Small cruiser SMS Frauenlob

The small cruiser SMS Frauenlob belonged to the Gazelle class and was thus part of the first modern cruiser Neubauten of the German Empire at the turn of the century.


Launching and design:

In contrast to other small cruisers, there were no predecessor models of the Gazelle class but these were designed from scratch. However, the class was based on the Meteor class and the single ship SMS Hela.

The official draft was already designed in late 1895 / early 1896 and 7 ships were built under this. From 1897 to 1900, however, the plans were still modified and expanded, so that the last three ships of the class SMS Frauenlob, SMS Arcona and SMS Undine have been changed a bit.

Mainly on the last 3 ships the hulls were enlarged to accommodate a larger crew and more coal. Also, the armor was reinforced in some places.

The launching took place on March 22, 1902, the commissioning on May 12, 1903.

The name was adopted by the on September 2, 1860 in a typhoon before Yokohama sunken Prussian war protector Frauenlob, whose funding was based on donations from women.


SMS Frauenlob




History of SMS Frauenlob:

After the test drives, the ship was assigned on April 5, 1903 the reconnaissance vessels of the I. Squadron. Until 1905, it took part in some foreign trips, including to Spain, Norway and the Netherlands.

In the following years, further foreign trips and maneuvers were carried out until the ship was eliminated on 19 January 1908 as the last cruiser of the Gazelle class from the fleet and the crew changed to the new small cruiser SMS Stettin.

From the summer of 1912, the ship was overhauled, rebuilt the armament from 10.5-cm to 3.7-cm guns and should then be used as a training ship.




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, the Frauenlob was again brought back into active military service and entrusted with security tasks at Helgoland. There it came on 28 August 1914 to a meeting with British ships.
During the battle, the Frauenlob could shoot the British light cruiser HMS Arethusa incapacitated. By 10 own hits and the loss of contact to the SMS Stettin, a pursuit of Arethusa was canceled and arranged the return.

The reparations work on the Frauenlob dragged on until November 1914. From October 1915, a further, longer shipyard lay time, whereby the largest part of the crew changed in the time to the SMS Danzig. After a mine hit on 25 November 1915, the Danzig was so badly damaged that this also had to be towed to the shipyard and the crew returned to the Frauenlob.

In early 1916, the transfer to the IV. reconnaissance group, where the Frauenlob also participated in the Battle of Skagerrak of May 31, 1916 took place. During the battle with the British 2nd light cruiser squadron, the Frauenlob received a torpedo hit as well as several artillery hits in the stern where the ready ammunition caught fire. The ship slowly got list and began to sink. The crew fought on until the ship went down at 23:35. It survived only 8 crew members.





The wreck is still on the ocean floor today. In 2000, Danish divers managed to locate the exact location of the ship. After several dives, the ship's bell was recovered in 2001 and handed over to Germany. It can be visited today in the Naval Memorial in Laboe.




Ship data:


SMS Frauenlob


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Small cruiser




AG Weser, Bremen


4.596.000 Mark


March 22nd, 1902


May 12th, 1903


On 31 May 1916 sunk in the Battle of the Skagerrak


105 meters


12,4 meters


Max. 5,61 meters


Max. 3.158 Tons


257 Men


9 Marine Boiler
2 3-cylinder compound machines


8.623 PS (6.342 kW)

Maximum speed:  

21,5 kn (40 km/h)


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