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The Mystery of the four S-Boats

In Marine-Forum 7/8-2011VAdm H. Frank writes under the headline "Das Geheimnis der vier Schnellboote", that diver in 2010 have found the wrecks of four S-Boats in a little bight near Svendborg (Denmark).

He continues that because of the Kalotten-Bridge and the measurements they are clearly German boats of the type S 100. Since they are laying closely together it must be assumed that they have been scuttled, what is also underlined by the missing torpedoes.

The mystery is only, according to VAdm Frank, that neither the in official records of the Navy nor in the appropriate literature anything is reported of a scuttling and also there are so far no S-boats missing in the proving-documents which are documenting precisely the losses and the handing over or the passing on to the victorious powers.

VAdm Frank assumes that they may have been the boats "S 229" - "S 232" which were built at the Schlichting-Shipyard at Travemünde. According to an information of Marcus Schlichting the status of the boat s were as follows:

Build-No.1229 (S 229) Final outfit missing otherwise complete delivery before occupation by enemy
Build-No.1230 (S 230) Final outfit missing otherwise complete delivery before occupation by enemy
Build-No.1231 (S 231) After launching delivered in incomplete status but with all equipment before occupation by enemy
Bild-No.1232 (S 232) After launching delivered in incomplete status but with all equipment before occupation by enemy

VAdm Frank continues that the father of Marcus Schlichting remembered that the boats were towed into the Pötenitzer Wiek. Whether the boats werde picked up by the Navy he did not know. It was possible that the boats were transferred to the S-Boat-Training-Division at Svendborg and were scuttled there without official commissioning. The last Commanding Officer of the S-Boat-Training-Division, KKpt a.D. Klaus Feldt, has indicated to Herr REinhard Öser from Marine Research Germany that he remembered the scuttlings.

Korv.Kapt. Klaus Feldt - Picture: Kriegsmarine

According to Hümmelchen the boats "S 307" to "S 314" were launched  in 1944 but were never commissioned. For the boats "S 315" through "S 321" no launching is reported.

Of the boats under construction at Lürssen's Shipyard six were towed from Wesermünde to Brunbüttel by boats "S 48", "S 92", "S 191", "S 211", and "S 305" of the 10. SFltl, as is confirmed by a WT-message to F.d.S. on 16.04.1945, which has been deciphered by the British, and by the KTB-entry by F.d.S. (compare Lebensläufe "S 211" and "S 305" in  Historisches Marinearchiv)


Deciphered ENIGMA-message - Archives Flemming Hansen

For boats "S 315" through "S 321" no launchings are documented, however, the scuttling of "S 316" in the Weser estuary west of Tegeler Plate has been reported in a message to F.d.S. on 15.04.1945, which has also been deciphered by the British.

Deciphered ENIGMA-message - Archives Flemming Hansen

Which boat were towing "S 316" and why she was scuttled in the Weser estuary is not known. 

After other attempts to tow the hulls to Brunsbüttel, which obviously were cancellede due to bad weather, the boats of the 10. SFltl towed six hulls to Brunsbüttel during the night fom the 16. to th 17.04.1945.

Deciphered ENIGMA-Message - Archives Flemming Hansen

The further whereabouts of these incomplete boats is not recorded after they were towed in to Brunsbüttelkoog, so that it is possible that the boats scuttled in the Lunkebugt may well be Lürssen-boats. How they came to Svendborg/Fyn is not recorded.  All of the boats built at Schlichting's Shipyard "S 219" through "S 228" were commissioned. Their whereabouts and their losses are described under S-Boats-KM-Whereabouts and S-Boats-KM-Losses.

At Gröner "Die deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815 - 1945", Volume 2, it is stated that seven hulls were lost in the Northsea during the transfer among them "S 311" was scuttled at position 55o0'3" N/010o40'8" E. That is a position in the Lunkebugt.

The eight boats scuttled in the Lunkebugt had been at Henry Rasmussen  Yacht- og Baadeværft (Henry Rasmussen's Yacht- und Boatyard) at Gamle Hestehauge on the 5th of May 1945 for final fitting-out. Danish sources are reporting Lürssen-Shipyard as the builders. With that it seems sure that the boats belonged to the series of boats "S 307" to "S 321" which were no more commissioned. Danish diver reports also state that there were no engines on board, a further proof that they were not the Schlichting-boats "S 219" to "S 228".

Fact is that Danish divers dived up 4 to 5 propellers, which are in private ownership in Denmark. Furthermore about 21 propellers were recovered and are laying at Danish divers homes but are owned by the Langeland Museum. The propellers were situated in one engineroom of one S-boat or packed in wooden chests spread on the ground of the sea. Of one wreck the skull-bridge (Kalotte) and the torpedo tubes were recovered and brought to England where they they were used for the restoration of "S 130".

Propeller 12 - 1220 for the middle shaft MB 511 - Pictures: Archives Flemming Hansen

Propeller 12 - 1252 for the port shaft MB 511 - Pictures: Archives Flemming Hansen

Torpedo-Targetting-Calculator from Lunkebugt in the Collection of F. Hansen - Picture: J. Leimgruber

Reports of divers from Germany and Denmark are documenting the existence of four wrecks of S-Boats in Lunkebugt on the eastern coast of Tåsinge a little island in the Danish Southsea. two of the wrecks in Lunkebight were blown-up on orders of the Danish waterway authorities.


Torpedoboats in the Lunkebugt

In the meantime one of the wrecks has suffered quite a bit because Mr. Kevin Wheatcroft, the owner of "S 130", has served himself with the tropedotubes and the skullbridge in oder to abtan spareparts for the renovation of the WW II-veteran. 

Divers at the stripped wreck - Picture: Søren Olsen

Miossing planks of the higherd forecastle - Picture: Søren Olsen

Main deck without the skullbridge - Picture: Søren Olsen

The well for the forward flak - Picture: Søren Olsen

On 24.01.2018 we received a report of the Danish diver Martin Larsen that possibly a fifth wreck has been found in the outskirts of Lunkebugt. Since the wreck is very damaged further divings are necessary to determine whether it is a S-boatwreck. Added to the report  was a clipping from the weekly newspaper Øboen of 08.08.2017 about marking of the wrecks in the Lunkebugt with buoys.

Report in the weekly newspaper Øboen of 08.08.2017