S-97 the WW2 Schnellboot that Survived

PrinzEugen.com Schnellboot Archive

S-97, the Survivor

S-97, an armored bridge boat formerly commanded by Obersteuermaat Wilhelm Waldhausen, has recently been found abandoned on a riverbed in the UK. The years were not kind to this illustrious veteran of numerous battles in the English channel but she will soon be in the good hands of the British Military Powerboat Trust, experts at boat restoration.

These photos were sent courtesy of the boat's new owner, John Wheeler, who is leading the rescue of this historic artifact. With the help of Philip Simons, RN Coastal Forces Historian, John located the wreck just one month before it was due to be broken up! Rebuilding S-97 will be a painstaking project that will require intensive labor from a lot of dedicated enthusiasts.

The restoration team needs all manner of plans, photos, information and parts. If you are able to assist this worthy project please do so! Click the postage stamp to make contact

Prinz Eugen dot com will host a regular bulletin on this boat, including a running list of needs for S-97. At the moment the priority is locating deck fittings, bridge armor and armament including torpedo tubes.

Late 2001: S-97 is not a pretty sight, but it is still early in the project. The forecastle, superstructure, torpedo tubes and engines were torn away during its years as a house boat, and the boat is obviously suffering from great neglect. However, according to the recovery team, the metal frames are in excellent, sound condition, and will form the basis for the restoration. 3 appropriate MB engines, a spare, and a 100hp Maybach auxillary engine have been located. Recovery efforts are now underway to tow the hulk to Southampton for years of extensive restoration.

23 March 2002: Progress on S97 continues with more removal of mud and debris from the house boat conversion and some patches on the hull to ensure that she is fully water tight. The plan is to get her to Southampton this summer, by which time the weather will be good enough to have a smooth passage. Journey time from the present location is estimated at 2-3 days.

18 May 2002: the S-97 is afloat again for the first time in many years. The hunt for replacement parts has turned up two torpedo tube hatches, lots of other parts still needed.
3 June 2002: She is floating well with no need of pumps. Next phase is to fit the bouyancy bags to give her about 50 tons of lift such that she can survive being holed on the journey to Southampton.

Update: S-97 has been scrapped and is no more.

The S97 in 1960 as the Danish Navy's Ravnen Photo courtesy of her former radioman, Palle Kruse.

The Ravnen's bridge aft, looking forward. Palle Kruse photo.

Bow in heavy waves. Palle Kruse photo.

The S97 at Barry Graving Docks when she was owned by Windway Marine Services, Photo taken by Philip Simons - Coastal Forces Historian - in 1964.

The gutted engine room. The frames are in good shape.

The Chief would not be pleased.

Looking forward to the chain locker in the bow.

The 48" diameter center prop is still there. It is made of stainless steel.

Floating again for the first time. The people on deck give some indication of size of this project.

Patches like this one were needed to make the hull water tight again.

S-97 was built by Luerssen, Vegesack, hull number 12897. Her keel was laid on 18 September 1942 and She commissioned on 25 March 1943. She was assigned to the 6th Flotilla, and took part in actions in the English channel and the Gulf of Finland. After the war, she was sent to the USA as a war prize,and eventually delivered to Denmark where she served as T 60 Ravnen. In 1960 as P560/Ravnen she starred in a Danish film called "Somand I knibe". Sold to Anglo Diesel company in January 1963, then to Windway Marine Services in November 1963. Used as houseboat "Samantha" until abandonded. Check again soon for a more detailed history.

The British Military Powerboat Trust is located at the Husbands Shipyard Estate in Southampton, England. The Trust has been established to create a national exhibition center which demonstrates the innovation, development and history of twentieth century high speed military craft. A selection of boats has been assembled in the sheds to form the basis of the exhibition centre. These include Naval Motor Gun Boat MGB81/MTB 416, RAF Seaplane Tender ST1502 and a Thornycroft CMB.

As well as static area for craft undergoing restoration there is an extensive exhibition area for the display of models, photographs and drawings together with a number of engines permanently on display.

Visit their website here: British Military Powerboat Trust All images on this page are copyright John Wheeler, and may not be reproduced without his permission.