Greif file photo [31138]


Hull NumberBS21
BuilderOderwerke AG
Yard Number791
Commissioned1 Aug 1937
Displacement890 tons standard
Length236 feet
Beam35 feet
Draft10 feet
MachineryTwo 12cyl MAN diesel motors with with BĂĽchi turbocharger (2,200hp each), two Voith-Schneider propellers
Bunkerage40t fuel oil
Power Output4,400 shaft horsepower
Speed18 knots
Range2400nm at 15 knots
Armament2x20mm C/38 anti-aircraft gun, 2x20mm machine guns


ww2dbaseSeaplane tender Greif was launched in 1936 and commissioned into German Navy service in Aug 1937. She operated a MAN gantry crane with 13 tons of lifting power. She also had an eight-meter by 6-meter run-on inflatable mat at the stern for seaplanes. She was initially a recovery ship at Travemünde, Lübeck, Germany, assisting with German Air Force test flights. In Mar 1939, she began operating as a rescue ship, in this role traveling as far as Rügen island despite still being based in Lübeck. Between Nov 1937 and Aug 1938, a small deck for aircraft was built on the aft portion of the ship. In Jul 1942, she was assigned to the Torpedowaffenplatz Hexengrund research facility near Gdynia, Poland (German: Gotenhafen). In Aug 1944, together with ships, Hans Albrcht Wedel, and Gunther Plüschow, she was assigned to Sea Emergency Group 81 for the evacuation of German refugees from Ostpreußen region (Engish: East Prussia) ahead of Soviet advances; in this role, Greif brought about 30,000 refugees out of Preußen, carrying as many as 2,200 people per trip. Her crew surrendered in May 1945, and she was taken over by the Americans in Dec 1945. After overhaul at the Lübecker Flenderwerke shipyard in Lübeck, she was given to France in Feb 1948, where she served under the name of Marcel le Bihan. With the French Navy, she participated in the French Indochina War between 1951 and 1953 as a seaplane tender and as a command ship for special operations. In late 1952, she was based out of Toulon, France. In 1956, she participated in the Suez Crisis. In 1961, she was transferred to the Groupe d'Études et de Recherche Sous-marine (GERS; English: Deep Sea Study and Research Group). In 1962 and 1963, she escorted submarine Archimède at the Kuril Trench, 1964 at the Puerto Rico Trench, 1965 off Cape Matapan in Greece, 1966 off Madeira, 1967 at the Kuril Trench, 1968 off Toulon (attempted search and rescue of sunken submarine Minerve), 1970 off Toulon (attempted search and rescue of sunken submarine Eurydice), and 1974 at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (Project FAMOUS). In Jan 1978, she was renamed Gustave Zédé. Between 1980 and 1981, she underwent a major overhaul during which the crane was removed and an underwater scaffold was installed; upon completion, she returned to Groupe d'Intervention Sous la Mer (GISMER), which was renamed from GERS in 1973, and was assigned to escort research submarine Licorne. Gustave Zédé was decommissioned from service in Sep 1987, and her parts were cannibalized. The stricken hull was sunk in the Mediterranean Sea off Toulon.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipdia

Last Major Revision: Aug 2021

Greif Operational Timeline

1 Aug 1937 Greif was commissioned into service.
22 Dec 1945 Greif was taken over by the United States.
29 Oct 1951 Marcel le Bihan departed Saigon, Cochinchina, French Indochina for Toulon, France.
1 Jan 1978 Marcel le Bihan was renamed Gustave ZĂ©dĂ©.
8 Sep 1987 Gustave ZĂ©dĂ© was decommissioned from service.
22 Jun 1990 The hull of Gustave ZĂ©dĂ© was sunk in the Mediterranean Sea off Toulon, France.


Greif underway, date unknownMarcel le Bihan with submarine Archimède (background) over the Kuril Trench in the Pacific Ocean, 1962

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Greif underway, date unknown
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