Imperial German Navy Assault on Moon and Oesel, October 1917

Forces Involved

This was originally posted on MARHST-L by Maxwell Mulholland (BlauerMax@AOL.COM), and is reproduced here by permission:

The Germans assembled a massive naval force for their amphibious landings on the Baltic islands of Moon and Oesel in the Riga Bay. The landing force was composed of the 42nd Infantry Division, which was reinforced to an oversize strength of 23,000 men. In addition to the troops on board, the transport fleet (made up of 19 large cargo ships displacing a total of 153,660 GRT) was also carrying 5000 horses, 1400 vehicles, and 54 artillery pieces. The German forces reached the landing points in the early of October 12th, 1917. The naval bombardment of the Russian shore batteries commenced at 0420, and the preliminary troop landings took place at 0530. The military occupation of the island group was completed by October 17th.

According to the naval historian Fritz Otto Busch, the German naval order of battle was the following:
Overall commander - Vice-Admiral Ehrhard Schmidt (flying his flag in MOLTKE)

3rd Battle Squadron (Vice-Admiral Behnke):

4th Battle Squadron (Vice-Admiral Souchon):

2nd Reconnaissance Group (Rear-Admiral v. Reuter):

4th Reconnaissance Group (Vice-Admiral Hopmann):

Commodore Heinrich was in charge of the torpedoboat forces, flying his flag in EMDEN. He deployed the following units:
2nd Flotilla (Cdr. Heinecke) - 10 boats
4th Flotilla (Cdr. Tillessen) - 5 boats
8th Flotilla (Cdr. Nieden) - 11 boats
7th Half-flotilla
13th Half-flotilla
9th Flotilla (Cdr. Hundermark) - 11 boats

Other forces included in support:
U-Flotilla Courland (LCdr. Schoett) - 6 U-boats
2nd Minehunting Squadron (LCdr. Doslein)
4th Minesweeper Squadron - altogether 60 boats of all sizes

German losses from the landing operations were the following:
7 minesweepers sunk (mines)
2 battleships damaged - BAYERN, GROSSER KURFUERST (mines)
1 torpedoboat damaged - B98 (mine)
1 transport damaged - CORSIKA (mine)
Overall German personnel losses in the navy were 61 wounded and 130 dead.

I hope this information helps! (However, I am confused because your source [a post that was not reproduced here] states that Russian destroyers attacked German forces on the 3rd of October -- the German transport fleet did not weigh anchor and leave harbor until October 11th, 1917.)

From Dave Alton (

Here is a list of the light forces etc. involved in Operation Albion. The information below is taken from pages 513-516 of 'Pierwsza Wojina Swiatowa Na Morzu' (The First World War at Sea) by Jan Gozdawa-Golebiowski and Tadeusz Wywerka Prekurat. (published by Wydawnictwo Lampart, Warsaw 1997).The translation from the original is mine and any errors are my responsibility. In a number of cases where there may be ambiguity over the translation I have included the original polish description and would appreciate any corrections!
NB: abreviation of ranks are as follows Fgk - Fregattenkapitan, Kvk. - Korvettenkapitan, Klt. - Kapitanleutnant.

German Forces

Torpedo Boat Flotilla's
Leader: (Light Cruiser) Emden (Commodore Heinrich).
2nd Flotilla: B98 (Kvk. Heinecke).
- 3rd Half Flotilla: G101 (Klt. Kolbe), V100, G103, G104.
- 4th Half Flotilla: B109 (Kvk. Faulborn), B97, B110, B111, B112.
6th Flotilla: V69 (Kvk. Tillessen).
- 12th Half Flotilla: V43 (Kvk. Lahs), V44, V45, V46, S50.
- 13th Half Flotilla: V82 (Klt. Zander), S61, S63, S64, V74.
8th Flotilla: V180 ( Kvk. Nieden).
- 15th Half Flotilla: V183 (Klt. Vollheim), V181, V182, V184, V185.
- 16th Half Flotilla: S176 (Klt. Stohwasser), G174, S178, S179, V186.
10th Flotilla: S56 (Kvk. Hundertmarck).
- 19th Half Flotilla: T170 (Klt. Rebensberg), T169, T172, G175, T165.
- 20th Half Flotilla: V78 (Klt. von Diersburg), S65, S66, V77, G89.
7th Half Flotilla: T154 (Kvk. von der Recke-Vollmerstein), T139, T140, T143, T145, T151, T157, T158, T160.

U-boat Flotilla "Kurland" (Klt. Schott),
- UC56, UC57, UC58, UC59, UC60, UC78.

Minesweeping Forces (Sily obrony przeciwminowej)
Barrage Breaker Group (Grupa przerywaczy zagrod) (Kvk. Simonsen) Rio Pardo, Lothar, Schwaben, Glatz.
2nd Minesweeper Flotilla: A62 (Klt. Doflein).
- 3rd Minesweeper Half Flotilla: T136 (Klt. von der Marwitz), M67, M68, M75, M76, M77, T59, T65, T68, T82, T85.
- 4th Minesweeper Half Flotilla: T104 (Klt. von Zitzewitz), T53, T54, T55, T56, T60, T61, T62, T66, T67, T69.
8th Minesweeper Half Flotilla: M64 (Klt. Koellner), M11, M31, M32, M39, A35.
3rd Half flotilla, Baltic Outpost Flotilla (3 polflotylla baltyckiej flotylli poszukiwawczej)
- T141(Kvk. Goethe), 15 motorboats (kutrow motorowych), auxiliary support ships Fiora and Primula.
- 1st Minesweeper Division : (Klt. Astheimer), 11 vessels.(launches or motorboats) (1 dywizjon kutrow tralowych)
- 3rd Minesweeper Division: (Klt. Weidgen), 12 vessels (as 1st Div.), auxiliary Indianola
Eastern Escort Group Minesweeping Half Flotilla: (Grupa tralowcow polflotylli dozorowej "Wschod") (Fgk. Nordman)
- 6 Auxiliary Minesweepers
- 2nd Minesweeper Division: (Kvk. Altvater) 12 vessels (as 1st Div.), auxiliary Ammon
- 4th Minesweeper Division: (Klt. Kipke) 10 vessels (as 1st Div.), auxiliary Hochkamp.

Anti-Submarine Forces (Sily obrony przeciw okretom podwodnym)
Baltic Hunting Flotilla (Suchflottille der Ostsee) (Baltycka flotylla poszukiwawcza)
- T144. (Fgk. von Rosenberg)
- 1st Half Flotilla: T142 (Klt. Sach), A28, A30, A32, 32 armed fishing vessels. (32 uzbrojone trawlery i lugry)
- 2nd Half Flotilla: T130 (Klt. Wahlen), A27, A29, A31, 24 armed fishing vessels.
- 3 Auxiliaries, 3 motorboats.
Eastern Escort Half Flotilla (Polyflotylla dozorowej "Wschod") (Klt. Harder), 6 armed fishing vessels
Net Layer Unit (Oddzial stawiaczy sieci) (Kvk. Kaulhausen), 3 net layers, 6 tugs.

Fleet Auxiliaries: (Klt. Sachse)
- T132, 4 hospital ships, 4 ammunition transports, 3 supply transports, 2 petrol transports, 1 cable ship, 2 net carriers (stawiacze plaw), 11 tugs, 8 light vessels, 10 ?(lichtugi).
Transport Fleet: (Fgk von Schlick)
1st Group (Fgk. Fischer) 4 transports.
2nd Group (Ktl. Walther) 6 transports.
3rd Group (Fgk. Keller) 3 transports.
4th Group (Kvk. Gluer) 6 transports.

Air Forces
Airships (Kvk. Wendt): L30, L37, LZ113, LZ120, SL8, SL20.
Aircraft (Klt Berthold): 81 seaplanes and 16 aeroplanes
Seaplane Carrier Santa Elena - 4 seaplanes.

Russian Forces
Destroyer Group
Leader: Novik (R. Ad. Stark)
11th Destroyer Division: Grom, Pobeditel, Zabijaka.
12th Destroyer Division: Desna, Leitenant Ilin, Samson, Kapitan Izylmetev.
13th Destroyer Division: Avtroil, Gavriil, Izyaslav, Konstantin.
4th Destroyer Division: General Kondratenko, Pogranichnik.
5th Destroyer Division: Donskoi Kazak, Steregushchi, Strashni, Turkmenetz-Stravropolski, Ukraina, Vojskovoi, Zabajkaletz.
attached: Headquarters ship, hospital ship, mine transport/netlayer, 3 transports, 3 small steamers (male parowce).

C26, C27, C32

Patrol Forces (Guard Ships)
9th Destroyer Division: Dyeyatelni, Dyelni, Gromyaschi, Razyashchi, Silni, Storozhevoi.
8th Destroyer Division: Lovki class (units not stated).
5 Auxiliary Patrol Divisions with 29 vessels and 2 support ships

Minesweeper Forces.
5 Minesweeper Divisions with 13 vessels and 2 Motorboat Minesweeper Divisions with 6 vessels and 1 support ship.

Amur, Pripyat, Volga.

2 netlayers, 11 transports, 1 tug, 1 harbour steamer (parowiec portowy).

The source for the above confirms that the capital ships and cruisers for both countries, are as stated in Gary Staff's articles on Operation Albion and it seemed unnecessary to repeat them.

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Last Updated: 16 October, 1999.