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SMS Konigsberg (1907)

Light Cruiser Warship

Naval Warfare / Ships

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Image from the Federal German Archives.

Commissioned in 1907, SMS Konigsberg had a short combat record in World War 1, damaged by British ships to the point of being scuttled on July 11th, 1915.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 7/31/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
At the turn of the last century, German Empire authorities committed to a new class of light cruiser warship - the Konigsberg-class. This group was to number four in all and consist of SMS Konigsberg (named after the East Prussian capital), SMS Nurnberg, SMS Stuttgart and SMS Stettin. The class succeeded the Bremen-class warships which were also light cruiser-type vessels though these numbered seven. Compared to the Bremen-class, the Konigsberg-class warships were dimensionally larger and held better straight-line speed while being similarly armed.

SMS Konigsberg was laid down on January 12th, 1905 and launched on December 12th of that year. She was formally commissioned into service on April 6th, 1907.

Under full load the warship displaced 3,815 tons and held an overall length of 378.2 feet, a beam of 43.3 feet and a draught of 17.3 feet. Power began with 11 x water-tube boilers feeding triple expansion steam-based engines allowing the vessel to reach speeds of 24 knots out o a range of 6,620 miles. Aboard were 322 personnel including 14 officers. Armament was 10 x 10.5cm (105mm) main guns with 10 x 5.2cm (52mm) SK L/55 secondary guns. 2 x 45cm (450mm) torpedo tubes were also carried. Armor included 3" of protection at the deck and up to 3.9" at the conning tower.

The warship's profile involved a tapered bow and stern section. Two masts were situated about the primary deck, one fore and one aft. The bright superstructure was set well-ahead of midships with three smoke funnels laid in line just aft of this. The four of the main gun emplacements were positioned forward and aft along elevated sections of superstructure while the remaining units were installed in limited-arc positions along the sides of the hull.

SMS Konigsberg's original posting was with the German High Seas Fleet and acted as escort to the Kaiser's personal yacht when traveling aboard. In April of 1914, the warship was ordered to German East Africa. In July of 1914, Europe went to war so Konigsberg was recalled during August. After relocating closer to home waters, the warship was charged with targeting British and French shipping but managed little save for a single merchant. On September 20th, 1914 during the Battle of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean, she claimed HMS Pegasus, a British cruiser (the Battle of Rufiji Delta). Konigsberg had been taking on coal at the delta of Rufiji and seized the opportunity of the passing HMS Pegasus.

Needing repair for her engines, Konigsberg went up the Rufiji River but was hunted down by the British monitors Mersey and Severn. She then suffered enough damage in the fighting of July 11th, 1915 that the crew scuttled the warship but not before removing her primary guns. This brought an end to her fighting days in the Great War. Her still-exposed hulk was stripped throughout the 1930s and 1940 and into the 1950s and 1960s. In 1966 all this ended when the ship completed went under.


Decommissioned, Out-of-Service
322 Personnel
Ship Class [ Konigsberg-class ]
Ships-in-Class [ 4 ] Ship Names: SMS Konigsberg; SMS Nurnberg; SMS Stuttgart; SMS Stettin
National flag of German Empire German Empire
- Blue Water Operations
- Fleet Support
- Hunter
- Direct-Attack
378 ft (115.21 m)
Width / Beam:
43 ft (13.11 m)
Height / Draught:
17.3 ft (5.27 m)
Displacement (Surface):
3,600 tons
11 x Water-tube boilers feeding 2 x 3-cylinder Triple Expansion Engines developing 13,200 horsepower to 2 x Shafts.
Speed (Surface):
24 kts (28 mph)
5,753 nm (6,620 miles; 10,654 km)
10 x 10.5cm / 105mm (4.1") primary guns.
10 x 5.2cm (52mm) SK L/55 secondary guns.
2 x 45cm (450mm) (18") torpedo tubes.

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