|S-Boats in the Kriegsmarine - Russiacampaign|
S-Boats in the Kriegsmarine 1935 - 1945
The War-Zones of the S-Boats
1941 (Unternehmen Barbarossa)
Unternehmen Barbarossa minebarriers had to be laid to prevent Soviet units
to break out from the Baltic. The S-boats from 1., 2. and 3. SFltl were to
protect the minelaying vessels. With three boats of the 1. and two boats
of the 2. SFltl the 5. SFltl was formed under command of the commanding
officer "S 28" (Kptlt.
Only immediate before the commencement of the attack on 22.06.1941 the flotillas took up their starting positions:
1. SFltl (Kptlt. Birnbacher) with 6 boats and tender „Carl
Peters“ in the Porkala-Cliffs off Helsinki with the mining-ship-group
„Kobra“ and half of the 5. Räumbootsflotilla (5. RFltl).
2. SFltl (KKpt Petersen)with 8 boats and tender „Tsingtau“
in the Abo-skerries off Turku with the mining-ship-group "Nord" and the other half of the 5. RFltl.
"Tsingtau" and Boats of 2. SFltl in the Abo-Skerries (Picture from: Bürger - Schnellboote vor)
3. SFltl (Kptlt Kemnade) with 10 boats in Pillau with 3 mining-ships and
the 15. Minesweeperflotilla (15. MSFltl). Tender „Adolf Lüderitz“
stayed in Swinemünde because of the air threat.
5. SFltl (Kptlt. Klug) with 5 boats in Gotenhafen (Gdingen) with the 5.
6. SFltl (Kptlt Obermaier) still under training with the battleships „Schlesien“
and „Schleswig-Holstein“ in Korsør, to secure Sound and Belt against
Sovjet attempts to break through.
"S 54" in Camouflage-Painting - Picture: Archives Förderverein
CinC of the Torpedoboats
(Führer der Torpedoboote (F.d.T.), Kpt.z.S. Bütow) was to command the
operations of the boats in the Gulf of Finland from Helsinki.
and the 21.06.1941 had already the first 1.500 mines and 1.800 explosive
buoys been laid between Memel and Øland.
22.06.1941 two further barriers were laid. The groups "Kobra" and
"Nord" laid two barriers under escort by the 1. and 2. SFltl
respectively in the estuary of the Golf of Finland. The other units mined
the Moonsound and the Soelosound. The
3. SFltl mined the harbour-mouth of Libau, the 5. SFltl the Irbenstraits.
On their way back the Letuvian s teamship "Gaisma" was sunk by torpedoes
of "S 59" and "S 60". The Soviet trawler „Šuka“ was
sunk by explosives. The Estoian steamer „Estonia“ was brought up
(later she was rebuilt and used as tender). Furthermore the Estoian
freighter "Liisa" was sunk. During the same night a Soviet unit
consisting of one cruiser and three destroyers sailed into the barrier „Apolda“
in front of the Golf of Finland. Destroyer „Gnevnyj“ sank,
destroyer „Gordyj“ was heavily damaged, the foreship of the
cruiser „Maksim Gorkij“ was torn off. The third destroyer only
suffered light damages and was able to escort the cruiser into harbour. On
23.06.1941 a Soviet submarine was sunk by "handgranades and depth
charges of "S 60" and "S 35". "S 31" and
59 torpedoed the Soviet destroyer „Storoževoj“.
During the night 26./27.06.1941 the boats "S 43" and "S 106" were lost in a Soviet minefield north of Dagø, taking 19 crewmembers with them to the ground of the sea.
Boat with Camouflage-Paintig at High Speed in the Baltic Sea - Picture: Archives M. Scheer
On 30.06.1941 Libau was taken, so that the 3. SFltl with tender „Adolf Lüderitz“ was able to move to Libau on 04.07.1941. Since there were no mines to their disposal the boats undertook assault operations against Soviet shipping. On 10.07.1941 during an attack of the 1. SFltl on a Soviet convoy three misfirings happend, during another attack on a second convoy 13 misfiring occurred. The ships could take avoiding courses due to the lightnes. The same happened on 14.07.1941.
with Camouflage Painting at Saßnitz - Picture: Archives H. Haag
S-boats in the following time took over the escorting of own reinforcement
trafic. In so doing the Soviet boat „TKA 71“ was shot on fire, The
ex-Lethuanian Icebreaker „Lacplesis“ and the Soviet destroyer „Smelyj“
Four S-Boats an Supply-Ship at Riga - Picture: Archives H. Frank
08.08.1941 the mining operations were reassumed. The boats took again the
escort role. On 15.08.1941 the 1. SFltl
sank the Soviet minesweeper „No. 41“. In the minefileds sank the
Soviet transport ship „Vodnik“, der Lithuanian freighter „Utena“, and
the Soviet minesweeper „T-202 Buj“. On 18.06.1941 " S 58"
sank the Soviet minesweeper „No. 80“.
On 24.08.1941 the Soviet destroyer
"Engels", the minesweepers „T-209 Knecht“ and „T-214 Bugel“,
the Estonian steamship „Eestirand“ (4444 BRT), and the Soviet navy
tanker „No. 11“
(16.809 BRT), sank in a minefiled. The latter took 600 soldiers from the
Reval garrison which had been on their
way to Kronstadt with her to the ground of the sea.
S-Boat at HighSpeed in the Baltic - Picture from: Bürger - Schnellboote vor
27.08.1941 Kptlt. Birnbacher gave over command of the 1. SFltl to the
commanding officer of "S 60", Oblt.z.S. Wuppermann, in order to
prepare the ordered transfer of the flotilla to the Black Sea at Swinemünde.
the night 27./
28.08.1941 the Soviets evacuated Reval. The ships run into the minefileds
and suffered harsh losses. Also contributed the Luftwaffe to the
decimation of the ships. Five destroyers, to patrol-boats, two submarines,
three minesweepers, some tugs and smaller vessels sank and also the
training vessel „Leningradsovet“, the maintenace ship „ Serp i Molot“
as well as 24 transport ships (44.093 BRT). Heavily damaged were
flotillacommandship „Minsk“ as well as two destroyers.
3. SFltl took part in the capturing of the Baltic islands. The 2. and the
SFltl carried out escort operations for the so called „Baltenflotte“,
which was gathered to prevent the Soviet Baltic Fleet from breaking
through from Kronstadt to Sweden.
S-boat alongside "Carl Peters" at Turku - Picture: Archives Ola Erlandsson
On 24.09.1941 the 3. SFltl received orders to return to Swinemünde, were it arrived on 26.09.1941, to prepare for the transfer to the Mediterranean. The 2. SFltl was dismissed on 01.10.1941 in order to transfer back to the western front after a short overhaul period.Only the 1. SFltl remained in Finland, to escort convoys and to carry out assaults against the Soviet traffic from and to Hangö. Also after evacuation of Hangö on the 26.10.1941 the flotilla stayed in Finland, to cover minelaying operations. Only when icing of the Golf of Finland threatened the flotilla was dismissed and returned home on 24.11.1941 because bad weather did not permit an earlier transfer.
Pre-Action Briefing of the 1. SFltl in a Finnish Fjord - Picture from: Bürger - Schnellboote vor
Tender "Adolf Lüderitz" and four boats of the 3. SFltl in Finnland 1941 - Picture: Archives E. Skjold