The Molch (German language: "newt
A newt is an aquatic amphibian of the family Salamandridae, although not all aquatic salamanders are considered newts. Newts are classified in the subfamily Pleurodelinae of the family Salamandridae, and are found in North America, Europe and Asia...
" or "salamander
Salamander is a common name of approximately 500 species of amphibians. They are typically characterized by a superficially lizard-like appearance, with their slender bodies, short noses, and long tails. All known fossils and extinct species fall under the order Caudata, while sometimes the extant...
") was an unsuccessful, one-man series of German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
A midget submarine is any submarine under 150 tons, typically operated by a crew of one or two but sometimes up to 6 or 8, with little or no on-board living accommodation...
s created during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
. Built in 1944, it was the first mini-submarine of the Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...
, but was not successful in combat operations and suffered heavy losses.
The Molch was based on torpedo
The modern torpedo is a self-propelled missile weapon with an explosive warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on contact with it or in proximity to it.The term torpedo was originally employed for...
technology, and carried two G7e torpedo
The G7e or more appropriately the G7e/T2, G7e/T3, and G7e/T4 Falke torpedoes were, with the exception of the T4 model, the standard torpedoes for Germany during World War II...
es attached externally on either side of the craft. It was fully electrical and was created for coastal operations, with a range of 64 km (39.8 mi) at 5 knots (9.26 km/h). The front section of the boat held a large battery. Behind the battery was the operator's position, which sat between two small trimming tanks. Behind the operator sat the electric motor. The complicated system of tanks made it difficult to control during combat operations. The first of 393 boats were delivered on June 12, 1944 and were built by AG Weser
Aktien-Gesellschaft Weser was one of the great German shipbuilding companies, located at the Weser River in Bremen. Founded in 1873 it was finally closed in 1983. Altogether, AG Weser built about 1400 ships of different types, including many war ships...
The Molch were first used in the Mediterranean against the Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...
Operation Dragoon was the Allied invasion of southern France on August 15, 1944, during World War II. The invasion was initiated via a parachute drop by the 1st Airborne Task Force, followed by an amphibious assault by elements of the U.S. Seventh Army, followed a day later by a force made up...
in 1944. The submarines were apart of the K-Verband 411 flotilla. On the night of September 25 they attacked allied battleships, with the loss of ten out of the twelve Molch submarines in the flotilla.
Shortly after, the remaining two were sunk by allied warship bombardment off of the Sanremo
Sanremo or San Remo is a city with about 57,000 inhabitants on the Mediterranean coast of western Liguria in north-western Italy. Founded in Roman times, the city is best known as a tourist destination on the Italian Riviera. It hosts numerous cultural events, such as the Sanremo Music Festival...
Other Molch flotillas were sent to Holland in December 1944, but were also unsuccessful. From January to April 1945, Molch and Biber submarines went out on 102 sorties, losing seven of their own and sunk only seven small ships. Due to the ineffectiveness of the Molch in combat operations, it was later used as a training vessel for more advanced midget submarines.