KdK - Kommando der Kleinkampfverbande

The beginning:

The KdK units were organized in the beginning of 1944.  The plan from 1943 was to make a completely new weapon, which was effective against allied invasion fleets, but still easy to manufacture and operate. The 3 main characteristics were: Mobility, firepower and little personel requirement. A program of several different types of migdet submarines and fast attack boats were built. The plan was more or less to make a mobile coastal torpedobattery, but the constructors also saw possobillities for use to place demolition charges in enemy harbours. Admiral Helmut Heye was given the supreme command of the new Kleinkampf Divisionen. In each country, the flottillas should operate under independent command, not by the local Seekommandant as with other anti invasion measures.

The training:

Operations with migdet submarines required a great deal of skills, and not least courage. There were no particular system in the selection of personel, but many were brought in from the Kriegsmarine surface vessels. The main course for operatos of migdet submarines was placed at Blaukoppel near Lübeck. Normal training for operators cosisted of a 10 week intensive course, where all aspects of operating, tactics, and attack-procedures had to be learned. Biber operators were trained only in night attacks, as no daylight attacks were considered feasible.

Transfer to Norway:

The first K-flottilla units arrived in Norway in November 1944, and placed under command of Kpt.Z.See Beck in Oslo. Beck made a survey of the coast and requested 40 flottilas to defend the entire Norwegian coast. By the time of the capitulation, Beck had only got 8 flottillas organized in 4 divisions, consisting of 85 officers and ca 2500 men.

1.K-Division Under command of Kplt Woerdeman in Narvik:

K-Flot.1/265 Engeløy - Oblt Z.see Ploger with command over 120 men and 20 Biber

This unit was about to transfer to Oslofjord when the war ended

K-Flot.2/265 Engeløy - Oblt Z.see Doose with command over 80 men and 11 Biber.

K-Flot.1/215 Ullvik - lt Z.see Hein with command over 100 men and 20 Linsen.

K-Flot.1/362 Brenvik - lt Z.see Gotthard with command over 70 men and 20 Marder.

MEK35 Harstad - Commando unit under Oblt Grünewedel with 60 men.

2.K-Division Under command of Oblt Z.see Schuirmann in Trondheim:

K-Flot.2/216 Namsos - Oblt Z.see Thum with command over 80 men and 24 Linsen.

K-Flot.1/216 Selvenes - Oblt Z.see Krause with command over 100 men and 36 Linsen.

K-Flot.1/267 Kristiansund - Oblt Sengbiel with command over 90 men and 15 Biber.

K-Flot.2/267 Molde - Kpltn Sommer with command over 90 men and 15 Biber.

MEK30 Molde - Commando unit under kplt Gegner with 80 men.

3.K-Division Under command of Korv.Kpt Silex in Bergen:

K-Flot.1/362 Herdla - Oblt Z.see Koch with command over 70 men and 20 Marder.

K-Flot.2/362 Krokeidet - Unknown commander - 70 men and 20 Marder.

K-Flot./215 Flatöy - Oblt Schadlich with command over 100 men and 30 Linsen

MEK25 Stend - Commando unit under Oblt Z. See Ronninger with 60 men.

K-Flot 415 Sola - Oblt Z.see Breckvoldt with command over 200 men and 30 Molche.

K-Flot 1/263 Höllen - Oblt Erdmann with command over 90 men and 14 Biber.

K-Flot 2/263 Tangen - Oblt Thieme with command over 90 men and 15 Biber

4.K-Division Under command of Kplt Velguth in Oslo:

K-Flot 366 Stavern - Oblt Lehmann with command over 60 men and 15 Marder.

K-Flot 366 Maagerö - Oblt Z.see Heinsium with command over 45 men and 15 Marder.

K-Flot.1/265 lead by Oblt Z.see Ploger with 120 men and 20 Biber were on transfer from Engeløya to Oslofjord (Håøya) when the war ended.

The equipment:

Marder:

The smallest vessel, only 24,6 feet long, carried one torpedo. The Marder could travel 2,5 knots at surface, or 2,7 knots submerged at a range of ca 56 kilometer. Maximum operational depth ca 50 meters.

Biber:

Biber was the most common one-man submarine in Norway. It was 29,8 feet long and carried 2 torpedoes. During trials, several Biber submarines had flipped over after fireing one of the torpedoes. The weight problem was solved by removing 2 of the 3 batteries in each torpedo. This gave both lesser speed and range compared to regular torpedoes. The Biber could travel 7 knots at surface, or 5 knots submerged at a range of ca 160 kilometer. Maximum operational depth ca 30 meters.

Molch:

The largest vessel used in Norway was the Molch,with a lenght of 35,3 feet. The Molch could travel 4,3 knots at surface, or 5 knots submerged at a range of ca 165 kilometer. Maximum operational depth ca 40 meters.

Sprengboot Linse:

A rather strange weapon was the explosive carrier Linze. This 19 feet wooden boat, powered with a Ford V-8 engine made 30 knots on the water. Two boats carried a 351 kilo explosive charge, while a third followed to pick up the drivers. As soon as they had the enemy in sight, they would lock the boat on target, and jump into the sea.

MEK Units:

Marine Einsatz Kommando units were attached to the K-divisonen, and operated as a commando unit along the coast. They carried some of the most modern weapons and equipment available in Norway. These units moved from area to area to carry out special operations, often in cooperation with SiPo.

The Tactics:

The tactics for use was quite simple. Migdet submarines were stored on central places on shore. In case an enemy was spotted, they were brought to prepared launching sites, and set off to defend certain areas. The Biber and Molch was planned to protect harbour entrances or fjords. They would place themselves in line, and wait for the enemy ships to approach. Due to the limited range of  the Biber`s torpedoes, these had to wait until the distance to the target was only 300 meters. The torpedo had to go 150 meters to arm itself, so the operators really had to wait for the right moment! As soon as the submarines had launced their torpedoes, the second attack wave of Linsen boats would be launched against the now crippeled fleet. In case any ships would manage to penetrate this “line” of defence, the small Marder would operate in shallow waters inside the harbours or fjords.

By

Erik Ettrup

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