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  S-Boats in the Kriegsmarine - Black Sea 1944



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S-Boats in the Kriegsmarine 1935 - 1945

War-Zones of the S-Boats

 Black Sea 1944

On paper the following boats belonged to the 1. SFltl on 01.01.1944:

Boat Commanding Officer
S 26 Lt.z.S. Karl Silies
S 28 ObStrm. Peter Neumeier
S 40 Oblt.z.S. Günter Weisheit
S 42 Kptlt. Klaus-Dietrich Siems
S 45 Oblt.z.S. Helmuth Moritzen
S 47 Lt.z.S. Gerhard Behrens
S 49 Oblt.z.S. Otto-Erich Schlenzka
S 51 Kptlt. Hermann Büchting
S 52 Oblt.z.S. Werner Kaldewey
S 72 ObStrm. Karl Deckert
S 131 StObStrm. Neumann
S 148 Oblt.z.S. von Dülomg
S149 Oblt.z.s. Wülfing


However, the foltilla commander only had five boats available for action at Iwan Baba, "S 26", "S 42", "S 47", "S 52", and "S 72". 

"S 28", "S 40", "S 45" und "S 51", all aKB, were in the shipyard at Constanta. With an arrival of the new boats "S 131", "S 148", and "S 149" was not to count yet, since they still were en route on the Danube river.

In the night 01./02.01.1944 a sortie with  "S 26", "S 42", "S 49", and "S 52" was broken off because of the weather situation. 

From the 03. until the 12.01.1943 no operations could be carried out because of the weather.

On 13.01.1944 a sortie against ship traffic off the Caucasian coast was cancelled because of bad weather.

From the 14. to the 17.01.1944 again no operations could be carried out due to the weather. 

In the night 18./19.01.1944  a new resultless sortie against ship traffic off the Caucasiian coast with "S 49", "S 52", and "S 72" was carried out.

In the night 22./23.01.1944 a minelying operation with "S 26", "S 42", "S 45", "S 49", "S 52", und "S 72" off Tuaspe was performed. "S 42" ad to ret premature because of engine problems. "S 72" had also an engine failure on the way back, entered Iwan Baba on own power but had to be reported aKB.

From 29.01. to 14.02.1944 the boats were stopped in the harbour because of the weather.

Early February 1944 "S 40" and "S 52" got scull-bridges (Kalottenbrücken = armoured bridges) at Constanta, the new boats were put together there and only four boats were ready for action at Iwan Baba - "S 26", "S 42", "S 45", and "S 49".

In the night 15./16.02.1944 the 1.SFlt with "S 26", "S 42", "S 47", and "S 51" sailed am advance against the Caucasian coast. No enemy ships were sighted.

From 17. until 24.02.1944 no operations were carried out dure to the weather.

In still bad weather an advance against the Caucasian coast was performed during the night 29.02./01.03.1944 with "S 26", "S 42", "S 45", and "S 51". The operation had to be called off  because the weather became worse.

On 03.03.1944 Sovjet fighterbombers attacked boats and harbour installations. On "S 51" the engines and the torpedo-gear were damaged. The boat transitted on the same day to Constanta for repairs from where it returned not earlier than on 23.03.1944.

Another resultless advance against the Caucasian coast was performed during the night 04./05.03.1944 with "S 26", "S 28", "S 40", and "S 42".

From 05. until 10.03.1944 no operations were possible,  weather not permitting.

Iwan Baba today - Picture: Archives Axel Awaschke


For the reminder of the month the weather did not permit further operations of the 1. SFltl.

Not before the evening of the 04.03.1944 the 1. SFltl with "S 26", "S 28", "S 40", "S 45", and "S 49" left harbour to carry out an advance against the Caucasian coast. Again no enemy shipf were sighted.

In the night 10./11.03.1944 "S 131" (StObStrm. Neumann) and "S 148" (Oblt.z.S. von Dülong) transitted from Constanta to Sewastopol  and carried out a picket duty south of the Crimea  the next night.

On 11.03.1944 Soviet fighterbombers again attacked the boats at Iwan Baba.  "S 49" got a hit in the engine room, "S 28" got a hit in compartment VII, both boats had to be reported aKB. "S 26, "S 28",  "S 40", and "S 42" were only damaged slightly.

"S 47" and "S 149" transitted from Constanta to Sewasstopol during the night 11./12.03.1944.

From 16. until 23.03.1944 the weather kept the boats again at Iwan Baba harbour. Only "S 26", "S 28", and "S 49" transittd to Balaklava on 20.03.1944 and on the following day to Sewastopol to have leaks repaired and sailed on 25.03.1944 to Constanta for repairs.

On 03.04.1944 Soviet fighterbombers again attacked the boats in Iwan Baba harbour. "S 42" was hit by a bomb in compartment V which destroyed the upper deck. On 07.04.1944 vshe sailed to Constanta for repairs together with "S 72".

On 08.04.1944 the Red Army started the final attack against the Crimean accesses.

On 10.04.1944 Oblt.z.S. Mohs took command of "S 42".

An operation as pickets with "S 40", "S 45", and "S 72" in the night 10./11.04.1944 was broken off on orders and the boats entered Sewastopol to to hand in torpedoes. 

On 11.04.1944 the boats transitted back to Iwan Baba to support the preparations for abandoning the base. 

In the night 11./12.04.1944 "S 131" and "S 148" war operating as pickets in the area off Feodosia and returned in the mornign to Balaklava. In the night following "S 52" and "S 131" operated as pickets from Sewastopolö and "S 148" and "S 149" from Balaklava in the area sosuth of Crimea and entered Balaklava in the morning.

"S 149", which had been commissioned on 21.03.1944 von Oblt.z.S. Wülfing at Constanta had passed a training phase and transitted from Constanta to Sewastopol together with "S 47" and "S 52" during the night  11./12.04.1944.

The evacuation of the base Iwan Baba took place on 12.04.1944. Since transportation of personnel had priopity wokshops, ammunition- and other stocks were blown up.

In the night 12./13.04.1944 "S 52", "S 131", "S 148", and "S 149" operated as pickets south of crimea and entered Balaklava in the morning.

In the night 13./14.04.1944 "S 52", "S 131", "S 148", and "S 149" escorted navy ferries (Marinefährprähme = MFP) off Balaklava

In the nights to the 13., the 14. and the 15.03.1944  "S 45", "S 47", and "S 51" operated as pickets south of Crimea.

On 14.04.1944 "S 40", "S 42", and "S 72" transitted from Constanta to Sewastopol.

In the night 14./15.04.1944 "S 52", "S 131", "S 148", and "S 149" again escorted MFPs off Balaklava.

On 15.04.1944 the Red Army arrived at the defence ring of the town and the boats were confronted with a increasing danger by air attacks and shelling by artillery. 

On 16.04.1944 "S 52", "S 131", and S 149" transitted from Balaklava to Sewastopol. 

During the following nights until the 22.04.1944 the 1. SFltl operated in two groups with "S 40", "S 47", "S 51", and "S 149" and with"S 42", "S 52", "S 72", and "S 131"as pickets south of Crimea. In the course of that "S 47" got a hit by shelling from land on 17.03.1944 when leaving harbour, which put the kompas out of action and caused the boat to enter harbour again. 

On 21.03.1944 "S 131" rammed teh stern of "S 42", whereby hull land rudder were damaged.

In the night 21./22.04.1944 "S 42", "S 47", "S 51" (Lt.z.S. Silies) escorted convoy "Luna" on their transit from Sewastopol to Constanta and .

In the night 28./29.04.1944 "S 28", "S 47", and "S 51" from Constanta to Sewastopol. 

Thereafter unti  the 09.05.1944 again picket operations south of Crimea at nights were following. 

During an operation as picket in the 03./04.05.1944 the boats were taken under fire from land, "S 148" was hit by fragmentation, killing a sailor. During a short fighting with three Soviel S-boats the boats again were taken under fire from land. On 04.05.1944 the boats were taken under fire in the harbour without any damages. During the night 04./05.05.1944 "S 149" got a 4,5cm-hit. "S 45" had to enter harbour prematurely becaus of engine failure. On 06.05.1944 the boats were again taken under fire in the harbour by land-artillery, causing damages by fragmentation to "S 72" and "S 131".

On 10.05.1944 "S 42" and "S 149" carried out evacuations from Crimea to Constanta.. 

On 11.05.1944 teh Sea Commander Crimea (Seekommandant Krim), Konteradmiral Otto Schulz, left the Crimea on board of "S 149".

On 12.05.1944 "S 28", "S 40", "S 72" und "S 148" carried out evacuations.

"S 47" with scull-bridge - Picture: Archives Förderverein

The flotilla contributed to a total of 90.260 soldiers, 15.435 wounded, 11.358 evacuated civilians, and 4.269 prisoners of war could be transported from Crimea to Sulima and Constanta. By bomb raids several ships were sunk, 16.100 persons drowned.

During the last days of evacuation 6.011 wounded could be trasnported. The 1.SFltl transitted to Constanta on 12.05.1944.

During the night 14./15.05.1943 "S 28", "S 42", and "S 131" were searching in vain for survivors of the ships, which had evacuated soldiers on board when sinking.

Until the end of May 1944 no operations were carried out due to teh weather and lack of fuel. 

On 01. and 02.06.1944 was single boat training, on 05.06. and 06.06.1944 pack-,  grouptraining and flotillaexercises with "S 28", "S 40", "S 47", "S 49", "S 72", "S 131", "S 148", and "S 149" were conducted.

From 07. until 11.06.1944 no operations were carried out due to the weather.

On 14.06.1944 the flotilla transitted with "S 28", "S 40", "S 47", "S 49", "S 72", "S 131", "S 148", and "S 149" from Constanta to Sulima. In the nights 15./16.06. and 24./25.06.1944 the flotilla sailed advances in the sea area south of Crimea without sighting of enemy vessels. 

From 28.06. until 17.07.1944 no operation were carried out dure to the weather.

In the night 21./22.07.1944 the flotilla escorted a minelaying unit.

From 23. until 31.07.1944 no operations were carried out again dure to the weather.

On 17.08.1944 the march for boats "S 86" and "S 89" from Linz, where they had been re-assembled after their transport via the road from Dresden to Ingolstadt and the towing from Ingolstadt to Linz, to Sulima. 

On 19.08.1944 "S 26" (Lt.z.S. Silies) and "S 40" (Oblt.z.S. Weisheit) were destroyed by a Soviet air raid against Sulima, and "S 72" (ObStrm. Deckert) was so badly damaged that the boat was scuttled. 13 men were killed. 

On 20.08.1944 the Red Army advanced towards Galati.

 The same day "S 28" (Lt.z.S. (KRO) Neumeier) was badly damaged by Soviet fighter bombers in the harbour of Constanta..

On 22.08.1944 "S 148" (Oblt.z.S. von Dülong) run onto a mine north of Sulima and was consequently scuttled. No personnel losses occurred. 

On 23.08.1944 62 bombers and 80 fighters and ground attack aircraft performed an attack against the harbour of Constanta causing destruction of "S 42" (Oblt.z.S. Mohs), "S 52" (Kptlt. Kaldewey), and "S 131" (ObStrm. Gurke), "S 28" (Lt.z.S. (KRO) Neumeier) and "S 149" (Oblt.z.S. Wülfing) were badly damaged. Three men were killed.

The same day the Romanian king owerthrew the Head of State, Antonescu, and proclaimed the about-turn of Romania. The Admiral Black Sea (Admiral Schwarzmeer = ASM) ordered the 1. SFltl to opperate against Soviet units, which could carry out sorties from the areas already in Soviet hands. "S 51", "S 49", "S 45", and "S 47" left harbour,"S 28" and "S 149" were scuttled since they were not ready for action. The personnel of the base struggled through to areas in German hands by lorries.

On 24.08.1944 "S86" and "S 89" got orders from F.d.S. to turn around and one day later he detailed them to Battlegroup "Iron Gate" (Kampfgruppe "Eisernes Tor") of the Danube-Flotilla. On the march with thr Banube-Flotilla up the river "S 86" on 28.08.1944  struck a mine laid by RAF at km 950 and had to be towed by "S 89". After repair and return to Germany both boats were detailed to the 1. S-School-Flotilla

Since no orders arrived from ASM any more for the 1. SFltl it transitted to Varna/Bulgaria. After Bulgaria declared its neutrality, they scuttled the last four S-boats - "S 51" (Kptlt. Seevers), "S 49" (Lt.z.S. Bucher), "S 45" (Oblt.z.S. Lutherer), and "S 47" (Lt.z.S. Behrens) on 29.08.1944 off Varna. On 30.08.1944 the remaining about 200 German vessels which had retreated to Bulgaria scuttled. The crews of the four S-boats were interned but could escape from the camp with Bulgarian consence and struggled through via Sofia, Belgrade, and Vienna to Saßnitz were they arrived on 21.09.1944 and formed the trunk for the new 1. SFltl.

With that the war at sea in the Black Sea ended.