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MAGDEBURG light cruisers (1912)


Stralsund 1912


Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Magdeburg   171 Weser, Bremen 1910 13.5.1911 20.8.1912 test ship till 1914, sunk 26.8.1914
Breslau   312 Vulcan, Stettin 1910 16.5.1911 10.5.1912 to Turkey 8.1914 (Midilli)
Strassburg   32 KW Wilhelmshaven 1910 24.8.1911 9.10.1912 discarded 3.1920, to Italy (Taranto)
Stralsund   174 Weser, Bremen 1910 4.11.1911 10.12.1912 discarded 3.1920, to France (Mulhouse)

Technical data

Displacement normal, t

Magdeburg: 4535

Breslau, Strassburg: 4564

Stralsund: 4570

Displacement full, t

Magdeburg: 4570

Breslau, Strassburg: 5281

Stralsund: 5587

Length, m

138.7 oa 136.0 wl

Breadth, m


Draught, m

Magdeburg: 5.16 deep load

Breslau: 5.73 deep load

Strassburg: 5.06 deep load

Stralsund: 5. deep load

No of shafts

Magdeburg, Stralsund: 3

Breslau: 4

Strassburg: 2


Magdeburg, Stralsund: 3 Bergmann steam turbines, 16 Marine boilers

Breslau: 4 AEG-Vulcan steam turbines, 16 Marine boilers

Strassburg: 2 Marine steam turbines, 16 Marine boilers

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts


Fuel, t

coal 1200 + oil 106

Endurance, nm(kts)


Armour, mm

belt: 60 - 18, deck: 40 - 20, slopes: 60 - 40, glacises: 100, CT: 100, shields: 50


12 x 1 - 105/42 SK L/45 C/11, 2 - 500 TT (beam), 120 mines



Standard scale images

<i>Strassburg</i> 1912
Strassburg 1912


<i>Stralsund </i>1912
Stralsund 1912

Project history

Belonging to the 1908-9 programme, the design of this class shows some important innovations, although these are not obvious at first glance. For the first time a class of light cruisers had an armoured waterline belt consisting of 60mm nickel steel armour reaching about 80 per cent of the length of the hull. To save weight this belt was not bolted on a wooden base - as it was done with the capital ships - but designed as an integral strength member of the hull. The technical problems were very heavy but solved in a manner that became standard practice until recent decades. To save further weight the hull was constructed on a new longitudinal frame system, which took so long to perfect that the design was delayed by 3-4 years. The hull was given entirely new and more hydro dynamically efficient lines. Furthermore a new bow shape improved their seakeeping qualities and kept the forecastle drier. Another new feature was the cut-down quarterdeck, which meant the loss of valuable accommodation, but was necessary in order to provide a mine deck, capable of taking 120 mines. These innovations resulted in a significant increase in battle-worthiness without a substantial increase in displacement. All the above-mentioned features became standard in the subsequent classes of German light cruisers. For comparative purposes, all had different turbine systems, and consequently differed slightly in performance, as follows: Magdeburg 3 shafts, 3 Bergmann turbines, 29,904shp = 27.6kts; Breslau 4 shafts, 2 AEG-Vulcan turbines; 33,482shp = 27.5kts; Strassburg 2 shafts, 2 Navy turbines, 33,742shp = 28.2kts; Slralsund 3 shafts, 3 Bergmann turbines, 35,515shp = 28.2kts.

Ship protection

Main belt was 60mm thick abreast machinery and 18mm at ship ends, it was closed fwd by 40mm bulkhead. 40mm protective deck above machinery was connected with the belt by 60mm slopes, ship ends were protected by 20mm deck with 40mm slopes. CT had 100mm sides and 20mm roof, guns had 50mm shields and 20mm protection of ammunition hoists.


1915, Strassburg: - 12 x 1 - 105/42; + 7 x 1 - 149/42 SK L/45 C/09, 2 x 1 - 88/45 SK L/45 C/13, 2 x 1 - 500 TT

1916, Stralsund: - 12 x 1 - 105/42, 2 - 500 TT; + 7 x 1 - 149/42 SK L/45 C/09, 2 x 1 - 88/45 SK L/45 C/13, 2 x 1 - 500 TT

1917, Stralsund: middle turbine was removed, maximal speed decreased to 27kts.

Naval service

Magdeburg ran aground on Odensholm Island, 26 August 1914, during a minelaying sortie in the Baltic and was destroyed by Russian cruisers. The Russians were able to recover the German codebooks and passed them on to British intelligence. Breslau, with the battlecruiser Goeben, formed the German Mediterranean Squadron, and in 1914 was incorporated as Midilli into the Ottoman Navy, although still manned by her German crew. She made most of her sorties in company with the Yavuz Sultan Selim (ex-Goeben) and sank after striking 5 mines during an action against Imbros Island.

Strassburg served with the Scouting Forces of the High Seas Fleet and was handed over to Italy after the war as reparation, becoming the Taranto. She was scuttled on 9 September 1943 at La Spezia, refloated and finally sunk by bombs 23 September 1944. Stralsund served with the Scouting Force, and was handed over after the war to France, becoming the Mulhouse; she was broken up in 1935 at Brest.