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S-Boats in the German Navy 1990 - today

The peaceful radical change in the GDR (DDR) 1989/1990, made possible by the Perestroika in the Sovietunion, was the basis for the end of the east-west block confrontation. After the reunification of Germany in 1990 the Federal German Navy (Bundesmarine) essentially kept it's structure as used to, but was reduced in the personnel strenght step by step. Only a small part  of the personnel and the material of the People's Navy of the GDR  was taken over. Until the end of 1994 the regulations of the Two-plus-Four Treaty did not permit stationing of NATO-Forces on the territory of the ex-GDR. The parts of the ex-People's Navy, which were to stay in force in the beginning, were combined under the Navy-Command East at Rostock.

On 02.10.1990 the People's Navy owned:

RS OSA-I (Projekt 205) 12 Boats
KRS Tarantul (Projekt 1241 sowj.) 5 Boats
KRS Balcom (Projekt 151) 3 Boats

The Bundesmarine owned:

S 148, 3. and 5. S-Squadron 20 Boats 
S 143, 2. S-Squadron 10 Boats
S 143 A, 7. S-Squadron 10 Boats

All boats of the ex-People's Navy were decommissioned on 02.10.1990. 

Of the five boats of  Tarantul-Class "Rudolf Eglhofer" (VM PtNo 572) was renamed to "Hiddensee" and sailed in the German Navy for test purposes first before it was left to the USN; the boat "Hans Beimler" (VM PtNo 575) was given to Peenemünde Missile Museum as a museum-ship; the other three boats were broken up.

Of the boats of OSA-I-Class six were sold to Latvia, the others were broken up. Until being broken up they were laying up in the North-Harbour of Peenemünde.

The three boats of Balcom-10-Class had been delivered to the People's Navy without the missile launchers as patrol craft; "Sassnitz" and "Seebad Binz"  were retrofitted, they got  MTU engines and were commissioned as BG 22  "Neustrelitz" and BG 23 "Bad Dümen" for the Federal Border Force (Bundesgrenzschutz). One further boat "Sellin" was broken up.

Four hulls in different stages of construction are still today laying at Peene-Werft in Wolgast. After many attempts to sell the boats, they are laying there and are rotting. One boat is equipped with a star-motor of ex-soviet build. One boat is partly equipped with the shiptechnical installations. The other two boats are holks. 

The 40 S-boats of the Federal Navy remained in their squadrons.

With the day of the German unity 03.10.1990 the Federal German Navy ( Bundesmarine) became German Navy (Deutsche Marine).

From 1995 on a coherent navy structure could be formed. The S-Flottilla moved to Rostock-Warnemünde on 04.10.1994. 

The 2. S-Squad with the 10 boats of Class 143 moved from Olpenitz to Warnemünde in November 1994, in December 1994 the 7. S-Squad with the 10 boats of Class 143 A also moved to Warnemünde.

Since the German Navy as all forces has to reduce her personnel it first was tried to maintain the number of units. Soon it was realized that this concept could not keep up the readiness for action of the existing unsits.

Already on 15.11.1992 " S 42 - Iltis" was decommissioned, on 16.11.1992 followed by "S 52 - Storch".  Both were sold to Greece. On 25.05.1994 "S 44 - Marder" was decommissioned, on 24.06.1994 followed by "S  51- Häher"; also these two boats were sold to Greece.

On 27.08.1997 the boats "S 49 - Wolf" and "S 54 - Elster" were decommissioned and sold to Chile. On 24.06.1998 "S 53 - Pelikan", on 27.08.1998 "S 43 - Luchs", on 22.09.1998 "S 41 - Tiger" and "S 60 - Kranich" were decommissioned. All four boats were sold to Chile.

With that teh German Navy comprised no more than 30 S-boats. The 3. S-Squad was closed down and the remaining boats were assigned to the 5. S-Squad in Olpenitz. But the dismantling continued:

On 28.09.2000 " S 45 - Leopard" and "S 47 - Jaguar" weredecommissioned, both went to Greece. On 28.06.2001 "S 58 - Pinguin" and on 27.09.2001 "S 50 - Panther" and "S 59 - Reiher" followed, all three boats were broken up. 

The last five boats of the "Tiger"-Class were decommissioned in 2002t, on 13.05. "S 55 - Alk" and on 16.12.2002 the boats "S 46 - Fuchs", "S 48 - Löwe", "S 56 - Dommel" und "S 57 - Weihe". The 5. S-Squad was closed down on 07.12.2002. Now only the 2. S-Quad and the 7. S-Squad were assigned to the S-Flotilla. 

 After 1990 the tasks of the Bundeswehr and with that also the tasks of the German Navy have changed. The "Verteidigungspolitischen Richtlinien des Bundesministers der Verteidigung" direct that the main stress is moved from the defence of the country towards the activities to maintain peace.

1991 the 5. S-Squad visited the Soviet naval base Baltijsk (Pillau), "S 74 - Nerz" supported together with Frigate"Köln" and the  Minewarfareboat "Auerbach" the visit of the InspM (Chief of Navy Staff) in Gedansk (Danzig). 1992 the 7. S-Squad formed the German part of the German-French Operational Unit in the Mediterranean. The 2. S-Squad visited in that year Riga and the 5. S-Squad Tromsø.

Latvia, Estonia und Lithuania were visited by the boats of the S-Flotilla in 1993. 1994 took the 2. S-Squadpart in the German-French Operational Unit in the Mediterranean and participated also in the manoeuvre "Isles d'Or". An essential part of that manouvre was the exercising of crisis situations, the "boarding" of ships had become a constant component of the rôle of our S-Boats.

On 15.03.1995 the new structures of the forces as resulting from the Whitebook 1994 were were published. Based upon that now 15 corvettes were provided for substitution of the S-Boats of classes 143 A aund 143. 

The existing S-Boats were initially to be involved within the boundaries of their capabili´ties in tasks of sea surveillance and surface warfare in the European marginal seas. 

From 01.01.1999 om the boats of the classes 143 und 143 A were mixed in the two squadrons, the 2. and the 7. S-Squads now existed of five boats of class 143 and five boats of class 143 A, thus making sure, that the capabilities of both boat-Types were existent in both squadrons. 

The operation of the torpedo weapon was exercised a last time. On 23.05.2001 the Weizsäcker-Commission presented the final report of her studies about the filed of topics "Common Security and Future of the Bundeswehr". According to that the navy should exist of a frigate group, a corvette group, a minedefence group and of submarines, navy aviation, transport and supportforces as well as of the necessary commandelements.

The navy already planned a target strength with 16 frigates, 15 corvettes, 12 submarines, 22 minewarfare units, 11 support units, 3 fleet service ships, 12 maritime patrol aircraft, 38 to 50 naval helicopters, and 50 naval fighter bombers.

With this fleet in planning the capabilities of sea surveillance and carrying through embargo measures were to be improved, the capability for the conduct of sea warfare in the Baltic and the Baltic Approaches were, however, reduced considerably. 

The procurement of 15 corvettes were to be accomplished in three lots a substitution of class 148, class 143 and finally of class 143 A.



Early 2002 five boats of 2. S-Squad ("S 62 - Falke", "S 64 - Bussard", "S 80 - Hyäne", and Tender "Donau") and of  7. S-Squad ("S 71 - Gepard" and "S 72 - Puma") were operational within the framework of the Operation "Enduring Freedom" at the Horn of Africa, a furhter proof that the modern S-boats could be operating in all European marginal seas and outside as well. The transport of the boats on their way out was carried out by CONDOCK-ships. The boats reported ready for action on 12.02.2002. On 02.05.2002 the moving back to their homeport commenced on own keels. Between thes two points in time lay 14 and 17 operational cycluses for the boats. On 15.06.2002 the s-Boat contingent returned to Warnemünde.  



On 19.09.2003 after a longer preparation phase Tender "Main" and the boats "S 63 - Geier",  "S 67 - Kondor" und "S 70 - Kormoran" uder the command of FKpt Dr. Daum, Cdr 2. S-Squadr, as first German contingent left Warnemünde in order to take part in Operation Active Endeavour in the Strait of Gibraltar. On 22.12.2003 it returned to Warnemünde. The second contingent (Tender "Elbe", "S 62 - Falke" later substituted by "S 80 - Hyäne", "S 68 - Seeadler", and "S 77 - Dachs" under command of FKpt Behnert, Cdr. 7. S-Squad) took over the readiness in Warnemünde, was called up in January and entered on 23.01.2004 Cadiz, the base for the German S-boats. The third contingent (Tender "Main", "S 64 - Busard", "S 69 - Habicht", and "S 80 - Hyäne" under command of FKpt Deertz, deputy Cdr. 7. S-Squad) was in operation from 19.04. to 29.05.2004. 

"S 70 - Kormoran" off Gibraltar - Picture: Stefan Gerold (Neue Westfälische)

The boats carried out escort operations for ships. A lead frigate guarded ahead of the ship, the S-boats guarded the flanks. The first contingent carried out 23, the second contingent 77, and the third contingent 40 escort operations.  

"S 67 - Kondor" embarcs Frogmen - Picture: Stefan Gerold (Neue Westfälische)

Thereafter the operation was called off, because the political situation had calmed down and the requests for escort operations from civilian shipping decreased below the established threshold.

In spite of this additional proof for the operationability of S-boats also in distant waters and in crisis management the boats of class 143 were decommisssioned from end 2004 onwards.

Boats of Class 143 and their Whereabouts






S 61 - Albatros

P 6111



Ssold to Lürssen-Werft 

S 62 - Falke

P 6112



Laid up MArs W'haven

S 63 - Geier

P 6113



Sold to Tunesia, "Hamilcon" 507

S 64 - Bussard

P 6114



Sold to Lürssen-Werft

S 65 - Sperber

P 6115



Sold to Tunesia, "Hamilcar" 506

S 66 - Greif

P 6116



Sold to Tunesia, "Hanon" 505

S 67 - Kondor

P 6117



Laid up MArs W'haven

S 68 - Seeadler

P 6118



Sold to Tunesia, "Hanibal" 508

S 69 - Habicht

P 6119



Sold to Tunesia, "Hasdrubal" 509

S 70 - Kormoran

P 6120



Sold to Tunesia, "Giscon" 510


The 2. S-Squad was disbanded on 26.06.2006. The boats of class 143 A were returned to the 7. S-Squad.


Reorganisation of Flottenkommando (Fleet Command)

Whithin the frame of a larger reorganisation of the fleet the seagoing units of the German Navy were divided into two Operational Flotillas (Einsatzflotillen (EF)) directly under command of the Flottenkommando (Fleet Command). Also directly under the command of the Flottenkommando are Marinefliegergeschwader 3 in Nordholz,  Marinefliegergeschwader 5 in Kiel-Holtenau and the Shippingmedical Institute of the Navy in Kronshagen.  

EF 1 was formed on 29.06.2006. Its site is in Kiel-Wik. The 1. Corvette-Squadron, the 7. S-Boat-Squadron, the 3. Minewarfare-Squadron, the 5. Minewarfare-Squadronr, the 1. Submarine-Squadron, das Trainingcentre Submarines, the Specialised Naval Response Forces, and the Navalk Protection Forces are directly subordinate to it.

The S-Boat-Flotilla, the Submarine-Flotilla, and teh Flotilla of the Minewarfare Forces were closed down.

The five new corvette of the "Braunschweig"-Klasse (K 130) were planned to be integrated in EF 1 until the year 2008. Because of transmission problems this did not occur.

EF 2 was also formed on 29.06.2006. Its site is in Wilhelmshaven. The 2.  Frigate-Squadron ans the 4. Frigate-Squadron as well as the Auxilliary Squadron are directly subordinate to it.



United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon - Maritime Operations

On 20.09.2006 concluded the Bundestag the mandate for the German UNIFIL contribution. One day later two frigates, one Combat Support Ship, and 4 S-boats moved from Wilhelmshaven to a first operation under the blue flag of United Nartions in the Mediterranean.

The S-boats were because of their readiness for another operation within the frame of Operation Active Endeavour prepared for an immediate operation. The first contingent consisted of the boats "S 74 - Nerz", "S 77 - Dachs", "S 78 - Ozelot", "S 80 - Hyäne", and Tender "Elbe". On 01.10.2006 with passing the 15. line of East longitude they were subordinated to Einsatzführungskommando der Bundeswehr in Potsdam. Together with frigates "Mecklenburg-Vorpommern" and "Karlsruhe" as well as Combat Group Support Ship "Frankfurt am Main" the boats entered Limassol/Cypres. On 15.10.2006 Task Force 448 under command of the German FltAdm Krause took over responsibility of UNIFIL MAROPS. Based upon Limassol the S-boats operated in sea susrveillance rôle off Lebanon. 

Since 05.12.2006 exercises with the lebanisian navy were taking place. On 18.12.2006 "S 77 - Dachs" as first German S-boat entered Beirut harbour for a wash up.

The transit back of the first contingent commenced on 01.03.2007 with the voyage of  Tender "Elbe" and boats "S 74 - Nerz" and "S 78 - Ozelot". On "S 77 - Dachs" and "S 80 - Hyäne" for the first time a change of complements was carried out. On 17.03.2007 a all personnel of the first contingent were back in their home port. 

The second contingent (Tender "Mosel", "S 71 - Gepard", "S 76 - Frettchen", "S 77 - Dachs", and "S 80 - Hyäne") were operation until  31.08.2007 off Lebanon. The boats "S 71 - Gepard" and "S 76 - Frettchen" returned earlier than planned due to a  collision . " S77 - Dachs" and "S 80 - Hyäne" returned to Warnemünde on the evening of 14. September 2007.

The third contingent ("S 75 - Zobel" and "S 72 - Puma") was operational from 04.10.2007. They returned to Warnemünde on 16.03.2008n. On  22.01.2008 Tender "Donau" since 10.08.2007 in operation turned over her responsibilities to Tender "Werra".

The fourth contingent ("S73 - Hermelin" und "S77 - Dachs") left Warnemünde on 13.10.2008. They sailed on own keels to Cypres, from where the boats under changing complements were operating until end 2009 off Lebanon. The boats were initially supported by Tender "Elbe", which already was on Cypres. The platforms "S 73 - Hermelin" und "S 77 - Dachs" changed in 14 month more than once their crews ( on "S 73 - Hermelin" sailed the crews of Wiesel, Hermelin, Frettchen, Nerz, Hermelin and on "S 77 - Dachs" the crews of Nerz, Dachs, Gepard, Zobel, Dachs). They were supported by the tenders "Elbe" and "Rhein".  The boats turned over their mission to two Minesweepers in November 2009. In November 2010 "S 80 Hyäne" and in January 2011 "S 75 Zobel" have relieved the minesweepers. 

"S 77 - Dachs" and "S 73 - Hermelin" were enthusiasticly welcomed in Warnemünde on 11.12.2009.

Fireworks - Picture: Archives Förderverein

 From November 2010 "S 80-Hyäne" was employed in Unifil-MAROPS off the coast of Libanon, "S 75-Zobel" left  harbour with tug-assistance because of icing in the Navalbase Wilhelmshaven on 03.01.2011 for a voyage of 3500 nm (6500 km) with replenishment stops in France, Spain, Malta and Crete to Limasol. From mid January on the two boats were operating jointly. The employment of the two boats did last until May 2011.

"S75-Zobel" leaving harbour of Wilhelmshaven - Picture: Scheuch

"S75-Zobel" with tug-assistance in Wilhelmshaven - Picture: Scheuch

On 29.02.2012 at 14:00 the two boats "S74 Nerz" and "S77 Dachs" were decommissioned at MArs Wilhelmshaven. 

Fall in for the decommissioning - Pictue: K. Heidemann

"Hawl down flag and pennant" - Picture: K. Heidemann

A last greetilng by the "stokers" - Picture: K. Heidemann

On 24.05.2012 missile-boats "S71 Gepard" and "S73 Hermelin" left their homeport Warnemünde for the Lebanon, where they relieved the minewarefare-boats "Ensdorf" and "Auerbach in der Oberpfalz" in the maritime force of the "United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon" (UNIFIL).  

"S73 Hermelin" leaving Hohe Düne - Picture: PIZ Marine

From June 2012 were "S78 Ozelot" and „S73 Hermelin" employed with changing complements in the maritime operational force of the „United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon" (UNIFIL) until March 2013. "S75 Zobel" was a part of the UNIFIL-Operation until September 2013 , followed by "S76 Frettchen" and "S79 Wiesel". 

"S79 Wiesel" leaving for operation UNIFIL on 05.08.2013 passing NOK - Picture: Tino Kunzmann

In April 2013 the boat "S 76 Frettchen" left Warnemünde, in order to take part in the UNIFIL-operation in front of  Lebanon. On 13th June 2014 the boat, that had been sailed by the crew of "S 72 Puma" for the last five months, having made 56.000 nm during the  UNIFIL-operation and intermediate stops in italian, spanish, french and belgian bases and a successful  missile-firing through the North-Baltic-Channel, returned to its homeport. Because of the long-lasting operation the "home-pennant" was flewn while entering Warnemünde.

"S76 Frettchen" with home-pennant while entering Warnemünde from UNIFIL-operation on 13th June 2014 - Picture: Tino Kunzmann

Boat "S79 Wiesel" left harbour on 05.08.2013 in order to march to the Mediterranean Sea. The boat "S 75 Zobel" en route to Lebanon came into bad weather in early May in the Channel and took damages to the rail and the bridgehouse and therefore had to return to Wilhelmshaven the 15.05.2014 for an unplanned time at the shipyard. It left Wilhelmshaven the 17.06.2014.  Both boats remained in UNIFIL-operation until end September 2014. They were relieved by boats of the 1. Corvette-Squadron and returned to Rostock on 17.10.2014.

"S79 Wiesel" returning from UNIFIL in the Kiel Canal - Picture: Tino Kunzmann

"S75 Zobel" returning from UNIFIL in the Kiel Canal - Picture: Tino Kunzmann

"S79 Wiesel" passing the moles of Warnemünde - Picture: Tino Kunzmann

"S79 Wiesel" and "S75 Zobel" berthing at Hohe Düne - Picture: Lothar Brügge

The last eight boats of the 7. S-Squadron were decommissioned as follows: 12.12.2014 the boats "S71 Gepard" and "S72 Puma", 14.12.2015 the boats "S78 Ozelot" and "S76 Frettchen" and in 16.11.2016 (the year of the 100th return of commissioning the first LM-boat for the Emperial Navy) the boats "S73 Hermelin", "S 75 Zobel", "S79 Wiesel" and "S80 Hyäne".  At that point in time the era of S-boats in German Navies wasl over for good. The successors are the corvettes of class K 130 and the planned multipurpose-fighting-ships of class MKS 180.


Corvette "Ludwigshafen am Rhein" in Lürssen-Shipyard - Picture: K. Heidemann

Corvette "Oldenburg" in Danish waters- Picture: Rudi Hansen


7th S-Boat-Squadron Awarded with the Flag-Ribbon of the Country MV

(With friendly permission of "Norddeutsche Neueste Nachrichten"

(11th December 2012) The 7th S-Boat-Squadron has yesterday been awarded the flag-ribbon of the country Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. This highest honor, which can be awarded a military unit, was performed by Ministerpresident  Erwin Sellering (SPD). He appreciated thereby the outstanding achievements oft he S-Boat-Squadron. It was formed in 1961 and changed its homeport from Kiel to Rostock in 1995. „This is a fine example for the military growing together of east and west.”
Sellering said in his speech.


Ministerpresident Erwin Sellering performs the act of honor with Fregattenkapitän Christian Meyer (r.), colours bearer is Oberbootsmann Mario Ackermann. Picture: Georg Scharnweber

He also pointed out the advantage of the Marinekommando and the Inspekteur of the Navy having taken their headquarters at Rostock. “The people feel associated with the Navy”, he said. 60 percent oft he people are from this area, 40 percent have been born here.

The colours-deputation for the ceremony was consisting of three military persons. Sören Dehnbostel, Oberbootsmann Mario Ackermann as coluors bearer and Oberleutnant Marcel Niggemann performed this task during the ceremony, during which the orchestra of the country-police played their insruments.

 For the S-Boat-Squadron it is already the second flag-ribbon decorating its  flag. 1987 the squadron had been awarded the first flag-ribbon of the Minister of the Interior of Schleswig-Hostein. Until the moving 1995 to Warnemünde the squdron was stationed at Kiel for 34 years. When it was formed it consisted of 10 S-Boats, today there are eight boats. Since last year Fregattenkapitän Christian Meyer ist he commanding officer oft he squadron, which takes part in the Operation United Nations Interim Force of Lebanon (Unifil) since 2006. Objective of this action is to control the sea-lanes in the eastern Mediterranean, in order to prevent smuggling of weapons into Lebanon. Furthermore the German Navy personnel is assisting in the training of the Lebanese Naval Forces.

Three boats of the 7. Squadron at Warnemünde 31.07.2013 - Picture: Tino Kunzmann



The S-Boat-Classes of the German Navy

S-Boat Class 148 (Tiger) already out of service - Picture: Archives Förderverein

S-Boat Class 143 (Albatros) already out of service - Picture: Archives Förderverein


S-Boat Class 143a (Gepard) still in service - Picture: Archives Förderverein