Königsberg (ii) class light cruisers

The second Königsberg class light cruisers were from the last pre-war German naval programme. As was customary, they were expanded versions of the previous Wiesbaden class, but were otherwise very similar to the previous class, carrying the same armament and armour, and capable of a similar speed. 

They were named after four of the commerce raiders lost in 1914 (two of which had been from the original Königsberg class), but had rather less interesting wartime careers than their predecessors. Laid down in 1914-1915, the first of them did not enter service until August 1916.

Königsberg and Nürnberg were present at the action in Heligoland Bight of 17 November 1917. Königsberg was the flagship of Rear-Admiral Ludwig von Reuter, whose force of four light cruisers was protecting a flotilla of mine sweepers, searching for any new British mines outside the existing minefields. His force escaped from a powerful British squadron, but Königsberg was struck by one shell, which went through all three of her funnels before penetrating a coal bunker, causing a serious fire. Almost exactly one year later, on 15-16 November 1918 the Königsberg carried Admiral Meurer to Rosyth to receive the terms of the naval armistice.

Emden, Nürnberg and Karlsruhe were amongst the German ships interned at Scapa Flow. On 21 June 1919 all three were scuttled by their crews, but only Karlsruhewas successfully sunk. Emden and Nürnberg were both beached. Emden was then given to France, where she served as an explosive trials unit, while Nürnberg remained in Britian, and was used as a gunnery target. Königsberg went to France, where she was renamed Metz and survived until 1937.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed


Armour – deck


 - belt


 - conning tower


 - gunshields


 - collision bulkhead



496ft 9in

Armaments as built

Eight 5.8in guns
Two 88mm/ 3.45in Flak anti-aircraft guns
Four 19.7in submerged torpedo tubes
120 mines

Crew complement






Ships in class

SMS Königsberg (ii)
SMS Karlsruhe (ii)
SMS Emden (ii)
SMS Nürnberg (ii)

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 September 2007), Königsberg (ii) class light cruisers , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_konigsbergII_class_cruisers.html

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