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S-Boats in the Royal Danish Navy 1947 - 2000 (Søværnet)

On 5.5.1945 Søværnet consisted of the torpedoboats "Havkatten" and "Narhvalen", "Narhvalen" was laying in a dock at Orlogsværftet in a desolate status and "Havkatten" had been able to escape to Sweden in August. But the boat was fitted with just one single 45cm-torpedo-tube.

In spring 1947 the US-occupying force in Germany offered Denmark to by 10 former German S-boats ("S 15", "S 68", "S 79", "S 97", "S 107", "S 122", "S 127", "S 133", "S 197" und "S 306") for just 80.000 Dollar. Thus Denmark could by 10 boats for halfpart of the cost for 10 new boats. Søværnet accepted rapidly and already in August the first four boats could be picked up at Bremerhaven. It was planned to repair six to seven boats canibalizing "S 15" and "S 122" and the removed part were to be used as spare-part-depot. From Great Britain boat "S 115" was bought which was used as sparepart-depot as well as "S 15" and "S 122". 

"T 52" (Gribben) - Picture: Søværnet

German Indicator Danish Indicatorr Danish Name Hull-Number
S 15 - - -
S 68 (T 62) Viben P 568
S 79 T 58 Musvaagen P 558
S 97 (T 60) Ravnen P 560
S 107 T 52 Gribben P 552
S 115 - - -
S 122 - - -
S 127 T 56 Isfuglen P 556
S 133 T 54 Hærfuglen P 554
S 197 T 59 Raagen P 559
S 306 T 51 Glenten P 551



Ex "S 68" ("Viben") and ex-"S 97"  ("Ravnen") were repaired and modernized so late that the planned indicators "T 62" rsp. "T 60" did not be used any more. The boats got at their commissioning in 1953 rsp. 1955 their names and NATO-hullnumbers. 

For the Royal Danish Navy the taking over of former German S-boats from the Allied stock was a big advance which made it possible later to build corresponding boats at Danish shipyards. Also it led to a change in Søværnet towards 53,7cm-torpedoes with bigger range and bigger warload than the older 45,7-cm-torpedoes, so that just by that an enlargement of fighting power was reached.

1948 another four boatsd could be bought from USA  ("S 206", "S 207", "S 216" and "S 305"). Arrival of the boats at Copenhagen was in August 1948.

German Indicator Danish Indicator Danish Name Hull-Number
S 206 T 55 Høgen P 555
S 207 T 61 Skaden P 561
S 216 T 53 Havørnen P 553
S 305 T 57 Jagtfalken P 557

After their integration Søværnet therefore had 12 boats of the so called "T51"-class at its disposal. 

In 1951 six former German boats could be bought from Norway: 

Norwegian Name German Indicator Danish Name Hull-Number
Lyn  S 64 Stormfuglen  P 562
Brann S 303 Taarnfalken P 563 
Storm S 85 Tranen P 564
Blink  S 302 Falken P 565
Tross S 117 Hejren P 566
Kjekk S 195 Lommen P 567 

                 The 12 boats af "T51"-class and the six boats from Norway modernized; they got radar and a 40mm-Bofors aft. The boats got birdnames and NATO-hullnumbers. The 18 boats were called "Glenten"-class.

P 551 "Glenten" (ex T 51, ex S 306) - Picture: S. Barsdorf

In the Danish fleet-plan 1953 it was emphasized that Søværnet should have 24 motortorpedoboats to its disposal. Therefore, Orlogsværft started in 1954 to build six new units with financial help of USA. These boats were almost identical with the former German boats but had a longer forecastle, which was to render the boats better seaworthiness, and stronger motors (MB 518 B). The six boats got the indicator „Flyvefisken“-class. 

P500 "Flyvefisken" - Picture: Archives Peter Helgesen

1959 Denmark and USA finalized an Armamentsupport-Agreement in which six motortorpedoboats were included. From 1961 til 1963 four boats - a further development of "Flyvefisken"-class – were built. These boats got the indicator "Falken"-class.

P507 "Glenten" of Falken-Class - Picture: Søværnet

1960 the British shipyard Vosper offered two gasturbine-torpedoboat to Søværnet, which were to reach a topspeed of 50 knots. 1961 the contract was signed for two such boats. The boats got the names "Søløven" and "Søridderen" and the indicator "Søløven"-class. These boats were gliders and thus faster but less seaworthy than the motortorpedoboats in bad weather.

In the same year Denmark got F 104-fighters for a total of 375 mio. dkr, but had to spend the saved money for the army and the navy. Therefore, another four gasturbineboats of "Søløven"-class could be ordered. The boats were also called GTBs (gasturbinebåde) or "gasboats".

P510 "Søløven" - Picture: Michael Bern Martens

In 1968 Søværnet planned again to build new motortorpedoboats. Since the boats of the Eastbloc were superior in artillery than the boats up to now in terms of calibre and firecontrol emphasis was laid on a stronger artillery-armament than available in up to then Sboat-classes.

The operation room and the radio-room were to be situated at orlop-deck thus the was only little space for the engine-rooms at a boatlength of 45 meters what supported the choise of gasturbines instead of diesel-motors. As a moneuvre-propulsion and for lower speeds to diesel-motors were demanded on the outer shafts. The Swedish "Spica"-class was was godfather for the Danish considerations. 

Since Denmark persued an own system for automatic datatransfer and -evaluation DEPLO (Danish Electronic Plotting System) as a development of the Swedish EPLO NTDS instead of a NTDS as implemented by many NATO-units - i.g.  SATIR, AGIS and PALIS in German units was planned for the new class of boats. 

The project got the working-title "TB-68". In 1971 the new constructions were signed out and both Frederikhavn Værft and Orlogsværftet delivered an offer. In 1972 eight boats were ordered at Frederikshavn Værft. The first boat was commissioned on 19.10.1974. In 1973 two further boats were ordered at the shipyard. The boats got names of Danish Seaheroes and got the indicator "Willemoes"-class, in Denmark they also were called "Søheltenes Skibe" - Ship's of the seaheroes - (compare with the same title under Literature). With this class of boats the Swedish wire-guided torpedo TP 61 ws introduced to Søværnet. In 1977 the boats were retrofitted with the Harpoon-system. Therefore, the aft torpdo-tubes were demounted. Also the boats were retrofitted with STINGER-missiles, SEAGNAT-SRBOC and DESMO-ESM-system. 1987 until 1989 the boats were fitted with the new TDS (Tactical Data System by Terma A/S). The 10. and last boat of class, P 549 "Suenson", was commissioned on 10.08.1978. 

Museumsboat P547 "Sehested" of "Willemoes"-Class at Holmen/Copenhagen - Picture: Sandro Kleinert

In the year 2000 all boats of "Willemoes"-class were decommissioned and substituted by patrol-boats of "Flyvefisken"-class (StanFlex 300).

The 14 boats of Standard Flex 300 Series 1 to 3 - in the Danich Navy indicated as Patrol Vessels af Flyvefisken-Class - were built between 1987 and 1996 by Danyard A/S, Frederikshavn, as multi-purpose units with changeable containers for the different roles. Originally thre roles were planned: Seasurveillance (farvandovervågning), minesweeping (mine-rydning), surface combat (kamp). Later two roles were added seasurvey (opmåling) and pullution-control (forureningsbekæmpelse).

The hull (length 54 m, beam 9 m, draught 2,5 m) was constructed with glasfiber-enhanced plastic, which lead to the fact that the boats were indicated as "plastic-boats" in the Danish Navy.

As equipment for all roles the boats were fitted with ther command system (CCCI-system of SAAB Systems and TERMA Electronic), the radars (long-range air-surveillance, surface surveillance und navigational radar) and the hullmounted SAAB CTS 36-sonar.

For all roles besidesof pullution-control the boats carried a 76mm Oto Melara rapid firing gun.

All other weapon and equipment were brought on bord in maximum four standard containers at the size of  3 x 3.5 x 2,5 m.

For the roles surface combat the boats were equipped with two 533mm torpedo-tubes for the Bofors TP613- torpedo and fot the rôles Anti-submarine warfare with ASW-torpedoes and depth charges. For minelayign rails for 60 ground mines were fitted.

The propulsion was provided by a combined diesel and gastrurbinesystem (CODAG), a General Electric LM500 gasturbine (5.450 PS) was driving the middle shaft and two MTU 16V 396TB94 dieselmotors were driving the two outer shafts with controllable-pitch propellers.

P 550 "Flyvefisken" - Picture: Søværnet