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S-Boats in the People's Navy of the GDR (Volksmarine) 1956 - 1990


The Soviet Union (SU) started early after the end of World War Two with the rearmament of the Soviet Occupied Zone (Sowjetische  Besatzungszone = SBZ) and the later GErman Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik = DDR).

From 1950 onward the Hauptverwaltung Seepolizei (Main Administration Sea Police) was built up under Soviet direction. 

The Seepolizei was renamed on 01.07.1952 in Volkspolizei-See (VP-See). One part of the Seepolizei was taken out of this organisation as a new part of the German Border Police (Deutsche Grenzpolizei) and called Grenzpolizei See (Border Police Sea).

The VP-See reinstalled already in fall 1952 the military ranks, the uniforms were changed ans new insignia of ranks were introduced. End 1952 the VP-See slready had a strength of  8.000 personnel.

With building up the National People's Army (Nationale Volksarmee = NVA) on 01.03.1956 and its ministry in Strausberg three services Land, Air, and Sea were formed. The VP-See went over to Seestreitkräfte of the NVA. The strenght of it was 10.000 personnel. 

The document  "Erforderliche Maßnahmen für die Durchführung des Marine-Bauprogramms 1954 - 1956" (also known as "Dokument Zeuthen") worked out for the government provided for inter alia 36 S-boats.

On 03.11.1960, the 42. aniversary of the Matrosenaufstand (Bluejacket Mutiny), the naval forces of the GDR officially were renamed "Volksmarine" (People's Navy) and it was rendered the new flag (Dienstflagge der Volksmarine). The ships and boats of the Volksmarine (VM) got names which "consistent with the revolutionary traditions of the German labourers movement and the socialistic reconstruction work of the GDR." 

The name were for security reasons only shown internally, on outside ships and boats continued to show only the hull numbers (PT numbers).

The Grenzbrigade Küste (Border-Brigade Coast), an own branch of the armerd forces of the DDR, which was operatinally substitute to the Peoples Navy, was equipped with boats M 5 and M 6 upon cancellation of project 57 (Forelle) without torpedotubes as patrol boats "G 01" and "G 02". They operated under the flag of the Border-Brigade Coast not under the Peoples Navy's flag. The ratings were wearing the cap band of the Coastal Border Brigade.

Flag of Grenzbrigade Küste

Cap Band of Grenzbrigade Küste



Developmant of Torpedo-S-Boat Type "Lachs" - Projekt 16

Already in 1952 the Central Construction Office (Zentrales Konstruktionsbüro = ZKB) was directed to develop a Torpedo-S-Boat (Torpedoschnellboot = TS) of about 150 ts displacement. The boat was foreseen to get two torpedo tubes 53,3 cm and two  25-mm-twin mounting guns. The propulsion was to be performed with gasturbines. This project  was worked upon until 1956, but since there was no agreement by the SU to deliver the propulsion plants and the torpedo tubes the project came to a halt. 


Development of Torpedo-S-Boat  Type " Forelle" - Projekt 57

In the same year the Forschungsstelle ( Research Office) of Elbewerft Roßlau, received order to develop a TS of about 60 ts displacement. This project was coupled with the development for the reproduction of the Kriegsmarine-Diesels MB 511. This motor was to get the name 20 KVD 25 and be built by VEB Industriewerke Ludwigsfelde.  The boat 0 was equipped with two 20 KVD 25. The sea trials in 1955 on the Greifswalder Bodden had to be discontinued because of engineproblems. The boat was taken out the water at Peenemünde. The engines were repaired and the sea trials were taken up again in 1957, which were hempered by engine troubles and damages to the boat again and again. In November 1958 the development of the 20 KVD 25 and of the boat was cancelled. The in the meantime built boats "M 5" and "M 6" of type "Forelle" were equipped with diesel engines of series M 50 F-3 delivered by the  SU. The zero-Boat (Null-Boot) "Forelle" was lost during a trial because it rammed a prop drifting in the water, it was lifted and broken up subsequently. Boats "M 2" and "M 6" came in service without torpedo tubes as "G-01" and "G-02" at the Borderbrigade Coast until Juli 1965.


0-Boat of Type TS-Boat "Forelle" (Picture: Archives Mehl)


Torpedo-S-Boat P- 6 - Projekt 183

Since the developments for a Torpedo-S-Boat in the GDR did not show the required results the GDR had already accepted an offer of the SU in 1955 to deliver TS-Boats of Type P-6.

The delivery of 27 boats for the build up of a TS-Brigade with three department with nine boats each was the outset of the S-boat-forces of the GDR. The first six boats arrived at Parow on 08.10.1957, followed by three other boats on 19.10.1957.

The 27 boats formed with order no. 55/59 of the Chief Naval Forces the TS-Brigade formed on 01.01.1960 as part of the "Stosskräfte" (attack forces) with three divisions, 2., 4., and 6. TS-Abteilung. As quarters for the personnel and in support of the boats initially the Lifter ship "Grobian" was converted in an accommodation ship, later the floating naval bases (Schwimmenden Stützpunkte - Projekt 62) were utilized.

Boats of Type P- 6 in Formation (Picture: Jürgen Sindermann)

The TS-Divisions initially were stationed at Parow, Saßnitz and the Dänholm. On 08.05.1965 the boats moved to the newly built naval base at Dranske. This was until the closing down of the VM the Hauptbasierungspunkt (main base) of all attack forces ("Stosskräfte") of the VM.

The boats got names - quotation from Flohr/Rosentreter/Seemann, Volksmarine auf Wacht: "of revolutionary red bluejackets and outstanding fighters of the German working-class" - end of quotation.


Already in February 1958 a new project for a 50 knots fast light torpedo boat equipped with two torpedoes was invited for tenders. The Institute for Shipbuilding Techniques in Wolgast, the Research Division of the Shipyard Roßlau, and the Construction Office of the Yachtwerft Berlin were expected to develop them with engines and torpedo systems from the SU and radar systems from the GDR.


Light-Torpedo-S-Boat "Iltis" - Projekt 63.300

The answer from Wolgast was LTS "Iltis". The boat was built from aluminum, it displaced 16,8 ts, reached with her two M 50 F-3 engines a speed of 50 knots, and was fitted with two torpedo tubes integrated in the main deck. The complement was 3 personnel. The 0-series with six boats were followed from 1964 onwards by the series consstruction. In toto a number of 30 boats was produced and the LTS-Brigade with three divisions with 10 boats each were formed. For accomodation of the personnel and support of the boats the floating naval bases (Schwimmende Stützpunkte - Projekt 62) were utilized.

Boat of Type "Iltis" at full speed (Picture: Dieter Flohr)


Leicht-Torpedo-S-Boat Project 68.200 - "Wiesel"

The Construction Office of Yachtwerft Berlin submitted a proposal for a wooden boat (Mahogani) of 19 ts displacement. It could be used in three variants: As torpedo-boat with three torpedo tubes, as minelayer, and as transport unit for 32 frogmen or storm troops. The forerunner project 68.100 was known under "Hydra".

The propulsion was as in "Iltis", as radar a KSA-5 system was used. From 1962 teh boat was built in series, from the originally planned 30 only 24 boats were commissioned. They formed the 2. LTS-Brigade with two divisions with 10 boats each.  For accomodation of the personnel and support of the boats the floating naval bases (Schwimmende Stützpunkte - Projekt 62) were utilized.

Boat of Type "Wiesel" (Version: Mines) at full speedt (Picture: Archives Dieter Flohr)

Boat of Type "Wiesel" (Version: Torpedoes) at full speed (Picture: Archiv Hans Mehl)


Small Torpedo-S-Boat (Klein-Torpedoschnellboot) "Libelle" - Projekt 131

Based on the good experiences with the LTS-boats a somewhat bigger boat with better seaworthiness, longer range, and additional armament was to be developed. It was also to be used as transport vessel.

The result was a aluminum boat with two torpedo tubes integrated in the main deck, two minelaunching devices on both sides of the bridge house, a navalised 25-mm twin mounted gun ZU-23 with weather protection shield, two engines M 50 F-7 in the bow and an reversible Diesel in teh rear as well as a TSR-333 radar-suite. The complemaent was 5 personnel, Commanding Officer, Engine-Chief, Navigation, Communication and Electric Rating. The latter at the same time Gunner.

1972 three trial boats were built by the Peenewerft. Upon the trials and testing phase 30 hulls were built in Rechlin and equipped in Wolgast.

Boats of Type "Libelle" in Formation (Picture: Archives Peter Seemann)

The first boat of the series was commissioned in 1974, until March 1977 the other 29 boats were built. The boats were integrated into the reorganised KTS-Brigade with three divisions of 10 boats each. They were stationed in Dranske. For accomodation of the personnel and support of the boats the floating naval bases (Schwimmende Stützpunkte - Projekt 62) were utilized. 


Missile-S-Boats "OSA I" - Projekt 205

In 1960 the preparations for taking over Soviet boats of the lOSA I-Class commenced.

1962 the first two boats were handed over in the Peenemünde-Nordhafen. Until end 1965 10 other boats were delivered.

 They were steel-boats at 209 ts displacement, propelled by three 42-cylinder star-streight engines M 503 A with 2.942 kW (4000 PS) each they reached a maximum speed of 38 knots. They were equipped with four startcontainers for STYX-Missiles P 15 (range 46 km) and two 30-mm twin mounted AK-230 gun with firecontrol system MR-104. The radar suite includes "Rangout" (Missile-Control) with "Klon" and FFK "Nicron RR". The complement was consisting of 27 personnel.

The boats were integrated into the newly formed RS-Brigade subdivided into 1., 3., and 5. RS-Division with four boats each. For accomodation of the personnel and support of the boats the floating naval bases (Schwimmende Stützpunkte - Projekt 62) were utilized.

Boat of Type "Osa I" in the Baltic (Picture: Dieter Flohr)

1971 further three boats were delivered and integrated into the RS-Brigade, three older boats were handed over to the School-Boats-Division at Parow.

In the beginning of the 80ies the first three boats were broken up becoaus of material aging. The official decommissioning of the class of boats happened on 3.10.1990. Four boats were sold to Latvia, the other boats were laid up in the Peenemünde-Nordhafen before they were broken up.

For the 25. aniversary of the NVA-foundation the DDR issued a 10 Mark coin which on the reverse displayed  together with three jet-fighters "MIG 23 MF" and a tank "T 55 AM" also a S-Boat of class "OSA I".


Torpedo-S-Boat "Shershen" - Projekt 206

Since 1967 the preparations for substitution of the P- 6-Class by torpedo-S-boats of Soviet production were conducted. 

These were steel-boats with a displacement of 145 ts, propelled by three M-503 engines  they were reaching a speed of 45 knots. They were armed with four torpedo tubes mad to launch 53/39 PM and 53/56 W torpedoes, two 30-mm AK-230 twin mounted guns and  a MR-104 fire control system. They could drop mines and depth charges.

As early as 14.10.1968 the first boat was commissioned. Until December 1970 a total of 15 boats were delivered. The boats were integrated in the TS-Brigade's 2., 4., and 6. TS-Division with  five boats each. For accomodation of the personnel and support of the boats the floating naval bases (Schwimmende Stützpunkte - Projekt 62) were utilized. 

Boat of Type "Shershen" (Picture: Archives Peter Seemann)

Admirals Hoffmann og Ehm on Board of a Shershen-Boat - Picture: Archives Dr. Friedrich Weigelt

1971 three additional boats were delivered and integrated in the TS-Brigade, three older boats were handed over to the School-Boat-Division at Parow.

On 01.12.1971 the "Stosskräfte" were given a new structure. Mixed units of missile- and torpedo-S-boats were formed. The new RTS-Brigade was subdivided into the 1., 3., and 5. RTS-Divisions.

In September 1984 the first three boats were decommisssioned. The last boats were broken up in February 1990.


Small Missile Ship Tarantul (sowj. Projekt 1241 RÄ)

Starting end 1984 the VM procured five small missile ships (Kleine Raketenschiffe - KRS) of the class "Tarantul". On 21.10.1984 the first of the 420 ts units with the name "Albin Köbis" was commissioned. Until 1986 further four boats were delivered. The formed the new KRS-Brigade.

They were armed with the missile system P-20 for launching P-21 (radarsearch) and P-22 (IR-search) missiles with a range of 80 km, one 76mm-gun AK-176, and two 6-barrel 30mm-gatling-gun AK-630 as well a quadruble starter FASTA for close range missiles STRELA M. With a propulsion plant containing two gasturbine blocs with one march and one battle turbine with a total of 29.940 kW (31.200 PS) the boat reached a speed of 44 knots.

After the reunification boat 572 "Rudolf Eglhofer" was renamed "Hiddensee" and operated for trial purposes before it was left to the USA. The boat 575 "Hans Beimler" is at the Raketenmuseum (missile museum) Peenemünde. The other three boats were broken up.

Boat of Type "'Tarantul" (Picture: Peter Seemann)


Small Missile Ship (Kleines Raketenschiff) Balcom 10 (Projekt 151)

Since 2014 new Classification: "Orkan"-Class

As a German-Soviet projekt for the substitution of the OSA I-boats by a missile corvette Projekt 151 with the NATO nick-name Balcom 10 was launched. The SU had reported a requirement for 19 to 20 boats. 

The Peenewerft developed the ship. The hull of this KRS was built in steel, the superstructure in aluminium. In the propulsion plant were three Soviet 56-cylinder star-streight engines M-520 with 5.400 PS each operated. Via fixed propellers the ship made 36 knots. The missile armament was to contain two quadruple starters Projekt 1520. The order for development and construction was also given to the Peenewerft.  The artillery was intended to be as in the "Tarantul", additionally lanchers SGW-3  for IR- and radar-deception were planned.

Boat of Type "Balcom 10" (Picture: Archives Dieter Flohr) 

1990 the SU retreated from their import requirement and the GDR recuced the number of units from 18 to 10. The series-production still commenced and two ships, "Sassnitz" and "Bad Binz" were handed over to the VM, although without starters and classified as patrol boats. Both boats were retrofitted with MTU engines and other equipment. They were commissioned for the Bundesgrenzschutz (Federal Border Force) as "Neustrelitz" (BG 22) and "Bad Düben" (BG 23). The third almost comleted boat, "Sellin", was broken up. Four hulls in different stages of completeness are still at Peene-Werft, Wolgast.

KRS "Sassnitz" without Missile-Launchers (Picture: Archiv Dieter Flohr) 

On 02.10.1990 the flag and pennants were hauled down on all ships and boats of the VM. After 33 years the S-boat time of the VM were concluded. 

This Article from Flensburger Tageblatt in 1990 was sent to us by Silvio Dietzel 



Ships and boats of the People's Navy originally had hull-numbers depending of the unit-organisation. With Order No. 44/86 the Chief of the People's Navy installed a new system of numbering.  In correspondence with that ship's and boat's classes were indicated by the first digit. For S-boats and small missile ships it was differentiated between four numbers:


5 Small Missileships
7 Missile-S-boats
8 Artillery-/Torpedo-S-boats
9 Torpedo-S-boats (former LTS-boats)

The second digit indicated the unit, the third digit the sequencenumber within the unit. Boatnames of the bigger boats (KTS- and LTS-boats were not avarded names) were only used internally. To the outside names were not visible. 

Schoolboats were indicated by letter "S" in front of the hull-number.

Schoolboat "S 814" of Shershen-.Class - Picture: ARchives Dr. Friedrich Weigelt



Project 81

The People's Navy ordered Roßlau Shipyard after some trials with smaller testboats (M1 to M4) to build a LTS (light torpedo S-boat) similar to Project 63 but as a Hydrofoil with a low-draft bow-foil. The propulsion was performed by a dieselmotor M50F-3. AT the trails in silent waters the boat obtained a speed as demanded. The development was, however, not carried on. The boat was to be seen at Armeemuseum Potsdam for a long time.


Hydrofoil-Testboat Project 81 - Picture from Mehl/Schäfer: Die andere deutshe Marine

Hydrofoil Project 81 at Trails - Picture: Archives Dr. G. Miel

Hydrofoil-Testboat Project 81 as Modell - Picture: Dr. G. Miel

Project 58 (Möwe)

A further test-boat, Project 58, was built at Bootswerft Greifswald. The hull consisted of GUP-Sandwich-Panels, as propulsion a JUMO 205C dieselmotor of the company Junkers was to serve. After thorough trials the project was canceled and the boat was broken up.