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S-Boats in the Kriegsmarine 1935 - 1945

War-Zones of the S-Boats

English Channel and Northsea 1945

At the beginning of year 1945 F.d.S. had only 51 S-boats at the western front of which 22 were not ready for battle (aKB), one was ready for action (KB) at Kiel and two were at the trials command:

2. S-Fltl Korv.Kapt. Opdenhoff S 174, S 177, S 180, S 181, S 209, S 210, S 221 at Den Helder
S 176 aKB at Wilhelmshaven
4. SFltl Korv.Kapt. Fimmen S 202, S 204, S 205, S 703 at Rotterdam
S 201 aKB at Bergen
S 219 aKB at Rotterdam
S 220 aKB at Wilhelmshaven
5. SFltl Kptlt. Holzapfel S 98 at Wilhelmshaven
S 48, S 67, S 85, S 98, S 110, S 127 aKB at Wilhelmshaven
S 116 at Kiel
S 120 aKB at Kiel
S 132 aKB at Cuxhaven
6. SFltl Kptlt. Matzen S 211, S 212, S 222, S 223, S 704, S 705 at Rotterdam
S 213 aKB unknown harbour
S 706 aKB at Wilhelmshaven
8. SFltl Korv.Kapt. Zymalkowski S 194, S 196, S 197, S 199, S 701 at Rotterdam *)
S 193 aKB at SBB Ijmuiden
S 195 aKB at Emden
9. SFltl Korv.Kapt. v. Mirbach S 130, S 168, S 175, S 206 at Rotterdam
S 112 aKB at St. Peter Port
S 167 aKB at Rotterdam
S 207 aKB at Rotterdam
10. SFltl Kptlt. Bludau S 191 at Amsterdam
S 186 aKB at Wilhelmshaven
S 215, S 224 at ErprobungsKdo Baltic

*) according to KTB of F.d.S.; according to Jac J. Baart at Ijmuiden


The outset of the year 1945 was dominated by bad weather, so that the boats did not leave harbour. An attempt to sail for a torpedo-action of the 4., 6. and 9. SFltl on 05.10.1945 had to be broken off, an other attempt of th 4., 6., 8., and 9. SFltl with 24 boats on 09.01.1945 as well.

On 09.01.1945 "S 116" run on ground in the Elbe estuary and was damaged so much, that she was decommissioned and layed up at Lürssen--Shipyard surviving the end of war. It was not turned over to the Allies but taeken over by Schiffsicherungslehrgruppe of the Bundesmarine on 13.06.1957 as trainings-hulk.

The 5. SFltl had arrived at Den Helder with the six boats "S 48", "S 67", "S 85", "S 92", "S 98", and "S 127" on 10.01.1945.

For the night 14./15.01.1945 a common minelaying operation of the 2. and the 5. SFltl was planned. The 5. SFltl with "S 98", "S 67", "S 127 "S 48", "S 92" and "S 87" had left harbour in the evening with mines. "S 98" and "S67" had to be dismissed due to enginetrouble. The other boats laid four UMB and 15 LMB on the convoy-route notheast of Cromer. (see Minelayingsketch below).

Minelayingsketch óf the 5. SFltl - Picture from Leinen los 5/2021

At the same time was the 2. SFltl with "S 221", "S 176", "S 210", "S 180", "S 174" "S 209", "S 181" and "S 177" at sea with mines. "S 221", "S 180", "S 181" and "S 177" had to turn around because of engine trouble. The remaining four boats laid 6 LMB and 8 UMB on the convoy-route off Cromer. "S 209" lost contact to the flotilla because of jamming of two mines, laid her mines and returned to Den Helder alone. On this barrier sank on the same day the freighter "Dalemore" (5835 BRT). On the 19.01. reported the recconnaissance group that on the barrier a steamship and the freighter "Grainton" (6341 BRT) were sunk. As dammaged were reportet: The tanker "San Nicolas" and the freighters "Empire Milner", "Leaside Park" and "Carrier". In reality only the Norwegian freighter "Carrier" (3036 BRT) sank. "Leaside  Park" and "Empire Milner" had rammed the wreck of "Dalemore" but could enter Hull with slight damages.

The German boats had been detected ba a recconnaissanvce aircraft and a group of Coastal Forces left Yarmouth. At 01 o'clock radarstation Trimingto detected the boats, the destroyer escort "Middleton" directed to them pursued an own tug which sailed around in the area. When a Lancaster-bomber crashed into the radartower of station Bard Hill this lost contact just having established it. 

The boats of the 2. and the 5. SFltl laid mines on the convoi-route off Cromer. When returning "S 180" (OLt zS Albrecht Pillet) run into a German mine. The torpedoes exploded and the boat sank. The commanding officer and SKad. Hermann Trulsen, StrmMt. Bernhard Kolthoff, FkObGefr. Friedrich Braun, Gefr. Brenner, MaschGefr. Leonard Armbichler, and five other men were killed in action. Three wounded and nine unharmed men could be rescued.

During the night 15./16.01.1945 a torpedo operation was conducted with different attack points in the Thames estuary and off Zeebrügge.The 8. SFltl succeeded to torpedo the landing ship tank "LST 415" off the Thames estuary. The boats returned undamaged.

The next evening the 2. SFltl with "S 221", "S 174", "S 209" and "S 181" and the 5. SFltl with "S 98", "S 67", "S 92" and "S 48" were at sea for a torpedo-operation against a northbound convoy north of Cromer. The convoy was not found and the boats came into a fight with destroyer escort "Farndale". The boats come back to Den Helder unharmed in the early morning.

The 8. SFltl with "S 194", " 196",m "S 197", "S 199" and "S 701" was at sea also and was detected just after leaving harbour and attacked with bombs. Close to Fort Sand Tangues teh boats fired eight FAT and LUT on a convoy. The British tanklandingship "LST 415" (1625 ts) was hit and had to be sat on the beach. A fight with the sloop was overcome without damages.


Bad weather prevented every operation of the boats until 20.01.1945. Not earlier than during the night 22./23.01.1945 the 4., 6., 8., and 9. SFltl left harbours Ijmuiden and Hoek van Holland with a total of 16 boats, to operate against convoys in the Scheldt estuary and in the Channel. 

The 9. SFltl was detected by sloop "Guillemot" south of North Falls and reporteded by unencrypted Enemy Contact Report. Therefore, F.d.S. could warn the 8, SFltl which could thus avoid the sloop. When the flotilla run into the convoy "S 168" and "S 175" fired four torpedoes againsst a struggler of the convoy. The freighter „Halo“ (2.365 BRT) was sunk with a fan-shot. The trawler "Turquise " could rescue the entire crew. Half an hour before midnight the 8. SFltl was attacked by frigate "Stayner" with "MTB 495", "MTB 446", "MTB 496" and "MTB 497" angegriffen, whereby "S 168" (Oblt.z.S. Dau) got a 7,6 cm hit on the bridge, a 5,7 cm hit destroyed the port-torpedotube, one man was killed, six men were wounded, among them the commanding officer. 

The 8. SFltl (Korv.Kapt. Zymalkowski) advanced in direction North Forland and run shortly after midnight into the Sloop "Guillemot", a torpedo fired by "S 194" failed. "S 194" had to take a hit, one man was killed. But the flotilla could sail away from the slow Sloop and took again course on North Forland. About 03.00 lct. "S 701" detected targets with her FuMB (ESM) and the boats approached a convoy. Two fired torpedoes failed and the boats were taken under fire by Fort Tonge Sands and came into fights with the British Frigate "Seymour", the Sloop "Guillemot" and three MTB-groups consisting of three resp. two boats ("MTB 451", "MTB 452" und "MTB 450", "MTB 495" und "MTB 446" sowie "MTB 454" und "MTB 447"MTBs 451, 452 and 450, MTBs 495 and 446 as well as MTBs 454 and 447). In these actions collided "S 701" and "S 199". The bow of  "S 199" (Oblt. z.S. Quistorp) was torn apart, the boat was so badly damaged, that it could not be held afloat and therefore was scuttled. Due to a collision between the MTBs "MTB 495" was badly damaged. 


One of the last Immages of "S 199" before her Loss - Picture from Steve Wiper: Kriegsmarine Schnellboote

In some sources - especially in Britsh - it is presumed that "S 199" was sunk by the AA-batteries of Fort Tongue Sand. 

But according to a report of OLt.z.S. d.Res. Quistorp (†) on 25.08.2012 in a conversation with the WEB-Master the survivors were rescued after 6 1/2 hours in the life-rafts by minesweeper RCS "Neave" from the icecold waters of the Channel. One man was killed  and three men were wounded by the propellers of "Neave". Oblt.z.S. Quistorp (†and 17 survivors were taken to Gillingham and became POWs. Oblt.z.S. Quistorp stated, that the seamanship and the friendliness of the Canadian "Neave"-crew was outstanding.


Locations of Forts in the Thames estuary - Picture from Wikipedia

 When entering Ijmuiden "S 194" run aground but could free itself again. "S 701" was taken under fire by own pickets, it had taken so severe damages by the ramming that it did not become ready for action again before the end of the war.  

The other flotillas remained without successes. The 6.  SFltl had to dismiss "S 704" shortly after lealving harbour becaus of engine trouble. The flotilla made way by going north of the battle scene, did not find the convoy and returned without result. On the march back "S 705" had a rudder failure and waterpenetration in compartment I. In the 4. SFltl "S 204" had enginetrouble and lost contact to the flotilla. By searching for the boat the flotilla lost so much time that it could no more get to the convoy. Therefore, the march back was started. The flotilla tried to operate against the convoy reported by the 8. SFltl. when the FuMB on teh boat of the guide failed and visibility went below 2000 m they marched back "S 175" was slightly damaged. On "S 219" an auxilliary engine failed, on "S 202" so strong vibrations occurred that the boat was damaged. Both boats had to be reported AKB.

In the  night 23./24.01.1945 the 4., 6. awith eight boats left harbour for a torpedo-operation against the Thames-Scheldt-traffic. They had to return because of bad weather. The 5. SFltl with "S 98",  "S 48", "S 85", "S 127", "S 92" und S 67" left harbour for a mining action east of Dungeon. Upon sighting by a contact-holder the boats were attacked by Wellington-bombers several times. Because of engine trouble on  "S 92" and "S 67" the boats had to be dismissed and because "S 127" lost contact to the flotilla due to poor visibility,  only three boats laid mines on the route. After having laid the mines the flotilla was attacked by aircraft with bombs and aircraft weapon several times. The guide "S 98" got splinter damages on the bridge and at the ship's side. 

During the night 24./25.01.1945 again mining operations were conducted against the convoy route off Orfordness. The 2. SFltl with "S221", "S 176", "S 209", "S 181" and "S 177" left harbour at 20.30. "S 176" had engine failure an was dismissed together with "S 209". The other boats laid their 12 UMB-mines as planned. The 4. SFltl also left harbour with "S 206", "S 175" and "S 703" in the evening. "S 204" could not take part because it has a damaged propeööer. The other three boats lais their mines as planned. The 6. SFltl with "S 211", "S 222", "S 704" and "S 223" laid 24 UMB. In a fight with a destroyer and MTBs several 20mm-hits were observed on the destroyer. All boats returned unharmed to their harbours.

Muster before leaving the SBB - Picture: PK-Foto

Since the ice situation at Rotterdam had worsened, the harbour had a close ice cover, on the Maas drifting ice was prevailing, the 4. SFltl with boats "S 205" and "S 703", the 6. SFltl with "S 211", "S 222", "S 223", and "S 704", and the 9. SFltl with "S 130" transferred to Ijmuiden on 26.01.1945.  

On 29.01.1945 the 2. and the 5. SFltl left harbour with 11 boats to contaminate the convoy-route between Cromer and the Humber estuary. Short after leaving Den Helder the boats were attacked by Wellington-bombers without damages. While the 2. SFltl could lay the mines according to plan the bad weather caused a heard time to the boats, partly the mines jumped out of their rails, some even went over board. All boats came back with heavy damages caused by the sea and breakdown of the radiostations and had to be reported aKB.

Also on 31.01.1945 the weather did not permit any S-boat-operations. On 03.02.1945 an attack with 17 Lancaster-Bombers was performed against Ijmuiden. 17 Tallboy-Bombs were dropped, in a second wave 18 Wellington-Bombers dropped 18 Tall-Boys on the harbour-infrastructure.

In the night 05./06.02.1945 the 2. and the 5. SFltl left harbour for a mineoperation. Again the boats were attacked from the air immediately. Because of poor visibility the boats had to return. On their way back the boats were again attacked with bombs without taking damages.

On 08.02.1945 occurred another bombraid against the harbour of Ijmuiden with 15 Lancester-bombers. That resulted in the destruction of "S 193" having been locked in in the SBB since 15.12.1944. 

Tallboy-Craters around Haringshaven Ijmuiden - Picture: Archives Bunkermuseum Ijmuiden   


"S 193" as Wteck in the SBB Ijmuiden - Picture: Archives Bunkermuseum Ijmuiden

On 12.02.1945 again a mining-operation was ordered, an action that was not carried out because of fog. The same happened on 15.02.1945.

In the night 17./18.02.1945 another minelaying-action was conducted in the Humber estuary by the 2. and the 5. SFltl with 11 boats. Just after leaving harbour "S 209" had engine breakdown and was sent back alone. In the poor visibility she did not find the harbour entrance and had to roam around in the Texel area until the next morning. The other boats laid their mines according to plan. On these barriers sank the French destroyer escort "La Combatante" on 23.-032 and on 25.02. the trawler "Aquarius". The freighters „City of Lincoln“ (8039 BRT) and „Cydonia“ (3517 BRT) on 19. rsp. 28.02. got mine-hits without sinking.  

In the night 20./21.02.1945 the 2. SFltl with "S 221", "S 176", "S 210"/"S 174", "S 181" and "S 209" performed a torpedo-operation againt a southbound convoy at Smith's Knoll. Boats "S 174" and "S 209" found themselves in the middle of the convoy. "S 174" fired two LUT, "S 209" two T-1 without hits. After reloading "S 209" fired two more torpedoes also without suiccess. When pulling back they heard five detonations. A freighter had burst in flames. "S 209" got several hits in a fight with escorts. A fire could be extinguished rapidly. One man was wounded. The first group of the 2. SFlktl and the 5. SFltl attacked a convoy south of Great Yarmouth and could report four rsp. seven hits.  The British freighters „Goodwood“ (2.780 BRT) and „Blacktoft“ (1.109 BRT) sank, the ex-Danish freighter „Skjold“ (1.345 BRT) was fired to burn. Alle boats of the 2. SFltl had enginetroubles during this action because of salty diesel-fuel. The flotilla fell out for two days in order to remove and to clean the tanks.

In the hights 22./23.02. and 23./24.02.1945 the 4., 6., 8. and 9. SFltl laid mines on the Thames-Scheldt-route, on the way back three boats of the 8. and two boats of the 2. Sfltl downed a fighterbomber, "S 2092 another. On "S 2092 one man was wounded.

On the barriers laid on 21.02. the French motorfishingboat "Notre Dame de Grace" (26 BRT), on 26.02. the British steamer "Auretta" /4751 BRT) and the American freighter "Nashaba" (6054 BRT), on 27.02. the British freighter "Sampa" (7176 BRT) and on 01.03. The American Liberty-Ship "Robert L. Vann (7176 BRT) sank. 

In the night 24./25.02.1945 another mining-operation was conducted by the 4., 8. and 9. SFltl in the area along the coast of Flandres. The 4. SFltl laid their mines west of Blankenberge and came into heavy fights with MGBs. On the way back "S 204" had water penetration and "S 703" rudder failure. warf ihre Minen westlich Blankenberge und geriet in heftige Gefechte mit MGBs. From the 8. SFltl "S 196" had rudder failure and was dismissed together with "S 209" as escort. The other three boats laid their mines northwest of Ostende. The 9. SFltl had several fights with  destroyers and MGBs but laid their mines northwest of Zeebrügge. On the way back "S 167" (St.Ob.Strm. Seifert) had a rudder failure and rammed "S 705". "S 167" had to be given up dure to the severe damages suffered. The complete crew was taken over by the other boats. On "S 205" Mech.Gefr. (T) Hans Brzemek was killed.

Since on 19.02.1945 for the first time Russian S-boats had attacked the traffic from and to Kurland, the MOK Nord ordered on 24.02.1945 the transfer of the 5. SFltl to the Baltic. The F.d.S. proposed to utilize the 1. SFltl  in stead which was in the forming up phase, since all COs were experienced and familiar with the Russian way of conducting the war at sea, therefore, the 5. SFltl stayed in the west for the moment.

 In the evening of the 28.02.1945 four boats of the 4. SFltl laid 24 mines in the same area. On their way back they came into a fight with frigate "Seymour" and destroyer escort "Cotswood". The boats tried to withdraw with 41 knots speed but "S 220" (Kptlt. Dross) got a hit in the starboard engineroom. A fire developped and finally the boat could only proceed with 10 knots and lost contact to the flotilla. Therefore, the CO decided to scuttle the boat. The complete crew left the burnign boat after the secret documents had been destroyed. The boat was under fire by the escorts for a longer time. Just before midnight the boat sank after an explosion, probably of the torpodoes. The survivors were fished out of the water by the British. Masch.Mt. Josef Krzyzok, Matr.ObGefr. Gottfried Wahl und Fk.ObGefr. Siegfried Bandemeer were not among the rescued.

Also the 6. SFltl had left harbour with five boats to lay mines butr only "s 212" could lay her mines. The 2. and the 5. SFltl with 11 boats were shadowed by enemy air recconnsaissance and near Norfolk detected the destroyer "Mackey" three S-boats at the buoy of Hearty Knoll and pushed them away. The frigate  "Riou" and three MTBs detected four S-Boots and pushed them away. The 6. SFltl with only two boats could not penetrate the escorts and had to return without success.

 In the night 09./10.03.1945 the 4. SFlt with "S 204", "S 205" und "S 219"; "202" and"S 703" had returned premature; conducted a mining operation off the SCheldt estuary. At the same timne the 9. SFltl with four boats laid mine on the Thames-Scheldt-route and had first to dogfight around with MGBs and than with destroyers.

In the nights following the boats tried to arrive  at the convoy-route off the English eastcoast several times. The 4. SFltl had to break of its operation after a bomb-attack and developping fog. The 2. SFltl with six and the 5. SFltl with five boats went through the same. The 6. SFltl with four boats cancelled its minelaying operation because of poor visibility. The 9. SFltl was at sea for an operation with "Linsen" which were launched north of West Hinder.

Similar were all actions of the five flotillas in the hight to the 14.03.1945. 

The 8. SFltl was not ready for action as result of an attack with nine B17-bombers agaist Ijmuiden an the 14.03.1945 . 

In the night to the 18.03.1945 the 4. and the 9. SFltl with together 10 boats had to break of a torpedo-operation in teh Thames estuary. The other three flotillas laid mines, the 5. SFltl with five boats 36 LMB off Cromer, Teh 2. SFltl with seven boats 36 LMB and ELM and teh 6. Sfltl with six boats 38 UMB and ELM on the Thames-Scheldt-route.

During the night 09./10.03.1945 the 4. SFlt with five boats, the 6. SFltl with four boats and the 9. SFltl with four boats conducted a mine operation along the coast off the Schelde estuary. It came into a fight with a MGB and four MTBs, which had lurked for them without taking noteworthy damages.

During the night 11.03./12.03.1945 11 boats of the 2. and of the 5. SFltl had to break off a torpedo operation off the British eastcoast because they did not find targets. In the night 13./14.1945 six boats of the 2. SFltl, three boats of the 4. SFltl, five boats of the 6. SFltl and three boats of the 9. SFltl were to carry out a torpedo operation off Sheringham but they did not find targets. On their way out and back in they had to take numerous air-attacks. During the night 17./18.03.1945 it went similarly for them.

The 2. SFltl could lay a barrier with 30 mines off Smith's Knoll during the night 17./18.03.1945. A torpedo operation of the 6. and 9. SFltl off Margate had to be broken off due to fog.  

The 6. SFltl laid 42 mines off the English eastcoast with seven boats during the night 18./19.03.1945 and attacked a convoy with torpedoes off Lowestoft.  Seven sunk ships and a torpedoed destroyer were reported. In reality only the freighters "Rogate" (2.871 BRT) and "Crichtoun" (1.097 BRT) were sunk. The 2., 4., 5., and 9. SFltl operated with mines and torpedoes on the Thames-Scheldt-route. On the mines sank on 19.03. and 20.03. two freighters with together 14.315 BRT, a trawler, and the landing ship tank "LST 80". A Liberty-ship was damaged. An attack of the 4. SFltl off the British eastcoast was  without success due to a bomb attack and a fight with British escorts.  

In the night to the 19.03.1945 the 6. SFltl was at sea with "S 212", "S 213", "S 704" and "S 223"; "S 222" had returned because of a waterpenetration and "S 704" with engine breakdown, in order to lay mine northeast of Lowestoft. In the mining area it came to fight with a  SGB and four MTBs, which had lurked for them. Afterwards the flotilla attacked convoy FS.1759 off Lowestoft with torpedoes. Seven sunk ships with 24.500 BRT and one torpedoed destroyer were reported. In reality only the freighters „Rogate“ (2.871 BRT) and „Crichtoun“ (1.097 BRT) sank.

In this night teh S-boats laid a total of 110 mines along the Englisch eastcoast, the 2., SFltl off the Humber estuary, the 5. Sfltl off Cromer, the 4. and the 9. SFltl off Orfordness.

On the mines laid in the night to the 18.03.sank on 19.03. the British freighters "Samelbu" (7253 BRT) and "Empire Blessing" (7062 BRT) aso well sa the Belgian trawler "Nelly" (75 BRT) and teh British landingship tanks "LST 80" (2750 ts). The American Liberty-Schip "Hadley F. Brown" was damaged by  a mine on 20.03.1945.

During the night 21./22.03.1945 the 2. SFltl conducted a torpedo operation. On "S 210" the compressor of the middle engine fell out. Since the flotilla consisted only of three boats they turned around. On the march back the boats were attacked by Beaufighters with rockets and machine guns. On the leading boat "S 181" a fueltank, department VII and the armoured bridge were hit, the boat burst to fire. The flotilla-commander (Korv.Kapt. Opdenhoff), the CO (Oblt. z.S. Schlenk), and 12 men were killed in action. On "S 210" the air pipe for starting the engines was hit. Therefore, "S 209" took over to rescue the crew of "S 181". The burning "S 181" sank 34 nm northwest of Texel. The 2. and the 5. SFltl were ordered to operate against a convoy but did not find any targets.  

During the night 22./23.03.1945 the Thames-Scheldt-route again was subject to a minelaying operation of the 4. and 6. SFltl. Already on their march to the mining area the boats were involved in fights with MTBs. "S 205" got a hit in the bridge superstructure. The FuMB was destroyed, ObStrm. Heinz Berg und Fk.Gefr. Rudolf Bodenbergerwere killed in action, two men were wounded. On "S 204" and on "S 704" two men were wounded on each boat.   

During the night 25./26.03.1945 the 4., 6., and 9. SFltl were underway again to contaminate the convoyroute with mines. Only the 9. SFltl could lay its mines. The two other flotillas were attacked and pushed away by the destroyers escort "Arendal" (Norwegian) and "Krakowiak" (Polish) and the British frigate "Riou". "S 205", "S 204", and "S 703" had to take hits, in the battle three man were killed on "S 205". On the mines of the 9. SFltl sank the American Liberty-Ship "Charles D. Melver" (/176 BRT) and der Greek freighter "Elefthenia" (7247 BRT) and on the 25.03. and the British motorlaunch "ML 466" (75 ts).

The 4. SFltl laid mines with four boats during the night 25./26.03.1945. In the course of that they were pushed away by MTBs and taken under fire by a destroyer escort. A torpedo fired at her went wrong. 

On the mines laid on the Thames-Scheldt-route sank on 28.03. the Belgian trawler "St. Jan" (75 BRT) and the British Landing Craft "LCP 840" (11 ts).  The Norwegian motor tankship "Belinda" (8325 BRT) was damaged.

Three more boats of the Northsea flotillas were lost due to bomb hits on 30.03.1945 when 358 B-24 bombers of the USAF attacked Wilhelmshaven, "S 194" was laying there for repairs after a mine hit in February off Ijmuiden, "S 186" and "S 224" were laying there for engine repairs. Also "S 22" from the 3. S-School-Flotilla which was at Wilhelmshaven for repairs was damaged so severely that it sank in the harbour of Wilhelmshaven in early  April.  


Harbour of Kriegsmarinewerft Wilhelmshaven early April 1945

Lack of fuel kept the boats in their harbours during the first week in April. The transfer of the 5. SFltl to the Baltic commenced on 02.04.1945.  

Not earlier than in the night 06./07.04.1945 the 2. SFltl (Kptlt. Wendler) with "S 174", "S 176", "S 177", "S 209", "S 210" and "S 221" could leave harbour for a mining operation off the Humber estuary. After the flotilla-commander, KorvKapt. Opdenhoff, first bearer of the knight's cross with 142 sorties against the enemy was killed in action, Kptlt. Hugo Wendler became new flotilla-commander. As a commanding officer he was relieved by Oblt.z.S. Hans-Jürgen Stohwasser. Under fire of the British frigate "Cubitt" and the British destroyer escort "Haydon" the mines were laid. Then "MTB 5001" and "MTB 781" intervened in the battle. "MTB 5001" sank after a hit in the engine. On the way back three MTBs suddenly bumped into the 2. SFltl. "S 176" (Oblt.z.S Stockfleth) rammed "MTB 494", which capsized and floated bottum up. "S 177" and "MTB 493" collided and the MTB also rammed the wreck of "MTB 494". In the fighting "S 177" got many underwater-hits and had to be scuttled. "S 174" took over the complete crew. "S 176" burst in flames by the gunning and had also to be scuttled. The complement was rescued by "MTB 497" and "MTB 775" . Five men were killed in actin. Of "MTB 494" there were only two survivors. The remaining four boats of the flotilla entered Den Helder in the morning. "S 210" had lost contact to the flotilla and sailed back alone. When the commanding officer, Oblt.z.S. Kurt Neugebauer, climbed over the kalotte holding til the mashine-gun a shot was released that wounded him so seriously that he died in the sick-bay in the afternoon same day.

In the evening of the 07.04.1945 15 Lancaster-bombers and two Mosquitos under escort of 24 Spitfires conducted an attack on the S-boat-bunker at Den Helder.  

In the night 07./08.04.1945 the 4. SFltl with "S 205", "S 204", "S 219", "S 202", "S 703" and "S 304" and the 6. SFltl with "S 222", "S 705", "S 211", "S 223", "S 704", "S 212" and "S 706" were in a minelaying action on the Thames-Scheldt-route and laid 52 mines.  In a fight with British MTBs and the frigate"Rutherford" collided "S 202" (Kptlt. Wiencke ) and "S 703" (Oblt.z.S. d.Res. Steinhauer). Both boats had to be scuttled. Of "S 202" were killed in action:The commanding officer,  Kptlt. Joachim Wiencke, ObMasch. Heinz Niefaber (L.M.), ObFhnr.z.S. Helmut Niessen, SKad. Hans-Joachim Werning, Masch.HptGefr. Peter Müller, Masch.ObGefr. Josef Naber, of "S 703" were killed in action: ObMasch. Helmut Schneider, ObBtsm.Mt. Otto Koch, SKad. Hans-Richard Koch, Matr.ObGefr. Karl-Heinz Brinckmann, Fk.ObGefr. Johann Czerwinski,  Fk.ObGefr. Herbert Schwientek und Matr.Gefr. Karl-Heinz Grefe. The 40 survivors were rescued by the British and became prisoners of war.

The 6. SFltl lost "S 223" (Oblt.z.S Brandi), which run into a mine off Ostende and sank. Commanding officer and eight men were rescued, killed were: ObMasch. Rudolf Brümmer, ObMaschMaat Wilhelm Schmitz, Fhnr. (Ing.) Babenderende, Fähnr.z.S. Horeis, Masch.Mt. Ernst Irtel, Fk.ObGefr. Günter Sparty, Fk.ObGefr. Ulrich Tuch, Verw.ObGefr. Werner Kunath, Masch.HptGefr. Johann Müller, Masch.HptGefr. Hans Reile, Matr. Erich Klugbeil, Masch.ObGefr. Gerhard Wehenkel, Masch.ObGefr. Otto Lübke, Masch.HptGefr. Herbert Degel, Masch.Gefr. Joseph Kapomitz, San.Gefr. Joachim Kreutzmann, Matr.ObGefr. Willi Menzel, Matr.Gefr. Wilhelm Schafstedt, Matr.Gefr. Heinz Helmholtz, Matr.Gefr. Heinz Jung.  

During the night 07./08.04.1945 the 4. SFltl with six boats ("S 205", " S 204", " S 219", " S 202", " S 703" und " S 304") and the 6. SFltl with seven boats ("S 222", " S 705", " S 211", " S 223", " S 704", " S 212" und " S 706")conducted a minelaying operation against the Thames-Scheldt-route. They laid a total of 52 mines. In a battle with British MTBs and the Frigate "Rutherford" "S 202"  and "S 703" (Oblt.z.S Steinhauer) collided. Both boats had to be given up. On "S 202" the commanding oficer, Kptlt. Wiencke, ObMasch. Heinz Niefaber (L.M.), ObFhnr.z.S. Helmut Niessen, SKad. Hans-Joachim Werning, Masch.HptGefr. Peter Müller, Masch.ObGefr. Josef Nabers were killed in action, on "S 703" the leading engineer, ObMasch. Helmut Schneider, ObBtsm.Mt. Otto Koch, SKad. Hans-Richard Koch, Matr.ObGefr. Karl-Heinz Brinckmann, Fk.ObGefr. Johann Czerwinski, Fk.ObGefr. Herbert Schwientek und Matr.Gefr. Karl-Heinz Grefe were killed in action. The 40 survivors were rescued by the British and became POWs. 

 In the night 12./13.04.1945 the 4., 6. and 9. SFltl with a total of 12 boats perforn´med a last minelaying action based on Ijmuiden. AFter laying the barrier the boats came under fire of the British destroyer escort " Hambledon" and the British frigate "Ekins". "S 205" got a severe 5,7cm-hit, she went to maximum speed imediately and was suddenly attacked by a MTB on collision-course. "S 205" could avoid the ramming, the MTB passed her with 2 m distandce astern. Then "S 205"got another 5,7cm hit in compartment VI, thereby "S 205" lost contact to the flotilla, but could as the other boats, which also came under fire of destroyer escort "Quantock" and were attacked by aircraft, enter Hook van Holland.

On the minebarriers laid last the British freighter "Canakrian" (4876 BRT) was damaged, on 16.04. sank the British Motortankship "Gold Shell" (8208 BRT), on 16.04. the American freighter "Benjamin H. Bristow" (/191 BRT) and on 08.05. the American freighter "Horace Binney" (7191 BRT) were damaged by mine-hits.

The situation at the landfront in the west and the lack of fuel did no longer permit further S-boat operations. The base personnel had been set in march to Denmark. On orders by Dönitz, to come to Flensburg, "S 174" and "S 209" had to bring SS-Obergruppenführer Seiß-Inquart to Germany. On his way back to the Netherlands he was captured by the British at Hamburg.

On the day of the German partly capitulation, the 04.05.1945,  the following German S-boat-flotillas were still laying in Holland:

2. SFltl Den Helder S 210 and S 221  
8. SFltl Den Helder S 197 and S 701
4. SFltl Rotterdam S 204, S 205, S 219, and S 304
6. SFltl Rotterdam S 211, S 212, S 213, S 222, S 704, S 705, and S 706  
9. SFltl Rotterdam S 130, S 168, S 175, S 206, S 207, and S 214.

The boats "S 209" and "S 174" belonging to the 2. SFltl were laying at Tönning and Brunsbüttel respectively.  


"S 209" at Brunsbüttel - Picture: Archives Förderverein

The boats "S 204" (Lt.z.S. Hinrichs) and "S 205" (Kptlt Seeger) brought  K.Adm. Breuning (Befehlshaber Sicherung West) with the charts of the mining areas from Den Helder to Felixstowe on 13.05.1945. Also on board were commander 4. SFltl, Korv.Kpt. Fimmen, and I a Operations of F.d.S., Kptlt. Rebensburg. Also boat "S 211" (ObStrm. Schneider), which after the capitulation had transported freed prisoners of war from Tereschelling to Den Helder sailed to Gosport to surrender to the Royal Navy from where the complement as 'Surrendered Enemy Personnel' (SEP's) did not come into a POW-Camp but within a few days came home and in freedom via the Netherlands.

"S 205" entering Felixstowe 13th May 1945 - Picture: Archives Roderick Timms

Crew falllen in - Picture: Archives Roderick Timms

"S 204" and "S 205" at Felixstowe - Picture: Archives Roderick Timms

K. Adm. Breuning reports to the Harbourcaptain Felixstowe - Picture: Archives Roderick Timms

"S 211" of 2. SFltl *) with Ace of Cross with Bar en Route to England accompanied by a British MTB - Picture: BfZ

*) According to the KTBs of 2. SFltl and F.d.S. "S 211" belonged to the 6. SFltl, according to IWM "S 211" belonged to 2. SFltl on the day of the capitulation

Crew of "S 211" with the Boat's Coat of Arms on the Caps on their Way to the Transport to the Netherlands - Picture: Archives Ola Erlandsson

Also on 13.05.1945 "S 211", which had been at Rotterdam at the time of the part-capitulation on 04.05.1945, accompanied by British MTBs transported personnel from Den Helder to Gosport/England.

"S 112" had taken part in the surprise coup of V.Adm. Hüffmeier from St. Peter Port against Granville on 07.02.1945 and had entered St. Peter Port again after  the action had been abandoned. With only one operational engine the boat could not participate in the operation next day and transferred to St. Lorient. On board were six army officers among them three bataillon commanders. The CO, Lt.z.S. Nikelowski, had a deadly traffic accident in April. The boat stayed at St. Lorient and was sold by the French navy on 27.06.1951 for breaking up.  

During the last year of war six ships were sunk with together 10.467 BRT. 

The own losses were: 67 killed in action, 20 wounded, 18 POWs. 13 boats were lost: "S 180" and "S 223" by mine hits; "S181", "S 186", "S 194", and "S 224" by bombs/aircraft weapons; "S 176", "S 177", "S 193", and "S 199" by/after artillery hits; "S 167", "S 202", and "S 703" by collisions.

It is of interest that the radiotelegrams encrypted with the supposedly safe "Enigma" were not only intercepted but also decoded by the British reconnaissance within a short time, so that the enemy was well informed about the movements of the S-Boats. The following radiotelegrams are serving as excamples:

Time of Reception in England Text
12.04.1945 17:47 S-301 with S-305, S-191, S-215, S-92 and S-48 moving from Wilhelmshaven to Wesermünde at 19:00. Speed 27 knots (W/T watch on Northsea-Short-Wave and S-Boat-Wave 1). Continue to move to Brunsbüttel at 22:30 with S-196 and one new-construction each in tow. Speed 10 knots.
12.04.1945 22:15 S-48, S-82, S-191, S-211 and S-305 departed Wilhelmshaven at 19:20.
15.04.1945 06:18 All boats secured at Wesermünde besides of newconstruction ?? S-316 at 02:30 Uhr. S-316 scuttled in position 533415 N/0081612 E. 17 m waterdepth, no obstruction for shipping.
16.04.1945 19:05 Departed Wesermünde to Brunsbüttel at 19:30 with S-301, S-306, S-215, S-191, S-95 and S-305 as well as 6 new-constructions. Speed 12 knots.

The above Enigma-radiotelegrams are from the Archives of Flemming Hansen.

The mentioned new-constructions presumably were boats of the loot "S 307" through "S 321", which were never commissioned. Thereof "S 316" was lost by scuttling in the Weser estuary. The whereabouts of the other boats are not clarified. Probably they went to Henry Rasmussen Yacht & Baadeværft at Gl. Hestehauge close to Svendborg/Denmark for final fitting-out. It is assumed that eight of them were scuttled on 6th May 1945 in the Lunkebight/Denmark.