Small cruiser SMS Niobe

The small cruiser SMS Niobe belonged to the Gazelle class, which were built at the turn of the century. The Niobe was one of the few ships to serve in both the First and Second World Wars.


Launching and design:

The designs of the Gazelle class originated in 1895 and 1896 and were the first modern small cruiser of the imperial navy. Since the ships were multiplier constructions, there were no predecessors ships, the experience for the construction was therefore from the Meteor class. Up to the Kolberg class of 1910, all small cruisers constructed so far took from the experience and construction of the Gazelle class.

Unlike ships of one class, the ships of the Gazelle class were planned in two phases. The first phase was based on designs from 1895 and 1896, the second phase on designs from 1897 and 1900, with the second series of ships provided a slightly larger variant.

The launch of the SMS Niobe took place on July 18, 1899, the commissioning on June 25, 1900.


Small cruiser SMS Niobe

Small cruiser SMS Niobe


Small cruiser SMS Niobe

Small cruiser SMS Niobe




History of SMS Niobe:

After commissioning the ship was initially assigned as a flotilla of the I. T-flotilla. From June 1901, the Niobe accompanied the imperial yacht Hohenzollern on his travels with a brief interruption, when the mother of the German emperor died.

From 1902, the cruiser served again in the I. T-flotilla until mid-1903, the Association of Reconnaissance ships was re-created and the ship was transferred there.

On September 28, 1904 was the provisional out of service with subsequent 2-year overhaul.

Only on June 19, 1906, the SMS Niobe was brought back into active service and assigned to the East Asia squadron where it replaced the sister ship SMS Thetis.

On January 31, 1909, the ship was finally ordered back to Germany, where it arrived on March 21, 1909 and was put out of service on March 31 again.


Small cruiser SMS Niobe

Small cruiser SMS Niobe




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, the SMS Niobe was brought back into service. However, due to its age, it was only assigned to the Coast Guard. From September 1915, it then served only as an office ship for various command posts of the Navy.

Since the ship was already obsolete at the beginning of the war, it did not belong to the ships that had to be delivered to the victorious powers according to the conditions of the truce. As the new Reichsmarine also had no use for the ship, it was finally put out of service on February 3, 1919.




Sale to Yugoslavia:

In June 1925, the Niobe was removed from the list of warships and the weapons were removed. As a so-called cruise ship, it was then sold to Yugoslavia, where it was renamed Dalmacija and served as a school cruiser.


The rebuilt Dalmacija

The rebuilt Dalmacija


The rebuilt Dalmacija

The rebuilt Dalmacija




Use in the Second World War:

When the campaign began in Yugoslavia during the Second World War, the ship fell into the hands of the Italian forces, which incorporated it into the Italian Navy under the name Cattaro.

When in 1943 Italy was taken over again by the old king and the moderate fascists, who deposed Duce and broke the alliance with Germany, the Wehrmacht confiscated the ship and incorporated it into the Kriegsmarine with its old name Niobe. With a German and Croatian crew, the ship carried out several operations in the Adriatic.





During an operation in the Adriatic, the ship stranded on December 19, 1943 in front of the Adriatic island of Silba and was abandoned by his crew. On December 22, 1943 discovered the two British motor torpedo boats MTB 226 and MTB 228 the ship and sunk it.

The wreck was lifted in 1949 and then scrapped.




Ship data:


SMS Niobe
In the Yugoslav Navy: Dalmacija
In the Italian Navy: Cattaro


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Small cruiser




AG Weser, Bremen


4.534.000 Mark


July 18th, 1899


June 25th, 1900


Sunk on December 22nd, 1943


105 meters


12,2 meters


Max. 5,31 meters


Max. 2.963 Tons


257 Men


8 Thornycroft boiler
2 x 4-cylinder compound machines


8.113 PS (5.967 kW)

Maximum speed:  

22,2 kn (41 km/h)





10 × Rapid Fire Gun 10.5 cm L / 40 (1.000 shots)

2 × torpedo tube Ø 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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