SMS Empress Augusta

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German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge)
SMS Empress Augusta LOC det 4a04854.jpg
Ship data
Ship type Armored deck cruiser
Protected cruiser
Ship class Single ship
Construction designation: Cruiser II. Classe H
Keel laying : 1890
Launching ( ship christening ): January 15, 1892
Commissioning: November 17, 1892
Modifications: 1893/94, 1903-05, 1916
Builder: Germania shipyard in Kiel
Crew: approx. 430 men
Building-costs: 8,697,000 marks
Technical specifications
Displacement : Construction: 6,056 t
Maximum: 6,318 t
Length: KWL : 122 m
over everything: 123 m
Width: 15.50 m
Draft : 7.40 m
Boiler system : 8 double cylinder boilers
Machinery: 3 standing 3-cylinder
triple expansion machines
Number of screws: 3
Shaft speed: 124 / min
Machine power: Test drive: 14,015 PSi
continuous load: 12,500 PSi
Top speed: 21.5 kn
Fuel supply: 810 tons of coal
Range: 3240 nm at 12 kn
Deck: 70 mm
Command tower: horizontal: 20 mm
vertical: 50 mm
until 1896:
  • 4 × 15 cm L / 30 Rk
    292 rounds
  • 8 × 10.5 cm L / 30 Sk
    777 rounds
  • 8 × 8.8 cm L / 30 Sk
    1361 rounds
  • 4 × 3.7 cm revolver cannon
  • 5 × torpedo tubes 35 cm (4 swiveling in the sides, 1 under water in the bow)

  • 12 × 15 cm L / 35 Sk
    1064 shots, 126 hm
  • 8 × 8.8 cm L / 30 Sk
    1600 rounds
  • 5 × torpedo tubes 35 cm (from 1907: only bow tube)
from 1916:
  • 1 × 15 cm L / 45 Utof
  • 4 × 10.5 cm L / 45 Utof
  • 4 × 8.8 cm L / 45 Sk
  • 4 × 8.8 cm L / 35 Sk
  • 5 × 8.8 cm L / 30 Sk
  • 1 × 8.8 cm L / 30 UK
1901-1902 Friedrich von Ingenohl

SMS Kaiserin Augusta was a protected cruiser of the Imperial Navy . She was a single ship , the construction of sister ships under consideration at times was omitted. It was named after the wife of Kaiser Wilhelm I, who died in 1890 .


Compared to previous designs, a change in the armor (see below) resulted in improved armament and increased speed, with a test drive of 21.5 knots. This new type of ship was called an armored deck cruiser . There should be a compromise between reconnaissance cruisers of the fleet and overseas cruisers for use in the colonies. The armored deck cruiser (after the Empress Augusta there was still the Victoria Louise class ) was only an intermediate step towards the armored cruiser , the first unit built in Germany in 1900 to be the Fürst Bismarck .


The armament was modified several times. The Empress Augusta was put into service with a temporary armament. During its actual service from 1895 to 1902, it consisted of twelve 15 cm guns in swallow nests , eight 8 cm guns and five 35 cm torpedo tubes . After the conversion to an artillery training ship in 1916 there was a 15 cm L / 45 UToF , 4 × 10.5 cm L / 45 UToF, 4 × 8.8 cm L / 45 TK, 4 × 8.8 cm L / 35 SK and a 8.8 cm L / 30 UToF on board.


For the first time in Germany, side armor was dispensed with in favor of a 70 mm thick armored deck at the level of the waterline. This should serve as protection for the underwater hull. The elimination of the outdated side armor led to a reduced weight, which is why the design could be made smaller overall.


The drive was triple expansion machines with coal-fired cylinder boilers, which reached 14,015 PSi in trial operation. The Kaiserin Augusta was the first German three-screw ship of the Imperial Navy. This drive was judged to be unsatisfactory, as from a speed of approx. 18 kn violent vibrations occurred due to the unbalanced machines and the Empress Augusta was notorious in naval circles as a cocktail shaker .

Use and whereabouts

SMS Empress Augusta in New York

The keel laying of the cruiser corvette took place in 1890 at the Germania shipyard in Kiel . She was baptized on January 15, 1892 by the sea captain Prince Heinrich of Prussia , one of the grandsons of the late Empress. The commissioning of the Empress Augusta took place on November 17, 1892 with provisional armament.

Although the trials were not complete, the Empress Augusta was sent to New York on March 29, 1893 to attend the Columbian Naval Review , an event marking the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America . Participation should take place together with the cruiser SMS Seeadler , which had just come into service and which had already left 14 days earlier.

After the meeting in front of Halifax , the Empress Augusta had to haul the sea ​​eagles because of a lack of coal, as she had calculated her coal supply incorrectly. On April 26, the two ships entered the Hampton Roads . After the festivities, both ships left again on May 13th. The Seeadler was sent to East Africa to replace the cruiser SMS Schwalbe , while the Empress Augusta returned to Kiel. The cruiser had only partially proven itself. It achieved a high average speed on the crossing and was the fastest ship in the imperial fleet, but the ship formations proved to be too weak. The Empress Augusta was therefore taken out of service on June 21, 1893 to be improved.

On April 3, 1895, the Empress Augusta , reclassified as cruiser II class, was put back into service. In July she made a trip to Morocco with SMS Hagen and SMS Stosch . There the ships were supposed to enforce demands of the Reich, which after the murder of two German merchants had only been met unsatisfactorily. At the same time, the 1st Squadron had marched as far as northern Spain for security. The Empress Augusta left after concessions by the Moroccan government on August 5, Tangier and entered middle of the month again for practice fleet in the North Sea. From March 10 to May 1, 1896, she served as an escort cruiser for the Hohenzollern Imperial Yacht .

On February 6, 1897, she was sent to the Mediterranean Sea because of an uprising by the Christian population in Crete against Ottoman rule . It was supposed to prevent a Greco-Turkish war with the ships of other states. She arrived off Crete on February 21, where regular Greek troops had also been deployed since February 15. On February 25, 1897, they deployed a landing corps to an international association in La Canea ( Chania ) to prevent attacks by the rebels. Some of the international ships fired at the insurgents to make it impossible for the Turkish troops to overrun. A blockade of the island was declared on March 15 to prevent the fighting from spreading. In addition to the Empress Augusta, the British destroyer HMS Ardent , the French destroyer Fancon , the Italian gunboat Caprera , the Russian gunboat Grozjashchi and the Austrian SMS Tiger were also present . When war broke out on April 17th, parts of the international fleet and the Empress Augusta were moved to Athens so as not to allow a revolution there.

In November 1897, after the occupation of Kiautschou, the Empress Augusta, who was currently in Smyrna , was ordered from the Mediterranean Sea as the first part of the 2nd Division of the East Asian Cruiser Squadron to reinforce the units there. She took up her landing corps in Crete on November 19 and then ran to East Asia. In December 1897 she reached the station area in Singapore , long before the ships sent from home. In June 1898 she ran as a temporary flagship with the squadron chief Otto von Diederichs to Manila , where there were considerable differences with the Americans during the Spanish-American War . After the Manila incident , the Empress Augusta, in agreement with the Americans, brought the Spanish captain general and his family to Hong Kong on August 13 . In October 1898 she brought parts of the sea ​​battalion from Tsingtau to Taku , which were to take over the protection of the embassy in Beijing. In September 1899, the Empress Augusta was reclassified as a large cruiser under the naval laws . When the Boxer Rebellion broke out in 1900, she was still in East Asia and transported further parts of the III. To protect the Europeans in Beijing at the beginning of June. Sea battalion to Taku. They also gave parts of their crew to the relief troops. Among the victims of the operation was the first officer, Corvette Captain Oltmann Buchholz .

From October 26th to November 18th, the old cruiser was again the squadron's flagship. After a technical inspection in Japan, he started his journey home on March 6, 1902, together with the torpedo boats S 91 and S 92 , which had been in service off China since 1900, and whose sister ship the S 90 remained in East Asia until 1914. For the return voyage, she exchanged the commander with Hertha and ran back to Germany under Captain Derzewski, while the future fleet chief, Captain Ingenohl, stayed in East Asia for another year.

On June 7th the cruiser arrived with his companions in Kiel and was decommissioned on June 16, 1902. Although out of date, modernization work was carried out on the ship in the reserve between 1903 and 1905.

In the First World War still as artillery training ship used which was Empress Augusta scrapped the 1920s.

Known crew members

Individual evidence

  1. Utof = abbreviation for U -Boots- and To rpedoboots- F lugabwehrkanone . An anti-aircraft gun with a particularly narrow mount , which, thanks to its design, could also be mounted on the narrow decks of submarines and early torpedo boats.
  2. Uk = Abbreviation for U -Boots- K anone . A sea target cannon with a particularly narrow mount which, thanks to its design, could also be used on the narrow decks of submarines.


  • Erich Gröner, Dieter Jung and Martin Maass: The German Warships 1815–1945 Volume 1 . Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Munich 1982. ISBN 3-7637-4800-8
  • Hans H. Hildebrand / Albert Röhr / Hans-Otto Steinmetz: The German warships: Biographies - a mirror of naval history from 1815 to the present , Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft, Herford, 7 volumes
  • Erwin Strohbusch: Warship building since 1848 , German Maritime Museum, Bremerhaven 1984

Web links

Commons : SMS Kaiserin Augusta  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files