R boat

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Bundesarchiv Bild 101II-MW-1562-23, Frankreich, R-Boote.jpg
R boats operating near the coast of occupied France
Class overview
Name: Räumboote or Minenräumboote
Builders: Abeking & Rasmussen
Operators:  Kriegsmarine
General characteristics
Type: Minesweeper
Displacement: 160 t (max)
Length: 41.1 m (134 ft 10 in)
Beam: 5.80 m (19 ft 0 in)
Draught: 1.60 m (5 ft 3 in)
Propulsion: 2x MAN diesel engines; 1,836 hp
Speed: 20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Range: 1,100 NM (2,000 km)
Complement: up to 38
Armament: 1x 37 mm C/30 cannon
2 x 20mm cannon
7.92 mm machine guns, mines and depth charges

The R boats (Räumboote in German) were a group of small naval vessels built as minesweepers for the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) before and during the Second World War. They were used for several purposes during the war, and were also used post-war by the German Mine Sweeping Administration for clearing naval mines.

Operational use[edit]

A total of 424 boats were built for the Kriegsmarine before and during World War II. The German Navy used them in every theatre including the Baltic, Mediterranean and the Black Sea. In addition to its designed use as minesweepers, these boats were used for convoy escort, coastal patrol, minelaying and air-sea rescue.

About 140 R boats survived the war and these were distributed amongst the Allies. Some were used by the German Mine Sweeping Administration (GMSA) to clear western Europe of naval mines. 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[edit]

Class Boats in class Displacement Length Builders[1] Notes
R1 R1–R16 60 long tons (61 t) 26 m Lürssen, Bremen-Vegesack
Abeking & Rasmussen, Lemwerder
Schlichting, Travemünde
Built 1929–34[2]
R17 R17–R24 115 tons 37 m Schlichting, Travemünde,
Abeking & Rasmussen
Built 1934–38[3]
R25 R25–R40 110 tons 35.4 m Abeking & Rasmussen
Schlichting, Travemünde
Built 1938–39[3]
R41 R41–R129 125 tons 37.8 m Abeking & Rasmussen
Schlichting, Travemünde
Built 1939-43
R130 R130–150 150 tons 41.1 m Abeking & Rasmussen Built 1943–44[4]
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

R boat units[edit]

In the inter-war years and during the Second World War, a total of 19 Räumboots-Flottille (German for “Minesweeper Flottilas”) were created. While most were dissolved late in the war or after the German surrender, a few were kept for use by the German Mine Sweeping Administration (GMSA) and dissolved post-war. An additional flotilla was created in the immediate post-war, also for use by the GMSA.[5]

1. Räumboots-Flottille[5]

Established in October 1937, with boats: R 17, R 18, R 19, R 20, R 21, R 22, R 23, R 24.

  • Other boats assigned during its existence: R 43, R 52, R 65, R 66, R 67, R 68, R 69, R 70, R 71, R 72, R 73, R 74, R 75, R 76, R 106, R 119, R 120, R 127, R 128, R 145, R 150, R 249, R 259, R 260, R 268.
  • Escort ship assigned: Nettelbeck, Nordpol.
2. Räumboots-Flottille[5]

Established in November 1938, with boats: R 25, R 26, R 27, R 28, R 29, R 29, R 30, R 31, R 32.

  • Other boats assigned during its existence: R 74, R 77, R 84, R 86, R 113, R 114, R 116, R 125, R 129, R 169.
  • In 1945 was composed by boats: R 412, R 413, R 414, R 415, R 416, R 417.
  • Escort ship assigned: tender Brommy.
3. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in 1939 at Pillau, with boats: R 33, R 34, R 35, R 36, R 37, R 38, R 39, R 40.

  • Other boats assigned during its existence: R 163, R 164, R 165, R 166 R 196, R 197, R 203, R 204, R 205, R 206, R 207, R 208, R 209, R 216, R 248.
  • Escort ship assigned: tender Von der Groeben.
  • In 1945 was composed by boats: R 270, R 288, R 289, R 418, R 420, R 421, R 422 R 423.
    • Escort ship assigned: Gazelle.
4. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in April 1940, with boats: R 41, R 42, R 43, R 44, R 45, R 46, R 47, R 48, R 49, R 50, R 51, R 52.

  • Other boats assigned during its existence: R 80, R 83, R 115, R 120, R 126, R 128, R 138, R 143, R 150, R 218, R 240, R 243, R 244, R 245, R 246, R 255, R 262, R 274, R 275, R 290, R 291.
5. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in August 1939, with boats: R 1, R 3, R 4, R 5, R 6, R 7, R 8, R 9, R 10, R 11, R 12, R 13.

  • In 1941 was composed by boats: R 53, R 54, R 55, R 56, R 57, R 58, R 59, R 60, R 61, R 62, R 63, R 64.
  • Other boats assigned during its existence: R 89, R 90, R 113, R 121, R 122, R 124, R 238, R 250, R 269, R 273.
  • Escort ship assigned: Elbe.
6. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in July 1941 at Cuxhaven, with boats: R 9, R 10, R 11, R 12, R 13, R 14, R 15, R 16.

  • Other boats assigned during its existence: R 1, R 3, R 4, R 6, R 7, R 8, R 115, R 187, RA 10 (former English motor torpedo boat), and RD-boats: RD 116, RD 117, RD 118, RD 119, RD 120, RD 121, RD 122, RD 127, RD 128, RD 129, RD 130, RD 131.
7. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in October 1940, with boats: R 151, R 152, R 153, R 154, R 155, R 156, R 157, R 158, R 159, R 160, R 161, R 162.

  • Other boats assigned during its existence: R 173, R 202, R 223, R 262, R 277.
  • Escort ship assigned: Weser
8. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in January 1942, with boats: R 92, R 93, R 94, R 95, R 96, R 97, R 98, R 99, R 100, R 101.

  • Other boats assigned during its existence: R 113, R 117, R 118, R 130, R 146, R 147, R 257, R 258, R 409.
  • Escort ship assigned: Nadir, Schwertfisch.
9. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in May–June 1942 at Rotterdam.

  • Boats assigned during its existence: R 85, R 87, R 88, R 103, R 104, R 105, R 107, R 108, R 109, R 110, R 111, R 112, R 131, R 148, R 149, R 247, R 251, R 412, R 413, R 414, R 415, R 416, R 417
  • Escort ship assigned: Alders.
10. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in February–March 1942 at Cuxhaven

  • Boats assigned during its existence: R 175, R 176, R 177, R 179, R 180, R 181, R 182, R 183, R 184, R 190, R 213, R 217, R 218, R 219, R 221, R 222, R 224, R 234.
  • Escort ship assigned: von der Lippe.
11. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in September 1939, with 8 fishing trawlers and 1 escort ship. In October 1940, was renamed 7th Minesweeper Flotilla and assigned purpose-built R-boats.

  • Boats assigned during its existence, from 1942: R 39, R 161, R 162, R 189, R 192, R 198, R 199, R 200, R 201, R 212, R 215, RD 102, RD 103, RD 104, RD 105, RD 109, RD 111, RD 112, RD 113, RD 114, RD 148, RD 149, RA 252, RA 253, RA 254, RA 258, RA 260, RA 261, RA 262, RA 263, RA 264, RA 267, RA 268.
12. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in May 1942 at Bruges; then moved into the Mediterranean. Dissolved in February 1945.

  • Boats assigned during its existence: R 34, R 38, R 40, R 178, R 185, R 186, R 188, R 190, R 191, R 194, R 195, R 210, R 211.
  • Escort ship assigned: von der Groeben.
13. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established on 15 November 1943; used in the German Bight. In 1957, the flotilla was transferred to the new German Navy (Bundesmarine) from the German Mine Sweeping Administration.

  • Boats assigned during its existence: R 132, R 133, R 134, R 135, R 136, R 137, R 138, R 139, R 140, R 141, R 142, R 144, R 177, R 252.
  • Escort ship assigned: Nordsee.
14. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in December 1943; used in the English Channel. After the invasion of France in June 1944 was used in the German Bight and the Baltic Sea.

  • Boats assigned during its existence: R 18, R 214, R 219, R 225, R 226, R 227, R 227, R 228, R 229, R 230, R 231, R 232, R 233, R 235, R 236, R 237, R 242, R 259, R 263.
  • Escort ship assigned: Barbara.
15. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established on 1 July 1944; used in the Baltic Sea, including Finnish waters. Disbanded after the German surrender.

  • Boats assigned during its existence: R 239, R 240, R 241, R 243, R 244, R 245, R 254, R 255, R 256, R 409, R 410, R 411.
16. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in October 1944, main base Haugesund, Norway. Dissolved on 25 November 1947.

  • Boats assigned during its existence: R 264, R 266, R 267, R 401, R 402, R 403, R 404, R 405, R 406, R 407, R 408, R 424.
17. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in July 1944 with school and training boats; initially named Räumbootsflottille zbV, and used in the Baltic Sea. Dissolved late 1947.

  • Boats assigned during its existence: R 55, R 71, R 102, R 167, R 170, R 174, R 175, R 176, R 181, R 220, R 241, R 246, R 249, R 290.
21. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in July 1943. The flotilla consisted of 12 large escort minesweepers (Geleit-Räumbooten) based at Bergen, Norway. Dissolved early 1946.

  • Boats assigned during its existence: R 301, R 302, R 303, R 304, R 305, R 306, R 307, R 308, R 309, R 310, R 311, R 312
25. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in the summer of 1945 at Denmark with boats from various flotillas, for the German Mine Sweeping Administration. Dissolved early 1946.

  • Boats assigned during its existence: R 18, R 23, R 65, R 234, R 254, R 257, R 258, R 409, R 410, R 411
  • Escort ship assigned: Riegel.
30. Räumboots-Flottille [5]

Established in June 1943 with small Dutch minesweepers and moved into the Black Sea. Dissolved in August 1944.

  • Boats assigned during its existence: R 30, RA 51, RA 52, RA 54, RA 56.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lenton 1975, pp. 330–331.
  2. ^ Lenton 1975, p. 319.
  3. ^ a b Lenton 1975, p. 320.
  4. ^ Lenton 1975, p. 321.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Räumboots-Flottillen". Lexikon der Wehrmacht, Räumboots-Flottillen (in German). Andreas Altenburger (webmaster). Retrieved 2014-05-04. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946
  • Hervieux, Pierre German Motor Minesweepers at War 1939-1945 in Warship 2002-2003, Conway's Maritime Press
  • Lenton, H. T. German Warships of the Second World War. London: Macdonald and Jane's, 1975. ISBN 0356-04661-3.

Online sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]