Small cruiser SMS Ariadne (1900)

The SMS Ariadne was a small gazelle-class cruiser and was part of the propagation program of the fleet law of 1898.


Launching and design:

The keel laying took place on 14 December 1899, on 10 August 1900, the launching. The Ariadne was the fifth ship of the Gazelle class, which at the time counted among the most modern cruisers of the Imperial Navy. On May 18, 1901 finally the commissioning took place.

The name comes from Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos of Crete, a figure of Greek mythology.


Hans Makart, The Triumph of Ariadne, 1873/74, naming the ship




History of SMS Ariadne:

After commissioning the usual test drives were carried out together with the sister ships SMS Medusa and SMS Thetis. Already on 11 July 1901, there was a pipe explosion in the forward port boiler, in the wake of which 3 crew members died and dozens were injured. The test drives were then canceled and brought the ship for repair in the dock.

On October 1, 1902, the Ariadne was put back into service, whereupon she took on trips to Norway, Spain and the UK, among others.


SMS Ariadne




Use in the war:

Already at the outbreak of the war, the Ariadne was technically outdated and thus, together with the ships SMS Hela, SMS Frauenlob and SMS Stettin used to secure the German patrols at Helgoland.

When, in the morning hours of August 28, 1914, a strong British naval unit attacked German patrols in the German Bight, the small cruisers Ariadne and Cöln were called in to assist. As the Cöln was faster, the two ships quickly lost in the prevailing fog until the Ariadne encountered the British battlecruisers alone. Within 15 minutes, the ships fired the Ariadne on fire, killing 64 crew members. In the dense fog, however, the British lost the German ship again until the SMS Danzig and SMS Stralsund could start with the recovery of the survivors. However, a salvage failed, so that the Ariadne had to be abandoned and sank.


SMS Ariadne in action




Ship data:


SMS Ariadne


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Small cruiser




AG Weser, Bremen


4.799.000 Mark


August 10th, 1900


May 18th, 1901


Sunk at Helgoland in 1914 on August 28th


105,1 meters


12,2 meters


Max. 5,5 meters


Max. 3.006 Tons


257 Men


9 Marine Boiler
2 3-cylinder compound machines


8.827 PS (6.492 kW)

Maximum speed:  

22,2 kn (41 km/h)


10 × rapid fire cannon 10.5 cm L / 40 (1,000 rounds)

2 × torpedo tube ⌀ 45 cm (under water, 5 shots)





Deck: 20-50 mm
Sole: 80 mm
Command tower: 20-80 mm
Shields: 50 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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