Schnellboote, the most underrated ships of the surface fleet?

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Von Bock
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Schnellboote, the most underrated ships of the surface fleet?

Post by Von Bock » 25 Oct 2022 13:40

Although I know quite a lot about WW II, I’ve never read much about German Schnellboote. (or E-boats in English) I discovered recently that e-boats from the the 6th and 9th flotillas from Cherbourg attacked exercise Tiger on 28 April 1944, causing about 749 American Army and Navy casualties.

This seems to be a very big success to me. A total of 101 merchant ships totalling 214728 tons were sunk by E-boats. Additional claims include 12 destroyers, 11 minesweepers, eight landing ships, six MTBs, one torpedo boat, one minelayer, one submarine, and a number of smaller craft such as fishing boats. They also damaged two cruisers, five destroyers, three landing ships, one repair ship, one naval tug, and numerous other merchant vessels.

Were these boats more successful than any other surface ship of the Kriegsmarine?

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kfbr392
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Re: Schnellboote, the most underrated ships of the surface fleet?

Post by kfbr392 » 26 Oct 2022 08:25

“There were nine other warships, which, between them, accounted for 142 ships sunk or captured, grossing more than 870.000 tons, in a total of 3.769 days at sea, an average of more than 230 tons of enemy ships sunk or captured per day.

If this operational record is impressive, then in economic terms, the figures are even more so, as this outstanding performance was achieved by little more than 3,000 officers and men, in nine second-hand freighters, armed with third-hand weapons, the total cost of which, both in terms of purchase price and the cost of fitting out, represented barely 1% of the cost of the battleship Bismarck!

They were the Hilfskreuzer, the Auxiliary Cruisers, commerce raiders, which although built as freighters, went to sea and fought as true warships.”


http://www.bismarck-class.dk/bismarck_c ... ction.html

Von Bock
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Re: Schnellboote, the most underrated ships of the surface fleet?

Post by Von Bock » 26 Oct 2022 13:26

kfbr392 wrote:
26 Oct 2022 08:25
“There were nine other warships, which, between them, accounted for 142 ships sunk or captured, grossing more than 870.000 tons, in a total of 3.769 days at sea, an average of more than 230 tons of enemy ships sunk or captured per day.

If this operational record is impressive, then in economic terms, the figures are even more so, as this outstanding performance was achieved by little more than 3,000 officers and men, in nine second-hand freighters, armed with third-hand weapons, the total cost of which, both in terms of purchase price and the cost of fitting out, represented barely 1% of the cost of the battleship Bismarck!

They were the Hilfskreuzer, the Auxiliary Cruisers, commerce raiders, which although built as freighters, went to sea and fought as true warships.”


http://www.bismarck-class.dk/bismarck_c ... ction.html
Very interesting, definitely deserves a bigger place in the history books.

stolypin
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Re: Schnellboote, the most underrated ships of the surface fleet?

Post by stolypin » 26 Oct 2022 13:57

I likewise knew very little about Schnellboote until I recently read Lawrence Paterson's "Schnellboote: A Complete Operational History."

Darius333
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Re: Schnellboote, the most underrated ships of the surface fleet?

Post by Darius333 » 26 Oct 2022 19:54

Hi,

maybe of interest:

Die Schnellboote der Kriegsmarine im 2. Weltkrieg
https://historisches-marinearchiv.de/pr ... eibung.php

Regards

Darius

Felix C
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Re: Schnellboote, the most underrated ships of the surface fleet?

Post by Felix C » 27 Oct 2022 14:12

Sinking small coastal convoy ships usually loaded with coal was not significant. The Luftwaffe found this out in 1940 after attacking the small channel convoys. At least USN PTs sank troop laden barges. RN MTBs scarce escorts. All sides occasionally scored a significant sinking. A rarity all around.

As for the auxiliary cruisers, it would be significant to note their victims' cargoes and where bound as that would determine if it were useful to supplying war industries in the UK. They did spread the anti-surface force needed to contain same as long range Axis submarines operations spread the ASW effort. The critical convoys were those heading to the UK with finished munitions or raw material or foodstuffs for workers, oil tankers, troopships.

Reflecting a bit I recall a UK bound fully laden refrigerated ship was captured another sunk and Pinguin seized one entire whaler fleet. Significant sinkings.

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kfbr392
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Re: Schnellboote, the most underrated ships of the surface fleet?

Post by kfbr392 » 27 Oct 2022 18:05

Felix C wrote:
27 Oct 2022 14:12
As for the auxiliary cruisers, it would be significant to note their victims' cargoes and where bound as that would determine if it were useful to supplying war industries in the UK.
Just follow the link I provided upthread to read details about the cargo destroyed by the Hilfskreuzer.

thaddeus_c
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Re: Schnellboote, the most underrated ships of the surface fleet?

Post by thaddeus_c » 29 Oct 2022 17:05

my view they were an unfinished or unrealized class of vessels, some comparison could be made to the latter war jets they fielded,however unlike the jets they still had the ability to have adapted the S-boats.

the immediate post-war iteration is a "realized" version of the S-boat https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaguar-cl ... tack_craft

the historical S-boats were used as minelayers but could only carry 6 mines, the above cited boat could manage 2 dozen mines, that is a huge change that would have affected their usefulness.

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