Small cruiser SMS Cöln (1916)

The small cruiser SMS Cöln belonged to the same class of ships and was the penultimate small cruiser, which was built under the imperial navy. The Cöln class served to replace the lost during the First World War eponymous ships, but were superior in size, armor and armament its predecessors, however.


Launching and design:

The Cöln class was designed in 1914 and was to replace the then still running, same-named cruiser gradually. The plan initially went from 10 ships of this class, were completed at the end of the war, however, only 2 ships.

Compared to the predecessor ships of the Kolberg-class, those of the Cöln class were bigger, faster and also more heavily armed. So 15 cm were used instead of the 10.5 cm guns.

The launch took place on October 5, 1916, the commissioning on January 17, 1918.


SMS Cöln




Use in the war:

Due to the increasing scarcity of suitable personnel and raw materials, the Cöln could only be commissioned in January 1918.

After the trial and practice trips, she was assigned to the II. Aufklärungsgruppe, but participated only in the relocation of mines in the German Bay.

At the time of the capitulation of the German Empire, the Cöln was at anchor in Wilhelmshaven and then had to be interned to the surrender provisions in Britain.





On November 19, 1918, the Cöln, like most ships of the German High Seas Fleet, was transferred to Scapa Flow, where they were interned and awaited the outcome of the peace negotiations.

When it became known that the victorious powers would in all probability not return the German ships, Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter gave the order for self-lowering on 21 June 1919.

Unlike most other wrecks, the Cöln is still at a depth of about 35 meters on the bottom and offers, as a fairly well-preserved wreck, a major diving destination.




Ship data:


SMS Cöln


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Small cruiser




Blohm & Voss, Hamburg




October 5th, 1916


January 17th, 1918


Sunk on June 21, 1919 in Scapa Flow itself


155,5 meters


14,2 meters


Max. 6,43 meters


Max. 7.486 Tons


559 Men


14 × water tube boiler
2 × steam turbine


48.708 PS (35.825 kW)

Maximum speed:  

29,3 kn (54 km/h)




8 × Rapid Fire Gun 15.0 cm L / 45 (1040 rounds)

3 × Flak 8,8 cm L / 45

4 × torpedo tube ø 60,0 cm (8 rounds)

200 sea mines


Belt: 18-60 mm
Deck: 20-60 mm
Collision bulkhead: 40 mm
Ammunition sleeve: 20 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.

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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