The publication of any images or informations related to nazism, fascism or any other totalitarian regimes must be understood as the reproduction of historical accuracy and not as apology to these regimes, leaders or symbols.
A publicação de qualquer imagem ou informação referentes ao nazismo, fascismo ou quaisquer outros regimes totalitários deve ser entendida como reprodução do rigor histórico e não como apologia a estes regimes, líderes ou símbolos.

Biber - German midget submarine - case report

Dive... dive... dive!!
      Today we will know this navy machine that came out of the drawing board as a desperate measure of the Germans to contain the Allied landings in Europe. The story of the Biber, the German midget submarine and its brave and lonely men that manned him.

Biber midget submarine - preserved at Technik Museum Speyer, Germany
      The Biber (German for "Beaver") was a German midget submarine of the Second World War. Armed with two externally mounted 53cm  torpedoes or mines, they were intended to attack coastal shipping. They were the smallest submarines in the Kriegsmarine.

      The Biber was hastily developed to help meet the threat of an Allied invasion of Europe. This resulted in basic technical flaws that, combined with the inadequate training of their operators, meant they never posed a real threat to Allied shipping, despite 324 submarines being delivered. One of the class's few successes was the sinking of the cargo ship Alan A. Dale.
      Eight have survived in museums, including one example (Biber 105) that has been restored to operational condition.
Biber 105 after restoration being erected for the sea test.

In the sea, finally...after many years...

Sailing !!!

Biber's happy and satisfied test pilot Tom Heron
And after restored, the Biber 105 resting at
Royal Navy Submarine Museum
      Construction of the first prototype began in February 1944 and was completed in less than 6 weeks. The initial prototype, officially titled Bunteboot (but better known as Adam), was heavily influenced by the British Welman submarine.
Welman British midget submarine - notice the absence of periscope...
      It differed from the final design in a number of respects such as being nearly 2 meters shorter. Following testing on the Trave river on 29 May twenty four Bibers were ordered.

     The hull was built in three sections composed of 3mm thick steel with an aluminium alloy conning tower bolted to the top.
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    The conning tower contained armored glass windows to allow the pilot to see out.
Biber's conning tower: the masts are, from forward to aft: container for magnetic compass,
the non-revolving front facing periscope and air induction mast.
Behind the tower is the exhaust pipe, tank and valve from the gasoline engine.

      The stern planes and rudder were made of wood and trying to control them while tracking the depth gauge, compass and periscope made the craft hard to handle.
     Adding to the pilot’s difficulties, the craft lacked compensating and trimming tanks, making staying at periscope depth a near impossibility. 
The pilot in the tower. He's using the primitive periscope, a very
hard task to do...
        The Biber had two diving tanks (ballast tanks), one in the bow section and one in the stern.

     The submarine could be armed with either torpedoe and/or mines. The preferred weaponry was the torpedoes.
   She carried two T-IIIc (G7e) special torpedoes with neutral buoyancy (1.343 Kgs - achieved by eliminated of the foward battery). The torpedoes G7a could also be carried, but by this time they were being replaced by the more efficient G7e.

      When armed with mines, the Biber could carry 2 mines type TMB (British designation, GS), which had the same diameter as the torpedoes, but much less weight.
     The TMB mines was designed especially for submarine use. This was an unearthed "seabed" that utilized a magnetic pistol. It was 2,83m long and carried an explosive charge of 567kg, in the total weight of 760 Kgs. The warhead was twice that of the torpedoes of the time. It was laid on the bottom in shallow seaways and was detonated when a big ship passed over its position. Not many ships survived such a blast under their keel.

     The midget submarine could also carry a torpedo and a mine, but it affected the already precarious balance of the submersible. The torpedoes or mines were accommodated in semi-circular recesses in the side of the hull. These reduced the overall width of the loaded craft, making land transport easier and also reduced drag in the water, but at the cost of weakening the hull.
Biber waiting repairs - Notice the recess for torpedo/mine in the hull side.
France - 1944.

Biber - Notice the recess for torpedo/mine in the hull side.
     The Biber was powered on the surface by a 32 hp (24 kW) Opel Blitz petrol engine, which was used despite concerns about the risks posed by the carbon monoxide the engine gave off. The engine had the advantage of being cheap and available in large numbers.
Biber's Opel engine installed in the aft section of the hull.
    Propulsion while submerged was provided by a 13 horsepower (9.7 kW) torpedo electric motor, supplied by three Type T13 T210 battery troughs.
Biber's mid-ship battery.

     Biber operations were carried out under the auspices of the K-Verband, a German naval unit which operated a mixture of midget submarines and explosive speedboats. The training of Biber operators was originally planned to take eight weeks, but the initial group of pilots was rushed through in just three weeks. Planning also called for flotillas of 30 boats and pilots with just under 200 shore support crew. See the movie below:

     Operations generally lasted from one to two days with pilots either using a drug like Pervitin or  D-IX to stay awake on longer missions or caffeine-laced chocolate (Scho-ka-kola).
Drugs and stimulants used by Nazi Germany
      The poor quality of the Biber's periscope meant that night attacks had to be carried out on the surface.
Fécamp harbour:
      The first Biber operation was launched by K-Flotilla 261 on 30 August 1944 from Fécamp harbour against the Allied ships near Normandy landing area. Twenty-two boats were launched but only fourteen were able to leave the harbor and of those fourteen only two managed to reach their operational area. 
This Biber was rescued in Dover, 1945, after being captured and towed to the beach. The pilot was found dead at the controls, probably poisoned by gasoline engine gases.
The Biber still carried an active magnetic torpedo. The torpedo was deactivated and the submarine recovered.
The history of this rescue can be appreciated here:

The same Biber, after the torpedo have been removed...
The hulk of destroyer HMS Codrington can see in background

The same Biber, being prepared for transportation...
      The Bibers from Fécamp were then withdrawn to Mönchengladbach.

Operations in the Scheldt Estuary:
      In December 1944 it was decided to deploy Bibers against traffic to Antwerp in the Scheldt Estuary. The force was based at Rotterdam with forward bases at Poortershaven and Hellevoetsluis. The first attack took place on the night of the 22/23 of December. Eighteen Bibers were involved of which only one returned. The only allied loss caused by the operation was the ship Alan A. Dale. Further operations between the 23rd and the 25th achieved no success and none of the 14 submarines deployed survived.
Bottle testing a camouflaged periscope like a floating clump.
This was sometimes used for attacks on estuaries or rivers. Baltic Sea, 1945.
     On the 27th the accidental release of a torpedo in the Voorneschen resulted in the sinking of 11 Bibers (although they were later recovered). The three undamaged Bibers later sailed again; none returned. An operation on the night 29/30 January resulted in damage to (much of it due to ice) or loss of most of the remaining Bibers.
The pilot of Biber observing the conditions of the ice sticking
to the turret. The midget sub was very fragile ...
    Losses combined with RAF bombing prevented attacks from being mounted in February 1945. The bombing had damaged the cranes used to move the Bibers into and out of the water.
Biber being lowered to the sea fully armed by a pier's crane

  Reinforcements allowed operations to continue until April 1945 but no successes were achieved and the Biber flotillas continued to take a very high rate of losses.
A Biber captured by the British Army near Arras, France, after being abandoned by the retreating Germans.
The midget sub is almost intact in his burnt trailer. Jabos!!!
Notice that the Biber is being transported with the torpedoes attached to the hull ...
   The last Biber mission was an attempt at mine laying and took place on the night of 26 April. Of the four Bibers that took part, one ran aground and three were attacked by Thunderbolts, which sank two of them.
A Biber, suspended in cranes,  with severe damaged in the port midship in a Dutch bunker. 1945.
Attempted attack on Vaenga Bay
     In January 1945 an attempt was made to mount an attack on Vaenga Bay in the Kola Inlet. The hope was either to attack one of the convoys that stopped there to refuel and take on ammunition or to attack the Soviet battleship Arkhangelsk (HMS Royal Sovereign on loan to the USSR).
Royal Sovereign as Arkhangelsk in Soviet service
    As it happened neither the battleship nor a convoy were in the port at the time of the planned attack. The plan was for U-boats to carry the Bibers within range of the harbour. U-295, U-318 and U-716 set off from Harstad on 5 January with Bibers mounted on their casings. Vibrations from the U-boats’ engines caused the Bibers stern glands to leak allowing water to reach the machinery space and as a result the mission was abandoned.
Biber on his big brother's back ... But the vibrations were damaging to the fragile submersible ...
   With a loss rate of 69 per­cent, the Biber mid­get sub­marine can truly be described as a sailor’s coffin. Planning for two man versions (Biber II and Biber III) began but never got off the drawing board.

Biber in unarmed condition
Biber midget submarine
Operators:                                                             Kriegsmarine
General characteristics
Type:                Midget submarine
Displacement:  5.7 tonnes
Length:8.9 m 
Beam:1.6 m 
Height:1.6 m 
32 hp (24 kW) Opel petrol engine plus 13 hp (9.7 kW) electric torpedo engine
  • 6.5 knots (12.0 km/h) surfaced
  • 5.3 knots (9.8 km/h) submerged
Range:100 nautical miles (surfaced)
Test depth:20m maximum
Armament:2x G7e (TIIIc) torpedoes or 2x TBM  mines

The kit:
      This kit will be part of a project consisting of several kits. The idea is to place this Biber in a Faun L900 D567 tank transporter. The concept is based on the days following the Normandy invasion, when the tide of Allied ships and men flooded the shores of France. In those days, the urgency of transporting material for a counterattack was urgent, and any means of moving machinery and weapons to meet the enemy was valid. We will have a Faun D567 L900 hauling the Biber into its cargo area and using its trailer to haul blast mines for beachhead blocking operations. Something like this:
Conceptual design of the project.
     For this project, the choice fell on Italeri's excellent kit U-Boot Biber (#5609). The submarine is very well injected and easy to build. The kit comes with a PE sheet and a good sheet of decals, allowing the construction of various markings. Complete the kit with a stand and two figures.
Italeri's kit box
      Let's to the build!!
Cleaning the parts...Notice the Faun in background, under construction.
The kit comes with G7a and G7e torpedoes. The choice is the better G7e

Testing the kit's fit. Very good..
The interior is very crude...

The midget submarine and its transporter ...

I scratch the internal section of periscope...
The turret is now closed, with interior painted and with transparencies glued in place

The "internal" periscope in side view...

Like this...
The tail hidroplanes and propeller axis..

And the Biber ready for painting...The torpedoes are in dry-fit
Notice the Faun in background...

The midget submarine is soooo cute!!

The little girl waiting for paintings and markings

A well finished, simple and complete kit. Congratulations Italeri ...
Very well done !!!

See you soon!!

Faun L900 D567 6x4 heavy truck with Sonderanhänger (Sd. Ah.) 115 - Kriegsmarine - case report

Männer der Kriegsmarine !!
      No...You didn't miss the Bunker. We're still at Panzerserra Bunker, about 1/35 military models. But today let's talk a little about the men of the German Navy. More specifically about this heavy truck used by Kriegsmarine in the task of transporting a Biber midget submarine in a Sonderanhänger (Sd. Ah.) 115 trailer . Let's talk about the Faun L900 D567 6x4 heavy truck.

Faun L900 D567 6x4 tank transporter carrying a Panzer II Ausf D
1st company of the 67th Tank Battalion 3rd Light Division.
September 1, 1939, the first day of the WWII.
      The plant Fahrzeugfabriken Ansbach und Nürnberg AG (FAUN) came into being in 1919 from a merger of the "Fahrzeugfabriken Ansbach AG" brand and the "Nümberger Feuerlöschgeräte-, Automobillastwagen- und Fahrzeugfabrik." The production program included trucks from 2 to 9 tons, with the numbers of each held within modest limits.
Faun radiator emblem
      FAUN received Wehrmacht contracts for, among others, the Uniform Diesel Einheits 2,5 ton 6x6 truck (700), the Faun L900 D567 6x4 heavy truck 9-ton (also as a tank transporter), truck-cranes (road and rail versions) and heavy wheeled tractors (Faun Zugmaschine ZRS- road and rail versions).

Faun L900 with 10 ton crane - road (left) and rail (right) versions. 

Faun Zugmaschine ZRS- road (above) and rail versions (below).
       The vehicles normally had a load limit of 9 tons and could be driven by 6- or 8-cylinder Deutz Diesel engines with 13.5 liters and 150 HP or 18 liters and 200 HP. The Faun was one of the heaviest German trucks in service at the time. It weighed 8,800 kilograms and was 9.8 meters long, 2.5 meters wide, and 2.6 meters high. It required a crew of only one, that being the driver. It was powered by a 1,501 hp Deutz F6M5171 diesel engine, and could carry a total cargo load of up to 9 tons.
Folder from Faun-Werke about Faun L900 D567 - 1930's
      The Faun had no armor protection or armament, and it had six wheels, four of which were the drive wheels. It's primary purpose was transporting and carrying small tanks and armored vehicles, hence the abnormally long body and powerful engine. The Faun could carry up two small tanks at a time using the trailer Sonderanhänger (Sd. Ah.) 115 Tiefladeanhänger für Panzerkampfwagen 10t (Sd. Ah. 115).
Faun L900 tank transporter and Sd.Ah.115 trailer
with two Panzers II
      The Faun was produced by a variety of manufacturers, including Büssing-NAG, Vomag, Faun, Fross-Büssing, Krupp and MAN. The Faun was mostly used from the early to mid part of World War II, as it was primarily used to carry and recover small German light tanks such as the Panzer I and Panzer II.
Faun L900 D567 in duty with two Panzer II Ausf D
Polish Campaign - 1939
      These light tanks became obsolete very fast and the Army had no more need of these early tank-transporters. So, the Faun L900's were transferred to the engineer and transport companies or used as heavy ammunition supply trucks, especially on the long roads in Russia.
Faun L900 (Luftwaffe) cargo truck snorting up an icy slope with trailer in
Staraya-Russa. Winter 1942-43.

Faun L900 D567  6x4 tank transporter
Typeheavy truck - tank transporter
Place of origin           Nazi Germany
Service history
In service1935–1945
Used byNazi Germany
WarsSecond World War
Production history
Weight9.000 Kg
Length9.80 m
Width2.50 m 
Height2.60 m 
Crew1 driver

Deutz F6M5171 diesel engine

13.500 cc  6 cyl. - 150 HP  or
18.000 cc 8 cyl. - 180 HP

semi-elliptical leaf spring
suspension (front and rear)
4 speed foward x 1 reverse
Cargo capacity
10.000 Kg
Cruise range
Fuel tank
Turning radius
50 km/h (max.)
360 Km
200 L
pneumatic (service)

The kits:
      For this project, I'll use the amazing injected kit from Das Werke Scale Models, very, very different ( and better, of course...) from the Faun L900 resin kit that I built few years ago. It's almost like comparing a Ferrari with a Clio !!
Das Werke kit (DW 35003) box art
      The building of this resin kit was, according to our modeler friend Alexander Glass (Uschi van der Rosten) one of the factors that motivated Das Werk to inject this amazing and impressive truck. And in a very courteous attitude from Das Werke, I received a complete kit as gift, sent by Alexander. Thank you very much, Gentlemen. 
The kit from Das Werke, with wood decals and chains...
Kojak was simply amazed !!!
      Das Werke staff, you are to be congratulated... The kit is very well injected and features great construction engineering solutions and very elaborate details. The parts fit like a glove, as you will see later in the building of this model... I really hope you continue releasing as good models as this !!
     But as I (and Kojak) love to innovate, we decided to build this girl in the 1944s, when they no longer worked as tank transporters, but as heavy transport. 
      So, this Faun will be my first girl in Kriegsmarine colors. We imagine her carrying a Biber midget submarine in her cargo area. And as she still had breath for more load, she will be pulling a trailer Sd.Ah.115, loaded with magnetic mines for an attempt of counterattack to the Allied landings in Normandy.
      Therefore, to complete the project (it's a commission for a great friend of mine ...), I'll use the Italeri U-Boot Biber kit (# 5609) and a Cammet resin kit (CAMB35005) for the EMC Mines.
Italeri's kit (#5609) Biber midget submarine - kit box art

Cammet Ltd. kit (CAMB 35005) EMC mines resin kit - kit box

       But let's talk less and work harder !!!
      First of all, the concept: Both the trailer and the truck have the capacity to carry the Biber with its full armament without any overweight problem. The options would be either to transport the Biber in the trailer or in the cargo area of the truck. At a glance, the trailer transport would perhaps be the first choice, but by detailing the transportation (see drawing below), the positioning angled of the boat made me choose to transport the midget in the Faun's cargo area. Mechanically, it seems more viable and safe to me...

      But what really made me decide on the option of transporting the U-boot in the truck was this photo below:
A captured Biber in exhibition somewhere in England
      Notice that the Biber is in the trailer of this Ford tractor, in the horizontal position. And this "horizontality" of weight and mass distribution that was the deciding factor in choosing to transport the minisub into the Faun's cargo area. BINGO!!
      Decided that, now is to build the characters of our little show...  Dive, dive, dive!!!
Kojak is literally "chained" to the triple project ...
       Starting at the beginning ... Chassis, with extreme care with the alignment of the stringers ...
Chassis under construction...Notice the steel blocks for perpendicular alignment...

cargo bed brackets and footboards in position...
The pieces fit perfectly. "Tamiya style" !! Well done, Das Werke

Turning the chassis upside down ... notice the alignment of the cargo bed supports ...

Starting with transmission and axes... Kojak's direct supervision!!

The building is easy and swift... cabin and front bonet...

Cabin interior. The dashboard and seats will be placed later to facilitate painting and finishing work ...

Bonnet in position. Perfect positioning ...
The kit features enviable engineering ...
Notice the dashboard and seats...

Steering system and Pitman axle installed ...

Notice the fuel tank and tool box in the chassis...

Wheels and tires ... of vinyl. Ah !! Too bad, Das Werke ...
Vinyl tires are a shame !!!
The tires will be installed later, after the wheels have been painted ...

Gluing the cargo bed to the chassis brackets ... It's time to use the alligators clamps ...
       While the chassis and the cargo bed dry up, let's start building the trailer ... And then it got complicated: the instruction manual and the part trees don't talk to each other. The letters are different. In Sprue it is spelled "H" and in the instructions it is "A". Less bad than the numbers are equal ...The chassis Instruction Manual is very confusing ... 

      My advice: Look and check the steps VERY CAREFULLY !!! There are parts that are not reported or shown in the graphic drawings ... Das Werk, the Sd.Ah.115 manual needs an URGENT overhaul !!
The trailer chassis under construction...
      Here's an example of the instructions booklet mess )see below): The manual indicates that A19 parts are glued to the front of the trailer, but A19 parts (the cranks) are glued to the squared points of the load tensioners ... and this step is described only in the end of booklet. And these load tensioners are usually the last to be placed in the kit ...
Notice the crancks and the tensioners...

The tensioners and his position in the front of the trailer...
      Indeed, the biggest problems with interpreting the instructions are in the trailer's building. A great initiative from Das Werke was to print QRCodes in the instructions, that direct the reader to the Das Werke website with short explanatory films... But unfortunately, these films do not have some of these little details...

The trailer under construction. Parts are stunning, but the instructions are tricksy...
       The rear axle features a trick as well. Do not use A25 parts yet, as they will be the pins that secure the axle to the rear suspension. Leave these two pins for the final step.

Pay attention and be smart ...
This is wrong!!

This is correct!!
      As I said, instructional issues are revealed in the trailer. When building the front portion of the trailer, parts A18 are hollow. But in the instructions nothing is mentioned to "plug" the cavities of the pieces. They are locking wedges. While inspecting the sprue trees, I came across the "covers" of these parts But the assembly manual makes no reference to them ...
The parts A18 with the rear "naked"...  But the rectangular parts are in the sprues...

The rear view of the A18 partes "sealed"... Now, we can use these wedges
in their positions...

A dry-run of the entire project...
      I decided to transform the rear door of cargo area in movable, in case your colleague wants to change the load on your truck. As the parts are very well injected, the hinges can be drilled with thin drills (0.4mm) and we use a copper wire of this thickness as the hinge pin ...
The holes, the drill amd the hinge's pins...

Close up of the hinge...

The rear door moveable...


The cargo area with all doors in position...
You can make ALL hinges of the cargo area parts moveable if you want...
Just repeat the process described above ...

But my option was only the rear door with movement...
      When Das Werke's Faun was released in the market, some reviews criticized the shape of the front fenders. In the Missing Lynx forum there was a debate about the curvature of the fenders and the photos shown as an argument actually present this discrepancy. I'm not a rivet-counter, but I like working on a kit... In my opinion, this detail is minimal (especially since I built a Faun with an old, very old resin kit, that was a real brick ...), but as modeling is fun, let's have fun. Watch now how to do a small plastic surgery with Dr. Kojak !!
The patient and the radiographs of "pathology"

Planning the surgery: The cuts will be made with a very thin (0,2mm) steel abrasive disc (yellow arrows)
to allow an overhauling in the fenders curvature. The goal is "to close" the curvature of the fender...

The disease and the cure!!!

The doctor Kojak is really an audacious doctor ...
Incisions being made only at the edge of the fender ...

After applying cyanoacrylate glue in the incisions, we compressed and repositioned the curvature of the fender...
Before and after surgery...The difference is significant ...

Incisions in the other patient ...

Planning to cut the anterior portion and add the posterior portion in the fender.
A true reconstructive surgery !!!

The front cut...with anesthesia, of course !!
The rear lip added
The front part reconstructed !!

Te patient now, after the surgery: new curvature,
new front and rear portions...

In the Faun's truck... Wheel in dry-run...

Faun's front portion in construction...

Right side...

Folding the canvas frame with the kit template. Very good, Das Werke !!!

The frames tied together ...  Chuck approves!!

And in position!!!  Uff...this girl is almost ready !!!
Let's do now, with electronic welding, the ladders in the back of the truck.
Copper wire and duct tape

Welding done... Planning the cuts...

Ladders done...

Ladders in position. Notice the exhaust, in metal too...

And talking about metal...I replaced the rearview mirror  plastic rods by steel wires.
These things break just by looking at them ... Better safe than mending !!
And the Faun is ready for painting...

right side...

      But I started building the mines that will be loaded by the trailer ... The Cammett resin kit is a beauty !!!
Cammett resin kit - 1/35th scaleType EMC Mines (CAMB35005)
This kit is from 2009!! Kojak is simply impressed ...


Lots of parts to be clean ... thankfully Kojak is a Dremel expert !!

Very careful at this time ... A mistake and goodbye fingers !!!

My old and faithful Dremel...
This disc in steel is a true weapon!!

After cutting the excess portions with steel disc, it's time to relax with these abrasive tools ...
And those won't tear your fingers off !!!

"Lowering" the cut in the resin to the level of the piece ...

After Dremel, is time for my sanding glass plate...
Water and gentle circular motions...

Rectifying the cut area ... Be careful not to go beyond the ideal point ...

And the resin part is smoother than angel's butt !!!

The same process in all parts that have gone through the cut ...

Kojak (and the Monk ...) are definitely pleased with the result ...

Smaller parts ... same procedure ...

After the cut with the steel disc...

Sanding the operated area ...


PE handles are flat profile. I will replace them with round profile handles with copper wire and patience.
I think it will be much better !!

Done!!  Indeed, much better!!

Replaces other handles with copper wire, too (green arrows). But some that are left are the PE sheet of the kit ...

The mines, almost ready...but still bald!!

With "hair", now... Fuses in position ...

And testing the mines in the trailer Sd.Ah.115 ... Hmmm..this thing is taking shape ...
The dry-run of the project... Kojak is a happy guy!!
      But since these mines will be in "transport mode", the fuses cannot be characterized in this way, as this is the "combat mode". I have to remove the fuses, or in naval jargon, I have to defuse the mines.
A swift and painless method of defuse mines
     There is a difference between not installing fuses and detonators (transport mines) and defuse mines (done in the field): When in transport, fuses are covered with a small shield.
Notice the rounded caps over the fuse horns...
Inert and virgin mines.
       But when the mines are defused, the spindle is completely removed, leaving only the recess where the fuse is threaded.
Defused mine. Notice the holes after removal of detonator fuses
German sea mine defused on Great Yarmouth beach - 1941
      In our case, how the mines are being sent "virgins"to the front, the fuses will be protected by a round cylindrical cap.
Mines under construction: without fuses (red circles) and with fuse horns
protected by conical caps (green circles)
      This matter decided, it's time to relax a little, before the mine defuse surgery !!
I love an ice cream at the beach !!! It's very relaxing!!
Notice the horns smashed after defuse...
Deal beach - England - 1940.

Stay alert, my friends!!