Small cruiser SMS Gefion

With the development of the small cruiser SMS Gefion, a ship type initially classified as a cruiser corvette emerged, which was to undertake reconnaissance and naval tasks as well as for overseas purposes.


Launching and design:

1891 was the concept of the Gefion, which should take over as a Cruiser corvette and test ship various tasks that were otherwise distributed to several ship types. For the first time in the Imperial Navy even with such a large ship on the auxiliary sails.

The initial deployment of 10 15-cm shroud guns was replaced during the trial phase with the newly developed and powerful 10.5-cm fast-charging guns.

The launching took place on May 31, 1893, the commissioning on June 27, 1894.

Eponym was Gefion, or Gefjun called. In Germanic mythology she is an Asenjungfrau, a protector of the virgins, who belong to all who die unmarried, as well as Goddess of the family and the luck. It is considered pure as the morning dew.


Eponym Gefion, Asen virgin of Germanic mythology




History of SMS Gefion:

With the beginning of the test drives the greatest weakness of the ship with the propulsion system became apparent. Strong vibrations at high speeds and many small defects greatly reduced the operational capability. Also, the ventilation of the boiler rooms was poor, which added to the already heavy work of the heater. All the shortcomings could never be completely turned off.

The first official appearance had the Gefion in June 1895 at the opening of the Kaiser Wilhelm Kanal (later Kiel Canal). Due to its high range, the ship then served mainly as an escort of the imperial yacht Hohenzollern in his rides.

In the period from September to December 1897, the Gefion was subjected to a thorough maintenance to be prepared for use in the East Asian Cruiser Division in Tsingtau. During this time, ports in Russia and Japan were frequently approached.

After the Boxer Rebellion in June 1900, the Gefion was ordered back to the German Reich, ran into Wilhelmshaven and was decommissioned there on 22 September 1901.

Until 1904, basic maintenance work was carried out to subsequently assign the ship to the reserve fleet.

With the outbreak of the First World War, the Gefion should be reactivated, but due to lack of staff had the ship from 1916 in Danzig serve as a barge.


SMS Gefion


SMS Gefion





After the war took place on 5 November 1919, the deletion as a warship and the subsequent sale to the North German civil engineering company in Berlin, which let convert the ship in 1920 to a cargo ship.

Already in 1923, finally, the scrapping.




Ship data:


SMS Gefion


German Empire


Ship Type:


Cruiser corvette
from 1893 Cruiser III. class
from 1899 Small cruiser


Single ship


Ferdinand Schichau, Danzig


5.171.000 Millionen Mark


May 31th, 1893


June 27th, 1894


Scrapped in 1923


110,4 meters


13,2 meters


Max. 6,47 meters


Max. 2.549 Tons


302 Men


2 standing three-cylinder
Triple expansion steam engine


9.000 PSi

Maximum speed:  

19,0 kn





10 × 10.5 cm L / 35
(807 rounds, 108 hm)

6 × 5,0 cm SK L / 40
(1500 rounds, 62 hm)

2 torpedo tubes on the side of the deck




Deck: 25-30 mm
Slope: 40 mm
Command tower: 30 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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