R boat
The R boats (Räumboote in 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....

) were a group of small minesweepers
Minesweeper (ship)
A minesweeper is a small naval warship designed to counter the threat posed by naval mines. Minesweepers generally detect then neutralize mines in advance of other naval operations.-History:...

 but used for several purposes during the Second World War.
A total of 424 boats were built for 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 It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine.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...

 before and 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...

. The German Navy used them in every theatre including the Baltic, Mediterranean and the Black Sea. These boats were used for convoy escort, coastal patrol, minesweeping, minelaying and air-sea rescue
Air-sea rescue
Air-sea rescue is the coordinated search and rescue of the survivors of emergency water landings as well as people who have survived the loss of their sea-going vessel. ASR can involve a wide variety of resources including seaplanes, helicopters, submarines, rescue boats and ships...


About 140 R boats survived the war and these were distributed amongst the Allies. Some were used by the German Mine Sweeping Administration
German Mine Sweeping Administration
The German Mine Sweeping Administration was formed from former crews and vessels of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine for the purpose of mine sweeping after the Second World War, predominantly in the North Sea and Baltic Sea, and existed from June 1945 to January 1948.-History:The GMSA was formed on 21...

 to clear western Europe of naval mine
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...

s. Twenty-four boats were transferred back to the post-war German Navy, the Bundesmarine, in 1956 and were used until the late 1960s. An unusual feature of these ships is the use of Voith Schneider Propellers on approximately one quarter of the boats for extra maneuverability.

R Boat classes

Class Boats in class Displacement Length Notes
R1 R1-R16 60 tons 26 m built 1929-34
R17 R17-24 115 tons 37 m Built 1934-38
R25 R25-R40 110 tons 35.4 m Built 1938-39
R41 R41-129 125 tons 37.8 m Built 1939-43
R130 R130-150 150 tons 41.1 m built 1943-45
R151 R151-217 125 tons 35.4 m built 1940-43
R218 R218-300 140 tons 39.2 m built 1943-45, R291-300 unfinished at the end of the war
R301 R301-312 160 tons 41 m built 1942-45, two 533 mm torpedo tubes added
R401 R401-448 140 tons 39.2 m launched 1943-45 mostly not completed at end of the war

See also

  • Schnellboot, known to the Allies as E-Boats
  • Motor Launch
    Motor Launch
    A Motor Launch is a small military vessel in British navy service. It was designed for harbour defence and submarine chasing or for armed high speed air-sea rescue....

     for the British Equivalents
  • M class Minesweeper (Germany)
    M class minesweeper (Germany)
    The M class were the standard minesweeper of the German Navy during World War II.-M1935:The first series; the M1935 were ordered in the late 1930s to replace worn out World War I vintage boats. These ships proved versatile and seaworthy. The vessels could also undertake convoy escort,...

    for larger German minesweepers
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