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Finding HMAS Sydney Chapter 1
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Finding HMAS Sydney Chapter 1



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  • 1. HMAS Sydney II: Compass resting on rail at rear of Director Control Tower. Copyright: Australian War Memorial. 1 Summary
  • 2. 1 This story is about the contribution made by Australian science to the search for Kormoran and Sydney . Working in collaboration with the Finding Sydney Foundation (FSF) from 2001, Kim Kirsner and John Dunn identified the position of Kormoran to within 2.7 nautical miles. (Kirsner & Dunn, 2004). They also defined the position of HMAS Sydney, and appropriate search boxes for each of the wrecks in 2005. The material was published in FSF submissions to representatives of the Commonwealth, the states, the RAN, and corporate and private donors during 2005, 2006 and 2007. In this account we outline the steps used to achieve these objectives. The procedure is objective, quantitative, and transparent, and it can therefore be applied to other search projects. The Confidence Contours on the following page were the final step in a 13-year program to define the location of Kormoran . Summary
  • 3. Confidence Contours prepared by Kirsner & Dunn (2004) for FSF Blue Search Box adopted by Mearns in 2008 Position of Kormoran proposed by FSF (2004) Position of Kormoran established by FSF in 2008 Red Search Box proposed by FSF (2005)
  • 4. The Ships HMAS Sydney II: Crows nest on foremast. Copyright: Australian War Memorial
  • 5. Sydney was armed and equipped for long range combat but with little or no advantage over Kormoran at the range at which the battle unfolded. Sydney was en route from Sunda Strait to Fremantle when contact was made with Kormoran . Sydney followed and gradually closed in on Kormoran until, at a range of less than one nautical mile, Kormoran opened fire and both vessels were destroyed. HMAS Sydney II
  • 6. Kormoran was a German raider, heavily armed for close range combat with lightly armed merchant vessels but disguised as an allied merchant ship. Kormoran left Germany on December 23rd 1940, and sank eleven merchant ships prior to her engagement with Sydney . Kormoran was steaming north along the coast of Western Australia when she sighted Sydney , and turned west toward the open ocean to avoid combat. HSK Kormoran