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S-Boats in the Kriegsmarine 1935 - 1945

War-Zones of the S-Boats

Aegaen Sea 1943 - 1944

Mid of August 1943 two boats assigned to the 3. SFltl, "S 36" (ObStrm. Ahlers) and "S 55" (Oblt.z.S. Weber), were sent from Northafrica into the shipyard at Salamis .


On 01.11.1943 the 24.SFlt (Kptlt. Meyer, H.J.) had been formed. The first assigned  boats were Italian loot-boats of type MS, these had been built by Lürssen in 1936 to 1938 for Yugoslavia on bassis of teh plans for "S 2" ("Orjen") and captured by the Italians on 17.04.1941 at Tiwat and commissioned as boats of type MS. The Ttaliena Navy had, however, substituted the 40mm- dn 15 mm/36-guns with two 20mm-guns.

Initial assignments:

S 601 ObStrm. Swoboda ex Itallian 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 "Rudnik"
S 511 Teniente Santagata ex Italian MAS 522 ex Yugoslavian "Orjen"
S 512 ? ex Italian MAS 542 ex Yugoslavian "Suvobur"

"S 511" had deserted to the German side on 19.09.1943. Boats "S 601" - "S 604" became German loot when Piraeus was occupied on 09.09.1943.

Early November "S 55" was ready for action again and took part in the action "Unternehmen Leopard" - the landing of German troops on the island Leros on 12.11.1943. 

As reinforcement and to support the German attack in the Dodekanes the flock "S 54" (Oblt.z.S. Claus-Degenhart Schmidt),"S 61" (Oblt.z.S. Axel von Gernet) transfer to Piräus. The two boats left Pola on 11.11.1943 and transitted via Dubrovnik to Korfu. "S 61" had to go back because of a broken crankshaft and to enter Cattaro. "S 54" sailed on via Korfu to Kalymnos which it arrived at on 15.11.1943. 

During the night 16./17.11.1943 "S 54" escorted a convoy from Kalymos to Leros and carried out an inspection-voyage through the bights of Leros. During the night 17./18.11.1943 it performed an inspection-voyage in the sea area west of Leros without enemy contacts, at the end of which it entered Kos.

During the night 18./18.11.1943 "S 54" performed a sortie into the sea area around Samos and entered Portolago in the morning of the 20.11. The same day "S 55" entered Portolago after her time at the shipyard at Salamis.

On 21.11.1943 "S 54" and "S 55" transported a German negotiater to Tigano/Samos, after an unsuccessfull mission the boats returned to Portolago.

Next day the negotiator was transported to Tigano again. Thereafter "S 55" performed an inspection-voyage through the straits of Samaos and entered at the end Vathy. 

On 23.11.1943 "S 54" transported General Müller from Tigano to Carlovassi and back again. Entering Vathy the boat hit a underwater obstacle getting away from a civilian ship what resulted in a rudder deficiency. "S 55" had meanwhile transitted from Vathy to Kos in order to refuel and transitted  back to Vathy on the 24.11.1943. In so doing it suffered sea-damages of some magnitude. 

On 25.11.1943 "S 54" and "S 55" transitted from Vathy to Piraeus. on the way a shaft-bearing broke on S 54", so that the boat was aKB until the 14.08.1943 at Piraeus. There was also "S 36" unmanned and aKB since 14.08.1943. Also "S 55" had to go to the shipyard and was aKB from 26.11. to 05.12.1943.

On 04.12.43 "S 511" was against the expressed dissent of the flotilla-commander, Kptlt. Meyer, employed for a daylight transport to Leros. The boat and the escorts, three Arados 196 were attascked by Beaufighters, the aircraft were shot down and the boat severely damaged, two men were killed. Upon beaching the boat on the little island Makronisi West of Levitha it capsized and sank.

On 06.12.1943 "S 36" and "S 55" transported the Commanding Admirial Aegean Sea and his staff for an inspection review of the islands of the Dodekanes from Salamis via Samos to Leros and back to Salamis.

From 12.12. to 14.12.1943 escorted "S 36" and "S 55" minelayer "Drache" which on the way out transported troops and on the back back prisoners of war from Piraeus to Samos and back.

On 17.12.1943 "S 36" and "S 55" transitted from Salamis to Cataro leaving the war theater Aegaen Sea.

In the meantime "S 54" had become ready for action (KB) again and escorted another transport of troops of "Drache" from Piraeus to Carlovassi/Samos together with "TA 14", "TA 15" and "R 211" during the night 21./22.12.1943 and on the way back again with prisoners of war to Salamis. Around 04.30 "S 54" detected a submarine which was fought by "S 54" and "TA 14" without success.

On 23.12.1943 the British submarine "Sportsman" succeeded in sinking the Bulgarian coalsteamer "Balkan" escorted by "S 54", "TA 14", and "R 211" on the march from Lemnos to Saloniki. "S 54" and "R 211" rescued the survivors and entered Saloniki.

 "S 54" together with "TA 14" and "R 211" escorted a convoy of steamers "Sabine", "Susanne", and "Petrella" and some Siebel-ferries from Saloniki to Piraeus from 25. to 27.12.1943.

Therafter "S 54" was not ready for action (aKB) at Salamis for weeks. 

On 25.01.1944 "S 601" (ex "MS 42", ex "Velebit") and "S 603" (ex "MS 44", ex "Triglav"), old Lürssen-boats still with gasoline-engines, were to transit from Salamis to Korfu. On "S 603" (Oblt.z.S. Hermann Bollenhagen) all three main engines fell out, so that it had to sail on marchmotor. Shortly before arrival of the island Korfu on 27.01.1944 the boats were attacked by one Spitfire ans some minutes later by four Spitfires. "S 601" (ObStrm. Svoboda) shot down one aircraft. Both boats had taken many hits. On "S 601" MechObGefr. (T) Schulz and MechGefr. (T)  Zill fell, one man was wounded; on "S 603" there were two severely and two slightly wounded, among them also the commanding officer.

After repairs of the damages to the boats "S 601" and "S 603" left Korfu harbour on 22.02.1944. Shortly after passing the harbour barriers on "S 603" occurred a  fire in the carburettor with a fire developing in the boat. Just after having extinguished the fire another fire in the carburettor happened. The repairs lasted for some days. During the trials-voyage on 26.02.1944 again a fire in the carburettor happened. On the 14.03.1944 the march-engine exploded on "S 603" when starting it. One man was seriourly and two men lightly wounded. The boat was damaged severely. The upper deck was torn up on both sides, a spare-torpedo was thrown onto the pier with its tailend, the engine-rooms were burned out, all main-propulsion engines were unserviceable. With help of "S 601" which partly towed the avarist  could transit via Preves and Levkas to Patras from the 23.03. until the 20.03.1944.

On the same day "S 601" carried out an action against the partisans on the island Oxia. During this action a motorsailer loaded with gasonlinbarrels was blown up. The next day "S 601" together with a motorsailer and "MAL 12" transported German troops to the island, in order to search for partisans, however, without finding any.

"S 604" (ex "MS 45", ex ""Rudnik")  at that time was not ready for action (aKB) at the shipyard at Salamis, "S 602" (ex "MS 43", ex "Dinara") was ready for sea. On 31.03.1944 "S 603" arrived the shipyard at Salamis. After supply of torpedoes and depthcharges "S 601", "S 602", and "S 603", which had to be tugged again, left harbour. Via Chalkis and Volos they transitted - "S 601" from Volos in tug of a freighter, the other two boats as covering force - to Saloniki, where they arrived on 18.04.1944.

On 22.04.1944 "S 54", which had been laying at Salamis not combat ready (aKB) and had at times carried out escort duties was strongly damaged by hitting a mine during its transit into Adria at the southern tip of Levkas. Three men were killed. The stern was torn of. The boat was towed to Salamis and came never back to sea. 

In September 1943 the 21. SFltl (Kptlt. Wuppermann, from 01.03.1944 Kptlt. Graser) had been formed at Eckernförde. It had LS-Boats being assigned to it. On 01.05.1944 the flotilla arrived at Athens-Phaleron with the first four boats - "LS 7" (ObStrm.Schipke), "LS 8" (ObStrm. Klaiber), "LS 9" (ObStrm. Huckebrink), "LS 10" (ObStrm. Breitschuh). The boats had, however, first to be made ready for action.

The commander 1. S-Div. intended to bring the boats from Korfu into action against Allied convoys in the Otranto-Straits. Shortage in covering forces led the Admiral Aegaeis to use the four boats as covering force also during daytime. In July 1944 the four boats were laying at Rhodos, than three boats at Athens-Phaleron - "LS 8" was laying aKB at Leros. In the second half of Juli 1944 the boats transitted back and forth between Phaleron, Arteni, and Piraeus, preparations for a base on Korfu started.

"LS 7" in the Aegaen Sea (Pictures: Archives P. Schenk)

End of Juli 1944 the flotilla got its fifth boat with "LS 11" (StbsObstrm. Henseleit)

Boat number six, "LS 12" (ObStrm. Huckebrink) - command of "LS 9" ObStrm. Boldt had taken - was still performing trials in the homeland, was delivered on the 12.07.1944 and prepared for the transport to the Aegean Sea but did not arrive there due to the development of the military situation. It was stopped in Yugoslavia and came to the torpedo trials establishment as a trials boat. It became Soviet warloot in 1945.

From 05. until 07.09.1944 "LS 7", "LS 8", "LS 9" "LS 10", and "LS 11" transitted from Athens via Patras to Korfu. An operation in the Otranto-Straits during the night 11./12.09.1944 the boats had to break of because of the seastate. 

On 08.09.1944 was "S 54" damaged end of 1943 decommissioned at Salamis. 

After operations of the boats of the 21. SFltl were not possible during the following nights because of the weather, Group South (Gruppe Süd) ordered on 17.09.1944 the re-transit of the flotilla into the Aegean Sea.

On 21. and 22.09.1944 the boats left Korfu arbour once more to support the undertaking "Odysseus", transit of three modern TA-boats from the Adria to teh Aegean Sea. But the boats had to give up due to the weather.

On 24.09.1944 the flotilla transitted with four boats via Patras to Athens. Only "LS 7" remained at Korfu because of engine failure and the boat was substituted the 1. S-Boat-Division again. 

On 27.09.1944 the boat left Korfu and reached Durazzo on the 28.09.1944. Next day it reached in spite of seastate, poor visibility, and kompas failure Dubrovnik. 

On 01.10.1944 "LS 7", "LS 9", and "LS 10" operated from the island Leros. "LS 8" and "LS 11" were in the shipyard at Athens for repair of damages.

On 10.10.1944 "LS 8", "LS 9" und "LS 11" were blown up at Athens-Phaleron because of the German retreatment from the Aegaen Sea. "LS 10", the only seaworthy boat, joined a convoy to Saloniki. Just outside the harbour of Volos "LS 10" was hit by a bomb on 14.10.1944 and sank. 

"S 601" and "S 603" as well as 4 LS-Boats alongsinde the unrigged Yacht of the King in Athens-Phaleron Harbour - Picture: Archives Freundeskreis Schnellboote und Korvetten

The flotilla personnel started their march to the north on 12.10.1944. They were stopped near Skopje by the 22. Mountain Corps (XXII. Gebirgskorps) on 18.10.1944. 74 men with special training for S-boats could get home with a JU 52 upon recommendation of F.d.S., 200 men remained in land-combat.

"LS 7" undertook a remarkable trip on its own to the northern Adriatic Sea. In sailing aroung a mine barrier the boat run into a sandbank near the island Grado on 13.10.1944. The crew disembarked and fought their way through to the base Palmanova. On 14.10.1944 the boat laying high on the sand was destroyed by British fighterbombers.

On 31.10.1944 the decommissioned Boat "S 54" of the 24. SFltl was blown up when Salamis was given up.

On 15.12.1944 F.d.S. applied to disband the 21. SFltl.