Home - Boats - Submarines - XVIIB Class - Meteorite


Built By: Blohm and Voss (Germany)
Build Group: XVIIB
Fate: Broken up by Thomas Ward Limited at, Barrow-in-Furness in September 1949.

Upload An Image Of This Boat

In 1945, the British and American forces in Europe had captured a number of U-boats, among which were two prototypes of the Walter design that were built around an experimental engine fuelled by High test peroxide (HTP). One boat, U-1406, was handed over to the Americans, while the other, U-1407, was raised from where she had been scuttled at Cuxhaven and rebuilt by the British, being commissioned as HMS Meteorite.

The reconstruction was supervised by Professor Hellmuth Walter and his staff at Barrow-in-Furness in England. Initial trials with HMS Meteorite arose considerable interest in the possibility of HTP as an alternative to nuclear power as Air-independent propulsion, and the construction of two larger submarines was ordered, these being HMS Explorer and Excalibur.

HMS Meteorite was not popular with its crews, who regarded it as a dangerous and volatile piece of machinery, and control was difficult due to its lack of forward hydroplanes and aircraft-type controls. Meteorite's Royal Navy service came to an end in September 1949

U-Boats in the Royal Navy post May 1945

by Derek Waller



At the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, 156 U-Boats surrendered. Of these, 10 were allocated to each of the three Allies (UK, USA and USSR) later in the year, one was repaired and commissioned into the French Navy, four were repaired and commissioned into the Norwegian Navy, three were scrapped in the Norwegian ports in which they had surrendered, two were sunk by the US Navy in February 1946, and 116 were sunk by the Royal Navy in Operation Deadlight between November 1945 and February 1946.

The Potsdam Agreement signed on 2 August 1945 included the decision to allocate just 10 U-Boats to each of the three Allies for technical assessment and experimental purposes. This led to the creation of the Tripartite Naval Commission (TNC) which was charged with determining the list of U-Boats to be allocated to each country. Thus, they recommended which U-Boats should be retained by the UK, one of which was the Type XVIIB U-Boat, U-1407, which was powered by a Walter gas turbine using high-test peroxide (HTP) as its fuel. As a result, U-1407 was transferred from Germany to the UK in August 1945 and, after repair and renovation, was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Meteorite .

The purpose of this paper is to set out the Royal Navy's policy for the acquisition of a limited number of U-Boats for research purposes, including U-1407, to explain the circumstances which led to the acquisition of this Type XVIIB U-Boat, and to describe U-1407's service in the Royal Navy from 1945 to 1949.

Royal Navy Policy

Other than the retention of 10 U-Boats by each of the Allies for technical assessment and experimental purposes, a primary objective of the British Government was the elimination of the Kriegsmarine's U-Boat fleet. This was agreed at the Potsdam Conference, with the British position being set out by the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, at the 3rd Plenary Meeting of Allied Leaders at Potsdam on 19 July 1945, the minutes of which record that:

He considered that the U-Boats should be destroyed or sunk. However, some of the most modern U-Boats had devices of interest to all three Powers, and these should be shared. He therefore suggested that, as part of a final settlement, most of the U-Boats should be sunk, and the small balance required for research should be shared. The number kept by the three Powers should be a token; more in order to spread technical knowledge than to keep large numbers in existence

Nevertheless, despite the tri-national nature of the Potsdam Agreement, the British and the Americans were determined (behind the backs of the Russians) to facilitate the earliest possible acquisition and study of the latest types of high-speed German U-Boat, especially the newly-developed, HTP-powered "Walter-boat", the Type XVIIB.


13-11-1943 : Laid Down
13-03-1945 : Completed


This form is for you to comment on, or add additional information to this page. Any questions will be deleted. If you wish to ask a question or otherwise contact the Branch or the Webmaster. Please use the Contact Us page or ask your question on our Facebook Page

Please insert the result of the arithmetical operation from the following image:

Please insert the result of the arithmetical operation from this image. =


Note: All submissions are subject to webmaster approval prior to appearing on the page. As a SPAM prevention measure, any comments containing links to other sites will be automatically discarded