SMS Berlin

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Drawing by SMS Berlin
Drawing by SMS Berlin
Ship data
flag German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge) German Empire
Ship type Small cruiser
class Bremen class
Shipyard Imperial Shipyard , Danzig
building-costs 4,545,000 marks
Launch September 22, 1903
Commissioning April 4, 1905
Whereabouts Sunk on May 31, 1947
Ship dimensions and crew
111.1 m ( Lüa )
110.6 m ( KWL )
width 13.3 m
Draft Max. 5.53 m
displacement Construction: 3,278 t
Maximum: 3,792 t
crew 288 to 349 men
Machine system
machine 10 marine boilers,
2 3-cylinder compound machines
12,140 hp (8,929 kW)
23.3 kn (43 km / h)
propeller 2 four-leaf ⌀ 3.9 m
  • 10 × Sk 10.5 cm L / 40 (1,500 shots)
  • 10 × Sk 5,3 cm L / 55
  • 2 × torpedo tube ⌀ 45.0 cm (5 shots)
  • Deck: 20-80 mm
  • Coam: 100 mm
  • Command tower: 20–100 mm
  • Shields: 50 mm

The small cruiser SMS Berlin was a warship of the Imperial Navy that was used in the First World War . She still served in the Imperial Navy and carried out several large trips abroad as a school cruiser.


The ship was built from 1902 at the Imperial Shipyard in Gdansk for the Imperial Navy. It was launched on September 22, 1903, and commissioned on April 4, 1905.

The interior furnishings of the officers 'mess and the commanders' salon were made by the Dresden workshops for craftsmanship based on a design by Art Nouveau artist Richard Riemerschmid .


Small cruiser Berlin . Field postcard from May 28, 1915

The small cruiser Berlin was initially used as an escort ship for the imperial yacht Hohenzollern . From August 1905, the ship was assigned to the reconnaissance ships and did fleet service in the North Sea and Baltic Sea . It replaced the small cruiser Amazone , from which the crew for the Berlin came. In addition, Berlin made trips abroad to the Atlantic .

Before Agadir

On June 28, 1911, the cruiser left Berlin Kiel to in Agadir the gunboat Panther ( " Panther Leap Agadir replace"). The cruiser was stationed there together with the gunboat Eber until November 1911 . It was important to protect German interests. On December 14, 1911, the Berlin returned to Kiel.

The cruiser was then used again by the reconnaissance forces. On September 27, 1912, most of the crew boarded the new cruiser Strasbourg . With the rest of the crew, the Berlin moved to Wilhelmshaven , where it was decommissioned on October 29, 1912.

First World War

With the beginning of the First World War, the Berlin was reactivated and put back into service as the guide ship of the port flotilla in Wilhelmshaven. Soon afterwards, the ship, together with the IV reconnaissance group, was used as a lock guard in the Great Belt for a short time. From October 1914, Berlin was again providing outpost and security services in the German Bight . On October 24, 1915, she left the IV Reconnaissance Group and moved back to the Baltic Sea. The Berlin was moved together with the small cruiser Stuttgart and the V. T-Flotilla to Libau and from there to Windau . There she replaced the small cruiser Bremen . In January 1916 the Berlin returned to the IV Reconnaissance Group and returned to the North Sea. There she was used again as an outpost service. Because of a two-month layover in the shipyard, the ship was not present at the Battle of the Skagerrak . When the Munich was torpedoed on October 19, 1916, the Berlin towed in her sister ship.

On January 14, 1917, the Berlin moved to Danzig , where it was decommissioned on February 11, 1917. In the last year of the war the ship was used as a tender in Kiel and Swinoujscie .

Interwar period

The modernized Berlin

In December 1919 the cruiser was made operational again and relocated to Kiel, where it served as a training ship for stokers. From 1921 to 1922, the Reichsmarinewerft Wilhelmshaven was converted into a school cruiser , combined with a general overhaul. The old ramming bow was replaced by a modern cruiser bow. On July 2, 1922, the Berlin was put back into service as a school cruiser for the inspection of education under Captain Wilfried von Loewenfeld . In the following years she made numerous training trips to European ports, the Mediterranean and South America . With the commissioning of the new school cruiser Emden in October 1925, the cruiser Berlin was reassigned to the fleet in the area of ​​the commander Baltic Sea.

In 1927 the fleet traveled abroad to Spain and Portugal .

On October 1, 1927, the cruiser came again for an inspection of the education system in Hamburg . This was followed by a world tour from December 1, 1927 to March 7, 1929, which took the Berlin to East Asia and, ten years after the end of the war, to Australia as the first German warship . The commandant on this last voyage was the sea captain Hans Kolbe, a former battalion commander of the Loewenfeld naval brigade.

After returning from this voyage, she was decommissioned in Kiel on March 27, 1929 and added to the reserve fleet. Large parts of the crew switched to the light cruiser Karlsruhe, which is being equipped .

Second World War

From 1936 to 1945 she was used as a barge for the Navy in Kiel.


After the Second World War , the Kleine Kreuzer Berlin was confiscated by the British occupying forces and finally sunk in the Skagerrak in 1947, loaded with gas ammunition .


April 4 to September 1905 Frigate Captain Wilhelm Schäfer
September 1905 to September 30, 1907 Corvette Captain / Frigate Captain Hugo Kraft
October 1, 1907 to September 1908 Frigate Captain Arthur Tapken
September 1908 to September 30, 1909 Frigate captain / sea captain Walter Herrklotsch
October 1, 1909 to September 1910 Frigate Captain Eduard Engels
September 1910 to November 1911 Corvette captain / frigate captain Heinrich Löhlein
November 1911 to September 1912 Frigate Captain Wilhelm Tägert
September 29th to October 29th 1912 Corvette Captain Egon von Wolf (deputy)
August 17, 1914 to December 31, 1915 Frigate captain / sea captain Friedrich Freiherr von Bülow
January 1, 1916 to February 11, 1917 Frigate Captain Walter Hildebrand
July 2, 1922 to September 30, 1923 Sea captain Wilfried von Loewenfeld
October 1, 1923 to July 1925 Sea captain Paul Wülfing von Ditten
July 1925 to April 1926 Sea captain Ernst Junkermann
April to September 25, 1926 Corvette Captain Friedrich von Arnauld de la Perière (1888–1969)
September 25, 1926 to March 27, 1929 Frigate captain / sea captain Hans Kolbe (1882–1957)

Known crew members


  • Hildebrand, Hans H. / Albert Röhr / Hans-Otto Steinmetz: The German warships: Biographies - a mirror of naval history from 1815 to the present. Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft, Herford.

Web links

Commons : SMS Berlin  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
  • British film footage of the departure of the Berlin from Kiel on her world tour in 1927


  1. ^ Telegram from the Admiralty dated June 28, 1911
  2. GERMAN CRUISER TO VISIT FREMANTLE August 8–11. September 1928 in The Sydney Morning Herald August 7, 1928
  3. Kolbe resigned from the service of the Reichsmarine in 1934 with the character of a vice admiral, like his former brigade chief, who had resigned in 1928, he was not used again by the Nazis in a command function. However, after his departure in October 1934, Kolbe joined the NSDAP and was only appointed deputy in December 1934 and finally appointed district administrator of the Schleswig district on September 1, 1936. In 1938 he was appointed Gauamtsleiter of the Reichskolonialbund, in 1941 "honorary" standard leader of the SS security service. He was also a member of the National Socialist People's Welfare Association and the German Hunters' Association from 1935 and was district leader of the German Red Cross until 1945. From August 1941 to March 1943 and again from January 1944 for another year, Kolbe took over the war representation of the Eckernförde district administrators.
  4. Son of the Saxon major general Ernst Hugo von Wolf