SMS Gazelle


This class of small cruisers was the first to be newly built after a major reclassification of ships in the German Imperial Navy, laying the foundation for the classifications in use until the end of the war. They were actually the first ships to be built under this classification as Small Cruisers, older designations classified them as Small Protected Cruiser (Kleiner Geschützter Kreuzer) or Fourth Class Cruisers (Kreuzer IV. Klasse). Their construction was based on the plans of the Aviso Hela. Built from 1898 onwards and joining the fleet from 1900 to 1904, ten ships were built and widely used for many duties, including foreign patrol and diplomatic representation. They introduced the 10,5cm calibre into the navy, which was still used when the Royal Navy switched their cruisers to 6” guns. Being obsolete at the outbreak of the war, they were mostly used for coastal defence.

Ship data

Relative combat value: 468

Basic damage control capacity: 97%


Displacement: 2916 tons

Length: 105 m

Width: 12 m

Draught: 4 m

Standard crew: 249


Maximum speed (undamaged): 20 knots

Endurance: 9135 km

Coal capacity: 580 tons

Armour protection

Conning tower armour: 4

Hull armour: 0

Main belt armour: 4 (includes backing slope of deck armour)

Deck armour: 2 (sloped at edges to provide additional belt level protection)

Best armour type: Krupp


10 x 10,5cm SK L/40, centrally controlled. Ammo: 1500 rounds

10 x 3,7cm Maxims, centrally controlled. Ammo: 6000 rounds

3 x 45cm C/03 D Torpedoes, centrally controlled. Ammo: 6 torpedoes

Ships in class

  • Gazelle
  • Niobe
  • Nymphe
  • Thetis
  • Ariadne (†, lost in August 1914)
  • Amazone
  • Medusa
  • Frauenlob
  • Arcona
  • Undine (†, lost in November 1915 to British submarine E 19)