SMS Freya (ship, 1874)

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Freya p1
Ship data
flag German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge) German Empire
Ship type Cruiser corvette
class Ariadne class
Shipyard Imperial Shipyard , Danzig
building-costs 2,137,000 marks
Launch December 29, 1874
Commissioning October 1, 1876
Whereabouts 1897 in Kiel scrapped
Ship dimensions and crew
85.35 m ( Lüa )
83.6 m ( KWL )
width 10.8 m
Draft Max. 5.6 m
displacement Construction: 1,997 t
Maximum: 2,406 t
crew 248 men
Machine system
machine 4 suitcase boiler
3-cylinder compound machine
Template: Infobox ship / maintenance / service format
2,801 PS (2,060 kW)
15.2 kn (28 km / h)
propeller 1 four-leaf Ø 5.34 m
Rigging and rigging
Rigging Full ship
Number of masts 3
Sail area 1,886 m²

from 1882 additionally:

SMS Freya was a smooth-deck corvette (called cruiser corvette from 1884 ) of the Imperial Navy and the third, heavily modified ship of the Ariadne class . The corvette, built from 1872 to 1876, was actively used until 1888 and was particularly active in foreign service.



While the first two Ariadne- class ships were under construction, the Admiralty's design department changed plans for a third unit of the class. This should be longer and receive larger coal bunkers and a stronger machine system, which also resulted in a greater displacement . The changes made were so serious that the corvette is sometimes seen as a single ship .

The Imperial Shipyard in Danzig , which built all the Ariadne- class ships , put the newbuild on Kiel in January 1872 . In order to give the wood of the ship's hull enough time to dry out, the shipyard delayed the launch of the corvette. This took place on December 29, 1874. The corvette was baptized in the name of the goddess of love in Nordic mythology . The Freya was completed on the shipyard by August 1876.


On August 21, 1876, the Freya was put into service for the first time. Under the command of Alfred Stenzel , the ship ran to Kiel for final equipment . The wooden hull was fitted with copper plates . After completing this work, the test drives could begin on October 1st. It was found that the engine performance was greater than planned, which resulted in a top speed of 15.2 instead of the required 14.5 kn. After the end of the test drives, the Freya went out of service on November 15. The corvette belonged to the 1st Reserve from January 15, 1877 and was organizationally transferred to the North Sea naval station . In the summer of 1877, the ship was moved from Kiel to Wilhelmshaven under the orders of Paul Zirzow . The Freya got into bad weather in the Baltic Sea . She ran aground and was carried away by a civilian steamship. Corvette captain Zirzow was supposed to be liable for the costs incurred according to the will of the Reichstag's accounting commission , but this was rejected by Otto von Bismarck .

The Freya came back into service on November 1, 1877. Two weeks later, on November 15, the ship set sail for a mission in the Mediterranean. During the journey a stop had to be made in Falmouth to await a storm. The corvette reached Smyrna on December 12th and joined the Mediterranean squadron under Commodore Franz Kinderling . The squadron at that time included the Hertha , the Gazelle , the Albatross , the Comet and the Pommerania . Its task was to protect German citizens during the Russo-Ottoman War and to protect German interests in the eastern Mediterranean. On February 7, 1878, the Freya went to Piraeus and was anchored there together with the Hertha and other warships from other nations until March 18 , in order to appease existing differences in Greek-Turkish relations. The two German ships were back in Smyrna the next day. After the end of the Russo-Ottoman War, Hertha returned to Germany in early June 1878 and the squadron was officially disbanded on July 5th. The Freya stayed in the Aegean until August and was then ordered to relieve her sister ship Luise in East Asia.

The ship reached Hong Kong in early October 1878 , where it was repaired until December 9th. Two days later, the Freya Swatau called at and was able to come to the aid of the brig Peri , which had run aground nearby , who took over the crew and cargo of the corvette. From December 17, 1878 to January 7, 1879, the Freya was in front of Amoy because of unrest in the province of Fukien that threatened German citizens and their property. However, the ship's crew did not have to intervene on land and the Freya was able to leave Amoy on January 7, 1879. She visited Futschou and several ports on Formosa and reached Shanghai on February 4th . The ship stayed there for the next two months. At the beginning of April 1879, the Freya received the order to return home and left Shanghai on April 4th. From April 9th ​​to May 3rd, the corvette lay in front of Hong Kong and waited there to be replaced by Luise . On the way home, there was a serious accident in Anyer when the kettle boiled over on May 19 . The hot water reached the intermediate deck and severely scalded several of the sailors sleeping there . Four of them died from their injuries and were buried in Batavia . The Freya continued her voyage home around Africa, visiting Cape Town , where she took gifts from the Governor of the Cape Colony for Princess Victoria on board. An unplanned stopover on Faial became necessary after scurvy broke out on the Freya and fresh provisions were needed. The corvette finally reached Wilhelmshaven on September 17, 1879 and was initially decommissioned there on September 27.

Only a few days later, on October 6, 1879, the Freya came back into service, as it did not require any lengthy repairs. The ship was again equipped for use in East Asia. However, the departure was supposed to go through South America and the Freya and the Hansa were supposed to protect German interests during the outbreak of the Saltpeter War. The Freya set sail on October 26, 1879. On the voyage to South America, the ship met the Vineta several times . In the Strait of Magellan it could help the British steamer Maranhence and tow him to Punta Arenas . The Freya finally met on March 3, 1880 in Valparaíso on the Hansa and the hyena who had also been ordered to the war zone . From March 8 to April 14, the corvette was in front of Arica , whose port was blocked by Chilean forces . On April 14th, Corvette Captain Karl Eduard Heusner , who, as the commander of the Hansa, was also a commodore of the small German unit, released the Freya to travel to East Asia. The Freya first headed for Panama City and replenished its supplies there. On May 8, she started her onward journey across the Pacific . After five weeks, the ship reached Honolulu , where the Hawaiian King David Kalākaua was staying on board. At the beginning of August the Freya lay outside Guam , where she took provisions on board, and finally reached Hong Kong on August 21.

The commander of the German ships stationed in East Asia, in addition to the Freya , the Vineta , the Cyclop and the Wolf , was the former Freya commander Paul Zirzow, who meanwhile commanded the Vineta as sea captain . The Freya left Hong Kong on September 9 for Tschifu , where she stayed from September 17 to October 28 to allow the crew to recover. The ship then went to Shanghai, where repairs began on November 1 for six weeks. On December 22nd, 1880 the Freya reached Hong Kong again. From there the corvette briefly ran out for target practice. From March 30 to April 11, 1881, she was twice for surveying tasks near the Paracel Islands . The journey there led via Hoihow . After the attack by Chinese pirates on the German barque Occident , the Freya went in search of the pirates on April 30, but this was unsuccessful. Since the Vineta set out on her voyage home at the end of May, the Freya’s commander , Captain Copper, took over the operations of the station elder and thus command of the German ships stationed in East Asia. However, he died a short time later, on June 18, 1881, of typhus , whereupon the first officer , Corvette Captain von Lepel-Gnitz, took over command of the Freya . At the end of June the corvette began its journey via Batavia , where it met its replacement, the covered corvette Stosch , and through the Suez Canal back home. The Freya reached Wilhelmshaven on October 6, 1881 and was decommissioned there on October 21.

In the following years, the Freya was converted into a training ship for ship boys and put into service as such on April 3, 1883. After sea trials in the North Sea , the ship's boys came on board in Kiel, which the corvette reached on May 7th. The Freya undertook a first training trip to Danzig and Karlskrona until July 12th . The ship was then prepared for a longer trip abroad. On July 25th, the corvette set sail from Kiel and reached Bahia on September 24th . As there had been riots in Haiti , the Freya was ordered to Port-au-Prince , where she arrived on October 29. On November 16, 1883, the ship continued to Jacmel and took 250 civilians on board, which they took to Les Cayes and Kingston and then returned to Port-au-Prince, which they reached on December 16. The Freya stayed in front of the Haitian capital until January 1884 and then continued her training trip. The corvette Puerto Cabello , Bermuda and Hampton Roads started . On September 1, 1884, the return home was immediately followed by participation in the autumn maneuvers of the fleet in the North and Baltic Seas. The Freya ended her trip after over a year on 21 September 1884 in Kiel.

The corvette went on shortly after her return to Danzig, where she was decommissioned on October 11, 1884 and went to the shipyard for a major overhaul. Her rigging was changed to that of a barque and one of the 15 cm ring cannons was removed. These measures were completed in autumn 1887. The Freya came back into service on October 23, 1887 and initially took test drives. Then the ship ran to Kiel and on to Wilhelmshaven. It arrived there on December 22nd. The last decommissioning took place in Wilhelmshaven on January 17, 1888, although the Freya was freshly overhauled. Possibly it should serve as a reserve for the training ships, which however did not suffer any failures.


The Freya was no longer actively used after 1888. She belonged to the harbor ships from 1893 and was deleted from the list of warships on December 14, 1896. In the following year, the ship was sold to Kiel for 65,160 marks and scrapped there. As a replacement, a large cruiser of the Victoria Louise class was built between 1895 and 1898 , which was also named Freya .


August 21 to September 1876 Corvette Captain Alfred Stenzel
October 1 to November 15, 1876 Corvette Captain Friedrich von Hacke
July 19 to August 4, 1877 Corvette Captain Paul Zirzow
November 1, 1877 to September 27, 1879 Corvette Captain von Nostitz
October 2, 1879 to December 1880 Corvette Captain George von Hippel
December 1880 to June 18, 1881 Corvette captain / sea ​​captain copper
June 18 to October 21, 1881 Corvette Captain von Lepel-Gnitz ( mdWdGb )
April 3, 1883 to October 11, 1884 Corvette Captain Max Schulze
October 23, 1887 to January 17, 1888 Corvette Captain von Rosen


  • 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 . tape 3 : Ship biographies from the Elbe to Graudenz . Mundus Verlag, Ratingen, S. 97–100 (Licensed edition by Koehler's Verlagsgesellschaft, Hamburg, approx. 1990).


  1. a b c d e f g h i j Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 3, p. 98.
  2. a b c d Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 3, p. 97.
  3. ^ The German smooth-deck corvette Freya . In: Illustrirte Zeitung . Leipzig May 6, 1876.
  4. Gröner / Jung / Maass: The German warships. Volume 1. p. 114.
  5. a b c d e Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 3, p. 100.
  6. a b Hildebrand, Hans H. / Albert Röhr / Hans-Otto Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 4: Ship biographies from Greif to Kaiser . Mundus Verlag, Ratingen o. J., p. 136.
  7. a b c Hildebrand / Röhr / Steinmetz: The German warships. Volume 3, p. 99.
  8. Gardiner, Conway’s , p. 251.
  9. Gröner / Jung / Maass: The German warships. Volume 1, p. 115.