Auxiliary strewing steamer Königin Luise

Before the First World War, Königin Louise was the most modern German sea-bord ship, was rebuilt after the outbreak to auxiliary steamer steamer and was at the same time the first loss of a ship of the imperial navy, indirectly sinking however also the first British warship.


Launching and design:

The Königin Luise belonged together with the Kaiser to the first civilian German ships, which was equipped with a drive from steam turbines. The client was the Hamburg-Amerika Packetfahrt-Aktien-Gesellschaft (HAPAG), which used the two ships as seaside resorts for traffic to Helgoland and in the Mediterranean between Genoa and Nice.

Already during construction, both ships were designed so that they could be converted into auxiliary cruisers in military need.

Eponym was Königin Luise of Prussia, wife of King Frederick William III. of Prussia.

The launch of the Königin Luise took place on May 8, 1913, the commissioning on September 29, 1913.


The ship is named after Queen Luise of Prussia (Königin Luise von Preußen)

The ship is named after Queen Luise of Prussia (Königin Luise von Preußen)




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, the ship was drafted by the Imperial Navy and converted into an auxiliary steamer, in which the ship received a black paint, two 3.7 cm revolver guns and the loading facilities were built for sea mines.

On August 4, 1914, the ship under the leadership of Corvette Captain Biermann of Emden ran in the direction of the Thames estuary, there to lay a mine lock against British ships. However, in the design of the mines, the ship was observed by British fishermen who immediately made a report to the British light cruiser Amphion, which was leaving Harwich along with 16 destroyers on 5 August.

The British commander of the squadron sent the Amphion with 4 destroyers in the direction of the German ship. When Königin Luise noticed the arriving ships, Corvette Captain Biermann tried to escape. However, the German ship was slower than the British, in addition, Queen Luise had to take more and more heavy hits.

When Biermann realized that the ship could neither escape nor defend itself, he let his crew open the seacocks and began the evacuation.


Auxiliary strewing steamer Königin Luise

Auxiliary strewing steamer Königin Luise





After opening the sea valves, the already severely damaged Königin Luise began to sink. On 5 August at 12:22 clock the ship sank completely. From the crew, 46 men were rescued by the British ships. The Königin Luise was thus the first ship of the Imperial Navy, which was lost in the First World War.

The British ships, however, continued to drive towards the German bay. On the way back on the 6th of August, the light cruiser Amphion sailed on one of the sea mines laid by Königin Luise. As a result of the hit the ship moved backwards and drove to a second mine which caused the ship to sink. Among the 130 dead British were still 18 dead crew members of Königin Luise added, who were rescued the day before.




Ship data:


Königin Kuise


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Seaside resorts ship, from 1 August 1914 auxiliary strewing steamer


Passenger liner


AG Vulcan, Szczecin




May 8th, 1913


September 29th, 1913


On August 5, 1914, self-sunken


94 meters


12,2 meters


Max. 3,3 meters


Max. 2.160 Tons


150 to 200 Men


2 Marine Boiler
2 steam turbines


6.500 PS (4.781 kW)

Maximum speed:  

20 kn (37 km/h)


2 × Revolver cannon 3,7 cm (400 shots)

200 sea mines









You can find the right literature here:


German Battleships 1914–18 (1): Deutschland, Nassau and Helgoland classes (New Vanguard)

German Battleships 1914–18 (1): Deutschland, Nassau and Helgoland classes (New Vanguard) Paperback – February 23, 2010

Supported by official documents, personal accounts, official drawings and specially commissioned artwork, this volume is an enlightening history of the Deutschland to Osfriesland classes. Detailing the last of the pre-dreadnaught battleship classes, this book goes on to explain the revolutionary developments that took place within the German Imperial Navy as they readied themselves for war. This included creating vessels with vast increases in size and armament. This account of design and technology is supplemented by individual ship histories detailing combat experience complete with first-hand accounts. The specially commissioned artwork also brings this history to life with recreations of the battleship Pommern fighting at Jutland and ships of the Osfriesland class destroying HMS Black Prince in a dramatic night-time engagement.

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The Imperial German Navy of World War I, Vol. 1 Warships: A Comprehensive Photographic Study of the Kaiser’s Naval Forces

The Imperial German Navy of World War I, Vol. 1 Warships: A Comprehensive Photographic Study of the Kaiser’s Naval Forces Hardcover – December 28, 2016

The Imperial German Navy of WWI is a series of books (Warships, Campaigns, & Uniforms) that provide a broad view of the Kaiser's naval forces through the extensive use of photographs. Every effort has been made to cover all significant areas during the war period. In addition to the primary use of photographs, technical information is provided for each warship along with its corresponding service history; with a special emphasis being placed on those warships that participated in the Battle of Skagerrak (Jutland). Countless sources have been used to establish individual case studies for each warship; multiple photos of each warship are provided. The entire series itself is unprecedented in its coverage of the Kaiser's navy.

Click here!



German Battlecruisers of World War One: Their Design, Construction and Operations

German Battlecruisers of World War One: Their Design, Construction and Operations Hardcover – November 4, 2014

This is the most comprehensive, English-language study of the German Imperial Navy's battlecruisers that served in the First World War. Known as Panzerkreuzer, literally "armored cruiser," the eight ships of the class were to be involved in several early North Sea skirmishes before the great pitched battle of Jutland where they inflicted devastating damage on the Royal Navy's battlecruiser fleet. This book details their design and construction, and traces the full service history of each ship, recounting their actions, drawing largely from first-hand German sources and official documents, many previously unpublished in English.

Click here!



The Kaiser's Battlefleet: German Capital Ships 1871-1918

The Kaiser's Battlefleet: German Capital Ships 1871-1918 Hardcover – March 15, 2016

The battleships of the Third Reich have been written about exhaustively, but there is little in English devoted to their Second Reich predecessors. This new book fills an important gap in the literature of the period by covering these German capital ships in detail and studying the full span of battleship development during this period. The book is arranged as a chronological narrative, with technical details, construction schedules, and ultimate fates tabulated throughout, thus avoiding the sometimes disjointed structure that can result from a class-by-class approach. Heavily illustrated with line drawings and photographs, many from German sources, the book offers readers a fresh visual look at these ships. A key objective of the book is to make available a full synthesis of the published fruits of archival research by German writers found in the pre-World War II books of Koop & Schmolke, Großmer's on the construction program of the dreadnaught era, Forstmeier & Breyer on World War I projects, and Schenk & Nottelmann's papers in Warship International. As well as providing data not available in English-language books, these sources correct significant errors in standard English sources.

Click here!






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