Small cruiser SMS Nymphe

The small cruiser SMS Nymphe belonged to the Gazelle class, which were built around the turn of the century. The Nymphe was one of the few ships that served both in the First World War and in the Reichsmarine.


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, 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 Nymphe was on 21 November 1899, the commissioning on 20 September 1900.


Small cruiser SMS Nymphe

Small cruiser SMS Nymphe


Small cruiser SMS Nymphe

Small cruiser SMS Nymphe

Small cruiser SMS Nymphe

Small cruiser SMS Nymphe



History of SMS Nymphe:

Already a few months after commissioning the SMS Nymphe was assigned as escort ship of the imperial yacht Hohenzollern. The ship went to the British cities of Portsmouth, Sheerness and Vlissingen to accompany the funeral of the grandmother of Kaiser Wilhelm II.

In March 1901, the Nymphe was assigned to the torpedo inspection as a second pilot ship, with the inserts were occasionally interrupted in between by the fact that the Nymphe was used as a support ship for the imperial yacht.

In April 1905, the ship was attracted by the torpedo inspection to serve as an artillery training ship. In the spring of 1907, four of the 10.5cm guns on the port side were removed and replaced by four 8.8cm guns and two 5.2cm guns. Until 15 February 1909, she served as a training ship for machine guns until the SMS Stuttgart replaced the Nymphe and this was assigned to the reserve fleet.




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, the SMS Nymphe was reactivated and served as the leading ship of the port flotilla Elbe.

On 1 September 1915, the relocation was carried out for torpedo inspection until the ship was put out of service on 1 November 1916 again.

Subsequently, the armament was expanded and the ship served until the end of the war as a living and parade ship.




Use in the Navy of the Weimar Republic:

Because of the old age and the lack of armament, the SMS Nymphe did not have to be delivered to the victorious powers after the war. It was incorporated into the new Navy of the Weimar Republic, relocated in November 1920 from Kiel to Wilhelmshaven and modernized there. Among other things, the Ramm spur was replaced by a modern Cruiser bug, a new Fockmast and former former submarine guns installed.

After modernization, the ship served as the flagship of the light naval forces of the Baltic Sea. In the following years, the Nymphe participated in some foreign trips until the ship was finally put out of service on April 16, 1929.


SMS Nymphe after the modernization


SMS Nymphe after the modernization





After being decommissioned, the SMS Nymphe was used as a residential ship for some time. In 1931 it was then deleted from the list of warships and scrapped in 1932 in Hamburg.




Ship data:


SMS Nymphe


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Small cruiser




Germaniawerft, Kiel


4.647.000 Mark


November 21st, 1899


September 20th, 1900


Scrapped in Hamburg in 1932


105,1 meters


12,2 meters


Max. 5,44 meters


Max. 3.017 Tons


257 Men


10 Marine Boiler
2 4-cylinder compound machines


8.486 PS (6.241 kW)

Maximum speed:  

21,2 kn (39 km/h)


10 × 10,5 cm L / 40 Rapid Fire Gun (1.000 rounds)

2 × torpedo tube ∅ 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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