Exercise Tiger and E Boat Involvement

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red devil
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Exercise Tiger and E Boat Involvement

Post by red devil » 10 Dec 2004 12:56

http://www.mikekemble.com/ww2/slapton.html is an attempt by me to tell the story of one of WW2's biggest and most secret coverups, Exercise Tiger of April 1944. 9 German E boats were involved, having slipped out of Cherbourg. I am looking for any documentation which describes the operation from the point of view of the E Boats and their crews.

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Erich
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Schnellbooten operations

Post by Erich » 11 Dec 2004 00:06

Mike I commend you on your efforts.....

interesting 3 S-booten claims kills this night.

S-136 with Jürgensmeyer as commander in the 5th S-Flottilla hit the LST 507.

S-138 with Stohwasser as commander in the 5th S-Flotilla hit the LST 531

S-? with Mirbach as commander in the 9th S-Flottilla hit the LST 531 also.

S-? with Mirbach again hitting another craft, the LST 289.

Erich ~

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Post by Erich » 11 Dec 2004 00:20

Mike here are some seperations in the line-up of S-booten during this operation

5th S-Flottille commanded by Korvettenkapitän Bernd Klug through June of 44. On hand at Cherbourg were:

S-84
S-100
S-112
S-136
S-138
S-139
S-140
S-142
S-143

9th S-Flottille commanded by Korvettenkapitän Gotz Frhr. von Mirbach from April 43 till war's end.

S-130
S-144
S-145
S-146
S-150
S-167
S-168

something for your files...... 8)

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Post by red devil » 11 Dec 2004 00:26

excellent, thanks.

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Erich
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Post by Erich » 11 Dec 2004 00:30

ah my English friend there is more..... ! just got to dig into the German editions a bit further.... :D

Because of this operation in June of 44 the S-booten protective bays were obliterated and nearly all the boots sunk but some did escape

E ~

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Post by Kirill » 11 Dec 2004 12:21

Very interesting story, Red Devil. Thanks a lot for posting the link.

Best regards,
Kirill

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Post by red devil » 11 Dec 2004 13:05

why thank you, appreciated. I do WW2 research as a hobby and surprisingly enough, have only had two or three emails ever disaggreeing with a statement!!!

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Post by Erich » 11 Dec 2004 18:39

The Schenllboote that took part in the mission were thus as follows.

5th S-Flottille

S-136, 138, 140, 142, 143 and 100

9th S-Flottille

S-130, 145, and 150

E ~

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Post by Xavier » 11 Dec 2004 19:57

S-130 is the survivor that was used in the post war insertion of covert operatives in the polish coast,

from: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... light=s130
a post by Andy H reads:
A good book about Op.Tiger is Ken Small's "Forgotten Dead" published by Bloomsbury ISBN 0747504334, maybe worth a trip to the library?

Anyway Peterson was awarded Oakleaves to his KC for this attack on Op. Tiger. The 9th Flotilla's count was as follows:-
S130 1/2 a kill (shared with S150), sunk LST507
S145 1 kill, sank LST531
S150 1/2 a kill (shared with S130), sunk LST507, and 1 kill LST289
from: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 0&start=30
(kriegsmarine after the war) a post by myself, and Indeed, the boat was for sale last year.....
The only known, surviving and seaworthy S-boot, S-130, was built at the Johann Schlichting boatyard as hull 1030 in Travemünde, on the Baltic Coast, and commissioned on October 21st 1943. Her Commanding Officer was Oberleutnant zur See Gunter Rabe and she was assigned to the 9th S-Boot Flotilla (commanded by Korvettenkapitän Götz Freiherr von Mirbach, one of the most famous S-Boot commanders of the war) to reinforce their presence in the Southern North Sea. They operated out of Rotterdam until mid-February 1944, when they re-deployed to Cherbourg in order to reinforce the 5th Flotilla (under Korvettenkapitän Bernd Klug) in their operations throughout the Central and Western Channel area. Throughout her service, her radio callsign was “Rabe” (Raven), her dashing Master was known by all in the 5th and 9th Flotillas as “The Raven” and she wore a ship’s crest incorporating a raven in addition to the usual 9th Flotilla sign. The two Flotillas in Cherbourg were directed from his HQ on the French mainland by Kapitän zur See Petersen (later to become Commander of the whole German Schnellbootwaffe).

Attack on Operation Tiger
- Following a succession of dashing and violent night engagements during March and April 1944, S-130 took part in one of the most daring and successful S-Boot operations of the War. Both Flotillas had conducted a number of attacks against Allied shipping off the southern coast of England including, on April 22, a successful attack on British Motor Gun Boats in Lyme Bay and, on the 24th, a very successful attack on shipping in the same area. Then, on the afternoon of 27 April, a Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft reported a convoy of 7 merchant ships off Start Point, England. That morning, convoy T45 had left Plymouth for Lyme Bay as a preliminary to Operation Tiger, a US exercise intended to be a rehearsal for the forthcoming D-Day landings on Utah Beach. The exercise was to be conducted on Slapton Sands, near Dartmouth. As part of the exercise programme, the convoy’s primary purpose was to carry US tanks and men for Red Beach. It was led by the escort corvette HMS Azalea, followed by LST 515 and, at 700-yard intervals, LSTs 496, 511, 531 and 58 (towing two pontoon causeways). The WW1 Destroyer HMS Scimitar should have been on station as the main escort but had been holed above the waterline in a minor collision the day before and had been kept in Plymouth for repairs. The Naval HQ in Plymouth had not been informed of this and, as a consequence, no replacement vessel was provided. This breakdown in communication did not become clear until the early evening when the Captain of Scimitar realised what had happened and alerted the staff at Flag Officer Plymouth, whereupon HMS Saladin was immediately detailed as relief escort. Unfortunately, she did not get under way for Start Bay until well after midnight. Nevertheless, interference from S-Boote had been anticipated. Units were positioned between Start Point and Portland Bill to screen the operation in Lyme Bay and three MTBs were positioned off Cherbourg. Having been alerted by the earlier Lufwaffe report, however, all this activity had also attracted the attention of German shore-based surveillance systems and, as soon as it was completely dark (at about 2100 hours GMT) the 5th and 9th Schnellboot Flotillas, comprising six and three boats respectively, slipped out of Cherbourg. They evaded the small covering force of MTBs without difficulty and then, steaming at 36 knots under radio silence, soon covered the 90-odd nautical miles to the Northwest to break through the outer defensive screen across Lyme Bay. Meanwhile, the slow-moving convoy had been joined by a column from Brixham comprising LSTs 499, 289 and 507 (508 had failed to make the rendezvous). By this time, the convoy was west of Tor Bay and steering NNW before executing a complicated manoeuvre for the final approach to Slapton Sands. From his HQ on the French mainland, Kapitan zur See Petersen radioed the bearing of a possible target at 2317 hours and the E-boats of the 5th Flotilla split up into pairs to stalk their prey. Positive identification of targets was difficult, if not impossible and they moved slowly and quietly at first in order to retain surprise. After some time, at about 1.30 am, S-136 and S-138 spotted two "destroyers" at a range of 2000 metres and closed at speed. S-138 fired a double torpedo salvo at the stern of the right-hand ship and S-136 fired single torpedoes at the other. After a short interval, S-138 saw an explosion and, one minute later, S-136 noted simultaneous explosions on the second target. S-140 and S-142 had also identified targets at about the same time and opened fire with double shots at 1400 metres but, when no explosions were heard, Oberleutnant zur See Götschke correctly concluded that the ships were shallow-draft landing craft. Meanwhile, S-100 and S-143, alerted to the action by red tracer to their north, closed at high speed and noted that a "tanker" was already well ablaze. Both boats fired two torpedoes at a target of around 1500 tons, achieving a solid hit with one of them. The 9th Flotilla, comprising S-130, S-145 and S-150, were now attracted by red tracer from the 5th Flotilla (although at the time they thought they were from allied ships, since they understood that yellow tracer was to be used by their own force). Closing at speed, S-150 and S-130 turned straight in to a joint torpedo attack against a single ship while S-145 broke off to attack "small armed escorts" nearby (most likely more, lowered landing craft). On the bridge of LST 58, positioned in the middle of the convoy, the following events were logged (all timings are GMT);

0133 Gunfire directed at convoy. Probably AA to draw return fire. 0133.5 General quarters sounded. No target visible. Order to open fire withheld to protect position of convoy.

0202 Convoy changed direction to 203 degrees. Explosion heard astern and LST 507, the last landing craft in the convoy, seen to be on fire.

0215 LST 531 opened fire but no target visible from LST 58. 0217 LST 531 hit and exploded.

0218 Decision to break formation and to proceed independently. 0224 Order given on LST 531 to abandon ship.

0225 E-boat sighted at 1500 metres. Four 40mm guns and six 20mm guns on LST 58 fired off 68 and 323 rounds respectively. The E-boat turned away and at "cease fire" was about 2000 metres distant when it disappeared from view.

0230 LST 289 was hit.

0231 LST 289 opened fire but target not seen from LST 58.

0237 Surface torpedo reported off bow of LST 58.

0238 to 0400 Bright magnesium flares sighted in all directions with the intention of discouraging the scattered convoy making for shore. E-boat engine noises heard on many occasions.

0432 Order given on LST 507 to abandon ship.

0442 LST 515 lowered boats and picked up survivors from LST 507.

In the confusion of the action and darkness, it was impossible to be certain what was happening. The British Fighter Direction Tender, FDT 217, had sailed out of Portland to provide radar and communications cover (she was one of three FDTs that would provide stalwart service off Normandy two months later) but, on this particular night, she received a signal: "Make port all haste" which she duly did. Elsewhere the scale of the debacle was becoming only too apparent. LSTs 507 and 531 had been sunk with the loss of 202 and 424 lives respectively - a total of 626 out of a total US Army and US Navy complement of 943. LST 289 was damaged with the loss of 13 men and LST 511 was hit by fire from LST 496 resulting in 18 wounded. In the end, the total of 639 American killed and missing was 10 times the actual losses on Utah beach on D-Day, for which this exercise had been intended as a rehearsal.

A Twist in the Fortunes of War
- On 12 May 1944, S-130 bore witness to one of the War’s many, tragic, little footnotes. S-130 was taking part in a patrol of some 10 S-Boote to the south of the Isle of Wight. The Royal Navy soon discovered them and destroyers were dispatched in pursuit. During the ensuing engagement, The Free French ship La Combattante succeeded in sinking S-141, onboard which was Oberleutnant zur See Klaus Dönitz, the son of Grossadmiral Dönitz, Chief of the German Naval Staff. He was training to qualify for command of an S-Boot and was among the 18 crew from S-141 who died.

D-Day – The Turn of the Tide and the Long Retreat
-On the morning of 6 June 1944, D-Day, S-130 was one of the 31 battle-ready S-Boote sent to attack the Allied fleet. Several successes were claimed but, against such an assault force (4126 landing vessels and transports, 1213 warships and total air supremacy over the landing area and approaches), the Kriegsmarine could do little to hinder the massed landings. The 9th Flotilla sank a number of landing craft but records do not indicate whether any were attributed to S-130. Since two of her ship’s company were killed, however, it may reasonably be deduced that she was in the thick of the action. Thereafter, it was a question of retreating east along the Channel and North Sea coasts as the Allied armies advanced towards the Rhine and Germany, trying always to harry and disrupt their sea lines of communication. Little specific record remains of the many engagements that were played out in the darkness of the winter of 1944/45 although it is clear the 9th Flotilla and S-130 were seldom away from the action. By the spring of 1945, German Naval operations in the southern North Sea had all but been suspended and the cessation of hostilities in May found S-130 in Rotterdam. She had survived to fight again.

Old Wine in New Bottles -
In May 1945, S-130 and S-208 were taken as British war prizes. A team of German delivery crews from the German Minesweeping Administration (GM/SA) subsequently brought them to Gosport, England, together with a variety of other small craft. During the ensuing period, the Royal Navy used them for test and trial purposes as Experimental Craft FPB 5130 and FPB 5208. As they were to be used unarmed, the torpedo tubes were de-activated and closed, and the cannon unshipped. Additional fuel tanks were installed in order to increase their operating radius and powerful radar and radio direction finding suites were fitted. In order to conduct comparative trials, S-130 had her three MB 501 V-20 diesels replaced by three, state-of-the-art Napier-Deltic diesels rated at 3140-PS each, whilst S-208 retained her original engines. This new lease of life gave S-130 a speed of 45 kts – an increase of about 5 knots on her previous maximum. It was then decided to re-deploy them to British-occupied Germany on reconnaissance duties under the direction of Flag Officer Germany and, for this new role, the boats were given a coat of special, white, non-reflecting paint.

Pirates Turned Spies
- At first, they were used for coastal survey, based in Rotterdam, but the British Admiralty had urgent need of information about the equipment and activities of the Soviet Fleet, who were making their presence in the Baltic increasingly felt. The boats were re-deployed to Kiel (under command of one Lt Cdr John Harvey-Jones) and were soon turning up in the middle of Soviet Fleet manoeuvres and in the approaches to their bases. They photographed Soviet Units, collected a large quantity of useful information and made a thorough nuisance of themselves but, as soon as they were detected they were able to escape at high speed despite all efforts to intercept them. In order to confuse the situation further, they carried and wore a variety of ensigns and insignia. This made identification very difficult, as several navies used former Kriegsmarine S-Boote, given to them by the US and UK as war prizes, at this time. During this period (1948/9), a decision was made to set up a “British Baltic Fishery Protection Service (BBFPS)” as a cover organisation. Its principal purpose was to conceal the details of Operation Jungle, a programme for the clandestine insertion of agents into the Baltic States, to be mounted by the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). They had trained selected emigrants from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia as agents and these were by now ready to be returned in order to link up with anti-Soviet resistance groups who had been conducting anti-Soviet resistance and hiding in the forests since the end of the war. The Royal Navy felt confident that it could find suitable German candidates to crew a small flotilla for this dangerous undertaking. Tens of thousands of Kriegsmarine personnel had worked for the Royal Navy as part of the British-supervised German Mine Sweeping Administration and its smaller civilian successor, the Cuxhaven Mine Sweeping Group. Most importantly, these included one Hans–Helmut Klose, a daring veteran of the Kriegsmarine S–Bootwaffe. During the last year of World War II, Klose had commanded the 2nd Fast Torpedo Boat Training Flotilla, which operated throughout the Baltic during the final desperate months of the Kriegsmarine’s existence. Klose’s boats performed a wide range of missions, including the escort of transports, reconnaissance missions, clandestine insertion of agents and even the rescue of high-ranking officials from encircled enclaves. He had fought the Soviet Fleet off Kürland and, during the last days of the War, had played a leading role in the brilliantly-executed but desperate evacuation of Libau in East Prussia. He was highly-regarded and had no “baggage” from the British point of view: Klose was a born pirate but he was no Nazi. In May 1948, Commander Anthony Courtney RN, an intelligence officer, interviewed Klose and asked him whether he would be interested in putting his unique experiences and talents to use against the Russians. He agreed and soon got things moving. Operations began in May 1949, from when MI6 used S-208 (alias FPB 5208) and a variety of other vessels to transport agents to landing sites in Polanga (Lithuania), Uzava and Ventspils (Latvia) Saaremaa (Estonia), and Stolpmünde (Poland). The boats flew the White Ensign but were manned by German crews, all former members of the Kriegsmarine S-Bootwaffe. Called to duty again, this time in the service of the British, they formed what was to become famous – albeit in rarefied, clandestine circles – as “The Klose Fast Patrol Group”. The agents were flown from England to West Germany, landing there on British military airfields from where they were brought to various harbours to board one of Klose’s vessels. The first stage of the trip was usually to Bornholm, off the Swedish coast, where they would await the radio signal from London giving the final order to penetrate the territorial waters of the USSR. On receipt, British Officers would issue any final instructions and disembark, leaving the German crew to make the run. Only the vessel’s Commander knew the destination. After nightfall, the boat closed slowly and quietly to within about 3nm of the coast. Following the satisfactory exchange of agreed authentication signals with the shore reception party, a rubber dinghy with an outboard motor was lowered and the coxswain, who was in radio communication with the mother S-Boot, put the agents ashore. There he embarked any agents for return to England and rejoined the S-Boot which, after clearing the coast with the minimum of noise and disturbance, accelerated out of hostile territorial waters.

S-130 Joins a Very Private Club
- After these rather improvised beginnings, MI6 decided to create a more permanent organisation, which was set up 1951 in Hamburg-Finkenwerder and later moved back again to Kiel. In 1952, S-130, rejoined her sister ship S-208 and the scope of operations was widened to include electronic and signal intelligence activities. This involved the fitting of a variety of signal intelligence (SIGINT) equipment and, from 1953 on, following a co-operation agreement between the British and the American Secret Services, American CIA agents (supported by the famous US-backed Gehlen organisation) were also inserted along the coasts of the Baltic States by Klose’s boats. In 1952, following the arrival of S-130, the Group had been further reinforced. The German Federal Border Guard (Sea) (Bundesgrenzschutz See) had ordered three fast patrol boats of the modernised Kriegsmarine S-Boot type from the Lürsen shipyard but their designed speed of 43 kts broke the terms of the Potsdam agreement under which construction of such fast patrol boats was prohibited. The British waited until they were completed and paid for, confiscated the boats just before they were due to be delivered – an example of the perfidy of Albion that can have few equals - and then commissioned two of them as Storm Gull and Silver Gull with the usual German crews. Finally, in 1954/55, three more, newly-built Schnellboote arrived to relieve S-130 and S-208, both of whom were by now looking decidedly war-weary.

Seaworthy Ships but a Leaking Intelligence Service
- From 1951 onwards, MI6 had suspected that Soviet counter-intelligence might have infiltrated the spy networks in the forests of Kürland. In fact, the KGB had been very successful with its counter-penetration operation “Lursen-S." Over 40 agents were inserted into the field and all were caught, sentenced, or turned as moles or double agents. This complete failure of the MI6 operation in the Kürland had much to do with superciliousness and a lamentable lack of internal security inside MI6 itself. In the end, neither MI6 nor the KGB achieved their intended aims and many human lives were sacrificed for a trickle of information which, after close analysis, proved to be of little value. The landings were finally stopped for good in 1955. In contrast, the Naval intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations conducted by the Klose Fast Patrol Group were very successful indeed and it was for this that Lt Cdr Harvey Jones (now rather better-known as Sir John Harvey-Jones, formerly Chairman of ICI) was made an MBE. These operations also did much to set aside the Anglo-German naval bitterness and resentment of the immediate post-war period and laid the foundation of what was to become the German Navy’s new "Schnellbootflotille" and the Intelligence Organisation.

The New Germany Joins NATO and The Bundesmarine is Born
- In spring 1956 the BBFPS was disbanded. The crews received medallions from a grateful Royal Navy for their services and the boats were handed over to the nascent German Federal Navy. Our heroines, S-130 and S 208, were restored to their old condition and handed over, in March 1957. They were used as high-speed training vessels, designated UW 10 and UW 11 respectively, at the underwater warfare school, while the newer boats formed the first Fast Torpedo Boat Squadron. Most of the crew members also joined the German Federal Navy and the Flotilla Commander, Hans Helmut Klose, finally retired in the rank of Vice Admiral, having created and commanded the complete, new and excellent Schnellboot arm, in 1978. S-208 was finally broken up but S-130 continued to give valuable service as a test and training platform in a variety of roles under the pennant number EF3. She was finally paid off for the last time, after 48 years’ service, in 1991 in Wilhelmshaven, where she remained as a house-boat until her acquisition for restoration in England by her present owner in January 2003.
regards

Xavier
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Erich
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Post by Erich » 11 Dec 2004 23:53

The official scores I gave earlier by 136 and 138 and are accredited to those commanders via Freiburg Archiv and the seperate Flottille histories.

True Mirbach is given credit for 1 sinking as well as a shared which is false. Crazy things happen in night combat....

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Post by red devil » 12 Dec 2004 08:57

I have a signed copy of the Ken Small book. Alas he died last year. Thanks to everyone for the information, I shall "help myself" to it in the near future and put it into the relevant spaces, with credits of course. But busy at present working long days 75 miles from home.

Schnellboot of course! S Boat. It was us who termed it an "E" boat.

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Post by The Argus » 16 Dec 2004 00:51

While we're on the subject, did the Spanish Navy ever recieve any S-Boote?

shane

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Post by Xavier » 16 Dec 2004 18:07

yes, indeed, it received several, please check:

Schnellboote S6 - S9 class
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... highlight=

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Post by red devil » 27 Dec 2004 17:14

Thank you to everyone for your contributions, this information is now online, I hope I have done it justice.

Exercise Tiger

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Post by Erich » 27 Dec 2004 17:32

Mike here is a pic although not of the greatest quality of Mirbach for the site....
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