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S-Boats in the Reichsmarine 1919 - 1935

 

At the end of World War One the trail boat "Lüsi 1" was completed but the acceptance trials did not take place. Furthermore 12 other boats were under construction. Thereof five were continued, the boats "LM 24 - 26" and "LM 29 - 33" were stopped.

Kpt. z.S. Lohmann, the Chief of theSeatransport Branch of the Reichsmarine, was empowered by the Chief of the Navy Command, with special resorts and the general authority for their usage. He launched the following measures:

1924 Foundation of  TRAYAG (Travemünder Yachthafen A.G.) as base and shipyard for the development and trial activities for fast Motor-Torpedoboats 
1925 Foundation of the High Seasports Association "HANSA"  for the promotion of the thoughts of seafaring and the training of personnel for small motor and sailing boats as well as basic radio communication
1925 Participation in foundation of the Neustädter Slip GmbH as a repair and training plant for sport boats and S-boats
1926  Donation of  60.000 RM to Motor-Yachtclub of Germany for the testing of the motor boats developed by TRAYAG
1923 - 26 Buying and taking over of wartime LM-boats "LM 20 bis 23 sowie 27 und 28" and of the boat "LÜSI 1" from private hands

 

 The LM-boats were initially operated under camouflage names with "civilian" crews and with armament. They got from 1926 onwards Mercedes-Benz gasoline-engines of newer construction. Three boats got 3 x 260 HP-engines, two boats 1 x 260 HP on the middle shaft, 2 x 210 HP on the outer shafts. Notwithstanding the boats were too small, since they had originally been constructed for the operation off the Flandres coats. 

The restrictions of the Versailles Treaty made that the Reichsmarine could only start in the second half of the twenties to develop S-boats. 1926 she ordered three trail boats at the Fr. Lürssen-Shipyard, Vegesack, at Abeking & Rasmussen, Lemwerder, and at Caspar-Werft, Travemünde.

At Abeking & Rasmussen a glider boat (Wellenbinder-Stufengleitboot) "K" with dimensions 17,4 x 3,48 x 1,16 m in double-karweel Mahogani-planking was built. It displaced approximately 16 ts and was brought to 40 knots by two 450/500 HP gasoline engines.

On basis of OHEKA II build for private american bill (length 22,5 m, width 3,7 m, draft 1,16 m, speed 32 kn) the trail boat "LÜR" was built by Lürssen with the dimensions 21,0 x 3,6 x 1,28 m as round transverse framed displacer with approximately 23 ts displacement. It was equipped with three 450 HP Maybach gasoline engines and was thought to confirm the good experiences with "LÜSI 1".

Oheka II-Modell im DSM, Bremerhaven - Foto: Frands Frandsen

 

At Lürssen the trail boat "Lür" with dimensions 21,0 x 3,6 x 1,28 m as round transverse framed displacer with approximately 23 ts displacement was built. It got three 450 HP Maybach gasoline engines and was thought to confirm the good experiences with "LÜSI 1".

At Caspar-Shipyard the trial boat "Narwal" with dimensions 21,3 x 4,06 x 0,9 m was built in cooperation with TRAYAG as biggest glider of its time. It was brought to 34,8 kts by three 375 PS Atlantic 12-cylinder-V gasoline engines.

After thorough testing the Navy Command settled on series construction of displacers, whereas abroad mostly gliders were in favour. Displacers were slower however more seaworthy and therefore etter to operate in Baltic and Northsea. 

As also in other navies the S-boats were looked at as in the first place offensive boats with the following tasks:

- torpedo attacks on bigger ships
- penetration into enemy harbours and bases to fight ships
- attacks on hostile sea trade
- smaller commando operations against the hostile coast 

Additional tasks:

- anti submarine warfare
- guarding the coast and escort duty
- reconnaissance and enemy reporting
- laying of offensive minefields

The first modern S-boat was commissioned in Aufust 1930. The boat displaced 51,6 ts and was a round transverse frame composit construction on aluminum frames with Mahagoni planks with three Daimler-Benz 12-cylinder gasoline engines each with 800/900 HP on stell foundations.  The boat sailed originally under the name "UZ(S) 16" (Unterseebootzerstörer - Schnellboot = submarine destroyer-S-boat), then as "W 1" (Wachboot = patrol boat) and finally as "S 1" (Schnellboot). Its maximum sustained speed was 34 kts. It manoeuvered good and was operable up to sea state 5 - 6. 1933 it was fitted with two 53,3 cm bow orpedo tubes and one 20-mm-Flak (anti-air gun) as well as one MG.

The boats "S 1" trough "S 3" had a so called torpedo scoop  (see drawing and picture).

"S 1" - Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action

S-Boats of Type S-1 approaching Warnemünde - Picture: Schäfer

1931 the  Reichsmarine ordered a series of four boats at Fr. Lürssen-Werft. „S 2 - 5” were commissioned in1932. In parallel the development of S-Boat diesel engines was undertaken. The company MAN concentrated on an in-line motor, company Daimler- Benz on a V-engine. From "S 4" on the boats had torpedo tubes with a straight front end with doors.

"S 2" leaving Kolberg - Picture: Archives Jancke  

 

 "S 5" – The last boat with gasoline engine - Picture: Archives Scheuch

 

"S 7" - Picture from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action

Framework of S-Boats from "S 7" onward - Picture: Archives Lürssen

Two boats in the construction hall at Lürssen - Picture: Archives Lürssen

With "S 6" the Reichsmarine 1933 got the first boat with Diesel engines (three MAN L-7 four-stroke Diesels with 960/1320 HP each). The boat displaced 36 ts and was only 32 kts fast. 

The Plan for Restructuring the Reichsmarine (Umbauplan) dated 15.11.1932 foresaw the formation of three s-boat half flottilas. From that resultled the ordering of series "S 7 bis "S 9" and "S 10 - S 13". 

"S 7 - 9" were also fitted with MAN engines and were commissioned 1934 and 1935. With the introduction of Diesel engines the chance for explosions was reduced, lesser fuel consumption widened the range and reduced the running cost. 

From „S 7“ on all boats got a bow with bent frames in order to increase seaworthiness. 

"S 7" - Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action

"S 9" - Picture: Archives Scheuch

The next series "S 10 - 13" (1933 ordered at Lürssen) with the same main measurements as "S 7" was to be equipped with the newly developed Daimler-Benz 16-cylinder four stroke V-engines (MB 502) with 900/1320 HP each. They were to develop a maximum sustained speed of 35 knots. The maximum speed was to be at 36,5 knots. 

The Reichsmarine was renamed Kriegsmarine on 12.03.1935. At this point in time it owned the S-boats "S 1" through "S 8", assembled in the 1. Schnellboothalbflottille. Also Tender (Begleitschiff) "Tsingtau" was subordinate to it. 

On 12.06.1935 " S 9" was commissioned and the unit was renamed 1. Schnellbootflottille ( 1.SFltl). The boats "S 10" through "S 13" were also delivered 1935.

"S 10" - Drawing from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action

"S 12" and "S 13 - Picture: Archives Förderverein

Engine room with three MB 502 main engine - Picture: Archives Lürssen

 

Table: German S-Boats 1926 – 1935

Type Commissioned Dimensions  Propulsion Armament
S 1 1930

L=26,85 m

B=4,20 m

T=1,10 m

3 x Daimler-Benz Bfz 12-cylinder 4-stroke  800/900 PS each
2 x ToRo 53,3 cm
1 x 2 cm MK
1 x MG
S 2 – 5 1932

L=27,95 m

B=4,20 m

T=1,10 m

3 Boote Daimler-Benz

1 Boot Maybach 

2 x ToRo 53,3 cm
1 x 2 cm MK
1 x MG
S 6 – 9  1932/35
L=32,40 m
B=4,90 m
T=1,20 m
3 x MAN L 7
2 x ToRo 53,3 cm
1 x 2 cm MK
1 x MG
S 10 – 13 1935
L=32,40 m
B=4,90 m
T=1,40 m
3 x Daimler MB 502
 2 x ToRo 53,3 cm
1 x 2 cm MK
1 x MG

S-Boats in the construction harbour of Lürssen-Werft - Picture: Archives Lürssen