Germany experimented with various hydrofoil designs since the late 1938, most of them being design studies for fast attack craft. One remarkable exception was the Fast Hydrofoil Transport VS8
and its sister ship, the VS9
Being able to transport one small or medium tank, (Type 38T or IV) which was stored on a special designed pontoon in the back of the ship, the VS8 was build as a prototype for experimenting with this kind of transport method. To load or unload the tank, the bay in the back of the ship was flooded and the pontoon, equipped with two 40 hp engines, could be removed or loaded on the ship. Experiments showed that loading the pontoon took less then two minutes, unloading less than one.
Besides its task as a fast transport, it was also discussed to use the ship as a fast mine layer, capable of laying 15-20 mines.
was ordered in 1940 and commissioned on 01.03.1943. It got soon clear that the engines were not powerful enough to let the ship operate in moderate seas, it also was not able to archive its projected top speed. On September 1944 the ship beached after a total engine failure and broke into two pieces during rescue operations.
A second prototype, the VS9
, was ordered in 1941, but construction never started.