Small cruiser SMS Berlin

The small cruiser SMS Berlin belonged to the Bremen class and was included within the framework of the fleet laws as a supplementary structure. As one of the few German ships, the SMS Berlin later also served in the navy of the Weimar Republic.


Launching and design:

In 1902, the construction of the Berlin began, the launching took place on 22 September 1903. The belonging to the Bremen class Berlin was constructed with the experience of the Gazelle class and was not only slightly larger but also had more power.

The commissioning took place finally on 4 April 1905.




History of SMS Berlin:

After commissioning the Berlin served as escort of the imperial yacht Hohenzollern before it was used from August 1905 as a reconnaissance ship in the North and Baltic Seas.

From June 1911 to November 1911, Berlin replaced the gunboat Panther in Agadir, which represented the German interests there during the second Moroccan crisis (Panther Leap to Agadir).

On September 27, 1912, the Berlin was replaced by the cruiser SMS Strasbourg and most of the crew changed to the new ship. The rest of the crew then brought the Berlin to Wilhelmshaven where it was decommissioned on October 29, 1912.


SMS Berlin


SMS Berlin in front of the fortifications of Agadir 1911


SMS Berlin


Seal mark SMS Berlin

Seal mark SMS Berlin




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, the Berlin was reactivated, divided the IV. reconnaissance group and provided as Sperrbewacher in the Great Belt their service.

From 24 October 1915 to January 1916, the mission took place in the Baltic Sea, until it was again divided into the IV. reconnaissance group in the North Sea.

After Berlin was ordered to Danzig on 14 January 1917, the ship was decommissioned on 11 February 1917 and used as a tender in Kiel and Swinemünde.




Use in the navy of the Weimar Republic:

According to the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, the Weimar Republic and the Imperial Navy were allowed to keep some ships. The Berlin was then re-deployed in December 1919 as a military ship and served as a training ship for the training of stokers.

From 1921 to 1922 the Berlin was in Wilhelmshaven for the general overhaul and for the conversion to the school cruiser. On July 2, 1922, the ship was then subordinated to the Inspectorate of Education. Until the replacement by the newly built school cruiser Emden in October 1925, the Berlin also carried out some trips abroad.

On March 27, 1929, the ship was again decommissioned and fed to the reserve fleet, with the largest part of the crew on the light cruiser Karlsruhe under construction changed.


The SMS Berlin after the modernization in 1922





During the Second World War, the Berlin was used as a barge for the dockers in Kiel. After the war, the ship was seized by Great Britain and in 1947 loaded with gas munitions sunk in the Skagerrak.




Ship data:


SMS Berlin


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Small cruiser




Imperial shipyard, Danzig


4.545.000 Mark


22. September 1903


4. April 1905


Sunk into the Skagerrak on May 31, 1947 by the British


111,1 meter


13,3 meter


Max. 5,53 meter


Max. 3.792 Tons


288 bis 349 Men


10 Marine Boiler
2 3-cylinder compound machines


12.140 PS (8.929 kW)

Maximum speed:  

23,3 kn (43 km/h)




10 × rapid fire contactor 10.5 cm L / 40 (1,500 rounds)

10 × Rapid Fire Gun 5.3 cm L / 55

2 × torpedo tube ⌀ 45,0 cm (5 rounds)



Deck: 20-80 mm
Sole: 100 mm
Command tower: 20-100 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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