Bremen class Cruisers (1902)

Germany (1902-04) Bremen, Hamburg, Berlin, Lübeck, München, Leipzig, Dantzig

The Bremen class: Improved Gazelles

After the satisfactory deign of the Gazelle class (IV class, 11 ships 1898-1902) it was decided to repeat the type with many improvements: Larger to house more power, these were designed to be faster and carrying more armament. They were also the first cruiser to bear the names of cities, a standard from this point. Previous Gazelle were indeed named after mythological figures.


Their new powerplant traduced into three funnels instead of two. The other big difference was the deck armour, up to 80 mm with 100 mm slopes against plunging fire. Lübeck on the other hand was the first to test a steam turbine in the German navy. She was the fastest of all on trials. She was fitted with four propeller shafts but this was later altered to two.

Note: This post is a placeholder. There will be a complete overview of the class in the next future, officially released on Facebook and other social networks

Wartime service

SMS Bremen was rebuilt in 1914-1915. She was rearmed with two 150 mm guns on the foredeck and aft. Lübeck, the turbine version, was rearmed he same way in 1916. In her case she was rebuilt with a raked bow, all the other cruisers keeping their pronounced ram bow. Her radius was also 500 nautical miles instead of 450. She could carry 50 mines. SMS Berlin was also equipped as a minelayer and used as such in 1915-1916. SMS Leipzig was sunk in the battle of the Falklands in December 1914 with the rest of Von Spee’s squadron.

Bremen was sunk by a mine in the Baltic and München and Berlin were disarmed in 1916. Together with SMS Dantzig they all surrendered in 1918 as war reparations. They were scrapped quickly. However Hamburg, partially disarmed with only six 105 mm guns, she was rearmed after the war, as was Berlin (8 x105 mm, 2x 500 mm TTs) while the latter received a raked bow. She served as training ship and was scuttled in 1947 while Hamburg was bombed by allied aviation in 1944 and salvaged and BU after the war.

SMS Bremen Illustration in 1914.

Bremen class specifications

Dimensions111,1 x 13,3 x 5,61 m
Displacement 3757t – 4600t FL
Propulsion2 shaft TE engines, ? boilers, 11.750 hp
Speed23 knots top speed
Range450 [email protected] 12 knots
Armament10 x 105mm, 10 MGs, 2x 500 mm TT Sub, 80 mines

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2 Replies to “Bremen class Cruisers (1902)”

  1. Article states: “Leipzig was sunk in the battle of the Falklands with Admiral Cradock’s fleet in December 1914 by Cornwall and Glasgow.” This is not correct. The article conflates two separate battles.

    Admiral Cradock was killed and went down with his ship HMS Good Hope in the Battle of Coronel on Nov. 1, 1914. HMS Monmouth was also sunk. The victor was Adm. Graf von Spee’s East Asia Squadron.

    In retaliation, the Royal Navy’s presence in South American waters was increased when Adm. John Fisher, who had been recalled to duty the day before the battle, dispatched two battle cruisers under the command of Adm. Sturdee.

    On Dec. 8, Sturdee’s squadron was in port at Port Stanley, Falklands, Adm. Spee’ squadron was spotted approaching. Sturdee’s group quickly got underway and pursued the German Squadron. The ensuing battle is known as the Battle of the Falklands (Dec. 8, 1914). Adm. Spee was killed and his entire squadron, including SMS Leipzig was sunk. Only SMS Dresden escaped.

    HMS Dresden eluded Royal Navy’s efforts until March 1915, when she was trapped and scuttled.

    1. Hello William, thanks for spotting it, i updated and precised the event (which was correctly covered in the dedicated post of the battle of the Falklands by the way).
      As precised at the beginning this post is an old translation so perhaps some info was mingled up. It is meant to be completely rewritten and republished officially.

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