Portuguese waters served as training grounds for German ships

German minesweeper in Portuguese waters off the Azores
(Private collection of António Fragoeiro )

The temperate climate, calm waters and hospitality of the Portuguese locals are attractive factors to be taken into account by the different navies looking for a quiet place to train or simply train their sailors. As well as the usual visits from American and British ships, Germans were also a relatively common sight in Portuguese waters during the 1930s, with sightings of different types of German warships being commonplace.

In 1937, at a time when the Spanish Civil War was already underway, a not-so-well-known or tabloid-mentioned passage of a German naval convoy on its way back to its home port of Kiel, Germany, was photographically recorded by one of the sailors and crew of one of the ships.


The specific reasons for this "visit" or mere passage through Portuguese waters are not known. All that is known is that the "naval convoy" was on its way to the port of Kiel after a training mission on search and demining techniques.


António Fragoeiro

German naval convoy bound for Kiel, Germany
(Private collection of António Fragoeiro )


Fontes/ Sources:

  • Arquivos: National Archives UK, Kew (GB); Arquivo Histórico da Marinha (PT); Arquivo Histórico do MNE (PT); 
  • Sites: uboat.net; 
  • Livros: Shipping Company Losses of the second World War, Ian M. Malcolm; Lista dos Navios da Marinha Portuguesa, datas 1939 a 1945;