SMS Nautilus


After it had become apparent in the Russo-Japanese War that mines had a great potential in the event of a war at sea, the Imperial German Navy decided to build a special mine laying ship. Entering service in 1907, SMS Nautilus and her sister ship SMS Albatross were the first German ships of cruiser size dedicated to mine laying operations. Their initial layout intended them to sail with the High Seas Fleet and, in the event of a retreat, lay mines behind them to discourage pursuers. This was why they were designated as mine laying cruisers, although their weak armament of only eight 8,8cm guns made them vulnerable to other cruisers. Before the war, Nautilus was used as a school ship. Albatross was discovered by Russian forces in the Baltic near Gotland in June 1915 and had to flee into a Swedish port, where she was interned.

Ship data

Relative combat value: 317

Basic damage control capacity: 123%


Displacement: 4570 tons

Length: 96 m

Width: 11 m

Draught: 4 m

Standard crew: 205


Maximum speed (undamaged): 21 knots

Endurance: 6541 km

Coal capacity: 400 tons

Armour protection

Conning tower armour: 0

Hull armour: 0

Main belt armour: 0

Deck armour: 0

Best armour type: none


8 x 8,8cm SK L/35, centrally controlled. Ammo: 1200 rounds

200 mines

Ships in class

  • Nautilus
  • Albatross (interned in Sweden after engagement with Russian cruisers in July 1915)