Small cruiser SMS Straßburg

The small cruiser SMS Straßburg 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 Straßburg survived the First World War and was subsequently used by the Italian 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 support 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 Straßburg, 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 SMS Straßburg took place on 24 August 1911, the commissioning on 9 October 1912.




History of SMS Straßburg:

After commissioning the usual test drives were made. After graduation, the ship was assigned to the Association of Reconnaissance ships to replace the outdated small cruiser SMS Berlin.

Already on January 6, 1913, there was a collision with a Danish freighter in the newly opened Kaiser Wilhelm Canal, so that the ship had until 23 February 1913 for repair in the yard.

Until early December 1913, the Strasbourg was assigned to the Mediterranean Division, where the ship made some trips abroad. On December 8, then took place together with the liners SMS Kaiser and SMS König Albert the crossing to South America. There, the ship remained until July 20, 1914, to drive from Saint Thomas (Caribbean) back to the German Empire, as due to the murder of the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne increased diplomatic tensions in Europe.


Small cruiser SMS Straßburg

Small cruiser SMS Straßburg


SMS Straßburg in March 1914 in the port of Buenos Aires




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, the SMS Straßburg was initially assigned to the II. Aufklärungsgruppe and stationed at Helgoland. There, the ship also took part in the first Helgoland battle on August 28, 1914, where it received 1 hit by British cruisers. At the end of the battle, the ship also participated in the rescue of the crew of the sinking small cruiser SMS Ariadne.

Until July 14, 1915, Straßburg still took part in some operations in the North Sea and briefly in the Baltic Sea. Then the ship was until 18 October 1915 in the shipyard, among other things, the 10.5cm guns were replaced by 15cm guns.

From 18 March 1916, the II reconnaissance group was renamed the IV. reconnaissance group and used in the Baltic Sea, where companies in the Gulf of Finland and the occupation of the Baltic Islands were carried out.

On 10 January 1918, Straßburg was relocated to the North Sea and undertook another push into the North Sea on 24 April with the German High Seas Fleet. The battlecruiser SMS Moltke suffered a turbine damage and could not continue driving. Straßburg tried to tow the ship, but tore the tow rope. Only through the liner ship SMS Oldenburg Moltke could be towed, the Straßburg secured the ships.

Until August 1918, there were still some undertakings to mine, until the Straßburg was relocated back to the Baltic Sea and should participate together with her sister ship SMS Stralsund at Operation "Schlußstein" for driving British soldiers from Murmansk. Since this operation was finally no longer performed, the ship returned on October 1, 1918 back to the North Sea.

At the end of the war, the ship entered Stettin on November 11, 1918, where the heavy weapons were removed.




Use in the Italian Navy:

After the weapons were expanded in Stettin, Straßburg went to Kiel. There, the ship was declared on March 24, 1919 the guide ship minesweeper of the Baltic, until it was decommissioned on 4 June 1920.

On 20 July 1920 Straßburg had to be ceded to France as a reparation. These left the ship, however, Italy, which put it in 1925 in the Italian Navy in service and renamed it Taranto.

From May 1926 Taranto served as the flagship of the Italian Navy for the East African coast. There she carried out some activities until August 28, 1936. Subsequently, the ship was modernized, including 2 of the boiler of the drive system were expanded. After the conversion, the ship remained in the Adriatic in the reserve fleet.

During the Second World War, the Taranto was used in the Mediterranean to lay mine locks. In October 1940, she was assigned to the Forza Navale Speciale in Taranto, preparing for the occupation of the Greek island of Corfu. The company was discontinued a little later.





When in September 1943 in Italy the old king Vittorio Emanuele III. with moderate fascists overthrew the Duce and the 3rd Reich was declared war, the Taranto was sunk in the port of La Spezia by the crew itself, so that it does not fall into the hands of the Germans.

The German navy was able to lift the ship, but an Allied bombing raid on 23 October 1943 sunk the ship once again. A further lifting of the ship succeeded also again, by a renewed bomb attack on 23 September 1944 the ship sank then however finally.




Ship data:


SMS Sraßburg

In the Italian Navy: Taranto


German Empire

From 20 July 1920 France

From 1925 Italy

Ship Type:  

Small cruiser




Imperial Shipyard, Wilhelmshaven


7.302.000 Mark


August 24th, 1911


October 9th, 1912


Sunk on 23 October 1943 after an air raid


138,7 meters


13,5 meters


Max. 5,06 meters


Max. 5.281 Tons


354 Men


16 Marine Boiler
2 sets of steam turbines


33.742 PS (24.817 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 1915:

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

2 × Anti-aircraft guns 8,8 cm L / 45

4 × 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.

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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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