A Virtual Dive on S-57

PrinzEugen.com Schnellboot Archive

Dive on S-57

Superb Underwater Photography by Thomas Braun and Jaromir Zalis.

S-57, (Hull No. 12850) was an S-30 class Schnellboot built at the Luerssen boatyard in Bremen-Vegesack, and commissioned on October 1st 1940. She was assigned to the 3rd S-Boot Flotilla.

S-57 Plan & Illustrations of the S-30 class

In October 1942, after serving in the English Channel and the Baltic, the flotilla was transferred via the trans European canal system to Dubrovnik on the south Adriatic Sea. The assignment, to escort friendly merchant ships and destroy those of the enemy, proved extremely difficult, due to the presence of numerous Royal Navy gunboats in nearby bases. Brawls between British and German forces became a frequent occurance, often resulting in casualties on both sides. At some point during her time in the Mediterranian, she was refitted with heavier armament including a 2cm Flak Zwilling which replaced the original single mount. Apparently she also had a 15cm MK151 Drilling (triple) mount in a special stand constructed just behind the bridge.

S-57 took part in numerous actions. On 4 February 1942, S-57 under command of Oblt. Gunter Erdmann, sank the British auxillary escort Cocker near Tobruk.

The events that led S-57 to her final resting place began on the night of August 17/18, 1944. That night, British ambushed a German convoy of six ships known to be headed to Dubrovnik with military supplies. British torpedo boats 675 and 658, based out of the Island of Vis, laid in wait near Mljet. With them was MGB 658, a heavily armed gunboat to ward off any German escourt vessels.

As the German convoy came into view early in the Morning of 18 August, the Royal navy launched their assault. Five of the German ships were sunk, but the sixth limped into port bringing news of the assault. A rescue operation got underway at sunset on the 18th. The flotilla consisted of S-57, S-58, S-60, S-30 & S-33.

At approximately the same location as the previous night's attack, the rescue flotilla came under intense fire by British MGBs which were apparently waiting for a rescue attempt. Although the British were repulsed, S-57 sustained numerous hits which killed two crewmen, Oberfahnrich z.S. Fritz Hundt and Maschinenmaat Josepf Gunkel. Nine others were wounded, the engines were knocked out and the boat was burning. Towing the heavily listing boat was out of the question, and there was no beach in the rocky waters to run her aground.

To keep her out of enemy hands, Kommandant Oblt z.S. Hans Buschman, made the agonizing decision to scuttle the S-57. At 04:32 AM S-57 sank when charges blew a large hole in her hull.

Today she rests in clear blue water 30 to 40 m deep, torpedoes still at the ready. Over the years, the bow 2cm gun was removed and is reported to be in Germany. Other fixtures are missing but the boat is still instantly recognizable as the proud warship she once was. S-57 is now a landmark under protection of the Croatian government.

The first set of these remarkable photos was taken by diver Thomas Braun member of a German diving club based in Wolfsburg, Germany. Other excellent photos taken by this group of expert divers can be seen on their website Tauchclub Wolfsburg Verein.

The following set of photos was taken May 2002 by Czech diver Jaromir Zalis, sent courtesy ofMirek Brat. The 2cm Zwilling is still loaded!

If anyone has additional photographs of S-57, please consider sharing them here! eMail the Kommandant

All images on this page are copyright Thomas Braun or Jaromir Zalis, and may not be reproduced without permission.