Big cruiser SMS Victoria Louise

The big cruiser SMS Victoria Louise belonged to the same class of ships and was one of the last armored cruisers that were built for the Imperial Navy before this ship type was replaced by more modern classes.


Launching and design:

The Victoria Louise class was a type of cruiser II. Class and thus not directly designed for conflict with other major naval forces. Main tasks of this class were mainly overseas services and the training of sailors.

The development of the ship class begins at the beginning of the 90s of the 20th century. During this time, there was a controversial dispute between the High Command of the Navy and the Imperial Navy Office on the new direction of the imperial navy. Although it was agreed beforehand to dispense with coastal defense and to build an imperial deep-sea fleet. However, the offices could not agree on a ship type, which can take over the corresponding tasks. Under Rear Admiral Wilhelm Büchsel, who temporarily led the Reichsmarineamt from March 31 to June 15, 1897, came the plan for the expansion of a large cruiser fleet. This should also include a total of 30 ships of the Victoria Louise class, with the first ships were already launched from the stack. After Alfred Tirpitz took office in June 1897, he promptly deleted this plan, but could no longer prevent the commissioning of the already almost finished ships of the Victoria Louise class.

The development came from the insights that the designers had gained from the single ship SMS Kaiserin Augusta. There was only minimal change in length and armament.

The heavy guns consisted of two 21-cm rapid-fire cannons, which were supplemented with eight 15-cm fast-charging cannons.

The launching of the SMS Victoria Louise took place on March 29, 1897, the commissioning on February 20, 1899.


Big cruiser SMS Victoria Louise

Big cruiser SMS Victoria Louise


Training squadron SMS Victoria Louise, SMS Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm and SMS Weißenburg

Training squadron SMS Victoria Louise, SMS Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm and SMS Weißenburg




History of SMS Victoria Louise:

After commissioning the usual test drives were made. These had to be interrupted in between, since improvements were made, which were necessary even after the test drives. Subsequently, the ship was assigned on April 20, 1901 the 1st Squadron.

Until her retirement on 12 December 1903, the SMS Victoria Louise participated in the annual maneuvers and moved between the I and II Squadron and the reconnaissance group.

To replace the used as training ships cruisers of the Bismarck class, the naval leadership resorted from the end of 1903 on the ships of the Victoria Louise class back, although only a few years old, by the technical development, however, were considered outdated. For this purpose, the Victoria Louise was from 1906 not only overhauled but also converted as a training ship. Among other things, the old drive system was removed and replaced by the new marine boiler. The armament was adjusted accordingly. As a result of these alterations, the ship lost one of the three chimneys, which also changed the silhouette of the ship. At the beginning of 1908, the reconstruction work was completed and the Victoria Louise could again be put into service on 2 April 1908 and replaced the SMS Stein as a training ship.

Until July 27, 1914 ship boys and midshipmen were trained on the ship and carried out several trips abroad.


SMS Victoria Louise after her conversion


SMS Victoria Louise as a training ship in 1909 in New York




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of World War I, SMS Victoria Louise was assigned to the V. reconnaissance group along with the other ships in the Victoria Louise class, with the exception of SMS Freya.

The ships were used exclusively for security tasks in the Baltic Sea.

Due to the early shortage of personnel on larger and more modern warships, the reconnaissance group was dissolved on 16 November 1914 and the Victoria Louise was put out of service on 28 October 1914.

From 1 to 7 November 1914, the heavy weapons were expanded and used the ship in Danzig until the end of the war as a mine and residential ship.





According to the provisions of the Versailles Treaty, the SMS Victoria Louise was not one of the German ships that had to be interned or delivered.

The ship was finally deleted from the list of warships on 1 October 1919 and sold first to the Norddeutsche Tiefbaugesellschaft Berlin, then to the Danziger Hoch- und Tiefbau GmbH.

Until 1922 it served as a cargo steamer, then it was scrapped in 1923.




Ship data:


SMS Victoria Louise


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Big cruiser




AG Weser, Bremen


10.714.000 Mark


March 29th, 1897


February 20th, 1899


Scrapped in Danzig in 1923


110,6 meters


17,4 meters


Max. 6,93 meters


Max. 6.491 Tons


477 to 527 men
as a school cruiser:
658 to 684 men


12 Dürr steam boilers
3 stationary 4-cylinder compound machines


10.574 PS (7.777 kW)

Maximum speed:  

19,2 kn (36 km/h)


2 × Rapid Fire Gun 21,0 cm L / 40 (116 shots)

8 × Rapid Fire Gun 15,0 cm L / 40 (960 shots)

10 × Rapid Fire Gun 8,8 cm L / 30 (2.500 shots)

10 × Revolver cannon 3,7 cm

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

From 1908:
2 × Rapid Fire Gun 21,0 cm L / 40 (116 shots)

6 × Rapid Fire Gun 15,0 cm L / 40 (710 shots)

11 × Rapid Fire Gun 8,8 cm L / 30

3 × Rapid Fire Gun 8,8 cm L / 35 (total 2.500 shots for 8,8 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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