German Schnellboot (S-boat), called by the Allies E-boat (‘enemy boat’).
History, development, service, specifications, pictures and 3D model.

E-boat S-11
E-boat S-11

E-Boat (German ‘Schnellboot’ or ‘S-boat’)
Motor torpedo boat (MTB)


Identified by the British for some ill described purpose as an E-boat (‘Enemy boat’), the German Schnellboot, or S-Boot, differed significantly from the Royal Navy counterparts. Through the roots in a Lurssen civil type of the early 1930s, the S-boat was built of wood upon metal frames and received a round-bulged hull form that, although acquiring a lower maximum speed compared to the hard-handed British counterparts, had been greatly far more sea kindly. In the case, the S-boat could preserve its highest speed in sea states which pushed the British to throttle back to prevent extreme pounding.

Diesel-powered drive had been given from the beginning, although the prototype S1 of 1930 and the follow-on S2-S5 of 1931-32 were forced to take petrol machines while Daimler- Benz and MAN designed a appropriate device. Just with the S56-73 of 1934-35 did the three-shaft diesel design become established. These types of craft had been 32.4 m (106.3ft) long and run for 35 kts. This speed had been regarded as not enough, so within the next class the seven-cylinder diesels were replaced for 11-cylinder devices, increasing speed however requiring a rise in size to 34.7m (113.8ft), which continued to be amazingly persistent until 1945, in large difference to the selection of motorboats with the British flag.

Due to their bigger size the S-boats took their 2 torpedo tubes forward from the wheelhouse, providing room for 2 skid-mounted reloads abaft them. It had been then a minor design move from S26 onward to increase the forecastle by 1 m (3.28 ft), therefore enclosing the tubes and leaving a front gun-pit between them and, significantly, increasing the free board to obtain the craft a desirable dryness.

Always less noisy than British counterparts, the S-boats also were built with a profile which was difficult to spot without radar. Gun armament had constantly to be improved to check those of their enemies, the additional weight becoming balanced out to a large degree by enhanced weight saving methods of hull development and machines of greater power. Protection was improved through the use of the armored ‘Kalotte’ kind bridge. By 1945 speeds had been pressed (through highly unstable machines) to a maximum 42 kts and, whilst no longer, the S700 type released 2 additional, aft-facing torpedo tubes.

Over 200 S-boats had been built, of which about 50 % made it to the end of WW2.


Users: Germany (Navy), Spain (total of 5 boats in 1943).

Animated 3D model of E-boat

Specifications for E-Boat S26


E-Boat S26specification
TypeMotor torpedo boat (MTB)
Displacement93 tons
Displacement (full loaded)115 tons
Length114.67 ft
Beam16.73 ft
Draught4.6 ft
Machinery three Daimler-Benz diesels delivering 6,000hp to three shafts
Power 6,000 hp
Oil17 tons
Speed39.5 kts
Range 750 nm (864 miles) at 35 kts


E-Boat S26specification
Main Armament2x 20-mm-cannons
Torpedo tubes 2 (with 4 torpedoes)
Anti-Submarine 2 x depth-charge racks (total 8 depth-charges)

Service Statistics:

Build time S1 class1929-30
Build time S18 class1938-39
Buold time S38 class1942-43
Build timeS186 class 1944-45
Totalover 200 built
Remaining about half survived

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3 thoughts on “E-boat”

    1. A. Christiane von Pfahlenburg

      If and when you find them, I would be interested as well. Construction methods, mechanical drawings, anything at all.

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