In the early days of the Kriegsmarine, there were no special build S-boat tenders to assist the growing numbers of S-boats beeing build. Instead, several older minehunters from the old Imperial Navy were rebuild and used as fleet tenders of various kinds within the German Navy.
As those ships were not ideal for this use - too slow and too old, new fleet tenders had to build to assist S-boats in their operations. Normally, each S-boat flotilla had its own S-boat tender, which was used to refuel and rearm the small fast attack craft and to serve as a floating barrack for the S-boat crews between their operations.
was the first S-boat tender (Schnellbootbegleitschiff) which was build for the Kriegsmarine. Smaller than the later designs, it had many similarities with the U-boat tender Saar
which was build at the same time.
Early in the war, the ship was used as a anit-aircraft training ship before served in its originally planned role. It survived the war and was part of the German Naval forces which was commanded for mine huning in the North Sea under British command in the first years after WW2. The Tsingtau
was scrapped in Britain in 1950.