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S-Boats in the Kriegsmarine 1935 - 1945


The Reichsmarine was renamed Kriegsmarine on 12.06.1935. At that time she had at her disposal  the S-boats " S 1" to "S 8", which were organized under the 1. Schnellboothalbflottille. Also Begleitschiff "Tsingtau" was subordinate to it.


Boats "S 9" to "S 13" of the series ordered in 1933 were commissioned until December 1935. 

On 12th of June 1935  „S 9“ was commissioned and the unit was renamed into 1. Schnellbootflottille (1.SFltl). Boats "S 10" to "S 13" were delivered also in 1935.


On 10th of December 1936 the old gasoline-motor-boats "S 1" to "S 5" were decommissioned and sold to the National-Spanish government. The commander of the 1. SFllt thus was commanding boats "S 7" to "S 13".

On 1st of Aufgust 1938 with the delilvery of boats "S 14" to "S 18" the new 2. SFltl under command of Kptlt. Rudolf Petersen was established. He got originally minesweeper "M 112" as tender until the tender "Tanga" having been planned for China was commissioned on 21st of January 1939 for the Kriegsmarine.

In 1937 the 2. SFltl performed a trip up river Rhine as a recruitment voyage.

"S 14 " and "S 15" on River Rhine - Picture: Archives O. Erlandsson

S-Boats of 1.SFltl in the Harbour of Worms - Pictureo: Archives Förderverein 

After delivery of the boats "S 19" to "S 23" the Kriegsmarine at the outbreak of the war owned 15 ready for action (KB = kriegsbereite) S-boats. "S 24" was only commissioned eight days after the outbreak of the war. "S 25" , "S 30" to "S 33" were under construction at Lürssen but could only be taken over after the outbreak of the war. "S 30" to "S 33" had been ordered for China but were confiscated at the outbreak of the war and continued to be constructed for the Kriegsmarine.

On 28th September 1939 the Kriegsmarine ordered Lürssen-Werft to build 24 further S-boats, "S 38" to "S 61", thereof eight boats could be commissioned in 1940 and the remaining boats in 1941.  

During the war the Kriegsmarine had Fr. Lürssen-Werft, Bremen-Vegesack to build 134, Joh. Schlichting-Werft, Travemünde to build 65, Gusto-Werft, Schiedam/Holland to build 8, and Danziger Waggonfabrik to build 9, in total 216 S-boats 


The losses of the S-Boat-Force were:

Killed in action 767 persons
Wounded 620 persons
Prisoner of War 322 persons
Lost 140 boats

On 09.05.1945, the day of the German capitulation, the navy had at its disposal 91 boats in nine flotillas. 

On 11.05.1945 the crews of the S-boats gathered in the Geltinger Bucht fell in a last time in "1. Garnitur blau" (full dress) for the last ceremonial colours. Then the flags were lowered, the command signals continued fluttering. The S-Boat-Force was decommissioned. 

Last Muster in Geltinger Bucht - Picture: H.F. Nitsche - Kirchspielarchiv Steinberg





Organization Pictures
War Zones Bearers of Knights Cross Losses of S-Boots Whereabouts of the S-Boats