Osprey New Vanguard 59 : German E-boats 1939-1945
By the outbreak of World War II, Germany had done much to replace the Kaiser's High Seas Fleet, which was scuttled at Scapa Flow following the German surrender at the end of World War I. With virtually no modern craft left, Germany was forced to build her fleet anew, and thus, although small, the Kriegsmarine possessed some of the most modern and technically innovative warships in existence. The heavy units of the fleet, Battleships, Battle Cruisers, Pocket Battleships and Heavy Cruisers were too small in number to pose much of a threat to huge fleets such as the Royal Navy. Although the vessels themselves were at least well matched, or even superior, to their equivalents in any other navy, they were never given the opportunity to prove their worth in anything other than 'penny packets'. Where Germany was particularly well served by her Navy was with the smaller vessels, and in particular two specific branches - the U-Boats and the S-Boats. Known to the allies as the E-Boats (E being indicative of 'Enemy'), the correct term for these vessels was S-Boats (Schnellboote or S-Boote). The S-Boats performed sterling duties in both the Black Sea and the English Channel, where they became a particular scourge. The Channel in fact became known at one point as 'E-Boat Alley'. The achievements of the S-Boote can also be gauged by the high number of successful commanders who were decorated with the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, in recognition of the tonnage they had sunk. Text by Gordon Williamson with illustrations by Ian Palmer.
- Design and Development
- Organisation of the S-Boote Flotilla
- Operational use of the S-Boote
- Ship Histories
- Commentary on the Colour Plates
Osprey New Vanguard