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.
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
|Dimensions||111,1 x 13,3 x 5,61 m|
|Displacement||3757t – 4600t FL|
|Propulsion||2 shaft TE engines, ? boilers, 11.750 hp|
|Speed||23 knots top speed|
|Range||450 nmi@ 12 knots|
|Armament||10 x 105mm, 10 MGs, 2x 500 mm TT Sub, 80 mines|