Flugsicherungsschiffe were originally planned to support float planes in areas where no costal bases were available. The history of the ships in German services can be lead back to those ships used in the 1920s to enable float plane traffic across the South Atlantic for mail services. Some of those early ships were still used by the Kriegsmarine in World War II.
Equipped with a huge crane, those ships could take the float planes on board, refuel them or do some maintenance duty. Some larger ships also had a large catapult to launch the float planes with a higher fuel load that would be possible if the planes would start by themselves. Flugsicherungsschiffe were used in their traditional role in Norwegian waters where they launched float planes for reconaisance duties over the arctic sea.
During the last years of the war, these ships were also used in different roles, like escort ships, depots etc.
was the second ship of a class of five. Only two of them, the Richthofen
(which first planned name was Mölders
) and the Hans Albrecht Wedel
were completed, the 3 other ones were cancelled in a very early phase of construction.