Victoria Louise class heavy cruisers

The five ships of the Victoria Louise class were the only protected cruisers to serve with the German fleet during the First World War. As protected cruisers they had an armoured deck amidships, protecting the most vulnerable parts of the ship.

Despite undergoing an extensive refit (1905-1911, including a change of boilers and a change to the armament) the class was at best obsolescent at the start of the war. They were mobilised to form the 5th Scouting Group of the training cruiser division, and served in the Baltic during 1914. At the end of the year they were decommissioned.

Freya was used as a schoolship, with reduced heavy armament (one 140mm and four 105mm guns) but with an increase to fourteen 88mms. The remaining four were used as accommodation ships.

After the war Victoria Luise was sold for use as a merchant ship, and renamed the Flora Sommerfeld, surviving until 1923, by which time the other four ships had already been scrapped.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed


Armour – deck

4in (amidships)

 - turrets



363ft 2in

Armaments as built

Two 210mm/ 8.2in guns
Eight 150mm/ 5.9mm guns
Ten 88/ 3.45in mm guns
Ten machine guns
Three 450mm/ 17.7in torpedo tubes

Armament in 1914

Two 210mm guns
Six 150mm guns
Eleven 88mm guns
Three 450mm torpedo tubes

Crew complement






Ships in class

SMS Victoria Louise
SMS Hertha
SMS Freya
SMS Vineta
SMS Hansa

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (30 September 2007), Victoria Louise class heavy cruisers ,

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