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S-Boats in the Kriegsmarine 1935 - 1945

Loss of "S 170"


According to a telephonecall of Mr. Reinhard Öser from Interessengruppe

 Marine Research Germany  

a wreck of a clearly identifyed boat of type "S 18" is situated 2 nm southwest of Keldsnor Lighthouse at a waterdepth of 11 m.

The boats of type "S 18" had according to Hümmelchen and a call from Mr. Raymund Schulz the following whereabouts:

Boat Whereabouts
S 18 + 05.05.1945 sunken as fast tug "Herold" off Lolland by attack of allied fighterbomber
S 19 1945 British war-loot, 1950 as target-ship to Target Trials Committee, used up
S 20 1945 British war-loot, 1947/48 sold for breaking-up
S 21 1945 USA war-loot, 18.01.46 sold to Norway by OMGUS, Feb. 1950 deleated from list of the fleet
S 22 + sunken in Wilhelmshaven early April 1945 as a result of the last big bombing of the town on 30.03.1945
S 23 (+) blown-up 12.07.1940 in 51o 18' N, 002o 05' E after a mine-hit
S 24 1945 UdSSR war-loot, 05.11.45: TK 1004, 1955 deleated from list of the fleet
S 25 1945 British  war-loot, 1947/48 sod for breaking-up

"By exclusion-method (no other boat has a sinking-positon corresponding with the co-ordinates of the wreck-position according to the available documentation) the wreck off Keldsnor probably is the wreck of "S 22". The shape of the forecastle, the composition of the torpedo-tubes and the remains of the bridge do not permit any other interpretation." states Mr. Öser in his book "Am Grunde des Meeres".

It is true that so far it was assumed that boat "S 18" in the meantime classified as fast tug "Herold" sank after shelling by British fighterbombers off Lolland and that the detected wreck could be of "S 22", which according to Hümmelchen had belonged to the 3. S-School-Flotilla until early April 1945 but was missing when the boats were gathering after the capitulation at Geltinger Bucht.

But on 17.01.2016 the former radio-man of boat "S 22", OGefr Raymund Schulz, the last still living survivor of the boat, reported to the Web-master that his boat sank in the harbour of the Navy Shipyard Wilhelmshaven in early April 1945 as a result of damages she had taken in the last big bombing of Wilhelmshaven on 30.03.1945 when the boat was in a floating dock. 

Which harbour the boat "Herold" left and with what mission it was at sea is not of our knowledge. A lost notice is not existing. There is no report of survivors of the sunken boat, therefore, it must be assumed that it was a total loss of boat and crew. 

The wreck found southwest of Keldsnor gives evidence that the boat was probably brought to sink by a hit of a bomb, a mine or by a collision. The forward end of the ship is partly destroyed, the starboard torpedo-tube is laying on the starboard side of the wreck, the port torpedo-tube is laying on the bottom of the sea, both tubes are empty. The Diesel-engines are seriously damaged, from some parts it is to be seen that they were Mercedes engines. 40mm- and MG-ammunition is to be found spread around the boat on the bottom of the sea. The boat is heavily sanded in, ruders and propellers and the aft part of the ship are quite well-preserved.

The Interessengruppe Marine Research Germany during their last expedition have taken the following pictures of the wreck and given them to us for use at our discreation:

Unknown Wreck on Sonar - Picture: Marine Research Germany

Deck of the Wreck - Picture: Marine Research Germany

   Engineroom  - Picture: Marine Research Germany 

 Engineroom  - Picture: Marine Research Germany 

 Starboard Torpedo-tube - Picture: Marine Research Germany 

 Lock of Starboard Torpedo-Tube (definately of a newer Type Boat) - Picture: Marine Research Germany 

The Hinge of the Lock is standing vertically on "S 18" - Picture: Archiv Förderverein

The Hinges of the Locks ar in Pairs and arranged horizontally - Picture: Archiv Förderverein

 Lock-Mechanism of Starboard Torpedo-Tube - Picture: Marine Research Germany 

 Bottle for compressed Air - Picture: Marine Research Germany 

Capstan with Chain (definately from a newer Type Boat) - Picture: Marine Research Germany 

Bollard - Picture: Marine Research Germany

 The construction of the locks for the torpedo-tubes and the arrangment of the capstan only permit the conclusion that it is not the wreck of "S 18" but a wreck of a newer (of a type S 38 or S 100) boat.

Lock of the Torpedo-Tube of the Wreck - Picture: Marine Research Germany

Torpedo-tube Locks on "S 19" (type S 18) and on "S 127" (type S 100)

The Danish diver Martin Hĝeg Larsen has reported on 24.06.2015, that in vecinity of the boat, which he has dived at years ago, he has found a 37mm-gun and corresponding ammunition on the boat and around it. (Also that points to a boat of type S 38 or S 100). Mr. Reinhard Öser has, however, only found 20mm-ammunition and MG-ammunition. 

It is unlikely that fast tug "Herold" (ex "S 18"), who's sinking position is said to be between Lolland and Ĝmĝ, could have sunk here, "S 18" as a fast tug surely had no torpedo-tubes. A 37mm-gun did it certainly not have. With the evidence that "S 22" sunk at Wilhelmshaven and teh unlikelyness of "S 18" to have been sunk here and since no boats of other types have been lost in the western Baltic the wreck must be from an unknown boat of type S 100. 

Boat "S 170" (Lt.z.S.d.Res. Arnhardt), which had left Travemünde together with "S 226", was reported as missing since 03.05.1945 in the war diary (KTB) of the Naval Warfare Command (SKL). RAF SQN 193 with up to 12 Typhon IB-aircraft has attacked one S-boat 10 nm southeast for Fehmarn (probably "S 226") with cannons and one S-boat north of Fehmarn (Probably "S 170") on 03.04.1945. The sinking was not reported in both cases. By reports of witnesses of the time it had to be assumed that the sinking position of "S 226" is south of Lolland, but we know now by the report of the commanding officer of "S 226", Lt.z.S. von Glasenapp, that he scuttled his boat north of Heiligenhafen and that "S 170" was attacked several times by British aircraft north of Putlos. The furhter fate of the boat was not reported.

Therefore, it must be assumed that the wreck off Keldsnor is the remains of "S 170", also if Hümmelchen states for "S 170": 'UdSSR-loot as trialsboat "Hans Henning", 05.11.45 as TK 1007' and Gröner writes with respect to "S 170": ' 15.1.45 still with 11. S.-Fl., Fate?', because the boat also was missing when the S-Boats gathered at Geltinger Bucht.