Small cruiser SMS Dresden

The small cruiser SMS Dresden belonged to the Cöln class and thus to the last built in the German Empire small cruisers. It was also the last ship that was put into service in the High Seas Fleet.


Launching and design:

The SMS Dresden belonged to the type of ship of the Cöln class and should be used as a replacement for the March 14, 1915 in the Pacific itself sunken Dresden.

The ships of the Cöln class were developed in 1914. Of the 10 planned ships, only 7 were completed during the war.

In contrast to the predecessor ships, the new Cöln class were larger, faster and had a greater firepower.

The launching took place on April 25, 1917, the commissioning on March 28, 1918.


SMS Dresden




Use in the war:

After commissioning, the usual test and test drives began for SMS Dresden. As these lasted a few months, the ship was not moved until August 1918 to the II. Aufklärungsgruppe. There, it received a torpedo hit during a trip and had to be relocated to a port for repair.

With the beginning of the sailor uprisings in Kiel, the ship was anchored in Eckernförde and remained there until his retirement on 7 November 1918.


SMS Dresden





Due to the terms of surrender, Dresden was one of the ships to be interned with the largest part of the deep-sea fleet in Scapa Flow. Since at the end of the negotiations of the Treaty of Versailles it became known that the ships would not be given back to the German Reich, Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter issued the order on June 21, 1919 to sink the interned ships themselves, including the Dresden.

The wreck of the Dresden is still today, in addition to 6 other German ships, on the bottom at 34 meters depth at Scapa Flow.




Ship data:


SMS Dresden


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Small cruiser




Howaldtswerke, Kiel




April 25th, 1917


March 28th 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 Marine Boiler
2 set of marine turbines


49.428 PS (36.354 kW)

Maximum speed:  

27,8 kn (51 km/h)


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

3 × Flak 8,8 cm L / 45

4 × torpedo tube ⌀ 60 cm (8 rounds)

200 sea mines





Belt: 18-60 mm
Deck: 20-60 mm
Collision bulkhead: 40 mm
Sole: 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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