SMS Karlsruhe (1912)
|Construction designation:||Replacement sea eagle|
|Ship type||Small cruiser|
|Ship class||Karlsruhe class|
|Keel laying :||September 21, 1911|
|Launching ( ship christening ):||November 11, 1912|
|Commissioning:||January 15, 1914|
Germania shipyard in Kiel, construction
|Building-costs:||8.1 million gold marks|
|Fate:||Sunk on November 4, 1914|
|Ship coat of arms:|
|Displacement :||Construction: 4,900 t
maximum: 6,191 t
KWL : 139 m
over all: 142.2 m
|Draft :||6.2 m|
|Machinery:||12 coal-fired boilers and 2 oil-fired double-ended boilers
2 set of steam turbines
|Number of screws:||2 three-leaf Ø 3.5 m|
|Shaft speed:||444 / min|
|Top speed:||28.5 kn|
|Driving range:||5,000 nm at 12 kn|
|Fuel supply:||400–1,300 t coal and
70–200 t heating oil
|Rapid fire cannons
10.5 cm L / 45:
|Torpedo tubes Ø 50 cm||2|
|Frigate Captain Fritz Emil Lüdecke||December 1913 - July 26, 1914|
|Frigate Captain Erich Koehler||July 26 - November 4, 1914|
The construction of the cruiser, which bore the household name "Ersatz Seeadler ", began on September 21, 1911 at the Germania shipyard in Kiel. The launch took place on November 11, 1912 . The baptism was carried out by the mayor of the sponsored city of Karlsruhe , Karl Siegrist.
The Karlsruhe was the third German warship with a combined oil and coal firing. Due to some construction delays, it could not be put into service until January 15, 1914. After some modifications and the completion of the test drives, the Karlsruhe left Kiel on June 15, 1914 for her first and last assignment abroad. The commander at that time was frigate captain Fritz Lüdecke .
The Karlsruhe was intended for the overseas service on the East American station, which had been carried out by the small cruiser Dresden until then . As the German representative, she was to be sent to the opening ceremonies of the recently completed Panama Canal in Veracruz and to the World Exhibition in San Francisco in the fall of 1914 .
Via Ponta Delgada ( Azores ) we first went to Saint Thomas ( Virgin Islands ), where the coal reserves were replenished. After the assassination attempt in Sarajevo, a telegram called for immediate continuation of the journey and for the fastest possible union with Dresden .
On July 4, 1914, the Karlsruhe met with the small cruiser Strasbourg . The latter stayed until July 20, 1914 to protect German interests in the Dominican Republic and to reinforce the Karlsruhe in the Caribbean. The actual station cruiser Dresden was mostly in Veracruz since January 1914 because of the Mexican Civil War . In July, the former Mexican President Victoriano Huerta fled into exile on the Dresden in Jamaica .
On July 25, 1914, the Karlsruhe arrived in the roadstead of Port-au-Prince ( Haiti ). After the arrival of the Dresden the next day, the planned change of commanders was carried out. Frigate captain Erich Köhler took over the command of the Karlsruhe , while frigate captain Fritz Lüdecke moved to the Dresden . Both ships left the roadstead that same afternoon. The Dresden began the journey home, while the Karlsruhe began its service on the East American station. On July 28, 1914, the ship intercepted a radio message that diplomatic relations between Austria-Hungary and Serbia had been broken off. The war was now imminent. At noon, the Karlsruhe arrived in Havana ( Cuba ), where the ship was once again equipped with everything necessary. The cruiser left the next morning in order not to be surprised by the outbreak of war in the port. He was now heading east towards the Atlantic.
First World War
On August 3, 1914, the cruiser received news of the state of war with France and Great Britain . The Karlsruhe had to wage cruiser warfare in the mid-Atlantic. Accordingly, from that day on the cruiser was ready to march. On August 6, 1914, the steamer Crown Prince Wilhelm of North German Lloyd was met at a previously agreed position east of the Bahamas . He should be equipped as an auxiliary cruiser ; for this purpose, the Karlsruhe gave two 8.8 cm guns and ammunition. The navigation officer of the Karlsruhe , Kapitänleutnant Thierfelder, took over the leadership of the auxiliary cruiser . Both ships were surprised by the British armored cruiser Suffolk while they were being fitted out. The work was stopped immediately and the ships ran on different courses. The Suffolk pursued the Karlsruhe , which, however, was able to escape quickly thanks to its higher speed. Because the Karlsruhe needed oil as well as coal for its maximum voyage, the commander wanted to call at the neutral port of Newport News . This plan failed, however, because the light cruiser Bristol was encountered at around 7:30 p.m. This had received an order by radio to cut off the Karlsruhe route to the north, while the armored cruisers Berwick and Suffolk were to be positioned in the south. During the short battle with the Bristol , the Karlsruhe scored two hits and was able to escape to the east undamaged. Frigate Captain Koehler now decided to run to San Juan ( Puerto Rico ). Karlsruhe arrived there on August 9, 1914 and immediately took over coal. With the support of the crew of the Hapag steamer Odenwald , 550 tons of coal could be taken over in 11 hours. The Karlsruhe departed again the next morning . She managed to escape to the Caribbean through an island passage, which according to the sea manuals was not recommended for larger ships . The Karlsruhe continued to search for seven enemy ships in the Atlantic. After a last stay in Willemstad on Curaçao , she began her pirate voyage.
At sea she met the Hapag steamer Patagonia (3,016 GRT, Captain Kodewey), which had been dispatched from St. Thomas with 2,000 tons of coal and plenty of supplies. The first prize was the British freighter Bowes Castle on August 18, 1914 (4,650 grt, 1913). From August 21 to 23, the Karlsruhe took over 1,300 tons of coal from Patagonia near Maraca Island, 130 tons of which on deck. On the 25th, the city of Schleswig, owned by the Horn shipping company, met the other two with 800 tons of coal near the Sao Joao Islands. Over the next few months, the Karlsruhe crossed between the northeastern tip of Brazil and the equator . On August 31, the Hamburg-Süd steamer Asuncion (4,665 GRT) and the NDL steamer Crefeld (3,829 GRT) joined the small association, which had been sent to Karlsruhe with coal and supplies . The last supplier was the mail steamer Rio Negro (4..556 GRT) from Hamburg-Süd.
On the sea route between the Río de la Plata and Europe , she was able to raise a total of 17 merchant ships (16 English and one Dutch) with a total tonnage of over 76,600 GRT . On September 3, she sank the Maple Branch (4,338 grt, 1888), on the 14th the Highland Hope (5,510 grt, 1903), on the 21st the Dutch Maria (3,648 grt, 1898), the Cornish City (3,816 grt, 1906 ) and the Rio Iguassu (3.817 grt). On October 6th she sank the Niceto de Larrinaga (5,018 grt), on the 7th the Lynrowan (3,384 grt), on the 8th then the Cervantes (4,635 grt, 1895) 100 miles off the Brazilian coast at the Sankt-Peter-und -Sankt-Pauls-Felsen and on the 9th 90 miles to the southwest the Prut (4,408 grt). On October 13th, the Crefeld was released with 419 prisoners, with whom they reached Santa Cruz de Tenerife on October 22nd .
On the 18th the Glanton (3,021 grt) and on the 23rd the Hurstdale (2,752 grt) were sunk. Three prizes ( Strathroy with 5,600 tons of coal, - since September 5th - fern with 7,000 tons of coal and Indrani ) served at times as auxiliary and coal ships. All other ships were sunk, including the passenger steamer Vandyck (10,328 GRT, 1911, 15 knots, for 200 passengers) operated by the Lamport & Holt Line on October 26, 1914. It was the largest and last ship that the Karlsruhe was able to sink . The crews and passengers of all the captured ships were rescued in full. The Asuncion was released at the end of the month with the next prisoners to Para / Brazil.
The Karlsruhe now set course for the island of Barbados . It was hoped to be able to capture more ships in their roads. On October 29, 1914, the coal bunkers on the São João Islands were filled with a pinch of fern . Three days later the last coal supply took place on the Maraca Island ( Amapá ), this time from the Indrani pinch . Thereafter, the Karlsruhe continued on her way to Barbados with the escort ships Rio Negro and Indrani . The prospects of a successful coup against the island were good, as there was no longer a British warship in their vicinity. Admiral Christopher Cradock was on his way to the Pacific with his ships to intercept the East Asia Squadron under Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee . In addition, the Karlsruhe had enough fuel available for a long time.
On November 4, 1914 at 6:30 p.m., east of the island of Trinidad , at the position , a very violent explosion in the forecastle. This immediately sagged. The command tower , bridge , foremast and front chimney flew overboard in a high arc. The Karlsruhe sank in just 27 minutes. 263 men, including the commander, were killed, many of those thrown overboard - the crews were in the forecastle below deck at this point - were still burned in the water. The cause of the sudden detonation could not be clearly established. On the one hand, it was suspected that the ammunition in the foredeck was igniting. Another possible cause was the explosion of the lubricating oil captured by the Condor Prize after decomposition at high temperatures, which, mixed with petroleum, had been used as heating oil for one's own boiler. The self-ignition of the artillery ammunition in tropical heat is more likely, since the Admiral Graf Spee also had difficulties cooling the ammunition during her war voyage in the tropics in 1939 in order to prevent it from spontaneously igniting, and the fate of the Karlsruhe was remembered.
146 survivors were able to start their journey home with the escort ship Rio Negro under the leadership of the chief officer, Kapitänleutnant Studt. For the crew, this was both a physical strain and a brilliant navigational achievement. Since the sinking took place in tropical waters, the rescued crew only had light clothing on and was very cold on the journey home. They made do with replacement clothing made of woolen blankets and canvas for the guards and sent the others to the warm boiler rooms. The Rio Negro was only intended for tropical service, so there was no map material for the northern regions around Iceland and Norway. It shows the seafaring ability that the Rio Negro reached Kiel on December 6, 1914, unnoticed by the enemy, despite the winter storms and the detour via the ice regions. It was then brought to the North Sea via the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal and anchored on the jade. The secrecy about the sinking of the Karlsruhe and the return of the survivors was so complete that the Royal Navy searched for the German cruiser until April 1915.
The Karlsruhe was after the Emden , which was the most successful German cruisers in distant waters to plunder.
Sinks and prizes of the cruiser Karlsruhe
built in 1913
|Great Britain||August 18, 1914
9.54 N, 55.10 W
|4650||on the way from Antofagasta to New York, cargo of nitrates and silver ore, occupation on September 2nd with the city of Schleswig in San Luis de Maranho|
built in 1909
|Great Britain||August 31, 1914
3.35 S, 34.35 W.
|4336||with 6000 tons of coal from Norfolk to Rio de Janeiro, carried as a pinch of coal steamer KD 1 and unloaded until October 26th, sunk near Atol de Rocas|
built in 1905
|Great Britain||September 3, 1914
1.59 S, 32.47 W.
|4338||with breeding cattle and 2000 t cargo from Liverpool to Callao, cattle slaughtered, crew on Crefeld|
|4th||Highland Hope||Passenger ship
built in 1903
|Great Britain||September 14, 1914
1.03 S, 31.45 W.
|5150||from Liverpool to Buenos Aires in ballast, crew on Crefeld|
built in 1912
|Great Britain||September 17, 1914
3.00 S, 35.40 W
|5706||from Norfolk to Rio de Janeiro with 6700 tons of coal, carried as a prize as a coal steamer KD 2 Hope , sunk by Rio Negro on November 9th after the sinking of the Karlsruhe|
built in 1906
|Great Britain||September 21, 1914
1.55 S, 32.05 W
|3816||from Barry to Rio de Janeiro with 5500 tons of coal,|
built in 1898
|Netherlands||September 21, 1914||3648|
built in 1898
|Great Britain||September 22, 1914
0.40 S, 31.20 W
|3817||from Newcastle to Rio de Janeiro with 4800 tons of coal, some coal taken over|
built in 1910
|Great Britain||September 22, 1914
0.46 S, 30.50 W
|4393||from Barry to Montevideo with 6000 tons of coal, carried as a pinch of coal steamer KD 3 , when Karlsruhe did not appear at the agreed meeting point, arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, interned there, returned to the owner in April 1917, sunk on November 19, 1917|
|10||Niceto de Larinaga||Freighter
built in 1912
|Great Britain||October 6, 1914
0.35 S, 29.48 W.
|5018||from Buenos Aires to London with forage, corn and grain; Groceries and supplies taken over|
built in 1907
|Great Britain||October 7, 1914
0.25 S, 29.54 W.
|3384||from Buenos Aires to Liverpool with agricultural products, some boatloads of sugar taken over|
built in 1907
|Great Britain||October 9, 1914
0.40 S, 29.40 W
|4635||from Callao to Liverpool with farm produce|
built in 1905
|Great Britain||October 8, 1914
0.27 S, 29.46 W.
|4408||from Meijillones to ?? taken with fertilizers and grain, supplies|
built in 1893
|Great Britain||October 11, 1914
2.00 S, 34.00 W
|3053||from Philadelphia to Valpareiso with a mixed load, 150 t of lubricating oil taken over as a coal additive, only on the 14th sunk
existing prisoners with Crefeld to Tenerife
built in 1894
|Great Britain||October 18, 1914||3021||Taken from Barry to Montevideo with mixed cargo and 3800 tons of coal, oil and supplies,|
built in 1902
|Great Britain||October 23, 1914
1.11 S, 31.55 W
|2752||from Rosario to Bristol with 4664 t of maize,|
built in 1911
|Great Britain||October 26, 1914
1.14 S, 40.40 W
|10328||from Buenos Aires to New York with 210 passengers, frozen meat and general cargo, frozen meat taken over by the cruiser and the suppliers, only on the 28th sunk
existing prisoners, crew and passengers with Asuncion to Belem
built in 1906
|Great Britain||October 27, 1914
0.52 N, 41.37 W.
|3838||from Santos to New York with a coffee load, onward journey permitted, as the load is American property and Canada is not recognized as the actual destination|
Captured tonnage: 76,609 GRT
- Hubert Aust: The war trips SMS "Karlsruhe" . G. Braunsche Hofbuchdruckerei, Karlsruhe 1916. ( Digital copy : Digital collections of the Berlin State Library: view of works )
- Fritz Otto Busch: Our Navy in the World War. Brunnen Verlag, Berlin 1934.
- Georg-Günther Freiherr von Forstner (Korvettenkapitän a. D.): The fighting fate of the German fleet in the world war. What we don't know about naval warfare. With 5 map sketches and 31 pictures on boards. Publisher EA Seemann Leipzig 1937.
- Carl Herbert: War voyages of German merchant ships. Broschek & Co, Hamburg 1934.
- Gerhard Koop / Klaus-Peter Schmolke: Small cruisers 1903-1918, Bremen up to the Cologne class. Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Bonn 2004.
- German site for Karlsruhe
- Ride of the Karlsruhe (engl.)
- Karlsruhe class on worldwar1.co.uk (Engl.)
- Karlsruhe class on historyofwar.org (Engl.)
- Sinkings of British merchant ships in 1914 to naval-history.net (Engl.)