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  S-Boats in the Kriegsmarine - Norway 1944 - 1945



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S-Boats in the Kriegsmarine 1935 - 1945

War-Zones of the S-Boats

Norway 1944 - 1945


Several requests by the Supreme Navy Command (Marineoberkommando = MOK) Norway, to dispatch S-boats to northern Norway to protect the big units (October 1943 and September 1944) and to defend against landings at Petsamo/Finland were not met by SKL because torpedoes as main weapon could not be emplyed there with chance for success.  

On 08.10.1944 Dönitz ordered the immediate transfer of eight boats into the area of Admiral Polar Coast (Admiral Polarküste). On 10.10.1944 the 4. SFltl (Kptlt. Fimmen) with eight boats - "S 201" (ObStrm. Kohrt), "S 202" (Kptlt. Wiencke), "S 203" (ObStrm. Neuburger), "S 204" (Lt.z.S.d.Res. Hinrichs), "S 205" (Kptlt. Seeger), "S 219" (Lt.z.S. Howaldt, D.), "S 220" (Kaptlt. Dross), and "S 703" (Lt.z.S.d.Res. Steinhauer)  - commenced the march back from Holland to Kiel. There the boats were overhauled and received a stronger artillery armament. 

Boat of  Type S 38 of the 4. SFltl in Norway - Picture: Roger Albrigtsen

The 4. SFltl with tender "Hermann von Wissmann" transferred via Frederikshavn and Kristiansand to the north. Bad weather forced the S-boats to turn around off Lindesnes. In so doing "S 203" collided with the smal minesweeper "R 220".  Both boats stranded. While teh RT-boat could be towed free and she could enter Kristiansan on own power, all initiated attempts  to rescue the S-boat went wrong because of the bad weather. She could be towed onto deep water and in going alongside to , "S 201", "S 203", "S 205" and "S 703" were damaged. Finally "S 203" had to be abandoned and was blown up. *)

Decoded ENIGMA-Signalsw about the Loss of "S 203" - Archives E. Skjold

The MOK Norway had in the meantime requested a second flotilla for anti-submarine warfare. Therefore, the 4. SFltl remained initially in the area of Admiral Wastcoast (Admiral Westküste). Upon arrival of the 1. School-Fltl it was to transfer to the polar area.

Without the 1. School-Fltl having arrived, the 4. SFltl was ordered to return to the western front after the outset of the offensive of the Ardennes where it arrived on 28.12.1944 without S 201, which after a grounding was left in Bergen, an without S 220, which had collided with a pier and had to stay at Kiel.

The 1. Schul-Fltl (Kptlt. Wilcke) transitted to Norway with "S "S 62" (Oblt.z.S. Rost), "S 79" (Kptlt. Zeiler), "S 86" (Lt-.z.S.d.Res. Kopperneck), "S 89" (Oblt.z.S. Osterloh), "S 90" (Lt.z.S. Garbers) und "S 133" (Lt.z.S. Schiersmann) in January 1945 og performed escort operations based upon Egersund until the end of war.

The Coast Defence Unit consisting of "S 10", "S 11", "S 13" (Oblt.z.S. Unger), "S 15" (Lt.z.S. Rapp), and "S 16" was stationed at Bergen in 1944/45. Its berthing was in the little fjord Åstveitvågen just north of the town - in Navy slang named Westwärtsfjord called after the bark "Westwärts" (ex "Statsraad Lehmkuhl") which was laying there.

"S 90" grounded in Egersund Area - Pictures: Archives Johan Aakre

In the night to the 09.01.1945 "S 15" and "S 16" escorted the freighters "Nikolaifleet" and "Dora Fritzen", which both were sunk by MTBs with norwegian crews.

I the night 05./06.02.1945 "S 201" was en route from Bergen, where she had been at the shipyard, to Frederikshavn. In positon 3635 (ca. 20 nm SE of Arendal) they observed at 20:49 that an explosion in the engineroom of "R 202" happened. They reported the accident and stayed close to the burning avarist to render assistance. At 21:06 "S 202" sank after "S 201" had rescued the crew. "S 201" continued her way to Frederikshavn. - Also this incident was not unnoticed by the opponents by decoding of the ENIGMA-messages.

Decoded ENIGMA-signals about the loss of "R 202" - Archives Eling Skjold


In the night to the 17.02.1945 the boat "S 90" (Lt.z.S. d.R. Garbers) of the 1. S-Boat-Training-Flotille (S-Schul-Fltl) run aground at a speed of 24 knots on the little island Hånesholmen near Bru north of Stavanger. She was salvaged by the tugboats "Fairplay III" and "Hjeltefjord" after German divers had tightened the hull and the Stavanger harbour fireboat "Nøkk" had pumped it empty. The boat was tugged to Rosenberg-Shipyard at Stavanger, where it stayed until the end of war. It was broken up 1947.

 During the last days of war the 8. Fltl (Kptlt. Zymalkowski) with the boats "S 195", "S 302", "S 303" and "S 706" was ordered to Norway as reinforcement.  "S 196" (Oblt.z.S. Rathenow) was laying in Gelting Bight, "S 197" (Oblt.z.S. Fanger) and "S 701" (Oblt.z.S. Toermer) were laying aKB at Den Helder. The boats ordered to Norway were laying at Bergen at the end of war.

he boats remained at KSV Norwegische Westküste, "S 10". "S 11"., "S 13", "S 15", and "S 16", were laying in Åstveitvågen at the end of war.


K.S.V. - "S 10", "S 11", "S 13", "S 15", "S 16" - in Åstveitvågen 1944 - Picture: Archives Förderverein

" S 13" patrolling Norwegian Waters - Picture: Archives F. Frandsen

" S 13" patrolling Norwegian Waters - Picture: Archives E. Skjold

" S 16" in the harbour of Bergen - ( Picture: Archives E. Skjold)

 On 29.03.1945 the little laid up Norwegian passenger ship "Kommandøren" (543 BRT, built 1891) was sunk in the harbour of Bergen by a torpedo hit. 

The small Norwegian passenger steamer "Kommandøren" after stranding in February 1945

(Picture: Statsarkivet Bergen - Norsk Bjergningskompani)


We found a link:

According to that the torpedo was fired by "S 13" - according to official sources by a failure operation during training - according to inoffical version by accident by a drunken crewmember.

The real story was reported to the author by the last commanding officer of "S 13", ObLt. z.S. d.R. Ludwig Unger:

The then Lt. z.S. Unger was laying in the lazaret at Bergen, the boat lay under command of his deputy, an Obersteuermann (Senior Chief Petty Officer), the name of whom Herr Unger has forgotten, in the "Westwärts-Bucht", when he received the order to come to the bunker of the Admiral Westcoast Norway, Adm. Otto "Ikke" von Schrader, in order to carry out a transport of personnel. 

Since the crew partly was on shore-leave the Ob.Stm. had to find substitutes from other boats. As a torpeoman a soldier from the torpedocontrol shop came on board who was fresh from the torpedo-school and totally inexperienced.

The boat moored at the operations bunker in  Holmen at the berthing Bergenhus with her bow outward. When the Ob.Stm. asked the torpedoman wheter the torpedo department was ready for sea he got the answer :"Aye, aye, Herr Obersteuermann!", at the same time the torpedoman pulled out the safety pin and slammed the firing key. Thus the torpedo was fired and hit the steamer "Kommandøren" laying at Søndre Nykirkekai in about 300 m distance which sank immediately. Within seconds only the chimney and the mast tops were to be seen. The guard onbord able-bodied seaman Alf H. Larsen was killed.

The pitiful accident was in deed neither caused by a drunken sailor nor by a training accident, but by the overeagerness of an inexperienced torpedoman, a freshman, who had not only mixed up "ready for sea" and "ready for action" (torpedodoors opened, firing airbottles filled up, and detonators installed in the warheads) but also pulled the safety pin and operated the firing key without thinking about possible consequences.

The Journal of the Norwegian Insurance Company Statens Krigskaskoforsikring of 1945 speaks about an explosion that hapened on 29.03.1945 and caused the small ferry to sink. The reason for the explosion is not mentioned.


The day of the German capitulation the 1. S-School-Fltl with  "S 62", "S 79", "S 86", "S 89", and "S 133" together with "Adolf Lüderitz" at Egersund as well as the 8. SFltl with "S 195", "S 302", "S 303", and "S 709".

"Adolf Lüderitz" with Boats of the 1. S-SchoolFltl at Egersund 08.05.1945 - Picture: Feyling, Dalane Folke Museum

"S 302", "S 303", and "S 709" at Egersund 08.05.1945 - Picture: Feyling, Dalane Folke Museum


The five S-Boats of the KSV, "S 10", "S 11", "S 13", "S 15", and "S 16", and their complements were originally interned in Bergen. Shortly thereafter they had to turn over their boats to the Norwegians and the crews moved into a former worker-camp for the building of the fortification of Bergen. 

The Norwegians had to hand over the boats in Summer 1945 to the British, as Oblt.z.S. Unger reported. The German crews came back on board, in order to sail the boats back to Germany. The march started on 06.08.1945 with a first voyage from Bergen to Kristiansand. On the leading boat was a British officer embarked. Via Kiel and the Kiel-Kanal (then still Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal)  to the Great Harbour at Wilhelmshaven where the boats were laied up together with the boats  of the active flotillas and were distributed between the Allies.

"S 302", "S 303", and "S 195" were laying at Bergen harbour in May 1946 im Hafen ass "E 1", "E 2", and "E 3" s part of the US war-loot. The Royal Navy member Ford on 25.05.1946 got the seachart D.66 "Der Kanal Ostblatt" (The Channel Eastern Part) of "E 3" as a present (see photo of the rear side of the chart below).

Rückseite der Seekarte D.66 - Foto: Malcolm Ford

All three boats were sold to Norway 1946 by OMGUS and had originally the markings "E 1" to "E 3" in the Norwegian Navy. It can therefore be assumed, that the other boats which OMGUS sold to Norway and Denmark were also left in Norway while "S 89" und "S 13" as war-loot of Great Britain as well as "S 709" and " S 16" as war-loot of the UdSSR probably were sailed back to Wilhelmsahven by their old crews early August 1945, a Britsh officer embarked in the leading boat.



*) Gröner and Fock are writing about this, that S 203 was scuttled but later on brought up and repaired. Gröner is reporting the sinking of S 203 on 21.03.1945 northwest of Texel due to bombing an a hit by a mine in position 53.04 N 004.47 E. This account i most unlikely since the prevailing depth of the water in the scuttling-position off southern Norway would not have permitted a bringing up during the winter 1944/45.