Mine cruiser SMS Albatross (1907)

The SMS Albatross was a German mine cruiser, which emerged from the experience of the Russo-Japanese War in dealing with mines as offensive weapons.


Launching and design:

On October 23, 1907, the launching of designed as a miner ship type of the Nautilus class took place. The concept of the Albatross and its sister ship Nautilus were the lessons learned from the Russo-Japanese War. Thus, the Marineleitung recognized that sea mines not only purely as a defensive weapon can be used, but also an offensive warfare can be operated. For example, Mine-Layers may set Mine-Locks during tactical retreats, forcing attacking enemy ships onto them or forcing them to turn back. Also, moving from enemy ports can cause enemy warships to be restricted in their movements or damaged, if not destroyed, when they leave.

Since the two ships of the Nautilus class of the deep-sea fleet should be subordinated and were just classified as offensive warships, these were not the markers as mine-depositors but as mine-cruisers. The direct combat with enemy ships, however, was not planned because the ships were equipped with a total of 8 8,8cm guns too weak.


SMS Albatross




History of SMS Albatross:

After the commissioning on May 19, 1908, the usual test drives were made before the ship was assigned to the maneuver squadron with the main port of Cuxhaven.

In 1911, the Albatross was rammed and damaged by Hansa Steamer Wartburg, leaving the ship in the dock for repair for some time.




Use in the war:

With the beginning of the First World War, SMS Albatross was charged with laying out an offensive block. These were relocated, inter alia, to the mouth of the Tyne, the southern North Sea and later in the Baltic Sea.

When on August 26, 1914, the small cruiser SMS Magdeburg stranded before Odensholm and the Russian Navy fell the signal books into the hands, they could overhear the German radio messages and were accordingly also informed of the operation of the German Navy of June 30, 1915 at which the Gulf of Finland should be mined.

When the operation was completed on 1 July, the squadron parted and only the small cruiser SMS Augsburg remained with the Albatross. On the morning of July 2, the two German ships encountered the Russian squadron consisting of the battleships Admiral Makarov and Bayan, as well as the protected cruisers Bogatyr and Oleg.

The Russian ships focused their fire from the beginning on the albatross to sink it if possible. After several heavy hits, the ship began to burn and her commander, Commander West, left this on the eastern coast of Ostergarn at Ostergarn beach to save the rest of the crew.


The SMS Albatross on the ground before Gotland





The Albatross had to complain after the battle 28 dead, the rest of the team had to internment in Sweden and remained there until the end of the war.

The Albatross was towed by the Swedish Navy to Fårö on July 23, 1915 and returned to Germany after the war, where it arrived in Gdansk on December 31, 1918.

On March 21, 1921, the deletion then took place from the military list, then it was dragged to Hamburg and scrapped there.




Ship data:


SMS Albatross


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Mine cruiser




AG Weser, Bremen


2.879.000 Mark


October 23rd, 1907


May 19th, 1908


Scrapped in Hamburg in 1921


100,9 meters


11,5 meters


Max. 4,57 meters



Max. 2.506 Tons

198 to 208 Men


4 Marine Boiler
2 compound engine


6.600 PS (4.854 kW)

Maximum speed:  

20,7 kn (38 km/h)


8 × 8/8 "L / 35 (2,000 rounds) rapid-fire gun

288 sea mines







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