Small cruiser SMS Stralsund

The small cruiser SMS Stralsund belonged to the Magdeburg class, which should replace the ships of the Bussard class. Due to the increase in caliber of the warships of other countries, a side armor was introduced in the waterline for the first time in the Magdeburg class, so that the construction of the ships had to be completely redesigned. The SMS Stralsund survived the First World War and was subsequently used by the French Navy.


Launching and design:

The designs for the ships of the Magdeburg class originated from 1908. The 4 small cruisers were to replace the completely obsolete ships of the Bussard class. Since the warships of the other naval powers had already gone over to larger calibers of their guns, the naval superintendent Hans Bürckner made the request for a side armor in the waterline, since the usual design of a domed armored decks with cork dams was no longer sufficient.

In order to maintain the weight of the new ships relatively balanced, it was necessary to disregard the mixed transverse and longitudinal sweeper system and to develop a longitudinal frame system, where the outer skin itself became the carrier of the ship's resistance.

Another innovation was the construction of a Kreuzerbug with a straight stem, this solved the Rammbug.

As in the Kolberg class, all ships of the Magdeburg class were equipped with different turbine systems. At SMS Stralsund, this led to a significant reduction in machine room space for maintenance work. At high speeds also occurred strong vibrations, which further limited the mileage.

The launch of the SMS Stralsund took place on 4 November 1911, the commissioning on 10 December 1912.


Small cruiser SMS Stralsund

Small cruiser SMS Stralsund




Use in the war:

At the outbreak of the First World War, the Stralsund was assigned to the II. reconnaissance group. This led together with the submarines U19 and U24 in the Hoofden in the southern North Sea through the first foray. It came on 17 August 1914 to a collision with British destroyers, which, however, remained without damage.

On August 28, 1914, the Stralsund was involved in the first Helgoland battle, where British ships attacked the German outpost ships. During the battle, the ship received 1 hit. At the end of the fight, it was still 59 crew members of the sinking small cruiser SMS Ariadne record, a subsequent tow attempt failed.

From 20 September to 26 September 1914, the Stralsund was relocated to the Baltic Sea to support the local Riga Gulf company. Subsequently, the transfer to Wilhelmshaven. From November 1914 to the end of January 1915, the ship was involved in several companies in which some British coastal towns were shelled and mine locks were relocated. Here it came on 23 and 24 January 1915 in the battle on the Dogger Bank for a larger battle with British ships. The Stralsund received no hits, the big cruiser SMS Blücher was lost, however.

Until early 1916, the Stralsund was then used mainly in the North Sea for the trade war. There was a brief interruption in the summer of 1915, when the ships were transferred to the Baltic Sea to assist the army in the conquest of the Baltic.

In the period from February 21 to June 17, 1916, SMS Stralsund was in the shipyard in Kiel for conversion work. Among other things, the 10.5cm guns were exchanged for 15cm guns.

Until August 1917, only smaller operations in the North Sea and security tasks were carried out afterwards. From 7 August 1917, the drive system was repaired after turbine damage had occurred. After the damage was repaired on October 15, 1917, the ship was immediately used in the occupation of the Baltic Islands. After completion of the business, the Stralsund should return to the North Sea. On the way there, the ship received a hit on 2 February 1918 by a mine and had to be repaired again.

After the ship was operational again, it served first until June 1918 Rear Admiral Ludolf von Uslar, the Commander-in-Chief of the Baltic waters as a flagship. The Stralsund was then divided for the company "capstone" that included the expulsion of British soldiers from Murmansk. However, since the company was canceled in September 1918, the application for Stralsund also ceased.

At the end of the war, the ship ran from Reval to Kiel on November 12, 1918, where it arrived on November 14 and was decommissioned on December 17, 1918.




Use in the French Navy:

After the war, the SMS Stralsund had to be delivered to France as a reparation service. There it was put into service on 3 August 1920 by the French Navy and renamed Mulhouse. Together with other former German small cruisers the ship was assigned to the 3rd Division, which was mainly used in the Mediterranean.

In December 1926, the division was moved as 2nd Division to Brest. In 1933, the Mulhouse was relocated to the reserve fleet.


The French Mulhouse, former SMS Stralsund





During the Second World War and the France campaign, the former SMS Stralsund 1940 fell into the hands of the German Wehrmacht. These handed over the ship of the Kriegsmarine, which dragged it to Lorient and used as a housing ship for the workers of the local submarine bunker.

When the construction was completed, the ship was sunk in front of the bunker as torpedo protection together with the also fallen into German hands former Strasbourg.

The wreck is still in front of the bunker today.




Ship data:


SMS Stralsund

In the French Navy: Mulhouse


German Empire

From August 3rd, 1920 France

Ship Type:  

Small cruiser




AG Weser, Bremen


7.741.000 Mark


November 4th, 1911


December 10th, 1912


1944 sunk in front of the submarine bunker in Lorient as torpedo protection


138,7 meters


13,5 meters


Max. 5,1 meters


Max. 5.587 Tons


354 Men


16 Marine Boiler
3 set steam turbines


35.515 PS (26.121 kW)

Maximum speed:  

28,2 kn (52 km/h)


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

2 × Torpedo tube ⌀ 50,0 cm (5 shots)

120 mines

from 1916:

7 × Rapid Fire Gun 15,0 cm L / 45 (980 shots)

2 × Anti-aircraft guns 8,8 cm L / 45

2 × Torpedo tube ⌀ 50,0 cm (5 shots)

120 mines


Belt: 18-60 mm
Deck: 20-60 mm
Collision bulkhead: 40 mm
Sole: 20 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.

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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.

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.

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