Small cruiser SMS Leipzig

The small cruiser SMS Leipzig belonged to the Bremen class, which were built shortly after the turn of the century and should serve with 7 ships as liquor reinforcement.


Launching and design:

The Bremen class emerged from the Gazelle class, but had a much more powerful drive system whereupon the number of chimneys had to be increased from 2 to 3. In addition, 10 3.7 cm machine guns were installed to increase the firepower as well.

The launching took place on March 21, 1905, the commissioning on April 20, 1906.


Small cruiser SMS Leipzig

Small cruiser SMS Leipzig


Small cruiser SMS Leipzig

Small cruiser SMS Leipzig




History of SMS Leipzig:

After the commissioning and the test rides, the ship was started to be ready for service in the East Asia squadron to replace the big cruiser SMS Hansa. From Wilhelmshaven from the ship ran on September 8, 1906 towards Asia, where it arrived on January 6, 1907 in Hong Kong.

Until early 1914, the main task of the small cruiser in the tour of the port cities in Asia and the representation of imperial interests. In May 1914, the ship was finally to go to the west coast of Mexico to replace the SMS Nürnberg. On July 7, 1914, the ship arrived in Mazatlán.


SMS Leipzig in spring 1914 in Dili




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, according to the mobilization plan, the deployment in the imperial East Asia squadron was planned for the SMS Leipzig in order to protect the imperial colony. Located on the west coast of Baja California, the ship received on 2 August 1914 the message about the state of war between the German Empire and Great Britain. By 17 August, the ship was scouring the coast for British ships, but when none was found, the captain in San Francisco refilled supplies. Then the Leipzig returned to the west coast of Mexico, where it banned again on October 14, 1914 off Easter Island with the Imperial Cruiser Squadron.

On November 1, 1914, the squadron met in Chilean waters on British ships. In the battle with Coronel, Leipzig was able to hit the light British cruiser HMS Glasgow several times without sinking it.

After the supply in the Chilean port Valparaíso, the squadron Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee decided against the fears of other captains, an attack on the British seaport Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. On December 8, 1914, the attack of German ships took place. What Maximilian von Spee did not know, however, was the previous arrival of 2 battlecruisers, 3 armored cruisers and 2 British light cruisers the day before. During this battle, the entire German squadron was sunk, except for the SMS Dresden and hospital ship Seydlitz.





In the course of the battle in the Falkland Islands, the SMS Leipzig was damaged by the British cruiser HMS Cornwall and Glasgow so far by heavy hit that the ship sank at 21:23 clock. From the crew only 18 men could be rescued.




Ship data:


SMS Leipzig


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Small cruiser




AG Weser, Bremen


5.043.000 Mark


March 21st, 1905


April 20th, 1906


Sunk on December 8th, 1914


111,1 meters


13,3 meters


Max. 5,6 meters


Max. 3.816 Tons


288 to 301 Men


10 Marine Boiler
2 3-cylinder compound machines


11.116 PS (8.176 kW)

Maximum speed:  

22,1 kn (41 km/h)


10 × rapid fire gun 10,5 cm L / 40 (1.500 rounds)

10 × rapid fire gun 5,3 cm L / 55

2 × torpedo tube ⌀ 45,0 cm (5 rounds)



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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