Small cruiser SMS Kolberg

The small cruiser SMS Kolberg belonged to the same class of ships, which had the first class continuously in all ships built turbine drives. Also, it was the last ships that still had a Rammbug, although this was not as pronounced as in previous ships.


Launching and design:

The construction of the Kolberg class originated from the Dresden class. Up to 3 different warships before, the ships of the Kolberg class were the first warships in the Empire, in which a turbine drive was installed in series. However, the 4 ships of the class due to the different construction yards and the lack of standards also had 4 different manufacturers of tubing equipment, which led to different performance and speeds.

The launch of the SMS Kolberg took place on 14 November 1908, the commissioning on 21 June 1910.


Small cruiser SMS Kolberg

Small cruiser SMS Kolberg




History of SMS Kolberg:

After commissioning began the usual test drives. In the Kolberg, however, these had to be interrupted twice, because the imperial navy had too little staff to fully equip the ship. Only on June 14, 1911, the testing could be completed.

Following the ship was assigned to a reconnaissance squadron. However, the service was interrupted again and again to accompany the imperial yacht on foreign trips as escort ship.




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War the SMS Kolberg was assigned to the II. reconnaissance group of the seas fleet and served in the North Sea. When British and German ships met at Helgoland on August 28, 1914, the Kolberg was sent there too, but arrived too late to intervene.

Until the beginning of 1915, the Kolberg was involved in several attempts in the North Sea to hedge the laying of mine locks. On 24 January 1915, Dogger Bank again fought British ships. The Kolberg managed to damage the British cruiser Aurora, but had to take hits and had 2 deaths to complain.

In the summer of 1915, the I. Squadron with the I. and II. reconnaissance group was transferred to the Baltic Sea to support the occupation of the Baltic. In August, there were several battles between the Kolberg and Russian destroyers during the operation, which, however, went out without much damage to the ship. On 21st August the relocation to the North Sea took place.

In February 1916, the Kolberg was replaced by the small cruiser Elbing leader ship VI. reconnaissance group and ordered back to the Baltic Sea. In the period from 16 December 1916 to 26 April 1917, the ship was in the yard to carry out some reconstruction work. The 10.5-cm guns were replaced by 15-cm cannons, two 50-cm torpedo tubes mounted and rebuilt the command tower.

During the Albion occupation of the Baltic islands in the autumn of 1917, the Kolberg took part in the bombardment of Russian coastal batteries and supported the occupation of the islands of Osel and Moon. Subsequently, the ship had to go to the shipyard and was overhauled.

From mid-March 1918, the Kolberg was used to support the landing of German troops in Finland. On September 29, 1918, the ship returned to Kiel, where it was to anchor to give part of its crew intended for the Crimea.





The SMS Kolberg belonged to the ships of the imperial navy, which did not have to be interned according to the terms of the truce to Scapa Flow. It was decommissioned on December 17, 1918 and deleted on November 5, 1919 from the list of warships.

As a reparation service, the Kolberg then had to be delivered on 20 April 1920 to France, who put the ship under the name Colmar in the French Navy in service. There, the ship was classified as the flagship of the Far East Division until it was ordered back to France in 1929 and scrapped.


SMS Kolberg as Colmar in the service of the French Navy

SMS Kolberg as Colmar in the service of the French Navy




Ship data:




SMS Kolberg

From 1920 Colmar




German Empire

From 1920 France

Ship Type:  

Small cruiser




Schichauwerft, Gdansk


8.181.000 Mark


November 14th, 1908


June 21st, 1910


Scrapped in 1929


130,5 meters


14 meters


Max. 5,58 meters


Max. 4.915 Tons


367 to 383 Men


15 Marine Boiler
2 sets of steam turbines


30.400 PS (22.359 kW)

Maximum speed:  

26,3 kn (49 km/h)


12 × Rapid Fire Gun 10,5 cm L / 45 (1.800 rounds)

4 × Rapid Fire Gun 5,2 cm L / 55 (2.000 rounds)

2 × torpedo tube ⌀ 45.0 cm

from 1917/18:

6 × Rapid Fire Gun 15,0 cm L / 45 (900 shots)

2 × Anti-aircraft guns 8,8 cm L / 45

2 × torpedo tube ⌀ 45,0 cm (5 rounds)

2 × torpedo tube ⌀ 50,0 cm (4 rounds)

120 mines





Deck: 20-80 mm
Sole: 100 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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