The Kaiserliche Marine oldest veteran
SMS Hela was surely the oldest active German cruiser in service when the war broke out in August 1914.
The SMS Hela was originally classified as “aviso”. In reality, by its tonnage and speed, it was comparable to a light cruiser and was named as such afterwards. Started in Weser (Bremen) in 1893 on the basis of the enlarged Jagd class (1887), it was also more powerful and fast, armored (25 mm bridge) but armed in a lighter way (Les Jagd had 3 pieces of 105 mm). He retained, however, the appearance.
From the beginning of his service, he was considered very marine. He served overseas, frequently escorting the imperial yacht Hohenzollern. He participated actively in the boxer war in China in 1900, and then exercises with the Hochseeflotte. He was assigned as a training ship specialized in the training of light artillery gunners.
But he knew about the recurring problems of boilers. Between 1903 and 1906 he was taken back in hand for a total reconstruction. In 1910, it emerged with two chimneys, new superstructures, and two pieces of 88 mm rear less, as a mothership. He suffered a collision with the torpedo S121, and in 1914 was assigned to the IV group of reconnasis as patrol. He was torpedoed the English submarine E9 en route between Wilhelmshaven and Helgoland on 13 September 1914 and sank slowly (25 minutes) allowing all his crew to evacuate.
Displacement: 2082 t – 2200 t FL
Dimensions: 104.6 x 11 x 4.6 m
Propulsion: 2 shaft TE steam engine fed by 4 standard boilers, 6000 hp. 20 knots max.
Armament: 2 x 88, 6 x 50 mm, 3 x 450 mm TTs.
Illustration of the Hela in 1914 awaited