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 Zobel Class - Type 142a Schnellboot      June 8, 2011
All Ten type 142 Schnellboots

Interested in the Zobel Class boats?

Join the S32 Wiesel Forum - ask questions, get answers, help others, plus post information and photos.

On the flying bridgeForward

     This site gives information on the ten Zobel class (type 142) fast patrol boats built in the early 1960's for the German Navy.  (Eight more boats based on the Zobel class schnellboot (fast boat) design were built for the Turkish Navy in the mid-1980's and became the "Kartal Class" patrol boats.)

     The purpose of this site is to be the most complete "one-stop" internet source of information on the type 142a Schnellboots as well as bringing forth information on how to modify and build the GraupnerTM model kit so as to achieve a more realistic look to the model.

     The drop-down menu at the top (under "Schnellboot") is divided into the following sections:
     - History (this page) - about the original schnellboots
     - Lew's Wiesel - Lew's model (model is still under construction)
     - Lew's Photos - the results of building a more accurate model Zobel schnellboot
     - Kit Errors - points out the lack of detail plus wrong reproduction and omissions by the manufacturer
     - Updating the Kit - focuses in on what modifications that need to be done to build a realistic model
     - Real Photos - a reference guide with photos of the original schnellboots

Identifying the schnellbootIdentifying the Zobel Class "Schnellboots"

     Each of the boats had different designations.  The large "P" numbers were NATO assigned.  The German Navy  identified the boats by their hull "S-__" number followed by their name.  The photo at the right shows the NATO assigned number on the vessel's superstructure as well as on the transom.  The boat's name was located on a board on each side of the engine house.

Wiesel Emblem     Each of the boats were named after a different small furred animal.  Each of the boats had an emblem (badge) that had a drawing of the animal.  This  emblem was located on both sides of the bow (lower right photo). 

Wiesel's sponsoring town's crest     The boats had a crest of the sponsoring town ("Godparent") which appeared on both sides of the radar mast.  (The crest shown on the left is that of the city of Ratingen, sponsor of the Wiesel.)

Emblem on the bow

Squadron badge     Another badge (photo at left), that of the 7. Schnellbootgeschwader (7th Fast Attack Craft Squadron based at Kiel on the Black Sea) was located on the pilot house under the forward (starboard) windshield panel (visible on the real photos page on this site).  The black crest cross on a white background is the cross of the Knights of the Teutonic Order. Es symbolisiert bleibende Werte wie Ritterlichkeit, Gerechtigkeit und Tapferkeit. It symbolizes enduring values of chivalry, justice and courage.

Evolution of the Zobel Class "Schnellboots"

     The Federal Republic of Germany's ten Zobel class (type 142) fast torpedo patrol boats ("schnellboots") were the last generation descendant of the WW-II German S-Boat.

     The type 142 construction followed the post WW-II Jaguar class (type 140) and Seeadler class (type 141) schnellboots of the 1950's.  All have a similar hull design, four engines driving four propellers, two rudders, and carried two 40mm Bofors guns in single mounts.
Fate of a Zobel class boat

     These ten type 142 boats were built in 1961-63 for West Germanys navy (Bundesmarine) and modified in the early 1970's.  The following were built by Lurssen Werft, Bremen, Germany: Zobel; Wiesel; Oselot; Nerz; Gepard; Frettchen; Dachs.  The following were built by Kroger Werf, Rendsburg, Germany: Puma; Hyane; Hermelin.

     On April 1, 1961, the 7th Speedboat squadron was placed with the 105 command Navy based in Kiel and was organized as a fast speedboat wing of the Federal Marine. Acht Monate später, am 12.12.1961, wurde der "Zobel" als erstes Boot in Dienst gestellt.  On December 12, 1961 the first type 142 boat arrived and was put into service in service. Rasch folgten die anderen Boote, bis mit der Indienststellung von "Ozelot" am 25.10.1963 die Aufstellungsphase abgeschlossen war. Other boats quickly followed, until the Inauguration of Ocelot on October 25, 1963. and the preparation phase was completed.

     Lacking sufficient deck space for surface to surface missiles, this class was replaced in the early/mid 1980's by the larger type 143 Albatros class and 143a Gepard class schnellboots. 

     All of the Zobel class schnellboots were decommissioned.  Starting in 1982, six of decommissioned boats were transferred to Turkey, for spare parts for the Turkish Kartal (below) class patrol boats.  One of the Original Zobel Class boats flew the Honduras flag (Nerz) and two were sold to private owners (Zobel and Hermelin).

Early version (type 142)Type 142 schnellboots.  German War EsignThe ten  Zobel class boats were built in the early 1960's and could operate in sea state 5 (maximum) water.

     General: Displacement was 190 tons (standard) up to maximum of 225 tons.  Length was 139'4" with a beam of 22'9" and draft of 9'9" and could reach a speed of 42 knots.  Range was 500 miles at top speed.  The crew consisted of 4 officers, 17 NCOs, and 18 seamen (39 total).

     Hull:  The hull was three layers of Mahogany - diagonal - glued on the steel and light-metal keel and frames consisting of eleven compartments.  The superstructure was aluminum. 

MB-518C diesel engine     Engines/drive:  Four Mercedes-Benz MB-518C 20 cylinder diesel engines with over 3000 HP (2200 KW) each, driving a planetary reduction gear. Two of the engines were modified and ran in reverse rotation.  There were four drive shafts and four 1.15 meter (45.24 inches) propellers.

     Weapons: Four forward facing (15 degrees off the boat's axis) 533mm diameter torpedoes mounted in single tubes, and two single barrel 40mm Bofors L/70 guns in open turrets (maximum of 27 rounds in each turret).  Magazines stored up to 270 rounds of 40mm ammunition.  The aft deck could be also used for laying mines.
One of the NBC water sprayers

     Radar: (No info on early type)

     Electrical (power generation): Two diesel generators rated at 96 HP/70 KW/65 kVA. 

   Equipment: Three inflatable life rafts and a life boat.  Located all over the boat are water spray nozzles (photo right shows one near the flying bridge)used for NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) cleaning and flushing.  There were also four fire fighting hose reels located on the aft portion of the superstructure.

Type 142A (upgraded) Schnellboots

By the early 1970's all ten boats were modified and the "a" suffix was added to the type number.  (Photo, next right.)
Later version (type 142a)
     The most noticeable modification was the addition of the new weapons fire-control system (sensors in the new large dome on the mast)
 from Hollandse Signaalapparaten (Nederland).  Known as the HSA WM20, these Zobel class boats were the first to use this new integrated weapons system.  The WM20 had a range of 20 nautical miles.

     The model 3RM20 sensor (Surface Search, Range Information, Bearing Information, IFF Information) had a maximum range of 40 miles and allowed computer control of the two deck guns (visual/EO sensor) and the two wire-guided 21-inch 15nm/anti-ship torpedoes.  The DM2A1 Seehecht torpedoes were fired over the stern and had a cruising speed of 23 knots and a maximum speed of 35 knots.

     The WM-20 radar (Air Search, Range Information, Bearing Information, Altitude Information, IFF Information) can track one air and three surface targets simultaneously.   It provided Surface Search, Range Information, Bearing Information, IFF Information Radar.  The ORG7/3 (Surface Search, Bearing Information, IFF Information, Classification) was visual/EEO.

Communication Systems:

Communication System Type Range Channels (per link)


Link 11

Link 11




HF (Sec)




Secure - HF Radio

VHF (Sec)




Secure - VHF Radio

UHF (Sec)




Secure - UHF Radio

Torpedo Wire Control (2)

Two-Way Wire Guidance



Secure - Send Only - LOS Limited

     Electrical (power generation) was changed to two Diesel generators with over 123 HP/91 KW/100 kVA and a gas turbine generator producing 65 kVA.

     After the upgrade modifications the additional weight (now 235 tons) decreased the top speed to 37knots (42.6 MPH).

General Information:
Name Call Sign Into Svc. Deact. Dest. NATO
Name Call Sign Into Svc. Deact. Dest.
P6092 S31 Zobel DBUQ 12/12/61 9/7/82 Private owner P6097 S39 Puma DBUV 12/21/62 12/17/81 Destroyed*
P6093 S32 Wiesel DBUR 6/25/62 3/6/84 Turkey P6098 S35 Gepard DBUW 4/18/63 11/9/82 Turkey
P6094 S33 Dachs DBUS 9/25/62 12/6/84 Turkey P6099 S40 Hyane DBUX 5/10/63 6/5/84 Turkey
P6095 S34 Hermelin DBUT 11/28/62 1/12/83 Private owner P6100 S36 Frettchen DBUY 6/26/63 8/9/83 Turkey
P6096 S35 Mink (Nerz) DBUU 1/11/63 7/8/82 Honduras P6101 S37 Ozelot DBUZ 10/25/63 1/10/84 Turkey

* The Puma was scrapped due to damage.

Kartal Class (Zobel class boats built in Germany for Turkey)

Turkish Navy Seal     Nine new Kartal Class boats were built in Germany by Lürssen Werft using the Zobel Class Type 142a design.  These Kartal class boats (TCG's) were armed as follows: two (4) AGM-119 Penguin anti-ship missiles, two 21 inch G-7A torpedo tubes (facing forward), two 40mm/90 Bofors AA, and four mines (optional).   Top speed is 42 knots.  The latest information on them is all eight were/are still afloat under the Turkish flag.  Posted in 2005: "...no modernization was planned for Kartal class so far. It is more likely that these boats shall be used until they die for natural reasons."  As of March 3, 2009, the official Turkish Navy site still lists the eight boats (below) as active.Kartal Class torpedo boat

      Commissioned between 1977-1988, the following lists the numbers, names, and call signs: P321, Denizkusu, TBNF; P322, Atmaca, TBNE; P323, Sahin, TBND; P324, Kartal, TBNC; P325, Meltem, (lost in a collision with a Russian ship, salvaged and scrapped); P326, Pelikan, TBNJ; P327, Albatros, TBNK; P328, Simsek, TBNI; and P329, Kasirga, TBNH.

Helpful Links:

     www.schnellboot.net is a comprehensive German site for these boats, including models.   You can find a number of photos as well as data and crew information.

     Zobel Class (142 & 142A) forum:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/S32Wiesel/  - a forum for discussion on only this class of boat.  It is for members only, but it is easy (and free) to join up.  Follow the link to ask questions, get answers, and provide input to others seeking help on the Zobel boats.

     Check out the Nerz video This was probably taken in the early 1970's and converted to digital format and is on YouTube.  Look for the details!

     For a look at the early version, check out Marius' site.  His father served on the S35 Gepard (P6098).  Marius also went well beyond the Graupner kit by modifying several of them extensively.&

Zobel class schnellboot video that shows one of the boats backing away from the dock is misidentified as a Seeadler class boat.

     Keep in mind that there are many photos of completed GraupnerTM kit models available on the Zobel Class (Type 142 & 142a) boats.  Most of them have been built to the Graupner's plans and instructions, which although many are well made, they lack detail and missing features as mentioned on this site (including Graupner's Errors).  It is best to research on the original schnellboot photos.