more questions on the Hanseatic Star than any other vessel. Since I first heard the name and performed a little research I have learned no more on her.

The question that I am asked is "What can you tell me abouth the Hanseatic Star that was torpedoed by a U-Boat off Brittany, France in April 1940. She is supposed to have been carrying about 2,200 Indian Chief/Scout motorcycles from New York to Le Havre, France. I saw this on a tv documentary".

The short answer to the question is that I have nothing recorded on her. However, with so many questions, I felt it it was worth a little investigative work. I found no vessel named Hanseatic or Hanseatic Star listed on the database as sunk. I did find a Hanseat that was lost on the North Atlantic Convoys in 1942, that is the closest I came namewise. I then went after the U-Boat. Professor Jurgen Rohwers book, "U-Boat Successes of WW2" shows that the only U-Boat successes or claims for the Month of April 1940 are in the North Sea around Northern UK and Scotland and off Norway. Nothing was claimed by any U-Boat off France. The other point to think about is why would Indian Chief motorcyles be shipped from New York to France, America was not at war at this time. Hitler had declared war on France in Feb 1940 and started his attack in May of 1940. Had France ordered the cycles to assist in her defence, I have no idea.

To date, I have not heard that she has been located by divers nor has anyone written back to say that the story is true with some facts to back it up. I do know of vessels lost that did indeed carry motorcycles, but they are not the Hanseatic Star nor lost off France. I should also mention there was indeed a liner named Hanseatic sailing at that time but I have no knowledge on her being sunk. Anyone care to enlighten me on the "Star" or are you drawing the same conclusions that I am.