Flak-Boat Krischan der Große
The origins of this design date back to the famous Operation Seelöwe
, the planned invasion of the British Isles in 1940. In preparation for the invasion, plans were made for an escort ship that could protect harbors and coastal areas against air-attacks. This type of ship was called ‘Flugsicherungsboot
’ (= aircraft protection boat) or ‘FluSi’ for short, a rather misleading designation, as this was the term usually used in German for seaplane tenders. This ship, of course, had nothing to do with this job and was a pure AA-carrier (In fact, later documents call Krischan der Grosse
Initially, 100 ships of this type were ordered for the invasion. The prototype was built at the Rotterdamsche Drogdock shipyard (construction-no. 242) in the occupied Netherlands in 1940/1941 and named Krischan der Grosse
for air force ace Friedrich Christiansen. She was 38,5m in length, had a width of 5,9m and a draught of 1,5m, the displacement was 112t. A total power of 2000hp came from three BMW petrol aircraft engines for a top speed of 18kn and a range of 860nm. However, those engines could only run on full power, which made mooring a little bit
difficult. The boat was armed initially with a 88mm Flak 18, a single 37mm Flak 36 and two 20mm Flakvierling 38. All of these weapons were land-based AA pieces and lacking a third axis of stabilization, which made them hard to use on the sea. At the back, there was room for four waterbombs.
Krischan der Grosse
was undergoing trials for the invasion under from July 41 to April 42. Overall, the design was relatively disappointing and with the cancellation of the invasion, she remained the only ship of her class. From May 1942 on, she was used as a gun trial ship in the navy station at Swinemünde.
In 1942, the order for the class came up again, this time for only 30 ships. The design was revised to include diesel engines this time, and the hull was enlarged (length increased to 43m), the bridge got smaller, but bridge wing platforms were added. The weapon outfit remained the same, except the second 20mm quad was replaced with another 88mm Flak 18. This design, designated FluSi 2
, never came to be.
(I know this is a never-built, but we don‘t have a thread for small ships there, so…)
By 1943, a second 88mm Flak 18 had been installed on Krischan der Grosse
as well. In the same year, the ship was transferred to Antwerpen, where her petrol engines were replaced with diesel engines. On February 2nd, 1944, Krischan der Grosse
was lost in an air attack, with 11 members of her crew missing.
After the war, the ship was mostly forgotten, even some experts doubting it had ever existed (the misleading designation certainly was no help either). It wasn’t until the 1960s, when some photographs and plans resurfaced, bringing the ship back from the darkness of history…
Any help and source material is always welcome.