SMS Mermaid (1886)

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SMS Mermaid under sail, 1892
SMS Mermaid under sail, 1892
Ship data
flag German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge) German Empire
Ship type Cruiser corvette
class Single ship
Shipyard Imperial Shipyard , Danzig
building-costs 1,917,493 marks
Keel laying 1883
Launch June 23, 1885
Commissioning April 1, 1886
Whereabouts 1906 office ship,
1911 residential hulk;
Sold in 1925, Seeleichter ,
scrapped in 1930
Ship dimensions and crew
63.30 m ( Lüa )
54.35 m ( KWL )
width 13.20 m
Draft Max. 6.35 m
displacement 1,750 tt
crew 116 men, with cabin boys up to 360
Machine system
machine Steam engine
Template: Infobox ship / maintenance / service format
733 hp (539 kW)
8 kn (15 km / h)
propeller 1 (lowerable)
Rigging and rigging
Rigging Full ship
Number of masts 3
under sail
Max. 10 kn (19 km / h)


SMS Nixe was a training ship of the German Imperial Navy classified as a cruiser corvette .

Construction and technical data

The ship was in 1883 at the Imperial Shipyard Gdansk to replace the 1864-built Glattdeckskorvette Medusa to put Kiel and expired on 23 June 1885 from the stack . With a length of 63.30 m over all or 54.35 m in the waterline , a width of 13.20 m and a maximum draft of 6.36 m , the mermaid displaced 1750 tons . The hull was made of wood and covered with copper . The Nixe was rigged like a conventional frigate as a three-masted full ship and could reach up to 10 knots with favorable winds . In addition, it had a steam engine with 733 PSi , which enabled a speed of about 8 knots via a shaft and a screw that could be raised or lowered . The armament originally consisted of eight 12.5 cm ring cannons behind gun ports on a continuous battery deck and six small-caliber revolver cannons on the upper deck . In 1894 this armament was partially modernized, and in 1908 the Nixe was armed with seven 12.5 cm L / 23 cannons , two 8.8 cm rapid-fire guns and four 3.7 cm Hotchkiss revolver cannons. The regular crew numbered 116 men; with the sea ​​cadets or ship boys on board for training , there were at times up to 360 men. The construction costs were put at 1,917,493 marks in 1888.

The Mermaid was a handsome, but neither very seaworthy nor battleworthy ship. It was already out of date at the design stage, and neither its propulsion system nor its armament met contemporary requirements for a combat-capable warship . She was intended as a training ship for sea cadets and ship boys and also served as such.


Training ship

The ship was put into service on April 1, 1886, and the first trip abroad to the Caribbean took place on June 15, 1886 . After her return, the Mermaid took part in naval maneuvers in the Baltic Sea Squadron from August 6 to 28, 1887, and afterwards she served as a guard ship of the North Sea naval station from September 17, 1887 to April 17, 1888, only with her regular crew of 116 men in Wilhelmshaven . After that, in April 1888, the training service began again with short trips from Kiel to the Baltic Sea . From June 4, 1888 to September 9, 1889, the next trip abroad to the West Indies and Canada , and on September 30, 1889, the ship was taken out of service for the winter and for overhaul. In April 1890, the routine training trips began again in the Baltic Sea, in preparation for the training trip to the West Indies, Venezuela and Norfolk (Virginia), which began on June 10th . The ship was back in Kiel on August 25, 1891, then took part in the fleet's autumn maneuvers until September 18, 1891, and was decommissioned on September 30, 1891. From April 1, 1892, the mermaid was back in service, with typhus on board during the long Mediterranean voyage in the summer . In September 1892 she took part in the fleet maneuver before she set out on a winter trip to the West Indies on September 23, 1892. This pattern of short training trips with new cabin boys and cadets in the spring followed by a long trip abroad and (often) participation in the autumn maneuvers of the following year remained the norm in the following years.

An exception was the decommissioning in March 1894 for a major overhaul in which the armament was also modernized. In the following years, long journeys were made again to the Caribbean, to the American east coast as well as to West Africa (1897/98) and South America (1898/99). The trip to West Africa from August 21, 1897 to March 17, 1898 to Cameroon was described by R. von Uslar in his book “ With SMS“ Nixe ”to Cameroon, 1897-1898. Travel sketches and pictures ”(Altenburg, 1900). In 1899, during the rebellion of Cipriano Castro against President Ignacio Andrade in Venezuela , the mermaid lay in front of Puerto Cabello for a time to protect German citizens and interests , until she was replaced by the cruiser frigate SMS Stosch in November 1899 . After returning from this voyage, the ship was decommissioned and laid up .

Office ship, living hulk, soul light and end

From November 1, 1906 to May 1910, old mermaid served again as an office ship for the naval staff of the high seas fleet . On June 24, 1911, she was deleted from the list of warships and then used as a living hulk in Kiel .

When, after the end of the First World War, North Schleswig came to Denmark in Sønderborg on June 15, 1920 after the referendum of 1920 , the ship artillery school previously located in Sønderborg was closed and reopened on July 10, 1920 in Kiel on the Nixe ; on October 17, 1920 she then moved to barracks in Kiel-Wik .

The old ship, from April 1, 1923 only listed as the Hulk C , was bought in 1925 by the Emil R. Retzlaff shipping company in Stettin , converted into a soul light and again called Mermaid . When the shipping company got into financial difficulties due to the global economic crisis triggered by the New York stock market crash of 1929 , the Nixe was sold for demolition and (probably) broken up in 1930 in Wewelsfleth .


Served as commanders of the mermaid :

  • Corvette Captain Volkmar von Arnim : April 1886 - September 1887
  • Sea captain Chüsel: September 1887 - April 1888
  • Corvette captain / captain at sea Wilhelm Büchsel : April 1888 - September 1889, afterwards decommissioned until 1890
  • Corvette captain with lieutenant colonel Curt von Maltzahn : April 9, 1890 - September 30, 1891
  • Corvette captain with Lieutenant Colonel Louis Riedel : April 1, 1892 - April 1, 1894
  • Corvette captain with Lieutenant Colonel Goecke: 1897/98
  • Corvette captain / frigate captain / captain at sea Max von Basse : May 1898 - March 1900
  • Frigate Captain Derzewski: April - August 1900, then decommissioned
  • Lieutenant Kalm: November 1906 - April 1907
  • Corvette Captain Ernst Orth: April 1907 - September 1909
  • Kapitänleutnant / Korvettenkapitän Boetke: September 1909 - January 1910
  • Corvette Captain Schlicht: January - May 1910, then decommissioned


  1. ^ B. Weyer: Taschenbuch der Kriegsflotten , IX. Year, Lehmann, Munich, 1908, p. 16 ; July 23, 1885 is also mentioned variously.
  2. ^ B. Weyer: Taschenbuch der Kriegsflotten , IX. Year, Lehmann, Munich, 1908, p. 16
  3. ^ Streffleurs Austrian military magazine , XXXIII. Vintage. Volume I, Vienna, 1892, p. 32
  4. ^ The estimate of the Imperial Navy for 1888/89 , in: Hansa: Zeitschrift für Seewesen , Volume 25, No. 4, February 19, 1888, p. 30
  5. In Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905 it was described as "a hopeless anachronism, with her full rig and wood and copper-sheathed bottom, but useful as a school ship, though a bad seaboat and awkward under sail". ( )
  6. ^ The German Army and Imperial Navy 1888 , Berlin, 1888, p. 117
  7. ^ R. von Uslar: With SMS Nixe to Cameroon, 1897-1898. Travel sketches and pictures. (Reprint) British Library, Historical Print Editions, London, 2012, ISBN 978-1-241-34027-8
  8. Marine-Rundschau , 17th year. Part 2, Berlin, 1906, p. 1271
  9. It finally went bankrupt in August 1931 .
  10. Hans H. Hildebrandt, Albert Röhr, Hans-Otto Steinmetz. The German Warships, Vol. 5 . Herford 1982. ISBN 3-7822-0236-8 , p. 19

Web links

Commons : SMS Nixe (1886)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files