SMS Emden History – A Tamil hero

Have you heard about a Warrior called Chempakaraman Pillai? People who watch YouTube could have seen videos about Chempakaraman Pillai. A Tamilian who warned Hitler. He is so popular online. He was 2nd in Command in the ship SMS Emden. His aim was to attack Chennai. This is very surprising right. A Tamilian who wants to attack Chennai. We will look into his life detailed in the next post. But this post will feature Captain Karl Von  Muller. SMS Emden had two heroes one was Muller and the other one was Chempakaraman.  In this post, we will see about Captain Muller.

SMS Emden History - A Tamil hero



Beloved Tamil people. Greetings from Tamil Pokkisham.


In villages, there’s a saying that people who are rude and easily get triggered were called Emden. People could say” Here comes Emden”.They even named a tamil movie called Emden magan. Emden is not a Tamil word, its the name of a city which is in Germany.  In 1909, A Light Cruiser was created with this name called Emden. It attacks Chennai. That's how Emden became famous “If Emden comes destruction comes with it”. This became a popular saying within the Tamil People. 

So the story starts like this, In 1967 A Tamil woman called Lakshmi was staying in Mumbai. He writes a lot of letters to people who are in power. People like Indira Gandhi and Political leaders received her letters. She has with her an Urn of ashes. For nearly 30 years she has kept the Urn with herself. She has come from Germany. A woman who has come from Germany with an Urn of ashes is how this story Begins.

The letter to Indira Gandhi was “Dear Indira Gandhi, I am the wife of Chempakaraman, when you were young you have visited us in our house. I don't know whether you remember us or not. But now I need your help. My Husband’s last wish was that his ashes are to be laid to rest in the River called karamana. My ashes have to go to all over India through this river. He was a Tamilian. But he lived in Thiruvanathapuram. So when we say that Chempakaraman was a Tamil who lived in Thiruvananthapuram a lot of people will not accept it. 

So when Indira Gandhi read the letter, she was surprised and immediately ordered that Lakshmi be brought to Cochin from Mumbai via a flight. In 1966 Lakshmi came to Cochin and from there she went to Thiruvananthapuram. A Navy ship was ordered to carry Lakshmi and the Urn when she laid her husband’s ashes into the river and also the sea. This is how Chempakaraman was laid to rest in the river of India.

Jai hind Warcry or Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s Inspiration or the Man who showed Fear on the face of Hitler the name Chempakaraman plays a huge role. We will talk about this in detail in the upcoming posts. But in this post, we will look into Muller. Muller was the first in command in the ship SMS Emden. Muller from birth was a very brave man. His father was in the military so it is said that Muller was so brave.

SMS Emden History - A Tamil hero

In 1914 World War 1 was raging, and in India the only place which was attacked was Chennai. It was a dispute between two groups one group consisted of the British and the other group had Germany. These two countries wanted to rule the sea with their Powerful Navy. When World War 1 started Muller received information. Muller was in China when it happened. The ship SMS Emden was created in 1909, it was anchored in China. Muller had an Idea not to engage SMS Emden as a Warship. He asks Permission to the Germany Govt to disrupt the British navy. The German High command knew about the reputation of Muller and accepted Muller’s offer. Muller was instructed to submit a report about his way of war. Muller says that” He is going to sink every ship which he sees” He also says that Ships belonging to the British Empire will be sunk, and you will receive information about it.”

So 1914 August SMS Emden made its ferocious Journey. SMS Emden was a Light Cruiser warship that had nearly 10 cannons and it was devastating when it hits the target. It was capable of sinking light warships and merchant ships of the British. When compared with the British ships SMS Emden had 3 funnels whereas the British Ships had four. Muller had an idea and he asks his sailors to build another funnel and be kept as a decoy. So when British ships see these four funnels they will consider the SMS Emden as a British ship. So when Ebden set sailed it has destroyed nearly every ship in its path whether it saw a Trade ship or a warship is sunk.  The official count was 23 Ships and 3 warships and many ships were damaged by the SMS Emden.

SMS Emden History - A Tamil hero

So in 1914 this Ship alone was responsible for a loss of nearly 20 Crores. It was Devastating to the British Empire.  Whenever it sees a British vessel no questions just shoot. Show the British Empire has one big problem in the name of SMS Emden. So the British put together a force of five warships and 40 Allied ships to hunt and destroy SMS Emden. But SMS Emden a cruiser with a reputation reaches Chennai on 22nd Sept 1914. The reason to hit Chennai was Chempakaraman idea. 

The main agenda behind this is if you want to oppose the British Empire then you have to hit Chennai as it harbors the East India Company. People of India will rise up against the British seeking Independence. This will be a Thorn in the British empire. Hitting Andaman & Nicobar islands prison and releasing the Indian Rebels who were arrested because they fought for their country will allow them to join us against the British. When Chempakaraman told this idea to Muller he accepted it. 

So in the night exactly 9.30 Pm when the British saw the SMS Emden near them switched off the power of the entire grid. But there was Lighthouse which was still active, So based on the Lighthouse the attack began. The main target for the Ship was the British Burma Oil factory. Within fifteen minutes 130 bombs were delivered and the factory was in flames. Fort Geroge was also under attack and till now one bomb which failed is kept in a Museum. So the raid was a success. 

The British Govt alerts its Navy and the hunt begins. But SMS Emden is nowhere to be seen. This is a real pain for the British, so they allotted another 20 ships to hunt SMS Emden. SMS Emden was also suffering as it has traveled nearly 30000 kilometers. The ship has to be repaired and the ship carried nearly 320 Personel onboard. 

When they continued their Journey the see an Island called Diego Garcia. This island comes under the jurisdiction of the British Empire. But the island has never received any information about the SMS Emden. So Muller Instructs his crewmates to hoist a British flag in the SMS Emden. Let's go to the Island and ask for help posing as a British Vessel. Food and fuel supplies were delivered to the ship by the islanders. Then it reaches Malaysia and attacks Panang there. British have had enough and make SMS Emden a Primary target.

SMS Emden History - A Tamil hero

So how the ship was destroyed? 

How did Chempakaraman leave India and go to Germany?

How did he act as the mastermind behind these attacks?

Information regarding this will be shared with you guys in a detail in the next post. Stay with us as the next Post will be interesting.  Please share your thoughts with us. We read each and every comment which is posted.

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