The Germans used a number of armed raiders disguised as merchantmen during the war. In terms of tonnage sunk they proved to be far more successful than German surface battleships. The first voyage of the Komet, which circumnavigated the globe, was exceptional. Operating in the Pacific since September, she paired up with another raider, the Orion, accompanied by a third unarmed German supply ship, the Kulmerland.
On the 27th November they intercepted the RMS Rangitane, a liner that regularly operated between New Zealand and Britain. The armed merchantman Rangitane had delivered evacuee children to New Zealand and was returning with a valuable cargo to Britain when she was trapped between the Orion and the Komet. Refusing orders not to use her radio she was shelled and 11 of her passengers and crew killed. The remainder were then taken on board the German ships and later most were deposited on the remote island of Narou. The Rangitane was relieved of the greater part of her cargo and sunk by torpedo.
For the complete story see RMS Rangitane