The Kriegsmarines Schnellboote - fast attack boats or E-boats to the Allies - were the primary German naval attack units in coastal waters throughout the Second World War. Operating close to their various bases they became a devastatingly effective weapon in nearly all the Kriegsmarines theatres of war, from the Baltic to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It was in the English Channel, however, that they scored their most notable successes, destroying some forty warships and more than one hundred merchant ships.
In addition to interception and attack, they were also used for minelaying, landing sabotage troops and general escort duties. There has been, to date, no comprehensive operational history of the S-boat service in all the theatres in which it saw service, but due to the relatively small number of units it is possible to recount the duties and fates of each individual craft and in this new book the author examines the career of each in detail. In addition, operations alongside the commando units of the Kleinkampfverbande are covered.As the War progressed, S-boats suffered from the increased Allied mastery of the seas and skies but they were a formidable foe right to the end; this new book is the first to do full justice to their record of success.