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S-Boats in the Kriegsmarine 1935 - 1945

War-Zones of the S-Boats

Adriatic Sea 1943 - 1945

After the capitulation of Italy on 09.09.1943 a great number of Italian ships and boats fell into German hands. First it was considered to commission all Italian S-boats, but then it was decided only to make use the MAS-boats but not of the smaller and even more troublesom MS-boats. Decommissioning of some already commissioned MAS-boats was ordered. The six MAS-boats captured in the western Mediterranean and the three boats captured in the Aegaen Sea were assigned to the 24. SFltl. 

 

 

On 08.09.1943 the armistice between Italy and the Allies was signed. "S 54" and "S 61" were in Taranto. They and the Navy barge "F 478" were granted free withdrawal. They left harbour  and mined the harbourentrance with the Italians making notice of that. On these mines sank on 10.09.1943 the British minelayer "Abdiel".

The three boats run into an Italian auxiliary mine-lugger, the crew was sent into the lifeboat and the boat was blown up. At a meeting with the Italian cruiser "Scipione Africano" she took no notice of the boats, which had blown up "F 478" and taken the crew on board as a precaution. Both S-boats came in the Bight of Valona into a mine-netbarrier, could, however, free themselves without taking any damage and sailed to Ragusa. In so doing run "S 54" onto a mine but remained undamaged.

On 11.09.1943 "S 54" fired two torpedoes on a modern yacht off Ancona, the torpedoes hit amidships but did not detonate. "S 61" fired a torpedo which sunk, as was becoming evident,  the Italian admirality-yacht "Aurora". 

Towards morning of the 12.09.1943 "S 54" with 10 hands under command of Kptlt. Winkler captured the Italian motorvessel "Leopardi" (4572 BRT) with 1500 Italian soldiers on board, little later the Italian freighter "Saubasia" (1590 BRT) was taken as prize by "S 61". In the afternoon "S 54" stopped the Italian steamer "Pontinia" (715 BRT) about 30 nm south of Venice, the closing destroyer "Quintino Sella" (1480 t), on her way to Taranto in order to surrender to the British, was sunk with two torpedoes by "S 54" and "S 61". "Pontinia" was left behind with two men of "S 54" as prize-commando to rescue survivors.The commanding officer, Capitano di Corvetta Corrado Cini, and 80 men could be rescued. "S 54" called  "S 30" and "S 33" from Pola to help by radio, but they could not leave harbour because the Italians held them back.

Gegen Morgen des 12.09.1943 kaperte "S 54" mit 10 Mann unter Führung Kptlt. Winkler das italienische Motorschiff "Leopardi" (4572 BRT) mit 1500 italienischen Soldaten an Bord, wenig später wurde der italienische Frachtdampfer "Saubasia" (1590 BRT) von "S 61" als Prise genommen. Am Nachmittag stoppte "S 54" etwa 30 sm südlich von Venedig den italienischen Dampfer "Pontinia" (715 BRT), der herannahende Zerstörer "Quintino Sella", der eigentlich auf dem Wege nach Taranto war, um sich den Briten zu ergeben, wurde mit zwei Torpedos versenkt, die "Pontinia" mit zwei Mann von "S 54" als Prisenkommando an Bord wurde zur Rettung Überlebender zurück gelassen. Der Kommandant, Capitano di Corvetta Corrado Cini, und 80 überlebende Seeleute konnten gerettet werden. "S 54" rief per Funk "S 30" und "S 33" aus Pola zur Hilfe, die konnten aber nicht auslaufen, weil die Italiener sie zurück hielten.

"S 30" and "S 33" at Pola - Picture: From the heritage of Oblt.z.S. a.D. Backhaus

"S 54" and "Leopardi" entered Venice. The naval ensign was veiled and the uniforms of the sailers were made unrecognizable so that the Venicians thought that an Italian unit had entered harbour.

"S 54" (Oblt.z.S. Schmidt) in front of the Doge's Pallace (Picture: Archives R. Mundt)

To hours later also "S 61" entered harbour with the two prizes. Both boats were completely out of fuel, water, and provisions. " S 61" had one torpedo left and "S 54" was shot empty. Under threatening with a Stuka-attacks and an attack of tanks standing by, Oblt.z.S. Schmidt together with the General-Consul and the railway authorized representative achieved the capitulation of the Navy Commander in Chief Northadriatic Sea and the Chief of the Navy Station Venice. In Venice were about 10.000 man Italian Navy, the Italian  destroyer "Sebenico", the Italian torpedoboat "Audace", two Italian S-boats, eight auxiliaries, and 30 merchant ships. The commanding officer "S 54", Oblt.z.S. Schmidt, had thereby accomplished the most remarkable deed of a S-boat's commanding officer in WW II. He was awarded the German Cross in Gold together with  Bootsmann Blömker, Seaman No. 1 of "S 61", who had commanded the boat in absence of the commanding officer. On 22.12.1943 Oblt.z.S. Schmidt was awarded the Knight's Cross.

"S 61" (OBtsm Blömker) in front of Piazza St. Marco, Venice, on 11.09.1943 (Picture: From Conelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in action)

Oblt.z.S. Klaus-Degenhart Schmidt (left) - Picture from Storia Militare Briefing Nr. 18

"S 30" and "S 33" after the amistice of Italy with the Allies had made boats provisionally ready for sea and for battle. When "S 54" asked for help on 11.09.1943 they could leave harbour after a while, they had threatend the Italians with air attacks, so that they finally opened the harbour barriers. When the boats did not find the pair they entered harbour again. On 14.09.1943 they sailed up to the harbour barriers of Venice. Upon occupation of the city Pola by the 71. Infantery-Division the boats escorted the support traffic and supported the army in fighting partisans. During these operations one man fell on 22.09.1943 and to men were wounded. 

The 24. SFltl was formed in the Aegaen Sea on 01.11.1943. Commander was Kptlt. Meyer, H.J. The first boats joining had been built 1936 - 1938 by Lürssen for the Yuguslavian Navy. They had been captured by the Italian Navy on 17.04.1941 in Tiwat and been commissioned partly as boats of type MS and partly as MAS-boats. 

Allocated were originally:

S 601 ObStrm. Swoboda ex Italian MS 42 ex Yugoslavian "Velebit"
S 602 StObStrm. Annuß ex Italian MS 43 ex Yugoslavian "Dinara"
S 603 Oblt.z.S. d. Res. Bollenhagen ex Italian MS 44 ex Yugoslavian "Triglav"
S 604 StObStrm. Wernicke ex Italian MS 46 ex Yugoslavian "Rusnik"
S 511 ObStrm.d.Res. Klima ex Italian MAS 522 ex Yugoslavian "Orjen"
S 512 ? exItalian MAS 542 ex Yugoslavian "Suvobur"

ABout "S 512" no data are available. "S 511" had deserted to the German side on 19.09.1943 and was commissioned on 15.11.1943 for the Kriegsmarine under command of ObStrm.d.Res. Klima.  "S 601" followed on 06.12.1943 under command of ObStrm. Svoboda. All other boats of the flotilla were commissioned not before 1944. 

MAS 30, later MAS 522 (ex "Orjen") 1942 - Picture: Regia Marina

Later were added:

S 508 *) ex MAS 525
S 509 *) ex MAS 549
S 510 *) ex MAS 551
S 513 *) ex MAS 554
S 621 StObStrm. Maniel  
S 622 **)  
S 623 ObStrm. Elksneit  
S 624 **)  
S 625 ***)  
S 626 Lt.z.S. Klaus Burba   
S 627 StObStrm. Kaufhold  
S 628 t.z.S. Paul Overwaul  
S 629 Lt.z.S. Ernst-Günter Müller ex MS 76
S 630 Teniente Santagata ex MS 75

 

*) for the boat are no KTB-data available

**) destroyed on 14.04.44 just before commissioning by aircraft bombs at Monfalcone

***) was never commissioned, reason not ducumented

 

"S 630" (ex "MS 75" of the Italian Navy [Regia Marina]) was captured on 10.09.1943 at Venice and handed over to the fascistic Italian Navy of the Repubblica Sociale Italiana. Commanding officer became Teniente Santagata, who also commanded it after its incorporation into the 3. Group of the 1. S-Boots-Division (1. S-Div) on 10.12.1944. 

 

 

Italian MAS 500-Boat - Picture: Archives Ralf Krokowski

End of October it was finally decided to transfer the boats in the Mediterranean to the Adraiatic Sea, therefore, the personnel fof the staffs of rthe 3.  and the 7., SFltl were united to form the staff of the 1. S-Boat-Division at Viareggio. At this point in time the four boats in the Mediterranean of the 3. SFltl,  "S  56", "S 57", "S 58", and "S 60", were KB at Toulon, the four boats i the Adriatic Sea, "S 30", "S 33", "S 54" und "S 61", were aKB at Venice. Of the 7. SFltl "S 153" and "S 157" were ready for action at Viareggio,  "S 154" and "S 156" were laying there  aKB, "S 151", "S 152", "S 155", and "S 158" were aKB at Toulon.

On 11.11.1943  transitted "S 30", "S 33", "S 54", and "S 61" from Venice to Pola. In the night 11./12.1943 "S 54" and "S 61" transitted from Pola to Dubrovnik. On "S 61" a motor failed because of a broken crankshaft.

In the night 12./13.11.1943 "S 30" and "S 33" transitted from Pola toh Cattaro, onthe march thereto they brought up a motorsailer with partisans. In the same night "S 54" and "S 61" were to transit to Piraeus, "S 61" had, however, to sail back to Venice because of a motor failure. Because of the worsening gale it entered Cattaro instead, "S 54" entered Korfu. FRom there she transitted to to piraeus on 14.11.1943 and from there to its area of employment off Leros.

On 17.11.1943 "S 30", "S 33", and "S 61"  transitted from Cattaro to Dubrovnik. There they were stopped because of the weather. On 27.11.1943 they transitted from Dubrovnik to Split. When entereing harbour "S 30" and "S 61" grounded without major damages to the boats. On march to Pola in the night 28./29.11.1943 the boats sank a motorsailor with partisans. On 30.11.1943 "S 30" and "S 33" came into the shipyard at Pola, "S 61" transitted to the shipyard at Venice. All three boats were at the shipyards until February rsp. March 1944.

On 04.12.1943 "S 511" was employed in a transport-voyage to Leros at daylight against the expressed contradiction of the flotilla-commander, KptLt Meyer. The boat and the escorts, three Arado 196 were attacked by Beaufighters, the aircraft were shot down and the boat was severely damaged. Two men fell. Because of the damages to the underwatership the boat was sat agroung at the little island Mavronisi, capsized dand sank.

On 31.12.1943 was the first employment for "S 601" as escort for a convoy from Saloniki to Piraeus. Afterwards the boat entered Milos. 

During the night 08./09.01.1944 "S 55" and "S 36" operated from Cattaro (Kotor) against the partisan-traffic. They captured two motorsailers loaded with fuel and ammunition between the islands Hvar and Brac. The boats were blewn up, after the crews had been taken on board. At daybreak the boats took the harbour of the island Vis  under fire. The partisans fired back, however, without hitting.

During the night 09./10.01.1944 "S 55" and "S 36" were in action again. They took the harbour of Komiza on the island Vis under fire. They stopped a motorsailer, which carried weapons, ammunition, and provisions. It was taken as prize and escorted to Velalucca. On entering the bight the boats were attacked by British fighterbombers. On "S 55" the port engine fell out by fragmentation, on "S 36" fell two men. Shortly thereafter a whole fighterbombersquadron attacked, the motorsailer caught fire, the load exploded. In the afternoon the boats were attacked again by two waves of British fighterbombers. "S 55" (Oblt.z.S. Weber) took hits and burst in flames, the spare-torpedoes exploded, the boat was no longer to keep and sunk. "S 36" took over the crews of "S 55" and of the motorsailer and entered Cattaro in the evening. Thereafter it had to go to the shipyard at Pola.

The 11 boats of the 3. and 7. SFltl had been stopped by extreme low waters on river Po during their transit from the western Mediterranean to the Adriatic Sea. Only after finishing the necessary dredging at Piacenzia the transit could be continued.

"S 153" during Transport from Genua to Venice - Picture: Archives Erling Skjold

In February 1944 no sorties could be carried out because of the low amount of S-boats, an escort-order could not be carried out because of bad weather. The first six boats of the 24. SFltl arrived at Venice end of February.  The 11 boats of the 3. and 7. SFltl from the western Mediterranean arrived on 07.03.1944 at Venice, where they first had to be put together again.

"S 153" in a Shipyard at Venice - Picture: Archives Erling Skjold

The dog Max of S 153 - Picture: Archives Erling Skjold

In the night 15./16.03.1944 "S 36" and "S 61" transitted with the Fltl-commander on board from Pola to Cattaro and made a sortie in the folowing night into the sea-area between the islands Mljet, Lagosta and Glavat, during which a motor fishingboat was sunk by artillery. 

In April four sorties with two to three boats took place ("S 30", "S 33" and "S 36"). No enemies were sighted.

On 14.04.1944 the boats captured during construction, "S 622" and "S 624", were destroyed just before their commissioning by an American air-attack on Monfalcone, "S 623" and "S 626" (Lt.z.S. Burba) were damaged heavily.

"S 626" after bombhit in Monfalcone (Picture from: Dallies-Labourdette)

On 14.04.1944 only "S 30" was ready for action. The boats of the 7. SFltl were stil not put together, the boats of the 24. SFltl suffered from permanent enginedisturbances. "S 54" was stil at Saloniki. On 22.04.1944 "S 54" (Oblt.z.S. Schmidt) on transit to Cattaro run on a mine off Kap Leukas. The aft part of the boat was torn of, however, the boat remained floating and was tugged in. Three men fell and five were wounded. The boat went into the shipyard at Salamis.

In May 1944 "S 30", "S 36" and "S 61" made some sorties, during which they succeeded to sink a coastal motorferry on  11.05.1944. Attempts to escort a group of the 12. R-Fltl through the Stait of Otranto failed, since the boats run into British destroyers again and again, which opened fire immediately.

The first completed boats of the 7. SFltl - "S 153", "S 155", "S 156", "S 157", and "S 1582 - entered Split. 

"S 155" in a harbor of the Adriatic Sea (Picture: Archives Eric-Jan Bakker)

During the night 31.05./01.06.1944 they could sink three motorcutters, one coaster, and one small tanker off the island Lissa in artillery fights. The survivors (159 uniformed British, Kroats, Serbs, and Italians, one US Lightning-pilot, 37 women and five children) were taken on board.

In the folowing night they sank two fully occupied and one empty motorcutters in gun battle, the survivors (77 partisans, to Britsh paratroopers, 50 women and 24 childeren) were fished out of the water.

"S 158" replenishing torpedoes - (Picture: Archives Heinz Kloetzke)

During a sortie on 11./12.06.1944 "S 156", "S 155", "S 153", and "S 157" run into the two British destroyers HMS "Blackmore" and "HMS Eggesford" by surprise, which immediately opened fire. "S 153" (Oblt.z.S. Rautenberg) was shot to pieces by one destroyer and sank off the island Hvar with the mayority of the crew. Killed in action were: The CO (Oblt.z.S. Rautenberg), MarObAssArzt d.R. Klotzky (Flottillenarzt), ObFhnr.z.S. Helmut Huckenbeck,MaschMt. Wilhelm Meyer, MaschMt. Oskar Neudert, MachMt. Walter Schmidt, MaschHptGefr. Kurt Hertel, MaschObGefr. Willi Montanus, MaschObGefr. Alfred Schott, Masch ObGefr. Hans Steinfals, MaschObGefr. Kurt Tröge, MaschObGefr. Frank Wenzel, SKad. Hildebrandt von Kracht, FunkObGefr. Kurt Reiner, and MechGefr. Kurt Nubler. 10 men were rescued by HMS "Eggesford".

On 24.06.1944 "S 157" (Oblt.z.S. Hans-Ulrich Liebhold) and "S 154" (Lt.z.S. Gunnar Kelm) escorted the old Jugoslavian torpedoboat "T 7" with her croatic crew. When passing the island Cocoglari the British boats "MGB 659", "MGB 662" and "MTB 670" attacked the German unit. "MTB 670" fired two torpedoes on "T 7". Both failed and exploded at the cliffs. "T 7" turned away when the British boats opened artillery-fire and ran aground at the little island Murter. The British boats with their superior guns held the German S-boats on distance. Later the S-boats could shake off the British boats and rescue 21 men of the crew of 35, among them 11 wounded, and bring them to Zara. 

Since 01.07.1944 the Italian lootboats "S 621" (StObStrm. Maniel) *), "S 627" (ObStrm. Kaufhold), "S 628" (Lt.z.S. Paul Overwaul), and "S 629" (Lt.z.S. Ernst-Günter Müller) were combat ready at Grado,  the boats damaged on 14.04.1944 by air-attack "S 623" and "S 626" (Lt.z.S. Burba) were not yet repaired and the boats "S 601", "S 602", and "S 604" were at Saloniki.

Due to the Allied advance in Italy and due to the retreat from the Balkan the operational area of the S-boats narrowed more and more, the Allied naval forces were supported by RAF and USAF, so that all retreaval convoys of the German side were attacked. The S-boats assigned as escorts could not really fend off the attacks by British naval forces. On  06. and 11.07.1944 British commandotroops had landed on the islands Hvar and Brac and forced the Germans to surrender.

S-boats of Type S 151 in the Adriatic Sea - (Picture: from Connelly/Krakow: Schnellboot in Action)

In the night 23./ 24.07.1944 the boats of the 7. SFltl escorted a convoy. When the S-boats pushed away attacking British MTBs, the MTBs fired torpedoes on the German S-boats. In avoiding the torpedoes "S 155" rammed "S 154". During a gun battle "MTB 372" took hits, explosions and smoke development were to be observed. The boat was later sunk by British fighterbombers. In the early morning the six boats, among them also "S 58" of the 3. SFltl, which had joined them, returned to Split. "S 154" had to be declared out of action (aKB).

On 26.07.1944 "S 151" (Lt.z.S. Pankow) escorting the small motorship "Vega" was damaged severely in a gun-fight with British units, the escorted ship "Vega" was lost. "S 151" got hits on the bridge in the hull and in the engine room. Five men were killed an five men were wounded. 

On 09.08.1944 was the pair "S 623" and "S 626" attacked by three fighterbombers. Both boats were hit several times. On "S 623" MatrObGefr. Schmidt, MatrObGefr. Buchholz, and MaschObGefr. Parusel were killed, one man was severely and five men were light wounded, FunkObGefr. Groß died from his wounds after an operation in the hospital, on "S 626" two men were severely and six men slightly wounded, on "S 623" one man was severly and five men were lightly wounded. Furthermore two Flak-Officers were wounded who were riding the boat for a trip to Venice.

In the evening of the 11.08.1944 "S 621", "S 627", and "S 628" went aground when entering Sibenik by a navigational error and were damaged so heavily that they were not combat ready for more than two months.  

On 19.08.1944 the 3. SFltl run into a gun battle with three British MGBs at the southcoast of the island Peljesac. In the course of it "S 57" (Oblt.z.S. Buschmann) was so heavily damaged that it had to be blown up. ObFhnr.z.S. Fritz Hundt und MaschMt. Josef Gunkel were killed in action and nine men were wounded. On "S 30" one man fell and on both "S 58" and "S 69" was one man wounded. 

"S 151" at Venice - (Picture: Archives Heinz Kloetzke)

On 01.09.1944 took Kptlt. Müller, A. command of the 3. SFltl. On 13.10.1944 the 3. and the 7. SFltl were merged, the two commanders Kptlt. Müller, A. and Kptlt. Trummer were transferred.

Of the previous 3. SFltl became the 1. Gruppe (group) of the 3. SFltl (Oblt.z.S. Backhaus) 

Boat Commanding Officer
S 30 Oblt.z.S. Gunnar Kelm
S 33 Lt.z.S Jarminowski
S 36 Lt.z.S. (KRO) Bruno Ahlers
S 58 Oblt.z.s. Günther Milbradt
S 60 StObStrm. Kaufhold
S 61 Oblt.z.S. Jürgen Haardtke

Oblt.z.S. Heinz Haag, previously CO "S 60", was transferred to the S-School-Division. He was awarded as 5. CO of the 3. SFltl the knight's cross (Ritterkreuz) on the 21.11.1944.

Of the previous 7. SFltl became the 2. Gruppe of the 3. SFltl (Oblt.z.S. Hans-Georg Buschmann)

Boat Commanding Officer
S 151 Lt.z.S. d.Res. Helmuth Greiner
S 152 ObStrm. Erich Mensch
S 154  ObStrm. Erwin Schiple
S 155 Oblt.z.S. Hans-Wulf Heckel
S 156 Oblt.z.s.d.Res. Marxen
S 157 Oblt.z.S. Hans-Ulrich Liebhold
S 158 StObStrm. Hertwig

The 24. SFltl (Oblt.z.S.d.Res. Hermann Bollenhagen) consisted of the following boats:

Boat Commanding Officer
S 621 ObStrm. Wernicke
S 623 ObStrm. Elsneit
S 626 Llt.z.S. Klaus Burba
S 627 Lt.z.S. (KRO) Svoboda
S 628 Lt.z.S. Paul Oberwaul
S 629 Lt.z.S. Ernst-Günter Müller

From 01. until 12. 09.1944 the British 14. Destroyerflotilla with destroyers "Undine", Urchin", "Loyal", and "Kimberley" as well as gunboats " Aphis" and "Scarab" some times taken German positions uin the area around Rimini under fire.

Am 11.09.1944 fuhren "S 152", "S 154" und "S 158" Sicherung für das beschädigte "S 155" und dann für ein deutsches Geleit. Dabei brachten sie ein Ruderboot auf und nahmen vier britische Soldaten und vier Partisanen eines Kommandotrupps gefangen. "S 155" war zuvor nach Pola entlassen worden.

Nach mehrtägigen Verzögerungen wegen schlechten Wetters brachten "S 623", "S 626" und "S 629" in der Nacht zum 15.09.1944 unter dem Decknamen "Holzschuh I" Radartäuschkörper aus. Zwei weitere Einsätze dieser Art wurden am 27. und am 30.09.1944 durchgeführt. Ansonsten wurden die S-Boote mit Fahren von Geleiten, mit Transportaufgaben und Landzielbeschuss eingesetzt.

Im Oktober 1944 fuhr die 1. Gruppe der 3. SFltl zwei Einsätze gegen Schiffsverkehr vor Ancona, ohne Ziele zu sichten. Ein Offensivunternehmen mit sieben S-Booten, dem Torpedoboot "TA 40" und den U-Jägern "UJ 202" und "UJ 208" am 10. /11.10.1944 gegen die Hafenanlagen

Inspection by F.d.S. at Venice - (Picture: Archives Heinz Kloetzke)

"S 33" at Venice 1944 - Picture: Archives Thomas Bethke

Seamen from "S 33" on leave at Venice 1944 - Picture: Archives Thomas Bethke

 "S 33" at Monfalcone 1944 - Picture: Archives Thomas Bethke

In October 1944 the 1. Group of the 3. SFltl undertook two sorties against shipping off Ancona, without sighting of targets. 

The offensive action "Dacapo" with two groups (1. Gruppe "UJ 202", "UJ 208", "S 623", "S 626", "S 628" und "S 629", 2. Gruppe "TA 40", "S 30", "S 58" und "S 61") on 10. /11.10.1944 against the island Molat occupied by partisans, the docks of Zapuntello and the radio- and signalstation Punta Banastra were carried out as planned. The equipment was destroyed, the torpedoes fired into the harbour did not detonate besides of one. The 1. Group destroyed a newly built cementpier in the Bight of  Punta Luccina. "S 626" got a 4-cm-hit in its forecastle under the waterline off Zapuntella which caused the foreship to be flooded. After "S 629" towed the boat first, "UJ 202" took over and towed first on a long hawser and finally alongside. was tugged in by "UJ 202". "S 623", "S 626" und "S 629" escorted the towing unit. All boats entered Pola in the morning.

On 18.10.1944 the 24. SFltl was ordered with "S 626", "MS 75" and "S 629" to launch two explosive boats (Linsen) each with a driver and two swimmers off Arcona.  Search lights operated ashore went over the boats without detecting them and also enemy S-boats between them and the coast did not detect them in the bad weather. "S 626" and "MS 75" launched the Linsen undiscovered and the boats returned to Pola in the night.

On 20.10.1944 the order to transfer three boats to Sibenik in order to bring a naval commando unit (Marineeinsatzkommando = MEK) to Lissa was postponed because the equipment had not arrived. When the equipment arrived prevented bad weather the operation. Also a furhter sortie of a MEK againsts a pipeline and a bridge at Fano on 23.10.1944 was cancelled because of the weather. On 25.10.1944 the boats transited to Grado, "S 630" transited to Venice. 

An order of the 20.10.1944, to transfer three boats to Sibenik in order to transport MEK-units to operations at Lissa had to be cancelled due to the fact that the equipment had not arrived.

On 21.10.1944 wind an seastate forced the three boats with embarked MEK-personnel to turn around. Also on the 23.10.1944 a MEK-operation against a pipeline, a railway- and streetbridge at Fano went wrong. 

Am 25.10.1944 the previous 3. SFltl was renamed 1. Schnellboot-Division (1. S-Div). The previous 24. SFltl was substituted to it. 

The same day "S 626", "S 629", and "MS 75" transitted to Grado, "MS 75" sailed on to Venice. 

The same dayx the 2. Group of the 3. SFltl lost "S 158" in an air-attack by Mosquito-bombers against Sibenik. Two men were killed , one man and the CO, StObStrm. Hertwig were seriously and four men lightly wounded. "S 156" was so badly damaged that it had to be reported not combat ready (aKB).

Wreck of "S 158" - Picture: Archives Heinz. Kloetzke

Diver at the Wreck of "S 158" - Picture: Unknown

From 26.10. until 08.11.1944 the weather was so bad that no S-boat-operations could be performed.

Only when it became known on 03.11.1944 that "TA 20", "UJ 202", and "UJ 208" had been sunk off the island Pago by the British destroyers escort "Avon Val" and "Wheatland", "S 30", "S 58", "S 60", and  "S 61" left Pola for a rescue operation which as also a planned march to Sibenik in order to evacuate the base had to be cancelled dur to the bad weather. During the night to the 04.11.1944"TA 40", "TA 45", "S 33", and "S 154" left harbour again and returned to Pola just before noon with 17 ssurvivors.

During the night 10./11.11.1944 "S 623", "S 626", "S 627", "S 628", "S 629", and "S 157" transitted from Grado to Pola, "S 621" had to stay at Grado because of engine failure.

A sortie of the 1. and 3. Group from Pola to the Italian eastcoast was broken off because of the Sirocco blowing with hurricane force.

On 16.11.1944  an advance of the 3. Group with "S 623", "S 626", "S 627", "S 628", and "S 629" into the island area to close of Zara was carried out, "S 626" had to be released early because of engine failure.

Am 18.11.1944 diente die 3. Grp. der 3. SFltl mit  "S 623", "S 626", "S 627", "S 628" und "S 629" wiederum dem Aussetzen eines MEK mit acht Faltbooten bei Selve. Die ausgesetzten Boote wurden wieder aufgenommen, weil der Befehl einging, einen Angriff auf eine Landungsgruppe bei Lussin durchzuführen. Dies erwies sich als Fehlmeldung. Auf dem Rückmarsch rammte S "628" das Vorschiff von "S 627". Beim Einlaufen lief "S 626" auf Grund aber ohne Schäden davonzutragen.

On 18.11.1944 the 3. Group of the 3. SFltl served again to lauch a MEK with eight collapsible boats off Selve. The launched boats were picked up again when an order to attack a landing force near Lussin. The landing proved as a misinformation. On their way back "S 628" rammed the forecastle of "S 627". When entering harbour "S 626" run aground without suffering damages.

"S 627" which had only been provisionally repaired after the damage had  to return early due to bad weather from a launching of a MEK with eight collapsible boats on the 19.11.1944. On "S 628" two engines fell out and the boat had to return also. Therefore the operation was cancelled.

 Not earlier than on 19.11.1944 could "S 60", "S 61", "S 58", and "S 30" leave the harbour of Pola for an advance against suspected shipping off Ankona. "S 60" fired a torpedo against a shadow interpreted to be a coatal tanker. The torpedo went deep under the target and exploded on the shore. A torpedo of "S 61" became a surface-runner and went out of sight. A further torpedo of "S 61" sank the sank themotorvessel "Stella" (162 BRT) anchored outside the harbour of San Benedetto del Tronto. "S 61" took the schooner "Adua" (148 BRT) under gun-firee and finally blew it up. On th way back an aircraft attacked the boats with light bombs without any hits.

During the night 22./23.11.1944 l"S 60", "S 61", "S 58", and "S 30" laid a minebarrier off Catolico/Pesaro. In the same night the 3. Group performed an operatin with fourt boats in vain. It had to be broken off due to bad weather.

During the night 23./24.11.1944 "S 629", "S 154", and "S 157" operated as distant covering force for a unit of the minelayer "Fasana" and the torpedoboats "TA 40" and "TA 45".

During the night 24./25.11.1944 the 3. Group with five boats operated as covering force for a sortie with 16 assault boats (Sturmboote) against Melada and Isto. Bad weather forced them to break off.

On 26.11.1944 the boats at the arsenal at Pola got through an air attack without damages.

On 29.11.1944 Kommodore Petersen, F.d.S., arrived together with the Divison-Commander of the 1. S-Div for an inspection of the 3. Group on the 30.11.1944, on the 01.12.1944 he inspected the 1. and the 2. Group.

A clear sign of the British presence in the Adriatic Sea was made by anti-aircraft-cruiser "Delhi" entering Split on the 10.11. and of the anti-aircraft-cruiser "Colombo" entering Zaraon the 18.11.1944. 39 fleet- minesweepers and numerous small units were employed to sweep mines in teh Adriatic Sea. From 01.09. until 05.12.1944 more than 2000 mines were swept.

 Im Dezember 1944 war das Wetter noch schlechter als im November, an 17 Tagen konnten die S-Boote nicht auslaufen. Die Boote der 3. Gruppe "S 623", "S 626", "S 627", "S 628" und "S 629" gingen am 03.12.1944 nach Monfalcone in die Werft. Die Überholungs- und Reparaturarbeiten wurden durch ständige Fliegeralarme gestört. Als die Boote wieder nach Pola zurück kamen, war entweder das Wetter zu schlecht oder die Boote hatten Motorenprobleme, so dass keine Einsätze gefahren wurden. 

In December 1944 the weather was even worse than in November, on 17 days the S-boats could not leave harbour. The boats of the 3. Group "S 623", "S 626", "S 627", "S 628", and "S 629" went into the shipyard at Monfalcone on 03.12.1944. The maintenance and repair work was hampered by permanent air alarms. When the boats returned to Pola, either the weather was bad or the boats had engine problems so that no sorties were carried out. On 04.12.1944 "MS 75" was assigned to the 3. Group and got the designation "S 630" .

The nine boats of the 1. and the 2. Group carried out a sortie during the night 03./04.12.1944 against suspected landing traffic near Lussis. They and the assault boats supporting them, however, run into empty space.

During the night 07./08.12.1944 "S 30", "S 33", "S 36", "S 58", "S 151", "S 152", "S 154", "S 156" and "S 157" were covering a minelaying operation of minelayer "Fasana" and torpedoboats "TA 45" and "TA 40" in the Straits of Zara. On this barrier sank the British destroyer escort "Aldenham" on 14.12.1944.

"S 30" during shipyard trials - Picture: Archives Lürssen

An attack with wire-guided demolition boats (Sprengboote) on alleged Allied units laying off Sibenik during the night  15./16.12.1944 run into emptiness.

On 17.12.1944 three British destroyers and three MGBs fired at the harbour of island Lussin. In a gun battle with British MGBs two men of "S 152" were wounded. 

Besides of that the S-boats on several occations covered small transports with which German basepersonnel was transported off to the north and the islands were evacuated.

At the end of the year 1944 the three Groups of the 1. S-Boat-Division in the northern Adratic Sea consisted of the following boats:

1. Group S 33, S 36, S 58, S 60, S 61 ready for action at Pola
S 30 aKB in the shipyard at Pola
2. Group S 151, S 152, S 154, S 156, S 157 ready for action at Venice
S 155 aKB in the shipyard at Pola
3. Group S 621, S 623, S 626, S 628, S 630 ready for action at Grado
S 627, S 629 aKB in the shipyard at  Mofalcone

During the first days of the year 1945 the Bora blew, so that the boats had to stay in harbour. During the night 04./05.01.1945 "S 33", "S 60", "S 58", and S 61 carried out a sortie towards the island Molat. In the Bregulie-Bight they run into a guard, which was sunk with a torpedo by "S 332". It was the Harbour-Defence Motor Launch "HDML 1163". Thereafter the boats advanced towards the harbour of Porto Nuccina. " S 61" fired two torpedoes into the empty harbour. However, they were caught in a net barrier which caused no damage to the boats.

During the night 09./10.01.1945 another MEK-operation took place for the 1. Group. "S 58" and "S 61" were sent back due to enginge failure. The order of the MEK, to blow up  of two street and one railway bridges as well as one railway track across the river Tenna could be carried out. The 3. Group had also a MEK-operation to perform. "S 621" had to be dismissed to Pola because of an unoperational engine. The MEK was landed and a reconnaissance stripe was executed towards the Pettini-islands. No tagets came into sight.

During the night 10./11.01.1945 the 1. Group left harbour to continue the MEK-action of the previous day. Underways "S 60", "S 33", and "S 58" stranded at the coast of the island Unie due to a compas failure. Immediately initiated trials to tow the boats of the coast by "S 30" failed. During the night 11./12.01.1945 two Navy barges tried to tow the boats off the ground but also without success. In the evening arrived the tug "Chirone", but returned immediately, in order to be back to Pola in the early morning as ordered. 

In the evening of the 15.01.1945 "Chirone" came again, the trial to tow "S 58", which was laying most favourable for a rescue, failed and the recovery of the boats was broken off. In the morning of the 16.01.1945 a group of British MGBs and MTBs appeared and took the mishaps under fire. One MTB fired a torpedo on "S 33" which detonated 5 m from "S 33" on the cliffs. The boat was damaged severely. By 5,7-cm-hits the boat burst to flames, the torpedoes remained on board exploded and detroyed the boat. "S 60" and "S 58" took also many artillery-hits, three men were wounded. In that night the boats were blown up. With that there were only three boats left from the former 3. SFltl.

During the night 18./19.01.1945 three boats from the 1. Group and five boats from the 2. Group carried out a sortie into the Zara-Canal. In so doing they run into gun fights with British guards, "S 30", "S 151", and "S 152" were hit several times by 20-mm and 40-mm-bullets. On "S 152" one man was heavily wounded.

Boats of the 7. SFltl in the  Adriatic Sea - (Picture: Archives Foerderverein)

On 19.01.1945 at noon British fighterbombers in two waves attacked the boats remained in Pola, without causing damages worth mentioning.

On 20.01.1945 just after 11.00 happened an attack by 13 American Mustangs alo without mayor damges.

On 21.01.1945 folowed a new attack by British fighterbombers. "S 154" (ObStrm. Schipke) was hit so heavily, that repairs were not worthwhile. One man was slightly wounded on "S 626" during the attacks.

During the night 22./23.01.1945 "S 30", "S 36", and "S 61" laid mines in the channel between Molat and Sestrugno.

After that until the end of the month no operations could take place because of bad weather or fuelshortage. During the first half of February there were no actions of the 2. and the 3. Group because of fuelshortage. The 1. Group tried to carry out a minelaying operation during the night 04./05.02.1945, but run into a gun battle with two groups of British MGBs. The unprimed mines went over board by a hit on "S 36", "S 33" and "S 61" laid their mines unprimded, since this group also had the order to cover the torpedoboats "TA 41" and "TA 45". The boats run again into a gun battle with MGBs, but could keep clear from the torpedoboats.

During the night 05./06.02.1945 the boats went to sea again und run into a gun battle with British MGBs. In the course of this "S 36" and "S 61" collided. They were repaired provisionally and were no longer usable for larger actions. 

On 07.02.1945 Pola was attacked by 30 British bombers. On 13.02.1945 four-engined US bombers attacked town and arsenal Pola. On 21.02. and 23.02.1945 Pola was once more target of bombattacks, in the course of that was the Mine Weapon Command (Sperrwaffenkommando) destroyed, so that no mines could be loaded any more.

The shipyard area at Monfalcone was no longer to be used after a heavy bombattack on 16.03.1945, so that no repairs could be carried out any more.

During the last weeks of the war the boats left harbour only sporadicly if the fuelsituation permitted. War diaries were no longer written. Successes were not achieved.

On 30.04.1945 blew Lt.z.S. Müller, E.G. his boat "S 629" up.

On 01.05.1945 arrived the 2. Newzealand Division together with Tito's partisan army Monfalcone. On this day " "S 157" (Oblt. Liebhold) came under motar fire west of Triest and sunk. In this action three men fell. ObStrm. Elksneit scuttled his boat "S 623" at Triest. 

During the night 01./02.05.1945 Tito's partisans occupied Triest, Goerz, the peninsula Istria with Pola. There were still the boats: "S 30" (Lt.z.S. Svoboda), "S 36" (Lt.z.S. Jarminowski), "S 61" (Oblt.z.S. Hardtke), "S 151" (Lt.z.S. Greiner), "S 152" (ObStrm. Mensch), "S 155" ( Oblt.z.S. Heckel) und "S 156" (Lt.z.S. Marxen). 

"S 30", "S 36", "S 61", "S 151", "S 152", "S 155", and "S 156" at Ancona (Picture from: Dallies-Labourdette)

These seven boats went under command of the Division Commander (Kptlt. Wuppermann) and the Commander of the 3. SFltl (Kptlt. Schulz) with all flotillapersonnel to Ancona to surrender to the Royal Navy. The boat were towed to La Valetta/Malta and sinked in vecinity of the island after the end of WW II.

S 157 in La Valetta/Malta Harbour, in the background boat with code "D" - Picture: Archives Ashley Gowing

S 61 in La Valetta/Malta Harbour - Picture: Archives Ashley Gowing

S 61 and S 157 in La Valetta/Malta Harbour - Picture: Archives Ashley Gowing

S 61 being towed by MTB 670 in La Valetta/Malta Harbour - Picture: Archives Ashley Gowing

The left over boats from the 3. Group were laying in more or less useable condition in the shipyard and fell into the hands of the 8. British Army there. "S 630" served until its decommissioning on 18.05.1949 under her old designation "MS 75" in the Italian Navy. On 06.07.1949 she had to be delivered to the UdSSR.

Members of the staff and the crews of the boats of the 1. S-Boat-Division were taken prisoners of war and transported to Egypt where they stayed some years. 

POWs of the 3. SFltl in POW-Camp - Picture: Archives Thomas Bethke

Christmascard from the POW-Camp - Arkives: Thomas Bethke

 

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*) According to the KTB of the FdS was "S 621" under command of OFhr.z.S. Rolow, the KTB of the 24. S-Fl states that StOStrm. Maniel is commanding officer, "S 627" according top the KTB of the F.d.S. was under command of  OStrm. Jahraus, whereas the KTB of the 24. S-Fl states StOStrm. Kaufhold as commanding officer.