Aviso Grille was built by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg: she was launched on 15 December 1934, and was commissioned in May 1935. Until the outbreak of World War II, the Grille represented the Nazi State and Chief of the Naval Staff.
In May 1936, she conveyed Adolf Hitler and Admiral Erich Raeder in the fleet parade at the dedication of the Marine Memorial at Laboe. In October 1936, she transported Minister of War Field Marshal von Blomberg on an official visit to Norway. The next official use was in October 1937, transporting a Wehrmacht delegation to England for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. In June 1937, Grille served as flagship for Fleet Commander Admiral Rolf Carls in Kriegsmarine training exercises. During Kiel Week in 1939, Grille hosted Raeder and several foreign naval officers.
At the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Grille was mobilized for combat, and was used to lay mines off the French coast. She was later transferred to the Baltic Sea and employed as a patrol vessel and a gunnery training ship. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Grille was again used as a minelayer, in addition to her gunnery training duties. In 1942, she underwent a refit and was decommissioned in July 1942, and thereafter sent to Norway for use as a harbor ship in Narvik. There, she was used as the command ship for the commander of U-boats in the Arctic. She remained in Norway for the remainder of the conflict. After the end of the war, she was seized by Britain, and later sold to private owners in the United States in 1947.
In 1951, Grille was moored in a scrapyard in New Jersey, and before the scrapping began, souvenir hunters removed artifacts from the vessel. The yacht’s toilet currently resides in a New Jersey auto shop; other relics remain scattered throughout the area. The ship was broken up later that year.
Design of Aviso Grille
Grille was 115 meters (377 ft) long at the waterline and 135 m (443 ft) long overall. She had a beam of 13.5 m (44 ft) and a draft of 4.2 m (14 ft). Her standard displacement was 2,560 long tons (2,600 t), and at full combat load, her displacement rose to 3,430 long tons (3,490 t). The ship’s propulsion system consisted of two high-pressure geared turbines manufactured by Blohm & Voss, with steam provided by two Benson water-tube boilers. Grille was equipped with these turbines to test them before they were installed in new destroyers. The engines were rated at 22,000 shaft horsepower (16,000 kW), for a top speed of 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph). She had a cruising radius of 9,500 nautical miles (17,600 km; 10,900 mi).
She was armed with three 12.7 cm SK C/34 naval guns in individual mountings, four 3.7 cm SK C/30 anti-aircraft guns in two dual mounts, and four 2 cm C/30 anti-aircraft guns in a single quadruple mount. Grille had provisions to carry up to 228 naval mines. The ship had a crew of 248 officers and me