The Biber, or Beaver, is a German midget submarine used by the Kriegsmarine during World War Two. The Kriegsmaringe captured a midget submarine from the British Royal Navy in 1943 which gave them the idea to create midget subs of their own. The Battle for the Atlantic was turning for worse for the Kriegsmarine, their U-boat wolfpacks were not as successful anymore and they were losing submarines on a high rate. To compensate the U-Boat losses they tried to put up a Flotilla of midget submarines which were faster to build and only needed one man to control. One of these creations was the Biber midget submarine.
With its length of 9 meters and beam of about 1,60 meters it had an diameter of 1 meter. It was powered by an petrol engine from Opel, an Otto Petrol engine which gave the vessel a speed of 12 km/h while surfaced and it used an electrical motor submerged with a speed of 10 km/h. While surfaced the petrol engine powered the batteries for the electric motor. It had a periscope and Plexiglas windows on top. It had an action radius of 185 kilometers and a diving depth of 20 meters. It mounted two G7e torpedo’s on its lower hull.
The first prototype was delivered in March 1944 and the design was from Hans Bartels, the U-boat saw action in almost all European waters. On 29th of March they were accepted for service as were used as coastal defence submarines. In total 324 Bibers were built but they were not as successful as the Marder manned torpedo’s. Most of the Bibers were made by Flenderwerke in Lübeck in North Germany. In 109 Bibers operations in K-verbande, only 32 survived and they manage to sink only one boat, a cargo ship named “Alan A Dale”.