Big cruiser SMS Vineta

The big cruiser SMS Vineta belonged to the Victoria Louise class 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 Vineta took place on 9 December 1897, the commissioning on 13 September 1899.


Big cruiser SMS Vineta

Big cruiser SMS Vineta


Big cruiser SMS Vineta

Big cruiser SMS Vineta


Big cruiser SMS Vineta

Big cruiser SMS Vineta




History of SMS Vineta:

After commissioning and the completed test drives left the ship on May 26, 1900 Kiel in the direction of the German East American Station St. Lucia.

Until 1 August 1901, the Vineta visited several cities in the US, Mexico and the Caribbean until it arrived in La Guaira in Venezuela. Due to the increasing political tensions between Venezuela and Colombia, the Vineta was ordered to protect local German trade interests and German citizens. During this mission, the ship fired at the beginning of October a steamer on the coast and in Caracas 2 crew members were illegally arrested, after which they were released by a landing corps of the ship. The tensions between Venezuela and the German Reich were subsequently resolved by diplomatic means.

From 26 November to 17 December 1901 and from 19 May to 25 September 1902, the ship was in Newport News, Virginia for reparations work.

Due to the increasing sovereign debt of Venezuela, its president Cipriano Castro issued a moratorium on March 1, 1902, with the result that the country no longer paid for the repayment of its debts abroad. Particularly affected were Great Britain, the Netherlands and the German Empire. In addition, Castro imposed a blockade of the ports. From 1 December 1902, the German warships, in cooperation with British ships, acted against forts in the ports of Venezuela and confiscated warships. Only on February 13, 1903 ended the crisis with the Washington Protocol.

Until October 5, 1904, the ship remained in the region around the Caribbean Islands. Only with the uprising of the Herero and Nama in German Southwest Africa did the Vineta receive the order to drive to the German colony. The mission lasted until January 1905, after which the ship returned to Germany where it arrived in Wilhelmshaven on March 14th.

In the period from 30 March 1905 to 26 February 1909, the SMS Vineta torpedo inspection served as a test ship. After a subsequent reconstruction in Gdansk the Vineta was used as a training ship for midshipmen and shipboys and carried out several trips abroad.




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, the SMS Vineta was assigned to the V. reconnaissance group and provided security services and smaller forays in the Baltic Sea.

On November 16, 1914, the reconnaissance group was dissolved and the Vineta decommissioned.





Until the end of the war, the ship in Kiel served the local submarine crews as a residential ship.

After the war it was removed from the list of warships on 6 December 1919 and scrapped in 1920 in Hamburg.




Ship data:


SMS Vineta


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Big cruiser




Imperial shipyard, Gdansk


10.714.000 Mark


December 9th, 1897


September 13th, 1899


Scrapped in 1920 in Hamburg


110,6 meters


17,6 meters


Max. 7,34 meters


Max. 6.705 Tons


477 men
as a school cruiser:
527 men


12 Dürr steam boilers
3 stationary 4-cylinder compound machines


10.646 PS (7.830 kW)

Maximum speed:  

19,6 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 1911:
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 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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