Small cruiser SMS Nürnberg

The small cruiser SMS Nürnberg belonged to the Königsberg class, which consisted of a total of 4 ships and were built mainly for the German colonies in East Africa. After the outbreak of the First World War, the Nürnberg should participate in the cruiser war, but was sunk in December 1914 during the Battle of the Falkland Islands.


Launching and design:

The development of the ships of the Königsberg class go back to the experience of the Bremen class. The development was begun in 1903, the ships of this class are still among the last ships of the imperial navy had a Rammbug.

The launch of SMS Nürnberg took place on 28 August 1906, the commissioning on 10 April 1908.


Small cruiser SMS Nürnberg

Small cruiser SMS Nürnberg


SMS Nürnberg in the dock


SMS Nürnberg in the dock




History of the SMS Nürnberg:

After commissioning the usual test drives of the ship took place. But already on 11 July 1908, the SMS Nürnberg was decommissioned because the Navy did not have enough sailors.

Only on 1 February 1910, the ship could be put back into service and should replace the outdated small cruiser SMS Arcona in the East Asian cruiser squadrons.

From the German base in Tsingtau, the ship traveled across the Asian region to represent German interests. On October 16, 1913, the SMS Nürnberg was relocated to Mexico to provide for the prevailing riots for the safety of foreign residents.

When the political situation in Europe sharpened after the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne, Nürnberg was ordered to return to East Asia and meet there with the big cruisers SMS Scharnhorst and SMS Gneisenau.


Small cruiser SMS Nürnberg

Small cruiser SMS Nürnberg


Crew of SMS Nürnberg




Use in the war:

When war broke out in Europe, Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee decided to collect his ships at the island of Pagan (Mariana Islands). This squadron included the flagship SMS Scharnhorst, SMS Gneisenau and the three small cruisers SMS Dresden, SMS Leipzig and SMS Nürnberg.

On the way along the Chilean coast, the squadron met on November 1, 1914 on the British cruiser squadron, led by Vice Admiral Christopher Cradock. In the subsequent naval battle, the trailing Nürnberg could sink the already heavily damaged battleship Monmouth.

After passing Cape Horn towards Río de la Plata at the beginning of December 1914, Spee decided to attack the British Falkland Islands in order to loot the coal deposits there, destroy the radio station and capture the British governor. The Nürnberg belonged together with the Gneisenau to the reconnaissance ships. When Spee recognized the strong British ships that had just arrived, he had his ships turned off. The British ships immediately took up the pursuit and, despite various directions, were able to catch up with German ships.


Battle of the Falkland Islands





The SMS Nürnberg was caught shortly after the turning off of the British ship HMS Kent, which opened the fire on the German ship. At 6:30 pm, the Nürnberg was so badly damaged that the ship began to sink.

From the crew only 7 men could be rescued.




Ship data:


SMS Nürnberg


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Small cruiser




Imperial shipyard, Kiel


5.560.000 Mark


August 28th, 1906


April 10th, 1908


Sunk on December 8th, 1914


117,4 meters


13,3 meters


Max. 5,24 meters


Max. 3.902 Tons


322 Men


11 Marine Boiler
2 x 3-cylinder compound machines


13.154 PS (9.675 kW)

Maximum speed:  

23,4 kn (43 km/h)





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

8 × rapid fire gun 5,2 cm L / 55 (4.000 rounds)

2 × torpedo tube ⌀ 45 cm (5 shots)


Armor 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!






This post is also available in: Deutsch (German) Français (French) Italiano (Italian) 简体中文 (Chinese (Simplified)) Русский (Russian) Español (Spanish) العربية (Arabic)

Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!