Königsberg class light cruisers

The Königsberg class light cruisers were enlarged versions of the Bremen class cruisers, themselves based on the Gazelle class, considered to be the first modern light cruisers. The main visible distance was the replacement of the ram bow on the Bremen class cruisers with a more vertical bow.

The Königsberg class cruisers shared the same main armament layout as their predecessors. Two 4.1in guns were carried on the poop deck, two on the forecastle and three spread along each side. Their secondary armament was upgraded from the machineguns used on the Bremen class to 2in guns.

Three of the class were powered by triple expansion engines, but Stettinwas powered by two Parsons turbines. As expected this increased her top speed by one knot, giving her a top speed in trials of 25.2kts. 

The First World War careers of the four Königsberg class cruisers were very varied, and reflected the wide range of duties expected of German light cruisers.

Nürnberg started the war with the East Asian squadron, under Admiral von Spee, was present at the battle of Coronel, and was sunk during the battle of the Falklands.

Königsberg was stationed at Dar-es-Salaam at the start of the war. In October 1914 she was blockaded in the shallow Rufiji delta, forcing the British to keep a sizable squadron off the mouth of the estuary until July 1915. Eventually the British managed to get some shallow draft monitors to East Africa, and after a brief bombardment she was scuttled by her crew.

Stuttgart and Stettin both served with the High Seas Fleet. Stuttgard was then converted into a seaplane carrier, while Stettin served with the submarine school. They both survived the war, were turned over to the British and soon scrapped.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

23kts design
Königsberg: 24.1kts
Nürnberg: 23.4kts
Stuttgart: 24kts
Stettin: 25.2kts



Armour – deck


 - conning tower


 - gunshields



383ft 2in


Ten 4.1in guns
Eight 2in quick firing guns
Two 17.7in submerged torpedo tubes

Crew complement






Ships in class

SMS Königsberg
SMS Nürnberg
SMS Stuttgart
SMS Stettin

The Kaiser’s Cruisers 1871-1918, Aidan Dodson and Dirk Nottelmann. Looks at the small cruisers that served in the navy of Imperial Germany, from its formation in the 1870s to the aftermath of the First World War, a period that saw the last sail powered cruisers replaced by recognisably modern steam powered turret armed warships after a prolonged period of debate, and Tirpitz come to dominate the Navy with the support of Wilhelm II. Splits the design process and service records into separate sections, so we can trace the development of the cruiser and then get a good overview of how the type performed in combat (Read Full Review)
cover cover cover

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (25 September 2007), Königsberg class light cruisers , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_konigsberg_class_cruisers.html

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