Small cruiser SMS Emden

The small cruiser SMS Emden belonged to the Königsberg class, one of the last built in the German Empire cruiser class. During the war, it served as the flagship of torpedo boats and during the internment in Scapa Flow the internment fleet. From the Emden, Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter gave orders for self-lowering.


Launching and design:

The Königsberg class, to which the Emden belonged, was the penultimate construction of small cruisers that were developed in the German Empire. In 1913, the designers began developing the cruisers, which, unlike their predecessors, were supposed to be larger, faster, and stronger in firepower.

The launching of the Emden took place on 1 February 1916, the commissioning on 12 March 1917.


SMS Emden




Use in the war:

Already before commissioning the SMS Emden was intended as a guide cruiser torpedo boats and accordingly, the ship was also used mainly in the outpost and security service.

During Operation Albion, the Emden accompanied the large-line ship SMS Bayern from September to November 1917. On December 11, 1917 followed by a venture to Doggerbank in the North Sea, then 1918 further operations were carried out in the North Sea, including Norway, the Skagerrak and English Kanal, where it came to smaller battles, but Emden did not suffer any damage.

With the beginning of the evacuation of the bases in Flanders, Belgium, the last undertaking of the Emden took place in the war with the accompanying security of the departing torpedo boats and submarines.





Due to the terms of the capitulation, the Emden belonged to the ships of the German navy who had to intern in Scapa Flow. The ship was transferred to Britain on November 19, 1918, like most others.

As it was already during the crossing on the flagship SMS Frederick the Great to riots of the fuselage crew opposite the commander of the interned ships, Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter, this changed on 25 March 1919 to Emden and set up his headquarters there.

When it was foreseeable on June 21, 1919 that the ships would no longer be returned to the German Reich, von Reuter issued orders for self-lowering. The Emden was sunk as the last ship, but could still be set on the ground by the British. The ship was soon made roadworthy again and transferred to Rosyth where it anchored.

On March 11, 1920, the Emden was handed over to the French, who used the ship from 1922 for blasting experiments.

In 1926, the Emden was finally scrapped in France.


SMS Emden in Scapa Flow November 24, 1918




Ship data:


SMS Emden


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Small cruiser




A.G. Weser Bremen




February 1, 1916


March 12th, 1917


Scrapped in France in 1926


151,4 meters


14,3 meters


Max. 6,3 meters


Max. 7.125 Tons


475 Men




10 coal-fired steam boilers
2 oil fired double boiler
2 sets of steam turbines


31.000 PSw

Maximum speed:  

27,5 kn (49 km/h)


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

2 × Flak 8,8 cm L / 45

4 × torpedo tube ⌀ 50 cm (8 shots)

200 sea mines



Belt: 60 mm
Deck: 20-40 mm
Slopes: 40 mm
Mine space: 20-30 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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