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A Brief History

Tokai-Cormoran-wrecksThe SMS Cormoran II initially came to Guam in December 1914 out of coal and weary from avoiding enemies throughout the Pacific. While the US was not involved in World War I, Guam's military governor decided against refueling the vessel, but did allow the German sailors to come ashore. The Cormoran and her crew stayed in Guam for two and a half years, becoming very friendly with the people until the day the United States officially entered World War I.   

On that day, with the US now at war with Germany, the Guam military governor ordered Captain Adalbert Zuckschwerdt to surrender the Cormoran. Unaware of the new conditions, a supply boat returning to the Cormoran with supplies failed to stop when ordered to by US sailors who then fired a warning shot over its bow. This was the first official shot fired by the US in World War I. 

Rather than surrender his ship, Captain Zuckschwerdt decided it would be more patriotic to scuttle her instead, which he did. For the next 26 years, the SMS Cormoran II lay undisturbed on the sea floor, until August 27, 1943. On this day, a US submarine torpedoed the Tokai Maru, a Japanese freighter during World War II. The Tokai Maru came to rest lying perpendicular against the Cormoran. The two ships are the only place in the world where divers can touch shipwrecks from two different World Wars at the same time. 

More information on the SMS Cormoran II