Kriegsmarine Coastal Forces cover
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Despite the popularity of the U-boats and larger surface vessels like the Bismarck and the Graf Spee, the vast majority of vessels within the Kriegsmarine served in the coastal forces. Although less frequently mentioned, these smaller ships gave crucial service during the war and continued to serve decades after VE day, either in the German Navy or in the navies of the victorious Allies. Indeed, Kriegsmarine minesweepers and their German crews, still in their old uniforms with the swastikas simply removed, continued to serve after 1945 under the control of the Royal Navy, engaged in the dangerous but necessary task of clearing old wartime minefields.

The ships and boats included in the coastal forces ranged from such minesweepers to torpedo boats, patrol boats and blockade breakers. These latter were merchant vessels, whose daunting task was to evade the Allied warships to bring essential supplies into Germany. Also included in the coastal forces was Hitler's personal yacht, the Ostwind. This book tells the often-forgotten story of the vessels that formed the backbone of the Kriegsmarine, and combines fascinating anecdotes, detailed technical information, and full-color artwork.

Table of Contents

Introduction · Minensuchboote (minesweepers) · Torpedoboote (torpedo boats) - small destroyers armed with two sets of torpedo tubes and similar to the Allied destroyer escort · Raumboote - trawlers pressed into military service which were literally “outpost” vessels perfoming a patrol service and giving early warning of the approach of enemy forces · Tenders: “Mothership” vessels for flotillas of smaller vessels such as E-boats and U-boats · Tankers and auxiliaries - provided crucial refuelling facilities to U-boats. Most were hunted down and destroyed during the course of the war · Blockage breakers · Miscellaneous - including former cruise liners acting as troopships. The Wilhelm Gustlov was sunk in the Baltic by a Soviet submarine carrying thousands of passengers including women and children fleeing the approaching Red Army. It was the greatest single loss of life in a maritime disaster yet few people have heard of the ship. Also training ships and Hitler's personal yacht, which was in fact a large steam powered vessel.

Product details

Published Jan 20 2009
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 48
ISBN 9781846033315
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 40 b/w; 7 col
Dimensions 10 x 7 inches
Series New Vanguard
Short code NVG 151
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Gordon Williamson

Gordon Williamson is a retired civil servant who s…


Ian Palmer

Ian Palmer is a highly experienced digital artist…


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