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Neufahrwasser

By 1914 the fortifications along the coast of Prussia (Memel, Pillau, Neufahrwasser), and the coast of Pomerania (Swinemunde, Stralsund, Rugen), were not subordinate to the navy, but to the foot artillery of the army. Gunnery practice took place occasionally, both by day and night, from the coast batteries near Neufahrwasser, the danger zone extending 8 miles from the land. During the firing a black flag is flown from the signal mast at the pilot house in Neufahrwasser, and a pilot steamer cruises off the firing ground to warn vessels. A black hall at the signal masthead indicates that the hafen was closed on account of the firing; the entry and departure of vessels can then only take place in the intervals of firing and is regulated from the pilot office.

Neufahrwasser [New Port, literally "new driving water"], the outer harbor of Danzig, is formed by a canal and basin at the western mouth of the River Weichsel or Vistula, which runs through a low plain, covered with sand hills and lagoons. Current. In Neufahrwasser Road, and before the hafen entrance, the current sets eastward with westerly and westward with easterly winds; its velocity is dependent on the force of the wind, and occasionally reaches 2 knots with winds from the westward. In fine weather the current out of the Weichsel at Schiewenhorst flows to the northwestward toward Oxhb'ft and along the bank across Put- ziger Wiek. Generally there is no current in the bight off Glettkau and Brosen. The greatest rate of the current in the Neufahrwasser Hafen Canal, flowing in or out is 1 knot.

Neufahrwasser Road and hafen entrance were generally kept clear of ice by westerly and southerly winds. With long-continued winds from north-northwest to southeast through east, accompanied by hard frost, the entrance and road may be blocked by ice, but it is very seldom impossible for a strong steamer to enter. The Weichsel between Neufahrwasser and Danzig freezes in severe winters, but a channel was kept open by the ice breaker.

The Vistula rises in Austrian Silesia, in the Carpathian Mountains, at 2,000 feet above the level of the sea, and its basin drains 74,000 square miles, including Russian and Prussian Poland. In its length of 600 miles, it flows past Kracow and Warsaw, becomes navigable for vessels of from 7 feet to 8 feet draft at ordinary high-water level at the German frontier and carries this depth to its principal mouth at Plonsdorf, about 5 miles east of Dantzig, the chief port of Germany in the Baltic.

Dantzig is situated on the west, or left bank of an old arm of the Vistula, through which the current ceased to flow on the 31st of January, 1840, when, owing to the effect of a sudden break up of the ice, the river formed for itself a new mouth at Frondorf, nine miles below the old mouth at Neufahrwasser, which was completely closed. In the following year a lock, with 10 feet of water on its sill, was built across the old arm close to the new entrance, to ensure the easy passage of river craft between Dantzig and the interior of the country, and in 1846 the old lock at Neufahrwasser, constructed in 1001-1805, being no longer needed, was destroyed, and a wide open channel substituted in its place.

From Dantzig to Neufahrwasser, a distance of 5 miles, and thence to deep water at the head of the east pier, the dredging of a channel 200 feet wide and 23 feet deep was undertaken. In 1848 the navigation of the Vistula between the new mouth and the head of the delta, where the river bifurcates into the Nogat, or east arm of the river, and the Dantzig, or west arm, became so difficult that works of correction were begun in that year by the Prussian Government to ensure a regular flow of water through both branches, and, as it was hoped, to improve their navigable condition as well.

The Emperors William and Alexander met at Neufahrwasser, on 08 September 1881. The Czar left Peterhof two days previously, accompanied by M. de Giers, Count Vorontsoff Dashkoff, Admiral Boutakoft, and General Werder. Prince Bismarck, with his big dog and a shorthand writer, arrived at Danzig on the following day. Up to the last hour official newspapers denied that the meeting was at hand, or gave false alleged corrections as to the time and place. The Emperor and Crown Prince left Berlin on the previous evening, and punctually at six o'clock next morning their train ran into Danzig station. The German party then took train to Neufahrwasser, where they embarked on board the imperial yacht Hohenzollern, lying ready in the harbor. At one o'clock the Hohenzollern, decorated with garlands of flowers, lifted anchor and went out in the still misty atmosphere to meet the Czar's yacht, the Derjava. On the two vessels meeting, at two o'clock, salutes were fired by the German squadron and from the forts of Neufahrwasser. A boat was then lowered from the Derjava, and in a few minutes the Czar was on board the " Hohenzollern " (both the Emperor and the Crown Prince advancing to meet him and embracing him affectionately). The German Emperor betrayed great emotion. After a conversation on board the "Hohenzollern," the Czar decided to accompany the German Emperor ashore, and both travelled together by train to Danzig.




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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:54:46 ZULU