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S-Boats in the Kriegsmarine 1935 - 1945

Loss of "S 183", "S 200", and "S 702"

Boat of type S 100 (here "S 198") - Picture: Archives Förderverein

During the night 18./19.091944 the 10. SFltl was ordered to supply the enclosed Dunkerke with ammunition. Therefore, "S 186" (Oblt.z.S. Ritter)  and "S 185" (Oblt.z.S. Schmidt) left Hoek van Holland at 20.00, "S 198" (Kptlt. Knapp) and "S 199" (Oblt.z.S. Quistorp) left Vlissingen.

Three boats of the flotilla, "S 200", "S 702",  and "S 183" under command of the flotillacommander, Kptlt. Karl Müller, were to distract the enemy from the supplying units. While the transporting group came back to Hoek van Holland at 07.00, the other boats were missing. Only a decoded B-Service message showed up what had happened with the boats:

The British frigate "Stayner" and to MTBs, "M 724" and "MTB 728", had been laying in a lurking position and suprised the boats which had been proceeding almost blindly in the prevailing high sea state because the FuMB (radar) of the guide had been turned off because of the many erronious contacts, at 01.00 with an attack. "S 183" (Oblt.z.S. Klaus-Ulrich Hardtke) got a direct hit in the engine room, became incapabole to manoeuver, burst in fire and sank. 

"S 200" (Lt.z.S.d.Res. Kelllinghusen)  and "S 702" (Oblt.z.S. Hilmar Blum) were sstill heading out of the fighting zone. When the flotillacommander let the boats stop (short signal red blinks = engines stop), "S 702" passed the guide at high speed on port side, then she saw "Stayner" approaching her and turned hard to starboard. Thus, she rammed the guide and ripped of her bow. "S 702" had according to the report of ObMaschMaat Schönheit stopped the two outer engines, however, the middle engine was still running at high revolutions because the petty officer in control of it had been wounded by a hit in the engine room and could no longer control the engine.

In spite of the torn off bow the guide tried to get back to "S 183" to see whether she could be of help there. Because of the torn off bow she prodused a high  fountain and made a good target for "Stayner". "S 200" and "S 702" were covered with iron so that the boats were no longer to keep floating. The survivors were ordered to abandon the boats. A radio signal to F.d.S. was not made because of the existing order not to transmit on radio nor to use UK under any circumstances.

The three boats were shot to pieces in closest proximity. The sinking position was noted as  51o02‘N, 002o20‘E. 

"S 701" sailing in company (Picture from Dallies-Labourdette: Deutsche Schnellboote)

The British units did not launch any rescue operations. Only 11 hours later "MTB 725", commanded by Lt.Cdr. Geoffrey Hobday, a New Zealander, fished the survivors up from the water.

Of "S 183 " the commanding officer and 16 men were rescued, four men were killed in action, Fähnr. (Ing) Triebs, ObMasch. Petzold, ObMaschMt. Merker and Gefr.(T) Decker. SKad. Sommerfeld could only be recovered dead from the raft.

Of "S 200" "M 725" rescued 23 men, among them the flotillacommander, the chief engineer OBMasch. Brandt and SKad. Helder. The commanding officer and four men fell.

Of "S 702" fell MaschMt. Zimolong, MechObGefr.(T) Dennewitz, MatrObGefr. von Hammerstein, MaschObGefr. Ludwig, and a PK-Sonderführer. The other 18 men of the crew were rescued among them ObMaschMt. Rudolf Schönheit, who had controlled one of the outer engines. His wife received a letter by the deputy flotillacommander, Oblt.zS. Klaus-Degenhart Schmidt, the letter below dated 27.09.1944 with the succinct statement that her husband was missed in action.

Letter to the wife of ObMaschMt. Schönheit of "S 702" - Archives Gerhard Schönheit

Rear side of the letter to the wife of ObMaschMt. Schönheit of "S 702" - Archives Gerhard Schönheit

Picture of the Marriage of ObMaschMt. Rudolf Schönheit - Picture: Archives Gerhard Schönheit

ObMaschMt. Schönheit became, as all other survivors, prisoner of war and was released in 1948. The flotillacommander, Kptlt. Müller, was exchanded on 01.12.1944 against the British politician Captain Michael Foot, which had become German prisoner of war. 

The command of 10. SFltl was taken over by Kptlt. Dietrich Bludau. 

Almost 44 years after the loss of the three boats 10 survivors of boats "S 702" and "S 183" met on invitaiton by the 1. chairman of Marinekammeradschaft Kaub, Otto Hofmann, in June 1988 at Kaub, some of them with their wifes, for a reunion. The local press reported: