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S-Boats in the Kriegsmarine 1935 - 1945


The Reichsmarine was renamed Kriegsmarine on12.03.1935. She owned at this point in time S-Boats "S 1" through "S 8", which were organised in the 2. S-Boat-Halvflotilla. Also Tender  (Begleitschiff) "Tsingtau" was subordinate to it. On 12.06.1935 " S 9" was commissioned and the unit was renamed 1. S-Boat-Flotilla ( 1.SFltl). The boats "S 10" through "S 13" also joined.

"S 1" (Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in action)

"S 1" at shipyard trials still without covered conning house - Picture: Italieri Schnellboot Typ S 100


The boats "S 2" through "S 5" were externally very similar to "S 1" but caused by the Daimler engines they were a little (1,15 m) longer than "S 1". 

"S 2"- "S 5" ( Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in action)

"S 6" was the first boat with MAN Diesel engines. She, therefore, was a boat good 4 m longer. Based upon the same specifications "S 7" through " 9" were built. Boats "S 10" through "S 13" were equipped with Daimler MB 502 Diesel engines.

"S 6" - "S 13" ( Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in action)

"S 12" and "S 13" in Line astern (Picture Archives R. Mundt)

Since the speed of series "S 10" - "S 13" did not conform with the military requirements, the first series ordered in 1935 "S 14"  - "S 17" was equipped with three MAN fourstroke Diesel engines L 11. That required a enlargement of the boats. They reached a maximum sustained speed of  37 kts and a short time maximum speed of 39,8 kts at a displacement of  40,7 ts.

"S 14" (Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action)

"S 14" in the Baltic (Picture: Andres-Verlag, Hamburg) 

The series "S 18" - "S 25" was ordered 1937 to 1938 and joined the fleet in 1938 to 1939. The boats got three Daimler-Benz MB 501 Diesel engines with 2050 HP each, granting the boats a speed of 39,5 kts.

"S 18" (Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action)

"S 19" (Picture: PK-Foto)


On 01.08.1938 the 2. SFltl was formed. The tender (Begleitschiff )"Tanga" became subordinate to her. Both Flotillae were subordinate to the Führer der Torpedoboote (FdT).

To increase seaworthiness of the boats from "S 26" on they were built with a higher forecastle, in which the torpedo tubes were integrated. That increased the reserve buoyancy and protected the torpedo tubes against weather influences. At the same time the command post was moved from forward of the bridge to a position on the bridge. The series " S 26" - "S 29" joined the fleet in 1940.

"S 26" (Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action)

"S 28" in the Black Sea (Picture from the heritage of Kpt zS a.D. K.F. Künzel)

At the outbreak of the war eight boats on foreign account were under construction, based on the smaller hull of the series "S 10" - "S 14". These boats were commissioned end 1939 to summer 1940 as "S 30" - "S 37".

"S 30" (Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action)

S-Boat of Type "S 30" at Ostend - Picture: Archives Förderverein

Between November 1940 and September 1941 the boats of type "S 38" - "S 53" came into the fleet. They had three MB 501 Diesel engines and received a 2 cm-Flak in a turntable mounting in the bow.

"S 38" (Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action)

"S 47" in the Black Sea still without the Kalotte (Picture from the heritage of Kpt zS a.D. K.F. Künzel)


The later built boats of this type received a Kalotte (Scull Cap) to render a certain protection to the bridge-crew.

"S 38b" (Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action)

S-boat of type "S 38b" at full speed (Picture from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action)

"S 47" in the Black Sea with Kalotte (Picture from heritage of Kpt zS a.D. K.F. Künzel)

 This type was in a way the standard type for the S-boats of the series "S 62" - "S 100" (Lürssen), "S 101" - "S 133" (Schlichting) as well as "S 134" and "S 138" (Lürssen), the majority of the boats commissioned until early 1944. 


In the meantime, however, the boats " S 54" through "S 61" were built corresponding to the specifications of the type "S 30". They were commissioned between August 1949 and February 1941.

The boats from "S 100" on were from the outset constructed with Kalotte. The type "S 100" wasequipped with the newly developed Diesel MB 2500 with 2500 HP. From "S 219" on the boats obtained a bigger tank capacity for a range of 750 nm. For the boats"S 301" through "S 305" the new MB 518 Diesels with jet-induction were planned, which however were not installed due to delivery problems. 

"S 100" (Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action)

 "S 199" (Picture from Dallies/Labourdette: Deutsche Schnellboote 1939-1945) 


All other boats until the end of the war were built according to th specifications of "S 100". "S 167" - "S 186" at Lürssen, "S 187" - 2S 194" at Schlichting, "S 195" - "S 218" at Lürssen.

The boats "S 219" - "S 300" were to be built at Schlichting-Werft in Travemünde, however, only "S 219" - "S 228" were completed. Basis was the hull of type "S 100", but since the artillelry-armament was different - the boats from "S 219" onwards received three twin mounted 30 mm guns - they also were named Type 219. The boats "S 301" - "S 500" were planned to be built by Lürssen, however, the boats "S 307" - "S 321" were not completed.  

S" 219" (Bild aus Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action)


1944 the S-Boats "S 701 - S 800" were ordered at Danziger Waggonfabrik to be built according to the plans of type " 219". The boats received additionally two torpedo tubes on the after deck firing astern, so that four torpedoes could be fired withaout the need to reload. The boats could carry four reserve torpedoes in racks along the side-decks instead of the usual two.  The plan was for 6 x 30-mm-Machineguns in three twin mountings. Since the 30 mm twin mounted guns did not get ready, the boats were armed with two 30 mm guns and one 20 mm twin mounted gun. 

"S 701" (Drawing from Steve Wiper: German S-Boats)

Similarly as with the boats "S 219" - "S 300" (Schlichting, finished "S 219" - "S 228") and "S 301" - "S 500" (Lürssen, finished "S 301" - "S 307") also from the boats ordered at Danzig only a few ("S 701" - "S 709") were finished and handed over to the navy.

"S 701" in Formation (Picture from Dallies-Labourdette: Deutsche Schnellboote)

By the two additional torpedo tubes and the higher fuel capacity the operational displacement was increased to 121 - 124 ts. At a speed of  35 knots a range of 750 nm was achieved.


Midget-Torpedoboats (Leicht-S-Boote)

AT the outbreaqk of war the midget S-boats "LS 1" and "LS 2" had been decommissioned. From 1940 on the interest in the boats were revived. The aluminium boat developed by Dornier "LS 2" were to be finished and to be braught on board Hilfskreuzer "Komet" (HSK 7) as "Meteor". Since the planned for 45 cm torpedo tubes could not be realised the boat was fitted with the minelaying installations at the stern, so that it could be used as fast minelayer, to drop mines in habour entrances.

LS 2 (Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action)

The installed aircraft engines caused problems, so that "Meteor" could not be operated ba "Komet". In spring 1940 four more boats were ordered at Dornier. For "LS 3" and "LS 4" newly developed Daimler-Benz light Diesel engines MB 507 were available. The boats got a minelaying installation for four instead of hitherto three mines. "LS 3" was delivered on the 14.10.1940 and operated from Hilfskreuzer "Kormoran" (HSK 8). "LS 4" received two aft torpedo tubes.  As first boat it got the newly developed propellers and made 42,5 knots. It was placed on board Hilfskreuzer "Michel" (HSK 9).

For boats "LS 5" and "LS 6" were only Junkers aircraft engines available. On orders of the OKM both units were fitted as submarine-chacers (depthcharge carriers) for the Aegean Sea and transported to the Mediterranean. Since the corresponding search and detection unit was moved to the Balck Sea, the boats never became operational.

For the series "LS 7" - "LS 12" the MB 507 engines again were available, so that they were built as torpedo carriers. "LS 7" was delivered on 08.10.1943, "LS 12" on 12.07.1944. "LS 7" - "LS 11" were yet transported to the Aegean Sea, "LS 12" was stopped in Jugoslavia and became testboat at the torped testing authority. It became a Soviet loot. 

LS 7 in the Aegean Sea (Pictures: Archives P. Schenk) 

The series "LS 13" - "LS 34" yet ordered was stopped by the end of the war, the boats "LS 13" - "LS 18" were finished as French war loot. The order for the other boats was stipped. wurden als französische Kriegsbeute fertig gestellt . Der Auftrag für die restlichen Boote wurde nullified.                       


Little S-Boat "Hydra"

Hydra 1 - 39

In the end of 1944 the Konstruktionsamt (K-Amt = Construction Office) of Oberkommando der Marine (OKM = Supreme Command of the Navy) had comparing trials performed of types "Hydra", "Kobra", "Schlitten" and "Wal". Thereby the type "Hydra" came off best, although it did not meet the requirements of Kleinkampfverbände, since its length was too big for the required maximum of 10 m and thus reduced its transportability on a trailer.

The boat was equipped with two Avia-Hispano-Suza Otto-aircraftengines chocked down to 650 PS without gearbox, two 45,7cm-stern-torpedo-tubes for the aircraft-torpedo F 5b and one Flak-MG.

Type "Hydra" - Picture from Fock Bd. 2

On 04.12.1944 a series of 50 boats were contracted at different yards, among them Lürssen, Kröger, Danziger Waggonfabrik, Schlichting, Vertens. A second order for 115 boats were contracted on 08.02.1945. Until the end of war only 39 boats were finished. They were organized in the Sonderkommando Hydra, also called 1. Hydraflottille. The did not get employed any more.



Loot-Boats and Boats Bought

Netherlands Loot-Boats

S 151

At the occupation of the Netherlands in 1940 eight boats under construction at Gusto N.V. in Schiedam were confiscated and finished for the Kriegsmarine. They displaced 57 ts at a length of 28,3 m and a beam of 4,30 m. With these dimensions they could sail on european inland waterways, which permitted them to be moved into the Mediterranean. They were commissioned in 1942 as "S 151" - "S 158". The boats "S 159" - "S 166" ordered at Gusto V.V. in 1941 were stopped in April 1942.

"S 151" (Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action) 

Boats of Type "S 151" (Picture from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action) 


S 201

The two boats "TM 52" and "TM 53"(30,8 t, at length 21,40 m, beam 6,05 m, and draught 1,14 m) already finished by Gusto V.V., Schiedam, according to English Power Boats plans (type PV) in steel were conquered during the occupation of the Netherlands and commissioned and tested by the Kriegsmarine as "S 201" and "S 202". Their armament was reconfigured according to German conception to one 37 mm og two 20 mm kanons. Because of that and the building in steel the boats made only 37 to 38 knots. Being planing boats with a flat bottom their seabehaviour was not up to the German wishes. Therefore the boats were given to Bulgaria in 1942. Five other boats built by Gusto N.V. under German direction were given to Rumania and Bulgaria. The type-boat "TM 51" built by British Powerboat Company, Hythe, was completed for the Royal Navy as "MTB 433" and took part in attacks against Willembrug occupied by Germany. 

"S 201" (TM 52) in Rotterdam - Picture from Hümmelchen: Die Deutschen Schnellboote im Zweiten Weltkrieg

Bought Italian Boats  

S 501

On 20.05.1943 the Kriegsmarine bought the Italian S-Boats "MAS 566" through "MAS 570" stationed in the Black Sea as well as "MAS 574" and "MAS 575" which got the designation "S 501" through "S 507" and formed the newly installed 11. SFltl. Sparepart problems concerning the main engines, however, caused the boats "S 501", "S 506", and "S 507" soon were assigned to the 1. SFltl, while the other boats were decommissioned. Staff and surplus personnel were transferred to the newly formed 24. SFltl in the Adriatic Sea.

Drawing from H. Fock: Schnellboot Band 1 (SK 68)

"MAS 500" in the Mediterranean 1942 - Picture: Unknown serviceman

German loot-boat "S 621" (ex "MAS 561") - Picture from H. Fock: Schnellboote Bd. 2



Italian Loot-Boats

In the Mediterranean numerous Italian S-Boats fell into Kriegsmarine hands after the Italian capitulation on 09.09.1943. Most of them were cannibalized as sparepart stocks, although from 19 modern boats the 24. SFltl was formed.

S 601

The Italian navy occupied 1941 the Jugoslavian boats ("Orjen", "Velebit", "Dinara", "Triglav", "Suvobur", "Rudnik", "Kamakcalan", and "Durmitor") which Lürssen had delivered as replica of the German type "S 2"  to "S 5"  in 1937. The boats were changed slightly in the dimensions length, beam, draught, ans displacement. Main difference was the 40 mm gun. The boats got the designation "MS 41" through "MS 46", "MAS 41" ans "MAS 542" ("Orjen" and "Suvobur").

After the Italian capitulation on 09.09.1943 the boats fell into the hands of the Kriegsmarine. They were made operational and commissioned as " S 601" - "S 604" resp. "S 511". "S 512" was weary and was never commissioned. The boats were assigned to the 24. SFltl in the  Adriatic Sea. Sparepart  problems concerning the main engines caused the boats to be only little operational. 

Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in action (here German type "S 2" with 20-mm-gun)


Unknown S-Boat of 24. SFltl Fall 1944 at Grado - Picture: Archives H.J. Böhlke


 S 621

The Italian Navy was building 60 t Motosiluranti (MS-Boats) from 1943 onwards on basis of S 2. The boats completed and under construction after the Italian capitulation fell in German hands. The Kriegsmarine took over the orders for boats under construction and planned for. Totally 10 boats of this class were built. 

Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in action (here German type S 2 - 5 with 20-mm-gun)


French Loot-Boats

At the German invasion in France 1940 seven boats under a Spanish-Republican export-order from the year 1937 were discovered as well as two boats (SA 8 -9) under a contract for French patrol boats at the shipyards Jouett & Cie., Sartrouville (SA 1), Chantiers Romano, Antibes (SA 2 - SA 4, SA 6 - SA 7), Chantiers Navales de Meulan (SA 5) and Chantiers de la Loire, St. Nazaire (SA 8 - SA 9).

They were stageless V-beam-boats from playwood and the constructions were continued under the indication SA  = Schnellboote Ausland (S-boats abroad) and were commissioned in the years 1941 - 1942. The design of the boats were from M. Picker, Chantiers de Meulan und wurde as Vedette Lance-Torpilles (VLT)  planned with two torpedotubes 45 cm, one 3,7 cm rapid-firing gun and a MG.

S-Boat Type K 40, Design M. Picker - Picture from H. Fock: Schnellboote Band 1

The boats were propelled by four "Petrel" gasoline motors. Since the furthermore had two 100 PS-Marchmotors, they had a clutch-system susceptible to interference. Due to missing torpedotubes SA 8 and SA 9 were completed as submarine-chasers without torpedotubes. The boats were not employed as S-boats but as follows:



SA 1 Completion 04.41, patrol-boat Defencecontrol Le Havre, from 1942 FH 24, Harbour-Protection Flotilla Le Havre
SA 2 Completion 09.41, Admiral Norway, from 1942 FH 25, Harbour-Protection Flotilla Le Havre
SA 3 Completion 10.41, Admiral Norway, 24.03.42 + off Børsmose/DK, salvaged, Motors back to KM, Boa an salvage company 
SA 4 Completion 11.41, Trainingflotilla Le Havre, from 1942 FC 40, Harbour-Protction Flotilla Cherbourg
SA 5 Completion 10.41, Trainingflotilla Le Havre, from 1942 FK 2, Habour-Protection Flotilla Channel
SA 6 Completion 04.42, Flak- and Coastal-Artillery-School
SA 7 Completiong 06.42, bombhit under construction, repaired, FK 3, Harbour-Protection Flotilla Channel, from 1943 Flak- and Coastal-Artillery-School
SA 8 Completion 06.42, 1943 FK 58, Habour-Protection Flotilla Channel
SA 9 Completion 07.42, 1943 FK 59, Habour-Protection Flotilla Channel

Earlier French Torpedo-S-Boat under German Flag - Picture: Archives H. Frank

Earlier French Torpedo-S-Boat - Picture: Archives H. Frank


The employment of these boats is no longer reported after 1943. The indication "SA 7" was awarded again for the British loot-Boat MTB 345, which already sank in August 1943 after a fire off the Shetland islands. The indications SA 1 through SA 7 were once more awarded 1943 after the Italian capitulation for Italian loot-Boats of different types.

The whereabouts of the French loot-boats "SA 1" - "SA 7" after 1943 is uncertain. It can be assumed that they have been destroyed or were sunk during the war activities at the coast of the Channel.


Greek Loot-Boats

As a consequence of the invasion of Greece in April 1941 the S-boats "T 1" and "T 2" fell into the hands of the Kriegsmarine. They were Thornycroft-55'-CMB (Coastal Motor Boat) with two Thornycroft 12 cylinder gasoline-engines with 375 PSe each and spiral propellers. They were armed with two 18 '' stern-torpedotubes. The boats were commissioned with the designators "SG 1" and "SG 2" (SG = S-boat Greece) and armed with one MG and 10 depth charges. From 1943 onward the boats were operated by the Coastal Defence Flotilla (Küstenschutz-Flottille) Piraeus as "GA 08" and "GA 09". Both were sunk by bombs on 11.01.1944 at Piräus.

MTB of Type Thornycroft 55' CMB - Picture: Imperial War Museum

Stern of a MTB of Type Thornycroft 55' CMB under British Flag - Picture: Private collection


British Loot-Boats 

The British Motor Torpedo Boats (MTBs) and Motor Gun Boats (MGBs) were subordinate to the Coastal Forces in several flotillas. In  total seven MTBs rsp. MGBs were captured or brought in.

Thereof the following three boats were commissioned by  the Kriegsmarine:

"MTB 631" of type Fairmile D (Admirality design) was a lend-lease boat for the Norwegian Navy.She ran aground off Florø on 14.03.1943 and given up. On 18.03.1943 she was towed in to Bergen and brought back to sea as "S 631". She was assigned to Admiral Norwegian Westcoast. The whereabouts are uncertain.

MTB of Type Fairmile D - Picture: Imperial War Museum

"MGB 666" also of type Fairmile D was captured off Ijmuiden on 05.07.1944. On 08.07.1944 is was destroyed by a gasoline explosion.

"MTB 345" (Thornycroft experimental boat) was operated under Norwegian command from the Shetland Islands since March 1943 against the Norwegian coast. On 27.07.1943 she was captured after a fight with picket "V 5301 Seeteufel" off Ospa in Solund. The Crew (four Norwegians and one British) were shot by Gestapo. The boat came back to sea again in July 1943  as "SA 7" and burst to flames off the Shetland Islands in August 1943 and sank.

MTB 314 (ex USS PT 56 = Typ ELCO 77'), which had been given over from USN to RN in February 1949, was captured by the Kriegsmarine heavily damaged off Toruk on 14.09.1942. She was repaired and commissioned as fast minesweeper "RA 10". She was sunk by an Allied air raid in April 1943.

Elco 77' PT-Boat of USN - Picture from Gorson L. Rottman: US Patrol Torpedo Boats


The following three captured boats were so badly damaged that they were not commissioned by the Kriegsmarine. Their whereabouts are uncertain:

"MTB 5" (BPB 60' - 25 t) was holed in a storm on 29.09.1940 and given up by her Norwegian crew in the Channel. It drifted ashore in the Seinebight.

MTB 5 of Type BPB 50 Foot - Picture: Imperial War Museum

"MTB 17" (BPB 60' - 22 t) was shot to a wreck on 21.10.1940 off Oostend by the German Navy Artillery and brought in on the 22.10.1940.

"MTB 335" (type Fairmile C) was shot to fire by the 2. SFltl during the night 10./11.09.1942 in the Northsea and brought in to Den Helder the 11.09.1942.

Q 326 of type Fairmile C leaving Lowestoft harbour - Picture: Imperial War Museum


Russian Lootboats

Two Sovjet lootboats assigned to the 1. SFltl in 1942  (TKA-47 from the Baltic Sea and TKA-111 stranded and salvaged off Eupatrorija) of 17,8 t displacement (length: 19,1 m, beam: 3,3 m; draft: 1,2 m) armed with 2 x 53,3 cm torpedoes and 1 x 12,7mm-MG propelled by 2 GAM 34 BSF Gasoline-Enginges each of 800 - 850 PS was faster than 50 knots but had severe korrison-problems. The crew consisted of 6 to 8 men.

TKA-45 at high speed - Picture: Unknown


The captured "TKA 47" - Picture: PK-Photo