Vorpostenboots (also referred to as VP-Boats, flakships or outpost boats) were German patrol boats which served during both World Wars. They were used around coastal areas and in coastal operations, and were tasked with – among other things – coastal patrol, ship escort, and naval combat.
Warships were not available in sufficient numbers in the Imperial Navy and the Kriegsmarine to control the long coasts of the territories under German rule. For this reason, many different types of smaller craft were modified for use in combat. Most Vorpostenboots were pre-war fishing vessels, yachts or harbour craft. Such vessels were ideal because they existed in large numbers and were of simple and robust design (which was of advantage in rough waters). They were the German equivalent to the trawlers of the Royal Navy. There were several hundred Vorpostenboots active during both World Wars.
Vorpostenboots typically carried one or two medium calibre guns (i.e. 88 mm), a large number of light automatic anti-air artillery pieces (20-40mm), and a varying number of machine guns. For anti-submarine warfare they were also fitted with depth charges. Crewed by sixty to seventy men, most of whom were weapons personnel taken from the naval reserve, the Vorpostenboots became particularly feared by the Royal Navy for their firepower and efficiency in battle. While Vorpostenboots were able to engage and defeat light naval forces – such as small motor gun boats – they were not powerful enough to effectively combat warships of destroyer size or larger.
During the Cold War, the German Navy planned to use Vorpostenboots as part of its wartime strategy. These Vorpostenboots were intended to form the 122. and 124. squadron of the Navy. However, little such action in the War eventuated.
See also 
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- Derek Hart - Seas Aflame Robert Lenthart, 2005 ISBN 0-595-37983-4
- John P. Campbell - Dieppe Revisited: A Documentary Investigation Routledge, 1993 ISBN 0-7146-3496-4
- David K. Brown - David K. Brown Conway, 2004 ISBN 0-85177-953-0