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S-Boats in the Kriegsmarine 1935 - 1945

War-Zones of the S-Boats

 Baltic Sea 1944 - 1945

In view of the successful winter offensive of the Soviet Army against the Army Group North (Heeresgruppe Nord) and the fall of Nowgorod on 20.01.1944 and the withdrawal from the town Luga on 12.02.1944 the SKL envisaged the danger of activation of the Soviet Baltic Fleet in the Gulf of Finland. Therefore, the immediate transfer of the 6. SFltl (Korv.Kpt. Obermaier) from Ijmuiden to the Baltic Sea was ordered.

At this point in time the flotilla existed of 10 boats:

Boat Commanding Officer Remarks
S 39 Lt.z.S. Enno Brandi  
S 76 Kptlt. Jens Matzen  
S 79 Oblt.z.S. Georg Korn  
S 90 Lt.z.S. (KrO) HErbert Zillmann  
S 91 Oblt.z.S. Herbert Nolte Promotion 1.3.44
S 97 Kptlt. Schnebel  
S 114 Oblt.z.S. Nitsche Promotion 1.4.44
S 128 Oblt.z.S. Rindfuß Installation of 40-mm at Rotterdam
S 132 Kptlt. Witt  
S 135 Oblt.z.S.d.Res. Licht Installation of 40-mm at Rotterdam

Upon completion of boats "S 128" and "S 135" they were put under control of the 2. SFltl for one operation. During this "S 128" was lost on 23.02.1944 due to a collision with "S 94" (Oblt.z.S. Bosenuik). 

The infavourable weather resulted in the flotilla's entering Reval on 15.02.1944 only with seven boats. A change of weather occurred with icing of the Gulf of Finland, so that the boats were taken back to Libau. 

On 07.03.1944 the flotilla transferred with tender "Carl Peters" (Oblt.z.S. Reuthal) to Reval-Kopli and end of March into the Finnish skerries off Luwista. The flotilla was mainly operating against pickets and small boat units since there were no torpedoworthy targets. Thus it came to frequent gun fights.

On 14.05.1944 the 6. SFltl sank the Soviet guard "MO-122" in a fight east of the island. On 26.05.1944 the flotilla reported the sinking of a guard again.

After  the Allied landing in the Normandy had taken place on 06.06.1944 and on 14.06.1944 14 S-boats had been victims of an Allied bomb attack at Le Havre, the 6. SFltl was ordered back to the western front.  

On 15.06.1944 the 6. SFltl left Helsinki with eight boats. "Carl Peters" stayed at Reval, "S 79" in the shipyard at Libau. On 19.06.1944 Cuxhaven was entered. The weather permitted the transfer to Ijmuiden not earlier than on 25.06.1944. "S 39" had an engine failure en route and was dismissed to Cuxhaven together with "S 135".

Since the SKL had requested F.d.S. to make proposals how he could imagine an S-boat presence in the Baltic Sea, he proposed to form a flotilla of eight boats with skull-bridges (Kalottenbrücke = armoured bridge) from the stock of the S-Boat-School-Division (S-Boot-Lehrdivision).

In addition to the already existing two S-Boat-School-Flotillas there had been formed the 3. S-Schul-Fltl (Kptlt. Siems) on 15.06.1944. The 10. SFltl (Kptlt. Müller, K.) having been formed in March 1944 was performing training with the older boats "S 65", "S 67", "S 80", and "S 85" and the new boats "S 183", "S 185", and "S 191" based on Swinemünde. The boat "S 192" commissioned on 07.06.1944 was still at Travemünde for remaining works.

"S 65" ona training voyage in the Baltic Sea (Picture: Archives E. Skjold)

On 15.06.1944 four Finnish S-boat-crews arrived at Saßnitz, which were to take over the boats "S 64", "S 83", "S 99", and "S 117". Also the boats "S 862, "S 89", "S 92", and "S 98" were planned to be deliveredy to the allied Romania. The handing over of eight boats in this phase of the war was a bigger bleeding. The political and the military development, however, did not let it happen, the boats foreseen for Romania stayed in posession of the KM. The boats already on the Danube were stopped and integrated preliminarily into the Danube-Flotilla before they were transferred back to the Baltic Sea. Boats "S 92" and "S 98" were still at Linz when they were stopped on 24.08.1944 with engines just mounted, the boats were taken apart again and transported back to Germany. "S 86" an "S 89" were already at Orsava when they got the order to return. On 25.08.1944 they were assigned to the Donau-Flotille. On 21.09.1944 the boats were at Linz. "S 92" and "S 98" were assigned to the 5. SFltl, "S 86" and "S 89" to the 1. SFltl and the four "Finland-Boats" ("S 64", "S 83", "S 99" and "S 117" were assigned to the 2. S-School-Fltl.

"S 85" in a harbour in the Baltic Sea (Picture: Archives E. Skjold)

The SKL insisted in detachment of a S-flotilla to the Baltic Sea. F.d.S. finally detached the  5. SFltl, of which only "S 112" was still in service. The 5. SFltl (Kptlt. Holzapfel) had practically to be newly taken into service on 03.07.1944. It got the boats "S 65", "S 67", and "S 80" from the 10. SFltl. From the  2. S-School-Fltl came "S 120" and "S 68"; from the 3. S-School-Fltl came "S 85". As tender the 5. SFltl got "Hermann von Wissmann" (Kptlt. Jakobsen).

The 5. SFltl with "S 65", "S 67", and "S 80" together with the tender left harbour on 12.07.1944 to transfer to Finland. The crews were poorly trained. The boats were marterialy not 100 % ready for action. "S 85" remained behind with propeller problems. As berth the bight west of  Strømslandet was planned.

"S 68", "S 110", "S 116", and "S 120" were at Stettin for engine overhaul. End of July "S 68", "S 85", and "S 120" transferred from Libau to Helsinki, "S 110" and "S 116" were fitted with a 40-mm gun at Gotenhafen (Gdynia).

Iniitially the boats operated from Helsinki, then from Hamina, without finding worthwhile targets. Mostly they were employed in picket and mining service. 

On 30.08.1944 the 5. SFltl was ordered to drop depth charges on the sinking position of "U 250" in order to destroy the boat. The submarine had, however, already been salvaged by the Soviets. On the way back "S 80" (ObStrm. Borkenhagen) run into a mine off Viborg. Killed in action were: MatrObGefr Walfdemar Riegel, MaschObGefr Hans Mischer, MaschOBGefr Hans Rugelies, MaschObGefr Hans Tittel, Matr (SOA) Egon Voigt.

On 01.09.1944 the 5. SFltl consisted of the following boats:

Boat Commanding Officer
S 65 Lt.z.S.d.Res. Rudolf Schepers
S 67 Lt.z.S.d.Res. Heiko Buddeke
S 68 Oblt.z.S. Fritz Schey
S 85 Oblt.z.S. Schorbach
S 110 Oblt.z.s. Johann Schmölzer
S 116 ObStrm. Heinz Deppe
S 120 Oblt.z.S. Heinz Ahrens

On 02.09.1944 the Finnish prime minister declared the breaking off of the diplomatic relations to Germany and requested that Germany should withdraw its troops from Finland. Therefore, the 5. SFltl and "Hermann von Wissmann" transferred to Baltischport (Padilski) on 02.09.1944. On 14.09.1944 the offensive of the Soviet army against the Army Group North (Heeresgruppe Nord) commenced.

On 14.09.1944 thee 5. SFltl left harbour with four boats ("S 116", "S 85", "S 120" und "S 110") to mine the base of the 1. Finnish SFltl. The mines were laid as planned off Kotka, however, the Finns had observed the mining operation and could therefore not be hindered to leave Kotka. The mining was a measure within the operation "Tanne Ost", the occupation of the island Hogland. The German landing corps, however, was forced to surrender to the Finns. The attack plan reached the 5. SFltl so late that it could not prevent the Finnish S-boat attacks.

On 16.09.1944 the 5. SFltl undertook a sortie from Reval in direction of Hogland, without Soviet ships coming in sight. A Finnish S-boat group passed without a fight developing.

On 17.09.1944 navy personnel was recovered from the island Pein Tytarsaari by the 5. SFltl, among them the commander of the 7. gunboat-flotilla, which had taken part in operation "Tanne Ost".

On 17.09.1944 the OKM ordered F.d.S., to dispatch the 2. S-School-Fltl immediately for operations in the east. The flotilla reported boats and tender "Tsingtau" ready to proceed on 19.09.1944. The transfer was ordered not earlier than on 29.09.1944. 

On 18.09.1944 the boats of the 5. SFltl escorted the hospital ship "Oberhausen", a German-Finnish POW-exchange were to take place, but the Finnish boats did not appear.

On 22.09.1944 Reval (Tallinn) was given up and the 5. SFltl transferred to Windau (Ventspils) after they had mined the harbour-entrance of Reval..

On 29. and 30.09.1944 the two flotillas laid mines again. A sortie into the sea area off Dagø and Ösel remained without enemy contact. 

On 01.10.1944 the boats "S 64", "S 76", "S 81", and "S 135" were available at Windau. When the commander 2. S-School-Fltl, Kptlt. H.H. Klose, entered Windau, the newer tender "Hermann von Wissmann" was transferred back to Germany because of the high air threat. The 2. group of the 2. S-School-Fltl ontinued training based upon Swinemünde.

The island Dagø had to be given up on 03.10.1944, on 05.10.1944 the Soviets landed on Öland. On 08.10.1944 the 2. S-School-Fltl mined the Pernau Bight with 32 LMBs.

In the following time the 5. SFltl and the 1. Group of the 2. S-School-Fltl performed common reconnaissance voyages frequently and laid mines in many nights.

On 22.10.1944 the 2. S-School-Fltl together with the 1. R-Fltl laid barrier "Olympia I" (40 LMB) while the 5. SFltl laid barrier "Olympia II" (32 UMB). 

 During a sortie into the Bight of Riga "S 110" was attacked by a Soviet aircraft and had to take many hits on  26.10.1944.

During September and October 1944 many Soviet ships were lost on the barriers: a submarine, four minesweepers, three small minesweepers, three patrolboats, five S-boats, two tugs, and a gunboat.ed on Öland. 

On 01.11.1944 the boats of the 1. SFltl were widely spread: Only one boat, " S 65", was ready for action at Windau. "S 68" and "S 116" were not ready for action at Gotenhafen, "S 67" and "S 120" at Stettin, "S 85" at Königsberg, "S 110" at Danzig. Of the 2. S-School-Fltl were "S 64", "S 69", "S 76", "S 81", "S 99", and "S 117" ready for action at Windau, "S 83" and "S 113" were at Swinemünde.

On 18.11.1944 the attack on the peninsula Sworbe commenced. The 5. SFltl performed reconnaissance off Sworbe with four boats in order to find a reported landing unit. They bumped into a unit of six motor gunboats and 14 small vehicles. When they attacked them they got under fire of units that had approached unnoticed. "S 69" and "S 65" attacked the unit sighted first with torpedoes, all failed. "S 68" and "S 116" attacked the other unit. A group of Soviet S-boats intervened in the battle and shortly after six aircraft attacked the boats. "S 68" took some hits, on "S 116" one engine fell out and one man was killed in action. The landing unit was not sighted.

In December 1944 the 2. S-School-Fltl performed three mining operations. Mid December of the 5. SFltl were ready for action "S 68", "S 116", and "S 120" at Windau. "S 65" was in the shipyard at Danzig, "S 67" was not ready for action at Stettin, "S 110" was not ready for action at Gotenhafen. On 23.12.1944 the flotilla was called back to the west and arrived at Kiel on 26.12.1944 with "S 48", "S 67", "S 85", "S 92", "S 98", "S 110", "S 127" and "S 132". 

On 21.12.1944 the 4. SFltl called back from Norway arrived at Kiel and sailed on to Wilhelmshaven.

On 25.12.1944 also the 1. S-School-Fltl with tender "Adolf Lüderitz" was ordered to operate at the front. It was ordered to Norway.

On 25.12.1944 also the 1. S-School-Fltl with tender "Adolf Lüderitz" was assigned to front-employment. It was ordered to proceed to Norway.

On 25.12.1944 the provisional base at Windau was ready so far, that tender "Tsingtau" could be withdrawn. On the same day four boats of the 3. S-School-Fltl - "S 24", "S 25", "S 105", and "S 118" - transferred to Copenhagen. The other eight boats - "S 68", "S 97", "S 107", "S 108", "S 113", "S 115", "S 122", and "S 123" -  remained at Swinemünde. "S 21", "S 22", "S 50", "S 101", "S 103", "S 95", "S 120", and "S 82" were in the shipyard at Stettin. The newly formed 1. Section of the S-Boat-Trainingdivision only had "S 19" at its disopsal.

The 1. S-School-Flotilla tansferred in January 1945 with "S 62" (Oblt.z.s. Hermann Rost), "S 79" (Oblt.z.S. Herbert Zeiler), "S 90" (Lt.z.S. Gärbers, and "S 133" (Lt.z.S. Günter Schiersmann) und dem Begleitschiff "Adolf Lüderitz" to Kristiansand. "S 89" (Oblt.z.s. Jasper Osterloh) stayed KB at Swinemünde, "S 109" (Lt.z.S.d.Res Kopperneck) was getting new propellers at Stettin. The flotilla as "Einsatzgruppe Egersund" was to stay at immediate readiness in all nights other than nights with ho German traffic between Kristiansan and Stavanger an night not permitting S-boat-actions.

At the same time four boats ("S 24", "S 25", "S 105" and "S 118" transferred to Copenhagen. The school-boats "S 97", "S 107", "S 108", "S 113", "S 115", "S 122,m "S 123" and "S 68" stayed at Swinemünde. "S 21", "S 22", "S 50" "S 101", "S 103", "S 95" "S 120" and "S 82" was for differnet reasons in the shipyard at Stettin. 

The newly formed 1. SFltl (Korv.Kpt. Büchting) had been provided with the newly built "S 225" (Oblt.z.S. Behrens), "S 707" (Oblt.z.S. Neumeier), and "S 216" (Kptlt. Seevers) at the outset of the New Year. In January 1945 followed "S 708" (Obl.z.S. Karl Silies), "S 218" (Oblt.z.S. Günther Lutherer), and "S 217" (Oblt.z.S. von Dülong). In March  followed "S 226" (Lt.z.S. d.Res. v. Glasenapp).

Early March the first boats were fully trained and "S 707", "S 218", "S 216", and "S 225" transferred from Kiel via Gjedser to Saßnitz on 12.03.1945. On 18.03.1945 "S 217", "S 708", and "S 226" (Lt.z.S.d.Res. von Glasenapp) folowed. 

In the evening of the 06.03.1945 Saßnitz became target of a RAF air attack, 191 Lancaster-bombers and seven Misquitos attacked harbour and roads. On the roads the destroyer "Z 28",  the subchasers "UJ 1109" and "UJ 1119" were sunk, the fully engaged hospital transport ship "Robert Möhring" burned out. Also the base installations of the 11. SFltl were hit by bombs, the Fltlt-Ing and an administrations officers were killed. The attack caused totally more than 500 dead and 300 wounded.

On 18.03.1945 a pair /"S 64" and "S 81") of the 2. S-School-Fltl was on a patrol off Libau. It bumped into a group of Soviet S-boats. "TK-66" was sunk in gun fight. "TK-195" was damaged.

On 22.03.1945 "S 216" and "S 218" brought Gen.Adm. Kummetz, the Kpt.z.S. Junge and Liebeschütz and the Freg.Kpt. Dominik and  Heydel to Hela. En route they were joined by "S 217", "S 226", and "S 225". At Hela additionally Adm. Buchardi embarked for the voyage to Pillau.

On 25.03.1945 engine problems occurred on "S 216", "S 708", and "S 217" which could only be solved at a shipyard, therefore, from the 1. SFltl only "S 707" and "S 218" were ready for action. 

On the German side the bigger warships remaining were used as floating artillery of the army. Therefore, the war at sea was left to the few S-, U-, and R-boats.

The Soviet Baltic Fleet comprised of: 

Battleship 1
Cruiser 2
Destroyer 12
Coastdefence Ships (T-Boats) 5
Submarines 28
S-boats 78
Minesweepers 73
Small Minesweepers 204
Armoured Boats 47

The Maritme Aircraft of the Baltic Fleet were at its disposal: 

Fighter Aircraft


Torpedo Aircraft 87
Bombers 74
Ground Attack Aircraft 176
Recce Aircraft 66
Artillery Support Aircraft 13

On 27.03.1945 the boats "S 64" (ObStrm. Deckert), "S 69" (Lt.z.S. Runge), and "S 81" (Oblt.z.S. Wülflng) of the 2. S-School-Fltl patrolled west of Libau. In the course thereof they bumped into nine Soviet S-boats. In a gun fight "TK-166" and "TK-181" were sunk. "S 64" captured the damaged "TK-199". An attempt to tow it failed. 11 men were rescued. Besides of that "TK-16", "TK-60", "TK-136", and "TK-200" were damaged. 

On 30.03.1945 "S 707" and "S 217" got the order to torpedo the battleship having been sat on ground on 27.03.1945 off Gotenhafen (Gdynia), since the battle mast was used as a artillery observation platform by the Soviets. The effect of the torpedohits on the battle mast were equal to zero.

End of March 1945 the new boats of the 1. SFltl after rectification of shortcomings were ready for action. It transferred with seven boats ("S 216", "S 217", "S 218", "S 225", "S 226", "S 707" und "S 708") in thick fog to Hela on 06.04.1945 with the installed FuMG (Radar) permitting a perfect navigation.

The harbour of Hela was already under fire of Soviet artillery. The auxiliary "Franken" and the submarinechaser "UJ-301" were sunk on 08.04.1945. The 1. SFltl rescued 98 survivors.

On 09.04.1945 occurred four air attacks against the harbour of Hela. The S-boats could avoid the attack by alarm-start. M/S "Albert Jensen" fully occupied by refugees was hit, "S 707" and "S 225" went alongside and took over the survivors. Shortly thereafter the ship sank. "S 226" was damaged by fragments. The Flak on "S 216" fell out because of a barrel burst. 

"S 216" went into the shipyard at Swinemünde until 19.04.1945 for installation of a new 3,7-cm-gun and towed thereafter a new built S-boat to Saßnitz ("S 710"?). "S 226" went also into the shipyard and did not return to the flotilla.

The 5. SFltl (Kptlt. Holzapfel) having been withdrawn from the Baltic in December 1944 got the order on 02.04.1945 at Den Helder to transfer via Kiel to Swinemünde. Main base of the flotilla became Laboe by order of the Admiral Western Baltic (Admiral Westliche Ostsee) but the flotilla was ordered to transfer to Rønne/Bornholm.

During the night 09./10.04.1945 "S 708" and "S 225" operated off Gotenhafen. They sank erroniously the little steamer "Neuwerk", which had not answered a identification request, by torpedo with 13 crew, 854 wounded, 60 railwaymen, 7 orderlies, and about 100 refugees on bord. Only 78 persons could be rescued by a S-boat.

On 15.04.1945 the 5. SFltl entered Rønnne/Bornholm with seven boats. At this point in time it consisted of "S 48" ((Lt.z.S.d.Res. Rudolf Schepers), "S 67" (Lt.z.S. Heiko Buddeke), "S 85" (lt.z.S. Hans-Ludwig Reimers), "S 92" (Oblt.z.S. Fritz Schey), "S 98" Lt.z.S. HEinrich Horkisch), "S 65" (Oblt.z.S. Hans Schmölzer , "S 127" (Oblt.z.S. Hinrich Ahrens) and "S 132" (Lt.z.S. Heinz Deppe).

On 30.04.1945 High Command of the Navy (Oberkommando der Marine - OKM) issued a message concerning  selfdestruction of warships. In it it was ordered that upon codeword "Regenbogen" all ships of the line, cruisers, destroyers, torpedoboyts of newer build, S-boats and U-boats were to be scuttled resp. selfdestructed, on all other ships th weapons are to be destroyed, craft which are ro be used in civilian context or in minesweeping service are to be maintained. Codeword "Regenbogen" can be ordered for single areas.

Order of OKM "Regenbogen" - Kirchspielarchiv Steinberg


On 01.05.1945 "S 216", "S 208", and "S 217" entered Rønne. On 04.05.1945 "S 216" and "S 217" sailed to Hela, took over Vizeadmiral Thiele and brought him to Libau (Lipāla). 

In the meantime the 5. SFltl had performed several voyages the the Pommeranian coast and to Rügen, to take over blocked off troops.

On 03.05.1945 boat "S 201" after a British Airattack on Kiel was scuttled in the harbour of Kiel. 

The same day "S 226" and "S 170" were on march from Travemünde to Flensburg when they were attacked several times by Typhoon fighterbombers. The commanding officer "S 226" (Lt.z.S.d.Res. von Glasenapp) decided to scuttle his boat near Heiligenhafen while the commanding officer of "S 170" (Lt.z.S. d.Res. Arnhardt) tried to leave the scene with maximum speed and firing from all barrels. The whereabouts of the boat are not clear. It is likely that at sank approx. 2 miles northwest of Kelds Nor/Langeland (in this position a wreck of a boat type 38 or 100 has been located).

On 04.05.1945 boat "S 103" (Oblt.z.S. Heckel) of the 3. S-SchulFltl at Svendborg had received orders to to reconnoitre whether the British had already come to Flensburg. He left harbour with a totally inexpirenced crew and was attacked by British Typhoon-fighterbombers of RAF Squadron 193 with rocketbombs and had to take two direct hits. The boat sank at position 54o 16'N 010o 07'E. 18 men of the crew were killed in action. The commanding officer and 11 men, thereamong six wounded, were picked up by a Danish fisherman and brought to Mommark.

The same day "S 18" was sunk by British fighterbombers off the island Omø. 

On 04.05.1945 High Command of the Armed Forces (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht - OKW) ordered that from 05.05.1945 08.00 armistice against the troops of Field Marschal Mongomery will be in force. Troops have to stay in their positions. Transport movements of the Kriegsmarine at sea shall be continued. No selfdestructions, scuttlings, or demonstrations are to be carried out. Obidience and disciplin are to be maintained with iron strength.

Order of OKW of 04.05.1945 - Kirchspielarchiv Steinberg

From a report of Oblt.z.S. a.D. Gunnar Kelm, at that time commanding officer of "S 305", it is known that boats "S 191" (Kptlt. Horst Weber) and "S 301" (Lt.z.S. d.Res. Benja) were attacked from the air at the east-entrance of Femern Sound on 05.05.1945. The boats were severely damaged and the commanding officers decided to scuttle their boats.Probably that happened already on 04.05.1945 because on 05.05.1945 no air attacks were carried out by the British. In the war diary of OKM the boats were noted as missed since 03.05.1945. In the fighting reports of  RAF Squadron 193 attacks against 17 boats thereamoung S-boats off Femern on 04.05.1945 are stated. 

On 05.05.1945 "216" and "S 707" brought Vizeadmiral Thiele back to Hela.  

S-Boats in the harbour of Røne/Bornholm early May 1945 - Picture: Henry Pedersen

On 05.05.1945 in Rønne the German capitulation in the western area became known. Thereupon agreed the commander of the 5. SFltl and the CO of torpedoboat "T 28" to leave to the west in the night to the 06.05.1945, to land the crews and to sink the boats. However, "T 28" got the order to take part in the evacuation of the peninsula Hela. The commander of the 5. SFltl decided to take part in the evacuation of Kurland. At the muster of the crews he requested from everybody to step forward if they did not want to take part and to stay with the staff. Nobody stepped forward. The march of the seven ready for sea boats "S 127", "S 65", "S 67", "S 85", "S 92", "S 98", and"S 48" to Libau passed without incidents. The flotilla entered harbour in the morning of the 07.05.1945. It was welcomed by the commander of the 2. S-School-Fltl, Kptlt. H.H. Klose. Also the 1. SFltl was moored in the harbour.

In the early morning of the 05.05.1945 the U-boats anchored in Gelting Bay received the codeword "Regenbogen", which before the partcapitulation became binding at 08.00 resulted in the U-boats to scuttle. For the S-boats and tenders the order did not apply.

The eye-witness Hans-Niko Diederichsen reported, that in the morning of the 05.05.1945 when he wanted to look what the reason was for the explosions in the bight he observed that only the S-boats and their tenders and some minesweepers still were there, the U-boats had disappeared. On the beach of Norgaardholz a S-boat had stranded. Our resaerches proved that it was "S 108". The people living close to the bight started soon to canibalize the boat, the deck and hull were used as firewood. The remains were removed in 1948 when clearing the bight from wracks was started. 

"S 108" stranded at Norgaardholz - Picture: Walter Schöppe (Kirchspielarchiv Steinberg)

On the same day "S 65" (Kptlt. Detlefsen, Fltl-Commander) and "S 68" (OFhr.z.S. Lohse) of the 3. S-School-Fltl stopped minesweeper "M 612" at the entrance to the Flensburg Fjord, the complement of which had mutinied when the heard that they were to go to Reval to save soldiers of the army. They were on way to Flensburg instead. The S-boats threatened to fire torpedoes and boarded the boat. The boats authorities were freed and the mutineers were arrested. The boat was accompanied to Sønderborg where the 11 mutineers were court-martialed, sentenced to death and executed on board in the Alsensund. At Sønderborg/Alsen a memorial stone for the mutineers was erected on 09.09.2020.


Biligual Memorial Ston for the Executed of "M 612" at Sønderburg/Alsen - Picture: Rudi Hansen

On 06.05.1945 an unknown boat was scuttled about 2 miles northwest of Rødbyhavn/Laaland after it had been attacked by fighterbombers. The survivors /19 of 232 men) went ashore under command of the commanding officer with the undamaged livesaving equipment at Kramnitze and reported at the Nakskov police station.

On 07.05.1945 tenders "Tanga" and "Buea" and the 3. S-Scholl-Fltl transferred from Svenborg to Gelting Bight. Here were already tender "Hermann von Wissmann" and the remaining boats of the 8., the 9. and the 10. SFltl.

On 08.05.1945 the complements of the boats of the  8., 9. 10. Schnellbootsflotillas and of the 3. Schnellbootsschoolflotilla as well as the tenders as well as of "S 306" of the 1. SFltl, which had been commissioned on 11.04.1945, gathered in the Gelting Bay fell in for a lasts muster. The F.d.S., Kommodore Petersen, on board "Hermann von Wissmann" remembered of the successes achieved and the  losses suffered, commemmorated the killed in action and remenbered to keep op order and diszipline. Then the flags were hauled down in a ceremony. The command-sign remained flying.  

Muster in the Gelting Bay 08.05.1945 - Picture: H.F. Nitsche (Kirchspielarchiv Steinberg)

Muster in the Gelting Bay 08.05.1945 - Picture: Walter Schöppe (Kirchspielarchiv Steinberg)

In the morning of the 08.05.1945 the boats of the 1. SFltl, the 5. SFltl and the 2. S-SchulfFltl initially took 100 army soldiers on board each, when ceasefire was ordered the S-boats enlarged the number of soldiers to be transported to 165. In the evening minesweepers and small minesweepers, harbour defence boats, tugs, coasters, and tender "Tsingtau" left harbour with approximately 14.400 soldiers on board, alone "Tsingtau" transporting 2.000 wounded. After nightfall the 1. SFltl with "S 208", "S 216", "S 217", "S 218", "S 225", "S 707", and "S 707" the 5. SFltl with "S 48", "S 65", "S 67", "S 85", "S 92", "S 98", "S 127", and "S 132" and the 2. S-School-Fltl with "S 64", "S 69", "S 76", "S 81", "S 83", "S 99", "S 117", and "S 135". The 23 boats had totally about 2.000 army soldiers on board. Left behind was the mayority of the Kurland-Army: 42 generals, 8038 officers, 181.032 petty officers and ratings as well as 14.000 Latvian volunteers became Soviet POWs.

On 09.05.1945 the last court-martial of the S-boat-forces took place against the deserters of the S-Boat-School-Divison, Matrose Fritz Wehrmann, Obergefreiter Martin Schilling, Marinefunker Alfred Gail and Matrose Kurt Schwalenberg, on bord "Buea" ancored in Gelting Bay. The thre defendants, Wehrmann, Schilling und Gail were sentenced to death, Matrose Schwalenberg as a fellow traveller to a long enprisonment.

The 19 S-boats of the so called "Kurland-Flotillas" (1. SFltl, 5. SFltl, 2. S-School-Fltl) entered Gelting Bight without incidents in the evening of the 09.05.1945. 

"S 216" (Kptlt. Seevers) had stayed behind at Hela. He took 99 soldiers on board and left harbour together with two small minesweepers. They escorted for a time the ex-passenger-ship "Rugard" with 1300 people on board on her way to the west. In the afternoon of the 09.05.1945 about 35 groud attack aircraft attacked a convoy of war fishery boats west of Christiansø. Some pairs also attacked "S 216" with bombs, rockets and machine guns. One bomb penetrated the forecastle without detonating. On board there were two men killed in action, 13 severely wounded and seven slightly wounded among the embarked soldiers. On 10.05.1945 the boat moored at Kappeln/Schlei and disembarked the killed and the unharmed soldiers then the boat continued to Schlewig to disembark the wounded.

The base personnel of the 5. SFltl having remained on the island Bornholm chartered two fishing kutters with owners and could thus arrive at the Bight of Gelting.

During the last days of war another seven boats were lost by enemy actions:




Lost by

03.05.1945 S  201 Lt.z.S. (KRO) Kohrt Air attack at Kiel
03.05.1945 S 226 Lt.z.S.d.R. v. Glasenapp Scuttled north of Heiligenhafen
03.05.1945 S 170 Lt.z.S.d.R. Arnhardt Sunken off Bagenkop/Langeland
04.05.1945 S 103 Oblt.z.S. Heckel Sunken after hits by rocket bombs off Mommark
05.05.1945 Herold ex S 18 ? Sunken after hit by bomb off Laaland
07.05.1945 S 191 Kptlt. Weber Scuttled after collision in Sound of Femern
07.05.1945 S 301 Lt.z.S. Benja Scuttled after collision in Sound of Femern


After the German capitulation and arrival of the boats from Kurland, the tenders "Hermann von Wissmann", "Tanga", "Tsingtau", "Carl Peters", and "Buea" and 50 S-boats were laying in the Bight of Gelting:

1. SFltl S 208, S 216, S 217, S 218, S 225, S 707, S 708, S 306
5. SFltl S 48, S 65, S 67, S 85, S 92, S 98, S 127, S 132
8. SFltl S 196
9. SFltl S 227
10. SFltl S 110, S 215, S 228, S 305
2. S-School-Fltl S 64, S 69, S 76, S 81, S 83, S 99, S 117, S 135
3. S-School-Fltl S 19, S 20, S 21, S 24, S 25, S 50, S 68, S 82, S 95,        S 97, S 101, S 105, S 107, S 108, S 113, S 115, S 118,   S 120, S 122, S 123

On 10. 05.1945 at 16.00  the three ratings of the Schnellboat-School-Division sentenced to death, Matrose Fritz Wehrmann,  Obergefreiter Martin Schilling and Marinefunker Alfred Gail, were executed by a firing squad on the quarterdeck of "Buea". A memorial stone was devoted to them in Fischer-Lietzow-Weg at Norgaardholz on 09.07.1999.

Memorial ston at Norgaardholz - Picture: Bernahrd Asmussen

On 10.05.1945 the submariners that had stayed at farms in the vecinity were embarked in S-boats at the pier of Norgaardholz and transported to Flensburg where they were interned an had to stay in "camps" in Eiderstedt for some weeks.

Submariners are embarked in S-boats at Norgaardholz - Picture: Walter Schöppe (Kirchspielarchiv Steinberg)

On 11.05.1945 at 11.00 hours a last ceremonial colours was performed for the "Kurland-Flotillas" in the Bight of Gelting. The F.d.S., Kommodore Petersen, spoke from tender "Tsingtau" to the crews lined up on their boats of 1. SFltl, the 5. SFltl, and the 2. S-School-Fltl. With lowering of the flag the S-boat force had ended to exist.

The S-boat-crews traded fuel and other onboard-stores againsr food. Fuel was also transported with liquid manure cars. Thus both side were helped, the sailors hasd something to eat and the farmers had fuel for the next harvest.

Tenders, U-boats and S-boats supply people - Picture: Walter Schöppe (Kirchspielarchiv Steinberg)

On 14.05.1945 tender "Carl Peters" was lost when it weighing anchor run into a mine and sank. The crew could leave the ship without losses by assistence of the S-boats.

A contemporary witness, the former MechObGefr. (T) Erwin Heller, today 95 years old and living at Bestwig/Sauerland, who in those days was sailing in a boat of the 3. S-Schul-Fltl, reported on 22.10.2020 by telphone, that he, after the British had ordered that the boats had to be deserted, wanted to leave his seabag wirh a friend on "Carl Peters". When he was in the torpedo-spares-store with his friend at 03-level, an explosion occurred, th ship was shaked the lights went out  and the ship started to list. His friend and he run toward the upper deck as fast as they could. The boat in which he sailed, the number of it he does not remember, was alongside and they went aboard at once. Shortly after the boat had cast off, "Carl Peters" sank and with her his seabag including his military passbook, what had caused problems for him in British captivity again and again.

S-Boats rescueing the Crew of "Carl Peters" - Picture: Jupp Struppe (Kirchspielarchiv Steinberg)

Tender "Carl Peters" capsizing - Picture: Jupp Struppe (Kirchspielarchiv Steinberg)

The almost 50 S-boats were laying alongside their tenders in Kielseng By/Flensburg Fjord until thei were transferred to Wilhelmshaven in Juli 1945. There they were, together with the boats that had been transferred there from other harbours, divided up by the three Allied, Great Britain, UdSSR, and USA.

"Hermann von Wissmann" and "Tsingtau" in th Bight of Kielseng/Flensburg Fjord - Picture: Archives G. Mikolajewicz