Hitler’s Forgotten Flotillas (2017)


“This study of the Kriegsmarine’s Sicherungsstreitkrafte, their security forces, fills a gap in the study of the German Navy in World War II. This book describes the wide array of vessels including patrol boats, minesweepers, submarine hunters, barrage breakers, landing craft, minelayers, and even the riverine flotilla that patrolled the Danube as it snaked towards the Black Sea. These vessels may not have provided the glamour associated with capital ships and U-boats, but they were crucial to the survival of the Kriegsmarine at every stage of hostilities.

As naval construction was unable to keep pace with the likely demand for security vessels, Grossadmiral Erich Raeder turned to the conversion of merchant vessels. For example, trawlers were requisitioned as patrol boats (Vorpostenboote) and minesweepers (Minensucher), while freighters, designated Sperrbrecher, were filled with buoyant materials and sent to clear minefields. Submarine hunters (U-Boot Jaeger) were requisitioned fishing vessels. More than 120 flotillas operated in wildly different conditions, from the Arctic to the Mediterranean, and eighty-one men were to be awarded the Knight s Cross; some were still operating after the cessation of hostilities clearing German minefields. Paterson documents organizational changes, describes the vessels, and recounts individual actions of ships at sea. Extensive appendices are included.” (from Amazon.co.uk)

Published 18 April 2017.
Pen & Sword website page


There are a number of maps which illustrate the various areas of operation, along with a number of diagrams, such as explaining the Oropesa mine sweeping arrangement and plenty of photos throughout the book, showing the ships and the men and their uniforms.  From purpose built vessels, to converted merchant ships and commandeered Trawlers, there is such a great variety of hundreds of these minor vessels which were employed by the Kreigsmarine throughout the war.  Add to all this the inclusion of plenty of stories about how operational events turned out, there is lots in here to enjoy, and certainly for me, to learn.
Robin Buckland’s Military Modelling Scene

This new book provides a detailed view of the
Kreigsmarine Security Forces in WWII with many previously unpublished  images. It is an important addition to the pool of knowledge and the first substantial review of German naval security forces – Very Highly Recommended.

The author has clearly undertaken exhaustive research and assembled a vast amount of information on the German Naval Security Fleet, Sicherungsstreitkrafte, producing what is a unique review in depth. The main body of the book provides clear text with embedded images in illustration. There are a great many images and many have not been published before. Although British Coastal Forces have received less than their due in print, the German Navy has fared even worse and this book is a very welcome correction of this deficiency. To a comprehensive review has been added an equally comprehensive set of appendices, bibliography and index.


Additional Material
It is my intention to complete the appendices that I had hoped to include within the book. These are complete lists of the Security craft allocated to each flotilla. Space prevented its inclusion in the book itself, and I will add them as they are finished here on the website. As you can imagine – this will take some time.

Sperrbrecherflottillen (incomplete)