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The Commissioning Photos and Friendship Book of FPB-5130 / S-130

Posted by Harry Bennett, on July 4th, 2013

Abstract

The story of FPB 5130 is an intriguing saga that spans several of the most tumultuous decades of the twentieth century, a story of war, espionage and technological advancement. Originally commissioned into the Kriegsmarine in October 1943 as Schnellboot S-130, this vessel served in the 9th S-Boot Flotilla based in Cherbourg, under command of Oberleutnant zur See Gunther Rabe. This article includes photographs of the commissioning ceremony in Travemuende on the German Baltic coast, and an entry by Gunter Rabe into the ‘friendship’ book kept by the owner of the Schlichting Werft, where S-130 was built. Following service in the English Channel, the S-130 fell into British hands after the German surrender in 1945, and was commissioned into the Royal Navy as Fast Patrol Boat 5130. After being used as a test bed vessel for new technologies being developed for future fast attack craft, FPB 5130 was enlisted for service with the Baltic Fisheries Protection Service. This was a cover for Operation Jungle, an MI6 operation running anti-communist agents in and out of the Baltic States. This remarkable vessel finished her career in the Bundesmarine as UW 10, a test and research vessel, and was retired at the end of the Cold War in 1990. This article explores the epic story of a ship that has established a noteworthy place in naval history as a vessel in continuous service under three flags from 1943 to 1991, and as one of only two surviving S-boats of the Second World War.

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