German torpedoboats of World War II
The German torpedoboats of World War II were armed principally, if not exclusively, with torpedoes and varied widely in size. They should not be confused with the larger destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

s, nor with the smaller, torpedo-armed Schnellboote (known to the Allies as E-boats).

Raubvogel (1923) and Raubtier (1924)

The six Raubvogel (German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

:"Bird of prey
Bird of prey
Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh....

") class torpedo boats were developed from earlier designs shortly after World War I and came into service in 1926 and 1927. They were the first to use electrical welding for hull construction to reduce displacement and they also introduced geared turbines. During the Second World War these ships were referred to as the Möwe class by the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...


Despite the innovations, and unlike contemporary German destroyers, the Raubvogels were successful sea-boats, although limited to coastal waters, and most remained in service until 1944, by which time all had been lost. Well before this time, however, the deficiencies of their concentration on torpedoes became apparent: their anti-aircraft weaponry was wholly deficient, and had to be upgraded, and their guns were also minimal.

The immediately following six ships of Raubtier ("predator") class had been intended to mount 12.7 cm guns but, instead, received updated 10.5 cm weapons. Speed and range were improved. Otherwise, they displayed the same good and bad points as the Raubvogels and experienced similar operational conditions and upgrades.

They entered service in 1927 and 1928 and all but one had been lost before mid 1942.

During the St. Nazaire Raid
St. Nazaire Raid
The St Nazaire Raid or Operation Chariot was a successful British amphibious attack on the heavily defended Normandie dry dock at St Nazaire in German-occupied France during the Second World War. The operation was undertaken by the Royal Navy and British Commandos under the auspices of Combined...

 ("Operation Chariot"), the destroyer HMS Campbeltown
HMS Campbeltown (I42)
HMS Campbeltown was a "Town"-class destroyer of the Royal Navy during the Second World War. She was originally an American destroyer , and, like many other obsolescent U.S. Navy destroyers, she was transferred to the Royal Navy in 1940 as part of the Destroyers for Bases Agreement. Campbeltown...

 was altered by the Royal Navy to look like a Raubvogel class torpedo boat.

All twelve vessels were built at Reichsmarinewerft Wilhelmshaven
Wilhelmshaven is a coastal town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the western side of the Jade Bight, a bay of the North Sea.-History:...

Type 23 (Raubvogel)
Name Launched Completed Fate
Möwe (Seagull) 1926 1926 Sunk by bombing in Le Havre
Le Havre
Le Havre is a city in the Seine-Maritime department of the Haute-Normandie region in France. It is situated in north-western France, on the right bank of the mouth of the river Seine on the English Channel. Le Havre is the most populous commune in the Haute-Normandie region, although the total...

 14 June 1944
Falke (Falcon) 1926 1926 Sunk by bombing in Le Havre 14 June 1944
Greif (Griffon) 1926 1927 Torpedoed by aircraft 24 May 1944
Kondor (Condor) 1926 1927 Mined
Naval mine
A naval mine is a self-contained explosive device placed in water to destroy surface ships or submarines. Unlike depth charges, mines are deposited and left to wait until they are triggered by the approach of, or contact with, an enemy vessel...

 23 May 1944, decommissioned 1 August 1944
Albatros 1926 1928 Wrecked by accidental grounding on 10 April 1940 during the invasion of Norway
Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung was the code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign...

Seeadler (Sea Eagle) 1926 1927 Sunk by British MTB
Motor Torpedo Boat
Motor Torpedo Boat was the name given to fast torpedo boats by the Royal Navy, and the Royal Canadian Navy.The capitalised term is generally used for the Royal Navy boats and abbreviated to "MTB"...

s 14 May 1942 while escorting the auxiliary cruiser Stier
German auxiliary cruiser Stier
The German auxiliary cruiser Stier was a German auxiliary cruiser during World War II. Her Kriegsmarine designation was Schiff 23, to the Royal Navy she was Raider J....

Type 24 (Raubtier)
Name Launched Completed Fate
Wolf 1927 1928 Mined 8 January 1941 near Dunkirk
Iltis (Polecat) 1927 1928 Sunk by British MTBs 14 May 1942 while escorting the auxiliary cruiser Stier
German auxiliary cruiser Stier
The German auxiliary cruiser Stier was a German auxiliary cruiser during World War II. Her Kriegsmarine designation was Schiff 23, to the Royal Navy she was Raider J....

Jaguar 1928 1929 Bombed 14 June 1944
Leopard 1928 1929 Wrecked in collision 30 April 1940
Luchs (Lynx) 1928 1929 Torpedoed by HM Submarine Thames
HMS Thames (N71)
HMS Thames was an ocean-going type of submarine of the River Class. She was built by Vickers Armstrong, Barrow and launched on 26 February 1932. She was completed on 14 September 1932, and after commissioning was assigned to the Mediterranean, stationed at Malta.-Service history:She had a short...

 26 July 1940
Tiger 1928 1929 Wrecked in collision with destroyer Max Schultz
German destroyer Z3 Max Schultz
The German destroyer Z3 Max Schultz was a Type 1934 destroyer built for the German Kriegsmarine in the mid-1930s. She was named after Max Schultz who commanded the torpedo boat V69 and was killed in action in January 1917. Shortly before the beginning of World War II, the ship accidentally rammed...

25 September 1939

Torpedoboot 1935 and 1937

The 1935 design was unsuccessful and the 1937 was little better. These ships were designed as a larger more seaworthy torpedo vessel rather than a more balanced mini destroyer.

The requirements for the 1935 class included a maximum "declared" displacement of around 600 tons in order to come within a clause in the Washington Naval Treaty
Washington Naval Treaty
The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, was an attempt to cap and limit, and "prevent 'further' costly escalation" of the naval arms race that had begun after World War I between various International powers, each of which had significant naval fleets. The treaty was...

, and higher speeds than the older 1923 and 1924 classes. In reality these ships came in overweight at around 900 tons standard displacement. To achieve this, high pressure turbines were used but these were unreliable and difficult to repair and maintain in the restricted space of the hull. The low displacement made them unseaworthy which was only partially resolved by 1940 and this reduced the effectiveness of the class as minelayers. There was an even greater concentration on torpedoes, with a single 10.5 centimetre gun and minimal anti-aircraft protection.

The 1937s incorporated some modifications, including lower pressure turbines, but with little real improvement. They displayed the same limitations as their predecessors and the reasons for persisting with such a poor design are unclear.

Twelve 1935s and nine 1937s were built at Schichau Elbing and all except two survived until the late war or post-war. This survivability reflects their unsuitability as warships and they were either withdrawn into reserve or used as training ships.

Type 1935
Name Launched Completed Fate
T1 19 February 1938 2 December 1939 sunk 9 April 1945
T2 7 April 1938 9 December 1939 bombed and sunk in Bremen 29 July 1944, salvaged and scrapped 1946
T3 23 June 1938 3 April 1940 mined and sunk 14 March 1945 near Danzig
T4 15 April 1938 27 May 1940 transferred to Denmark and scrapped Feb 1952 without seeing further service
T5 22 Nov 1937 23 Jan 1940 mined and sunk 14 March 1945 near Danzig
T6 16 December 1937 30 April 1940 mined and sunk 7 Nov 1940 off the East coast of England
T7 18 June 1938 20 Dec 1939 scrapped between 1947-1949
T8 10 Aug 1938 8 Oct 1939 scuttled 3 May 1945 near Kiel
T9 3 November 1938 4 July 1940 scuttled 3 May 1945 near Kiel
T10 6 August 1940 6 August 1940 destroyed 18 December 1944, by bombing in dry dock Gotenhafen (note 1 date is likely wrong)
T11 1 March 1939 7 May 1940 transferred to the French Navy as war reparation, renamed Bir Hakeim, scrapped October 1951
T12 12 Apr 1939 3 July 1940 transferred to the USSR as war reparation, served as the Podvischny until the 1960s. sunk in deep water 1991

Type 1937
Name Launched Completed Fate
T13 15 June 1939 31 May 1941 sunk 10 April 1945 by RAF bombing
T14 20 July 1939 14 June 1941 transferred to France as the Dompaire scrapped 1951
T15 16 September 1939 26 June 1941 sunk 13 December 1943 in Kiel by bombing
T16 23 November 1938 24 July 1941 decommissioned 13 April 1945
T17 13 March 1940 28 August 1941 transferred to the USSR as the Poryvistyy, scrapped after 1960
T18 1 June 1940 22 November 1941 sunk 17 September 1944, by Soviet aircraft rockets near the Åland Islands
T19 20 July 1940 18 December 1941 transferred to USA, then to Denmark and scrapped February 1952
T20 12 September 1940 5 June 1942 transferred to France as the Baccarat, scrapped 1951
T21 21 November 1940 11 July 1942 scuttled by the US Navy in the Skagerak 10 June 1946

Flottentorpedoboot 1939 (Elbing class)

The Elbings
Elbing class torpedo boat
The Elbing class torpedo boats were a class of 15 small warships that served in the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Although classed as Flottentorpedoboot by the Germans, in most respects—displacement, weaponry, usage—they were comparable to contemporary medium-size destroyers...

 "Fleet torpedo boats" were a radical design departure from their predecessors, larger and with a more balanced weapons mix. They were comparable with British destroyers of the period. The ships were unnamed, but numbered T22 to T36.

Flottentorpedoboot 1940

After the invasion of the Netherlands in 1940, the Dutch shipyards were almost undamaged. Therefore the German Navy contacted the Dutch shipbuilders to build some smaller vessels for the Kriegsmarine. The Flottentorpedoboot 1940 was more a destroyer than a torpedo boat and based on Dutch designs. Twenty four were ordered in 1940-1941, but only three were launched and in 1944 the incomplete ships were transferred to the Baltic Sea to be completed where they were either destroyed or captured by the Allies after the war.

Flottentorpedoboot 1941

The Flottentorpedoboot 1941 was an improvement of the Flottentorpedoboot 1939 class with more powerful engines and additional anti aircraft artillery was added. 15 of those boats were ordered in 1942-1944, but none of them was completed. At the end of the war, the few ships already launched were in different stages of construction, one of them, the T37 was very close to completion. Those ships which could be moved to the west were towed away from Elbing, but their construction was not continued.

Flottentorpedoboot 1944

The Flottentorpedoboot 1944 were planned after a radical change in torpedo boat tactics, they were designed to be able to operate with other fleet units in the North Atlantic. This class had the main focus of armament changed to anti aircraft artillery. Therefore the main armament were four 10,5 cm flak guns, plus an increased number of smaller antiaircraft guns, but those ships kept the torpedo and mine laying abilities of their predecessors. To enable those ships for ocean operations, their range had to be dramatically enlarged. As a technical innovation, all auxiliary machinery were electrical powered instead of the usual steam powered ones. Nine (T52-T60) were ordered but were cancelled shortly thereafter.

Torpedoboot Ausland

The Torpedoboot Ausland
Torpedoboot Ausland
The Torpedoboot Ausland were small destroyers or large torpedo boats captured by Nazi Germany and incorporated into the Kriegsmarine. They were assigned a number beginning with TA-TA 1 to TA 6:...

 ("foreign torpedo boats") were small destroyers or large torpedo boats captured by Nazi Germany and incorporated into the Kriegsmarine. They were assigned a number beginning with TA. They numbered from TA 1 to TA 47, most never entered service for one reason or another.

See also

  • Schnellboot German motor torpedo boats.
  • German World War II destroyers
    German World War II destroyers
    At the outbreak of the Second World War, the German Navy, the Kriegsmarine, had 21 destroyers . These had all been built in the 1930s, making them modern vessels...

  • Motor Torpedo Boat
    Motor Torpedo Boat
    Motor Torpedo Boat was the name given to fast torpedo boats by the Royal Navy, and the Royal Canadian Navy.The capitalised term is generally used for the Royal Navy boats and abbreviated to "MTB"...

     British MTBs
  • Fairmile D motor torpedo boat
    Fairmile D motor torpedo boat
    The Fairmile D motor torpedo boat was a type of British Motor Torpedo Boat designed by Bill Holt and conceived by Fairmile Marine for the Royal Navy....

     British response to the E-boat
  • Steam Gun Boat
    Steam Gun Boat
    The Steam Gun Boat was a Royal Navy term for a class of small naval vessels used during the Second World War. The class consisted of nine gun boats, powered by steam, and built from 1940 to 1942 for the Coastal Forces of the Royal Navy....

     British E-boat hunter
  • Torpedo boat
    Torpedo boat
    A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval vessel designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs rammed enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes, and later designs launched self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes. They were created to counter battleships and other large, slow and...

    general history

External links

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