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Looking for diveable historic war wrecks of both WWI and WWII, start scuba diving Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands.
|lars, © Author: Lars Hemel
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The Orkney Islands, for scuba divers better known as Skapa Flow after the body of water in between, are a set of islands in the north of Scotland, United Kingdom. With the upcoming Kaiserliche Marine's High Seas Fleet of Germany in the beginning of the 19th century, the English decided to create a permanent base here to control the entrance to the North Sea. Scapa Flow, bordered by the islands Mainland, Hoy, South Ronaldsay, Burray and Graemsay offers a perfect natural harbor; large, protected and not too deep.
Scapa Flow is well known for its many war wrecks and historic events during WWI and WWII. On the 21th of June 1919, the Germans decided to sink all their remaining ships of the High Seas Fleet, 74 in total, to prevent them from falling into Allied hands. Years later, in between both World Wars, many of those wrecks were salvaged because they were a huge hazard for most shipping lanes. In the beginning of WWII, many English ships were situated again at Skapa flow and were struck by German submarines and bombers. On top of these already rich war wrecks, the English decided to create 'natural' defense lines in the narrower channels leading to their base by intentionally littering the sea-floor with wrecks, the so called Churchill blocking ships. The Tabarka is without doubt the best preserved and most famous of them.
Scuba divers often mention the famous big seven German warships consisting out of the three huge battleships SMS Konig, SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm and Markgraf and the four light cruisers called SMS Dresden, SMS Brummer, SMS Coln and the SMS Karlsruhe. There are also several 'forbidden' wrecks to honor those that died and their relatives. And in the years after the World Wars, several newer shipwrecks add up to the already stunning collection of wreck dives here at Scapa Flow.
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