Ariadne class (1871)

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Ariadne class
Depiction of Ariadne in the Illustrirten Zeitung
Depiction of Ariadne in the Illustrirten Zeitung
Ship data
country German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge) German Empire
Ship type corvette
Shipyard Imperial Shipyard , Danzig
Construction period 1868 to 1876
Launch of the type ship July 21, 1871
Built units 3
period of service 1872 to 1895
Ship dimensions and crew
68.16 m ( Lüa )
65.8 m ( KWL )
width 10.8 m
Draft max. 5.7 m
displacement Construction: 1,692 t
Maximum: 2,072 t
crew 233 men
Machine plant
machine 4 suitcase boiler
3-cylinder compound machine
Template: Infobox ship / maintenance / service format
2,260 PS (1,662 kW)
14.1  kn (26  km / h )
propeller 1 four-leaf, ø 4.56 m
Rigging and rigging
Rigging Full ship
Number of masts 3
Sail area 1,582 m²
  • 6 × Rk 15.0 cm L / 22 (400 shots)
  • 2 × Rk 12.0 cm L / 23 (200 shots)

1882 additionally:

The Ariadne- class was a three-unit class of corvettes of the German Imperial Navy . The three ships were built between 1868 and 1876 by the Royal and Imperial Shipyards in Gdansk . Ariadne and Luise were almost identical, while the Freya was created according to a significantly changed design and was significantly larger than her sister ships . The Ariadne class was designed for foreign service and the ships were therefore mainly used in East Asian and South American waters as well as the South Pacific . Later, all three units also served as training ships . They were scrapped during the 1890s.


With the fleet founding plan of 1867 , the Reichstag of the North German Confederation established, among other things, 20 corvettes for its navy on October 24, 1867 . These should be purchased primarily for foreign service. Accordingly, the Royal Shipyard Danzig, which specializes in wooden shipbuilding, received a cabinet order on February 25, 1868, to build a new corvette, which the shipyard began with in September 1868. The second ship of the class was built in Gdansk from June 1871. In the same year the Ministry of Navy revised the design of the class and commissioned a third ship in Gdansk. This Corvette named Freya should receive, was established in January 1872 by the now Imperial Shipyard paid to Kiel . The lead ship Ariadne came into service on November 23, 1872, the Freya as the last of the three ships on October 1, 1876.

According to the original plan, the three ships were mainly active overseas. The Ariadne was mostly in Chinese waters from 1874 to 1876 , from 1877 to 1879 in South and Central America and the island worlds of Oceania and again in South America from 1880 to 1881. In 1884 and 1885 she stayed in West Africa . During her missions, Ariadne took part in the settlement of the Eisenstuck affair in Nicaragua . Her commander, Korvettenkapitän Bartholomäus von Werner , was also able to conclude several contracts with local chiefs and kings that were important for German trade in the South Seas . The Luise took from 1875 to 1877 a trip to East Asia and Australia as well as from 1878 to 1880 again to East Asia. The Freya also initially served mostly abroad. From 1877 to 1879 she was traveling in the eastern Mediterranean and East Asia. From 1879 to 1881 she was at times to observe the saltpeter war on the South American west coast and later ran again to East Asia.

A second field of application arose for the ships from 1881 onwards. Since the corvettes were equipped with large and bright rooms because of their missions abroad, the Admiralty found them suitable as training ships for ship boys . As such, Luise came into service in 1881 after a small renovation. In the years up to 1891 she sailed with interruptions as a training ship and also undertook several large training trips to the Caribbean and North America . The Freya served as a training ship in 1883 and 1884. She also stayed in the Caribbean, where she also took on diplomatic tasks. Finally, the Ariadne was also made into a training ship. From July 15, 1884, it was initially used to train stokers and machinists . During this time she also stayed in West Africa. From 1885 to 1890 the corvette drove with interruptions as a cabin boy training ship. Like Luise and Freya , she also went on training trips to the Caribbean and the United States .

Starting with the Freya , the Ariadne- class ships were decommissioned from 1888. In addition to her age, the commissioning of units specially built as training ships like the Mermaid was a reason for this. The Ariadne followed in 1890 and was sold for scrapping the following year . As the last ship of the class, the Luise was in service until April 1895. Like the Freya, the Imperial Navy deleted it from its inventory in December 1896 and sold it for demolition a short time later.

Ships of the class

Surname Shipyard Keel laying Launch Commissioning Decommissioning Whereabouts
Ariadne Imperial Shipyard , Danzig September 1868 July 21, 1871 November 23, 1872 September 30, 1890 Sold to Hamburg on October 6, 1891 , where it was broken up.
Luise Imperial Shipyard, Danzig June 1871 December 16, 1872 June 4, 1874 April 16, 1895 Sold to Hamburg in 1897 and broken up there.
Freya Imperial Shipyard, Danzig January 1872 December 29, 1874 October 1, 1876 January 17, 1888 Sold to Kiel in 1897 and broken up there.


The ships of the Ariadne class had a wooden hull , which was executed in transverse frame construction. The kraweel-clad hull was given a copper fitting for protection and was also reinforced by flat iron . The deck beams were made of iron , as were the deck plates. Spruce planks were also attached to these . Only the Freya was divided into four watertight compartments by bulkheads . The first two ships were a total of 68.16 m long. The waterline was 65.8 m with a construction displacement of 1,692 t. At their widest point, the corvettes measured 10.8 m. The fully equipped ships, displacing 2,072 t, were 4.8 m in the front and 5.7 m in the aft .

The Freya deviated significantly from these data. Overall it was 85.35 m long, with the construction waterline measuring 83.6 m with a 1.997 t construction displacement. The width remained the same as that of the two previous ships, but the operational displacement increased to 2,406 t. Nevertheless, the draft decreased slightly to 4.6 m forward and 5.6 m aft. The Freya was the last ship with a wooden hull built for the Imperial Navy. At the same time, the three sister ships were the first German corvettes, the bow of which was "constructed in the manner of armored ships", i.e. a ram bow .


The Ariadne- class corvettes were each powered by a three-cylinder steam engine with double steam expansion . The horizontally arranged machines were supplied by Franz Anton Egells' Berlin mechanical engineering company . They should deliver 2,100 or 2,400  PSi for the Freya . The values ​​determined during the test drives exceeded the projected values ​​in some cases significantly with 2,260 PSi for the Ariadne , 2,392 PSi for the Luise and 2,801 PSi for the Freya . The steam engines drove a four- bladed propeller with a diameter of 4.56 m (with Freya 5.34 m) and enabled the corvettes to reach a top speed of 14.1  knots . The Freya achieved up to 15.2 knots due to the greater engine power and the higher hull speed and was thus 0.7 kn faster than required.

The necessary for the steam engine steam generated four suitcases boilers that were housed together with the steam engine in the common engine room. The boilers each had two furnaces and generated a steam pressure of 3  atmospheres . The exhaust gases from all the boilers got outside through a common, retractable chimney . The fuel supply of 168 t of coal carried was sufficient for a distance of 1,340  nm at a speed of 10 kn. The Freya received larger fuel bunkers and was able to load up to 264 t of coal, which increased the steam distance possible at 10 kn to 2,500 nm.

In addition to the machinery, the corvettes also had rigging . They were originally rigged as full ships and had a total sail area of ​​1,582 m² ( Ariadne and Luise ) and 1,886 m² ( Freya ) on three masts . In the course of their service life, the three ships at the shipyard were given a barrage rig , whereby the sail area was reduced to 1,049 and 1,261 m² respectively.

The Ariadne- class corvettes were considered to be very good, greedy seagoing vessels. The three ships were also very easy to steer and maneuver under steam . On the other hand, they were bad sailors, the Freya even more so than her two sister ships. The propeller was also a hindrance for pure sailing operation, as it only turned from a speed of 5 kn and braked the ships heavily.


The armament of Ariadne and Luise consisted of six ring cannons of caliber 15.0 cm L / 22 and two ring cannons 12.0 cm L / 22. The 15 cm guns, for which 400 rounds of ammunition were in stock on board, could shoot a maximum of 5 km, the smaller guns, however, reached up to 5.9 km. The corvettes each carried 100 rounds of ammunition for the two 12 cm cannons. They were set up in the middle of the ship and could fire on both sides. The rifled cannons from Krupp's production were all set up on the upper deck . In the case of the Freya , the Navy did without the smaller 12 cm guns and instead provided eight of the 15 cm cannons, for which an ammunition supply of 760 rounds was available on the ship. One of the ring cannons came off board the Freya during the course of the mission .

In addition to the big guns were all three ships in 1882 revolver cannon of type 3.7 cm Hotchkiss . Six of them came on board the Freya , the other two corvettes each received four such cannons.


The crew of Ariadne and Luise had a nominal strength of 233 men, Freya had 248 men. They consisted of 13 or 14 officers and 220 or 234 men . In order to make life on board more pleasant during foreign missions, especially in tropical regions, the rooms were laid out relatively generously and large windscreens were used to ensure adequate ventilation.


  • Gardiner, Robert (Ed.): Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905 . Conway Maritime Press, London 1979, ISBN 0-85177-133-5 , pp. 251 .
  • Gröner, Erich / Dieter Jung / Martin Maass: The German warships 1815-1945 . tape 1 : Armored ships, ships of the line, battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, gunboats . Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-7637-4800-8 , p. 114 f .
  • Hildebrand, Hans H. / Albert Röhr / Hans-Otto Steinmetz: The German warships . Biographies - a mirror of naval history from 1815 to the present . 10 volumes. Mundus Verlag, Ratingen (licensed edition by Koehler's Verlagsgesellschaft, Hamburg, approx. 1990).


  1. Technical data according to Gröner: The German warships , Volume 1, p. 114f apply to Ariadne and Luise , Freya deviating from it
  2. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 1: Biographies from Adler to Augusta, p. 57.
  3. a b c d The new smooth-deck corvette Luise . In: Illustrirte Zeitung . No.  1562 . JJ Weber, Leipzig June 7, 1873, p. 430 ( online version of the BSB ).
  4. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 1, p. 253.
  5. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 6: Biographies from Lützow to Prussia , p. 27.
  6. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 3: Biographies from Elbe to Graudenz , p. 98.
  7. a b c d e f g h i j k Gröner / Jung / Maass: The German warships. Volume 1, p. 115.
  8. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 1, pp. 253-257.
  9. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 6, pp. 27f.
  10. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 3, pp. 98f.
  11. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 3, p. 99.
  12. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 6, pp. 28f.
  13. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 3, pp. 99f.
  14. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 1, pp. 256f.
  15. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 3, p. 100.
  16. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 1, p. 257.
  17. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 6, p. 29.
  18. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 1, pp. 252-257.
  19. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 6, pp. 26-29.
  20. Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 3, pp. 97-100.
  21. a b c d Gröner / Jung / Maass: The German warships. Volume 1, p. 114.
  22. a b c The German upper deck corvette Ariadne . In: Illustrirte Zeitung . No.  1476 . JJ Weber, Leipzig October 14, 1871, p. 290 ( online version of the BSB ).
  23. ^ A b Gardiner: Conways All The World's Fighting Ships. P. 251.
  24. ^ Brommy, Rudolf / Heinrich von Littrow : The Navy . Central antiquariat of the German Democratic Republic, Leipzig 1982, ISBN 3-7961-1736-8 , p. 298 (reprint of the 3rd edition of the original edition from 1878).