Monday, 19 December 2022

Flower-class corvettes in Kriegsmarine service

The recent publication of the latest book in Antoine Vanner's DAWLISH CHRONICLES series reminded me that back in 2020 I wrote a guest blog post on his blog about warships that had been captured by the German during World War Two and incorporated into the Kriegsmarine. As a follow up to this, I briefly wrote about the British-designed Flower-class corvettes that served in the Kriegsmarine, and by sheer chance, a couple of days ago, I found some photographs of these vessels on the Internet. I did a bit more research and the following was the result.


The French Navy had planned to acquire eighteen build Flower-class corvettes, six of which were intended to be built in French dockyards. These six were all named after old weapons, namely, Arquebuse (Arquebus), Hallebarde (Halberd), Sabre (Sabre), Poignard (Poignard), Tromblon (Blunderbuss), and Javeline (Javelin). The first three were completed to a slightly modified design, but the latter three were never fully completed, although the hull of the incomplete Poignard was launched and later used as a blockship at Nantes in 1944.

One of the Flower-class corvettes in service with the Kriegsmarine. The aft bulwark has been cut down so that the ship's minesweeping gear can be deployed.

The first three were completed by the Germans and commissioned as patrol boats PA 1, PA 2, and PA 3. (PA stood for Patrouillenboot Ausland or captured patrol boat.) The ships looked similar to their Royal Navy sisters but were far more heavily armed. Their armament included:

  • 1 × 10.5cm (4.1-inch) SK C/32 gun (1 x 1)
  • 4 × 3.7cm SK C/30 AA anti-aircraft guns (2 x 2)
  • 10 × 2cm C/30 AA anti-aircraft guns (2 x 4 & 2 x 1)
  • 2 × Mk.II depth charge throwers
  • 2 × depth charge rails with 40 depth charges
This Flower-class corvette has not yet to been completed. Her 4.1-inch SK C/32 gun is already installed in its zariba, but the quadruple 2cm C/30 anti-aircraft gun has yet to be fitted in its position atop the ship's bridge.

They were also fitted with minesweeping gear.

A sideview drawing of the Flower-class corvettes as they would have appeared in service with the Kriegsmarine.

The ships formed part of the 15th Vorpostenflottille, which was based in Le Havre on coastal escort duty until it was forced to leave on 28th June 1944 due to the Allied advance in Normandy.

PA 1 was commissioned on 15th April 1944 and is thought to have been damaged during a bombing raid by 325 Lancaster bombers on Le Havre at the night of 14th/15th June 1944. She seems to have been decommissioned on 24th August 1944.

PA 2 was commissioned in early September 1943 and was sunk in Le Havre during the bombing raid of 14th/15th June 1944.

PA 3 was in commission by 16th November 1943, and after fairly active service in the English Channel, she was also damaged during the bombing raid on Le Havre on 14th/15th June 1944. She was not repaired and was decommissioned two days later.

This is thought to be the incomplete Poignard. Had she been completed and commissioned, she would have become the PA 4.

It is interesting to note that the Germans used these vessels for coastal escort duties, the role that was originally intended for them. It was the need for deep sea convoy escorts that forced the Royal Navy to use them in much heavier seas than they were designed for ... which is why they gained a reputation for being very 'wet' boats to serve aboard.


  1. Very interesting piece of history of which, I was ignorant (landlubber ignorance) and well illustrated. Bob, Thanks for sharing. Carl

    1. Carl,

      I’m very glad to read that you enjoyed this blog post about one of the more obscure bits of naval history.

      All the best



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