Big cruiser SMS Freya

The large cruiser SMS Freya belonged to the Victoria Louise class first reinforcing the imperial navy as armored cruiser and the construction and expansion of the high seas fleet should serve. Due to its boiler problems, the Freya had a decisive share in the standardization of boiler systems within the imperial navy.


Launching and design:

At the beginning of the 90s of the 19th century, the imperial navy's office discussed the issue of the imperial navy. The previously directed tactics of pure coastal defense should now be changed and a more offensive tactics are designed with corresponding ships. After the construction of the single ship SMS Kaiserin Augusta from 1892, the expansion of the fleet was advertised for cruiser II. Class. This led to the development of the Victoria Louise class which should consist of a total of 5 cruisers.

The launching of Freya took place on April 27, 1897. Already shortly after the first test drives, the problems with the boiler systems showed up. The boilers built by Berliner Maschinenbau-AG Germania by the French company Niclausse far from meeting the requirements and had to be complained about. In later investigations, it also turned out that the mechanical engineering company itself had made gross errors in the installation of the machines. Based on these experiences, the Reichsmarineamt commissioned the production of its own boiler based on the boiler of the British company Thornycroft. These should be used as standard boilers in all other ships under the name "Marine Boiler".

As the name giver served the nordic Wanin goddess of the love and the marriage "Freya"


Freya after a painting by James Doyle Penrose




History of SMS Freya:

After the elimination of problems with the boiler plant Freya was officially put into service on 20 October 1900 as the last ship in its class.

Since at that time the used as training ships cruiser frigates of the Bismarck class had to be replaced, but for new special ships no money was available, the ships of the Victoria Louise class was resorted to. Although these were only a few years old, due to the rapid technical development in the construction of warships already outdated. It was therefore decided to use the Freya as a training ship.

The conversion took place in the course of 1906, among other things, the armament was changed. On April 4, 1907, the Freya was operational again.

Until March 13, 1911, the Freya was the training of new sailors and was on several trips abroad until they first in Kiel, then arrived on 28 March Danzig and was decommissioned there. This was followed by the expansion of the older boiler plant and the installation of the new marine boiler. In addition, one of the three chimneys was removed.


SMS Freya




Use in the war:

When World War I broke out, SMS Freya was returned to the service of the Imperial Navy and assigned to the Coast Guard Division for the Baltic Sea. Due to severe damage, however, the ship had to be towed to the shipyard for repair on 11 August 1914, where it remained until 12 September.

When the ship was made operational again, it served initially as a training ship for the training of heaters, then from April 1915 again as a training ship for sailors.

Together with the SMS Grille the Freya was relocated in the course of the war from Kiel to Flensburg, where it served as a training ship until the end of the war.





After the surrender of the German Empire, the Freya was decommissioned on December 18, 1918, made available to the Hamburg police as a housing ship and deleted on January 25, 1920 from the list of military ships.

1921 was the sale and the subsequent scrapping.




Ship data:


SMS Freya


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Big cruiser




Imperial shipyard, Danzig


11.094.000 Mark


April 27th, 1897


October 20th, 1900


Sold in 1921 and scrapped in Hamburg-Harburg


110,6 meters


17,4 meters


Max. 6,77 meters


Max. 6.491 Tons


477 Men


12 Niclausse steam boilers
3 stationary 4-cylinder compound machines


10.355 PS (7.616 kW)

Maximum speed:  

18,4 kn (34 km/h)


2 × Rapid Fire Gun 21.0 cm L / 40 (116 shots)

8 × Rapid Fire Gun 15.0 cm L / 40 (960 rounds)

10 × Rapid Fire Gun 8,8 cm L / 30 (2,500 rounds)

10 × Revolver cannon 3.7 cm

3 × torpedo tube ∅ 45 cm (2 sides, 1 bow, under water, 8 shots)





Deck: 40 mm
Slopes: 100 mm
Tower fronts: 100 mm
Tower ceilings: 30 mm
Casemates: 100 mm
Control station: 150 mm






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.

Click here!



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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