Magdeburg class light cruisers

Magdeburg class light cruisers

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Magdeburg class light cruisers

The Magdeburg class of light cruisers marked a significant break in the continuity of German light cruiser design that could be traced back through five previous classes to the Gazelle class of 1898. All succeeding classes would bear a family resemblance to the Magdeburg class.

The most significant difference was not immediately visible. The Magdeburg class light cruisers were given belt armour 60mm thick running along 80% of their hull, the first German light cruisers to be protected in this way. In earlier cruisers structural strength had come from a wooden base, with the armour plates bolted on top. Here the armour became part of the structure of the ship. This would soon become the standard method of naval construction, reducing the extra weight required to provide belt armour.

The hull was redesigned to make it more efficient, and the slight ram bow (sloping backwards from the waterline) of earlier cruisers was replaced by a slight clipper bow (sloping forward from the waterline), making the forecastle rather drier.

The most obvious visual change was the adoption of a cut-down quarterdeck. The new lower rear deck was used to carry 120 mines.

Each of the four ships carried a different combination of turbines and shafts, producing a range of performance figures. Amongst other things these tests tended to disprove the idea that increasing the number of propeller shafts would make best use of the high rotation speed of the turbine. In each case there was a significant increase in speed from the earlier cruisers.




Shaft Horse Power






















When built the four Madgeburg class ships carried their main 4.1in guns in the same arrangement as on earlier cruisers, two on the forecastle, two on the quarterdeck and four down each side.

Strassburg and Stralsund had their armament changed in 1915-1916. The 4.1in guns were replaced by seven 5.9in guns, two on each side, one of the forecastle, one of the quarterdeck and one on the mine deck. Two 3.45in (88mm) Flak anti-aircraft guns were carried behind the rearmost funnel and two extra 19.7in torpedo tubes were added, mounted on the decks.

Breslau (by then renamed Midilli) was given two 5.9in guns in 1916, then in the following year the remaining 4.1in guns were replaced by six more 5.9in guns.

SMS Breslau became one of the most famous cruisers of the First World War when at the start of the war she slipped past British and French ships and made her way to Turkey, where with the battlecruiser Goeben she was given to the Turks. There she was renamed the Midilli, and still with her German crew fought in the Black Sea until the start of 1918, when she emerged back into the Mediterranean and was sunk by British mines.

SMS Magdeburg played an important role in the war in a different way. On 26 August 1914 she ran aground in the Baltic and was sunk by Russian cruisers. Her codebooks were retrieved and passed on to British naval intelligence, playing an important part in the breaking of the codes.

Strassburg and Stralsund had more conventional careers, serving with the Scouting Forces of the High Seas Fleet. At the end of the war Strassburg was given to Italy, where she was renamed the Taranto, surviving into the Second World War. In 1944 she was sunk by bombing. Stralsund went to France, where she was renamed Mulhouse. She was broken up in 1935.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed


Armour – deck


- belt


- conning tower


- gunshields


- collision bulkhead




Armaments as built

Twelve 4.1in guns
Two 19.7in submerged torpedo tubes (beam)
120 mines

Crew complement






Ships in class

SMS Magdeburg
SMS Breslau
SMS Strassburg
SMS Stralsund

Books on the First World War |Subject Index: First World War

The Wreck of the Magdeburg

A four-stacker, the Magdeburg was what the Germans called a small cruiser, different from the larger light cruisers. She was new (three years old), well-armed (12 fast-firing, 4-inch guns), fast (27.6 knots)–and unlucky. Her acceptance test had not gone well. Her commissioning had been delayed several months. She had never participated, as was intended, in the autumn 1912 naval maneuvers. Some equipment was still not in order when she was declared “ready for war” and when the ancient city of Magdeburg, for which she was named, sponsored her in two days of festivities. One of her turbines gave trouble. And unlike her sister ships, which got assignments suitable for cruisers, the Magdeburg merely fired test torpedoes.

The Magdeburg was part of Germany’s Baltic Fleet. When war with Russia, France, and England broke out in August 1914, she dropped her test assignment and undertook more typical cruiser tasks. These were directed against the Russians, whose empire included Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania–the countries bordering the eastern Baltic. In her first operation, the Magdeburg and another small cruiser, the Augsburg, arrived off Liepaja, Latvia’s naval port, to lay mines. They gained an unexpected success: The Russians, thinking the appearance of the two ships portended a major fleet operation, blew up their own ammunition and coal dumps and scuttled ships in the harbor entrances. In the two ships’ second and third operations, they shot up some lighthouses and a signal station and laid a minefield not far from the mouth of the eastern arm of the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Finland, at whose farther end lay the Russian capital, St. Petersburg.

A few days later, on August 23, the commander of a new flotilla ordered his vessels, which included the two cruisers, to assemble for an operation. The Magdeburg, in Danzig, then a German port, went first to Memel, at the extreme east of Prussia, for some gunnery exercises to reassure the population, nervous because the Russian border was not far from the city limits. The next afternoon the warship set out for the rendezvous. She joined the Augsburg, three torpedo boats, a submarine, and three other warships early on the 25th off Hoburgen lighthouse on the southern tip of the Swedish island of Got­ land. There, the officers were told of the plan: The ships were to slip by night behind a Russian minefield believed to protect the entrance of the Gulf of Finland, and attack whatever Russian ships they found.

At 8:30 A.M. that same day, the flotilla set out, moving to the northeast at the fairly high speed of 20 knots. The sailors aboard the Magdeburg, who suspected the presence of enemy armored cruisers, thought the assignment would prove to be just a suicide mission.

By 5 P.M., in a calm sea, the air misty, the navigational plots of the Magdeburg and the Augsburg differed by a mile. But this raised no concern, since the Magdeburg was to follow the flagship Augsburg by half a mile: If the Augsburg struck a mine, the Magdeburg had time to avoid hitting any herself.

Soon, however, fog–common in those waters in summer–rolled in. By 9 P.M. it was so thick that even with binoculars an officer on the bridge of the Magdeburg could not see the lookout on the stern. At 11 P.M. the Augsburg, intending to run along the supposed Russian minefield before swinging east to enter the Gulf of Finland, turned onto a course south-southeast 1/2 point east (151 degrees, 32 minutes, 30 seconds) and ordered the Magdeburg to do the same. She did so, maintaining the same 230 engine revolutions per minute, or about 15 knots, that had kept her at the proper distance from the Augsburg during the afternoon. But she was a mile farther south than her plot showed her to be.

Her captain, Lieutenant Commander Richard Habenicht, had soundings taken. These showed the depth decreasing: 190 feet, 141 feet, and, at 12:30 A.M., now August 26, 112 feet. At the same time the radio shack reported that a message from the Augsburg was coming in four minutes later it was decoded and on the bridge. It ordered that her course be altered to east-northeast 1/2 point east (73 degrees, 7 minutes, 30 seconds). The helms­ man turned the rudder 20 degrees, and at 12:37, just as he reported that the new course was being steered, still at 15 knots, the luckless vessel hit something. She bumped five or six times and, shuddering, stopped. The cruiser had run aground. As a consequence of her earlier navigational error, she had struck shallows 400 yards off the northwestern tip of Odensholm, a low, narrow island two and 1/2 miles long at the entrance to the Gulf of Finland.

At once, Habenicht sought to get his ship off. He reversed engines. The ship stayed stuck. He rocked her with various engine speeds. He assembled the entire 337-man crew on the quarterdeck to push the Magdeburg‘s stern down and her bow up and then went full speed astern. He had the crew carry munitions aft. The ship didn’t budge. Soundings showed that at the bow, where the Magdeburg normally drew 16 and 1/2 feet, the water to starboard was only nine feet deep at the stern, with normal draft just under 20 feet, the depth was 13 feet. The vessel needed to rise seven feet.

Habenicht jettisoned the anchors and their chains. He had the drinking and washing water pumped out. Ash ejectors flung coal into the sea. All but 60 boxes of munitions were dumped over the side. All movable steel parts­ the mine–laying rails, bulkhead doors, doors on the forward turrets, steel cables, coaling equipment–were pushed overboard. Habenicht then ran the engines forward and backward at various speeds. The Magdeburg moved not an inch.

The Germans’ efforts were spurred by the likelihood that the officials on Odensholm, which was Russian territory with a lighthouse and a signal station, had alerted superiors at the major Russian port of Tallinn, only 50 miles away. Habenicht worried that the cruiser’s secret documents might fall into Russian hands. In addition to the charts of German minefields and the ship’s war diary, these included the main Imperial German Navy code and the key used to encipher its code words and thus to provide another layer of secrecy.

Lieutenant Walther Bender, who as first radio officer was in charge of destroying these documents, brought one of the codebooks and its cipher key from the steering room to the stokehold and burned it. Sailors did the same for other secret documents. But two codebooks–one on the bridge and one in the radio shack–as well as a cipher key were retained for possible use in communicating with rescuers and higher commands. A fourth lay hidden and apparently forgotten in a locker in Habenicht’s cabin.

As dawn approached, the seabed and the stones on which the ship was lying became visible. At 8:30, with the fog lifting, the fast and powerful torpedo boat V-26 appeared, attached a line, and tried to pull the Magdeburg off. She failed. Habenicht decided he might as well do some damage and fired about 120 shots at the lighthouse, chipping it, and at the signal station, setting it ablaze. By then the radio shack was picking up many signals from Russian ships apparently they were on their way. Since all attempts to free the Magdeburg had failed, Habenicht regretfully concluded he had to blow her up rather than let her fall into enemy hands.

Charges were set fore and aft. The crew was to get off the ship and onto the V-26, which was to come alongside. But suddenly a shout rang through the ship: “The fuses are lit!” Habenicht had not ordered this it had been done by mistake. The vessel would blow up in only four and a half minutes.

In the midst of the tumult that ensued, Bender directed the second radio officer, Lieutenant Olff, to have the codebook and cipher key from the radio shack taken off the ship and onto the V-26. On Olff’s instructions, Radioman Second Class Neuhaus grabbed the codebook and Radioman Third Class Kiehnert the cipher-key papers. The bridge’s codebook was in the hands of Radioman Second Class Szillat. The first officer, unable to find Habenicht as the seconds ticked away, ordered the crew to the afterdeck, where the V-26 was to pick them up. He called for three cheers for the kaiser, had the two ships’ boats lowered, and commanded, “All hands abandon ship!”

Upon hearing this, Szillat flung the codebook he was carrying over the side, toward the stern. It splashed into what he said was a “dark” place about 15 feet from the ship and immediately sank. Then he leaped overboard. Kiehnert, too, jumped into the water, holding the radio shack’s cipher key. He was struck by men following him, and when he came to the surface, he noticed that he had lost the key.

At 9:10 the forward charge detonated. It split the vessel in half, tore open the forepart from near the bow to the second smokestack, and hurled huge pieces of steel into the air. They rained down upon scores of men who were trying to swim to the V-26. Neuhaus, carrying the radio shack’s code, had been seen in the water before the explosion but was missing for a while later no one knew what had happened to the codebook.

The V-26 picked up many of the swimming men, including Szillat and Kiehnert. Fear of being destroyed in the explosion of the Magdeburg‘s after charge–which never fired–kept the torpedo boat from coming near enough to rescue the men still aboard. Meanwhile Russian ships, closing, began to fire at the speedy vessel. One shell swept eight men overboard another smashed into her starboard side, destroying the officers’ wardroom and killing all who were in it, mainly wounded men from the Magdeburg. But the V-26 got away.

Habenicht, who had appeared briefly on the bridge when he heard the cheers for the kaiser and then vanished again into the bowels of his cruiser, did not abandon ship but awaited his fate on it, together with a few others. Bender and a few dozen sailors, among them Neuhaus, swam to Odensholm, where they were taken prisoner. One of the Russian ships, the torpedo boat Lejtenant Burakov, sent a boat with armed men, led by her first officer, Lieutenant Galibin, to the Magdeburg. The crew members still on board offered no resistance and were taken prisoner. Habenicht, whom Galibin thought “a true gentleman,” offered the Russian his dagger, which Galibin chivalrously declined. The Germans were rowed from both the ship and the island to one of the Russian cruisers and later sent to a prisoner-of-war camp in Siberia.

Galibin lowered the black-white-and-red German naval war flag and raised the white czarist flag with its light blue cross of diagonals. Then, revolver in hand, he searched the wreck of the Magdeburg. He found a locker in Habenicht’s cabin and broke it open. Hidden deep within it was the German codebook, forgotten in the excitement of the catastrophe. Galibin removed it, together with other documents, and had it transferred to the Lejtenant Burakov. The Allies thus came into possession of the key cryptographic secret of the Imperial German Navy–the one that gave them access to many others.

Knowing that possession of the German code books and its cipher keys would be enormously helpful to Britain’s Royal Navy, the Russians loyally notified their allies of the find and said they would give them the documents if the British would send a small warship to escort the officers accompanying the documents to Britain. The Russians courteously set aside for the British the original code, which bore serial number 151, making a copy of it for themselves.

The task of bringing Codebook 151 to England was assigned to two naval captains, Kedrov and Smirnow, and to another naval officer, Count Constantine Benckendorff. A cosmopolitan, moustachioed combat veteran of the Russo-Japanese War, Benckendorff was the son of the ambassador to Great Britain and had served a year as a cipher clerk in the London embassy. He was on watch on the battleship Poltava in the Tallinn roadstead, pacing the quarterdeck and listening to the sailors’ choir chanting the Russian Orthodox mass on a Sunday morning in September, when a yeoman handed him an order to report to the flag captain. On the flagship, he was “amazed and delighted” to be told he would be going to London.

He was given the precious codebook in St. Petersburg. It was in a satchel with a large piece of lead sewn in to make it sink in case he had to throw it overboard. He took the satchel to Arkhangelsk, where he boarded a Russian volunteer fleet steamer. The vessel was to meet the British escort, the aging cruiser HMS Theseus, at Aleksandrovsk (now Polyarny), a port near Murmansk, whence it had arrived early in September from Scapa Flow, the deep, circular, islands-sheltered bay in the Orkneys just north of Scotland.

Owing to the time needed for copying the codebook and to bureaucratic delays and misunderstandings, the Theseus and the steamer did not sail until September 30. After an uneventful crossing over the top of Norway, punctuated only by a few vague U-boat alarms, the Theseus arrived in Scapa Flow on October 10 the Russian steamer, with Benckendorff aboard, went on alone to Hull, arriving there a couple of days later.

After a slow night-train ride, Benckendorff reached the Russian embassy at dawn. He greeted his parents, then routed out the naval attache, and the two went, early on the morning of October 13, to the Admiralty. There, in a moment heavy with history, they handed Winston Churchill, the first lord of the Admiralty, a gift more precious than a dozen jewel-encrusted Faberge eggs: the big, fat, blue-bound Signalbuch der Kaiserlichen Marine.

It went at once to the fledgling group of codebreakers set up at the outbreak of war by the director of naval education, Sir Alfred Ewing, an engineer who had long been interested in ciphers. A short, thickset Scot, given to wearing mauve shirts with white wing collars, he was a good friend of the director of naval intelligence, who had asked him to see what he could do with the encoded German radio messages being intercepted by British stations. Ewing had gathered some instructors in German from the Royal Naval Colleges, sat them around a desk in his cramped office, and, with them, examined the intercep. But though they classified the messages into different kinds based on their appearance and addressees, they had not been able to read any of them.

Now, two months later, the German naval codebook landed on their desk. It contained hundreds of pages of columns of five-digit groups and three-letter groups standing opposite the German words they were to replace. For example, 63940 or OAX were the secret substitutes for Oktober. The encoder looked up each word of his message in the codebook as in a dictionary and replaced it with the five-digit code number or more, usually the three-­letter code word next to it. The succession of these code numbers or code words formed the secret message, or cryptogram. But British attempts to decipher the intercepts by this simple method still did not work. Some code words could not be found in the codebook, and those that could produce gibberish.

Gradually the British discovered that the letters of the code words had also been disguised. Other letters replaced them, so that the codebook’s OAX might become the transmitted JVM. By early November the British had worked out the letter substitutes and were able to read many German naval messages.

Among the first were some that dealt with a possible ambush. The German naval commander, encouraged by the success of a bombardment and mine-laying off the British port of Yarmouth, which some Britons feared presaged an invasion, decided to repeat the action with two ports in northern England, Scarborough and Hartlepool. He hoped to lure some British battle cruisers into the arms of his full High Seas Fleet, destroy them, and thus regain at least near-parity with British naval forces. On December 14, 1914, his scouting-force commander, Vice Admiral Franz von Hipper, wired a request for extensive aerial reconnaissance to the north, northwest, and west on the next two days. He added that German forces would sail from their roundish harbor in the estuary of the Jade River at Wilhelmshaven at 3:30 A.M.

The British intercepted and deciphered the message. It went to retired admiral Sir Arthur Wilson, a former first sea lord (equivalent to a U.S. chief of naval operations) who had returned as Churchill’s adviser on intelligence and other matters. At 7 P.M. on the 14th, he brought it to Churchill, who summoned the first sea lord and the chief of staff. What did it mean? It specified no objective, but Wilson said that it probably indicated a movement of the German battle cruisers against English coasts and that the High Seas Fleet as a whole seemed not to be involved. The others agreed with his conclusions, though they acknowledged that hypotheses were needed to bridge the gaps in the evidence.

Within hours the Admiralty ordered units of the British fleet to proceed at once to a “point where they can intercept the enemy on his return.” But thinking the German battleships were staying in port, the Admiralty refused to let more than a single squadron of British battleships sail from their home base of Scapa Flow. The commander of the British Grand Fleet, Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, chose the perfect intercept point: on an almost direct line between Scarborough and the German island fortress of Heligoland off Wilhelmshaven.

The Germans sailed at 3 A.M. on December 15, the British soon thereafter. By the morning of the 16th, the Germans were bombarding Hartlepool and Scarborough. Churchill, notified in his bath at 8:30, hopped out, put his clothes on over a damp body, and hurried downstairs to the War Room. The admirals assembled there were confident of their dispositions, but they knew that weather in the wintry North Sea could shut down visibility, and thus the possibility of contact, within minutes. What they did not know was that, despite their assumptions, the whole High Seas Fleet had sailed. If it met with the reduced force of British ships, it could destroy the British squadrons and regain the equivalence in forces that could change the course of the naval war.

Indeed, in the predawn blackness of December 16, one of the German destroyers ran into the British advance screen. The contact created the very situation that the Germans had sought since the start of the war. But the German commander did not recognize it. Believing himself to be confronted by the whole of Britain’s Grand Fleet, and mindful of the kaiser’s fears about losing the navy, he turned for home. He thus lost the greatest opportunity the German navy was ever to have.

Meanwhile, Hipper’s forces were likewise racing for home after the bombardment. British intelligence had placed their ships so precisely in Hipper’s path that at 10:30 A.M. the light cruiser Southampton spotted them. But fog and rain were reducing visibility, and before either the Southampton or the heavier British forces could attack, Hipper’s ships escaped behind the veils of mist, reaching home safely.

The British were angry and disappointed. Not only had the navy failed to defend Britain’s coast, it had failed to sink any Germans. Their anger was compounded by frustration. Churchill later said that he had to bear in silence the censures of our countrymen. We could never admit for fear of compromising our secret information where our squadrons were, or how near the German raiding cruisers had been to their destruction. One comfort we had, the indications upon which we had acted had been confirmed by events.

Similar indications came the next month. Wilson strode into Churchill’s office around noon on January 23, 1915, and said, “First Lord, those fellows are coming out again.”

“Tonight. We have just time to get Beatty there,” he said, referring to Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty, commander of the battle cruisers. Wilson explained that the codebreakers had read a message sent at 10:25 that morning to Hipper, ordering a reconnaissance of the Dogger Bank, a sandy shallows in the North Sea about 60 miles east of Britain.

Britain elected to use the same tactics as before, and units under Beatty sailed to block the German homeward trip. This time they were luckier. Contact was made at 7:30 A.M. on January 24 at a point on the Dagger Bank. When Hipper saw the numerous English forces, he followed directives, col­lected his ships, and ran. The British, in their faster, super dreadnought-class battleships, gave chase. By 9 A.M., the Lion, carrying Beatty, opened fire at 20,000 yards (11 miles). The action soon became general between the four British and four German capital ships. The Blücher was sunk and the Seydlitz and Derfflinger heavily damaged. Confusion in the British squadron after a shell crippled the flagship permitted the German ships to escape. Nevertheless, the Germans staggered into port, flames leaping above their funnels, their decks encumbered with wreckage and crowded with the wounded and the dead. The German ships did not stir out of port again for more than a year.

The codebreakers had by this time expanded slightly and taken up the quarters in the Admiralty’s Old Building that soon gave them their unofficial name: “Room 40, O.B.” The Battle of the Dogger Bank earned them the confidence of the Admiralty, and shortly afterward the terrifying Lord John (“Jackie”) Fisher, the builder of the dreadnought fleet who had just returned as first sea lord, gave Ewing carte blanche to get whatever he needed for the betterment of his work. Ewing augmented his staff, added to his intercept and radio direction-finding stations, and improved their equipment.

But some of Room 40’s effectiveness was lost due to excessively tight control by the director of the operations division, Captain Thomas Jackson. Boorish and self-opinionated, Jackson distrusted civilians’ ability to deal with naval affairs and was unpleasant to them. He hardly visited Room 40 at all, and on one of those occasions came only to complain that he had cut his hand on one of the red boxes in which the intercepts were circulated. Another time, when a change of cipher key temporarily interrupted the flow of solutions, he called to express his relief that he would not be further bothered by such nonsense. This attitude was to have grave effects.

In the late spring of 1916, the new commander of the German High Seas Fleet, Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer, was chafing at his inactivity. He decided to try to repeat, with a variation, some of the tactics that sought to bring parity between his fleet and his enemy’s. He would attempt to entice the British Grand Fleet to where his submarines could attack it and his High Seas Fleet fall upon a section of it without risking a general engagement.

His orders, however, lay at the mercy of British radio intelligence. Crypt­ analysis was part of this another was radio direction-finding. In this, radio stations take bearings on the emissions of a transmitter from two or more points a control center plots these bearings on a map, and the transmitter is located where they cross. Successive plottings can determine the movement of a transmitter, its direction and speed.

It seems to have been such intelligence that led the Admiralty to inform its forces at 5 P.M., May 30, 1916, that the High Seas Fleet was apparently about to put out to sea. At this news, virtually the entire Grand Fleet, that mighty armored pride of England, built up steam and sallied forth majestically from Scapa Flow, Invergordon, and Rosyth. It sought a major fleet action that would give England the undisputed control of the seas on which her strategy in the war so heavily depended.

There then occurred one of those trifling errors on which history so often turns. On sailing, Scheer had transferred the call sign DK of his flagship Fried­ rich der Grosse to the naval center at Wilhelmshaven in an attempt to conceal his departure. Room 40 was aware of this procedure, but it was the insufferable operations director, Captain Jackson, who came in on May 31 to ask where call sign DK was. He was not the sort of person to whom one offered unsolicited advice, so he was merely told, “In the Jade River.”

Jackson passed along this message, and the Admiralty thereupon radioed Jellicoe that directional wireless placed the enemy flagship in the harbor at 11:10 A.M. Three hours later, with Jellicoe believing that the Germans were still in port, the two fleets made contact in the middle of the North Sea.

This rather shook Jellicoe’s faith in Admiralty intelligence. It was further jolted when he plotted the position of the German cruiser Regensburg as given by the Admiralty report and found that it appeared to be in almost the very same spot as he himself then was! At the time no one knew that the Regensburg navigator had made an error of ten miles in his reckoning and that blame for the absurd result lay with the German officer, not with the cryptanalysts of Room 40 reading the German report of the ship’s position.

After the brief flurries of action, damaging but inconclusive and unsatisfactory to both sides, that constituted the Battle of Jutland, Scheer at 9:14 P.M. ordered: “Our own main body is to proceed in. Maintain course SSE 1/4 E speed 16 knots.” At 9:46 he altered it slightly to south-southeast 3/4 point east. Both messages were decoded with almost unbelievable alacrity by Room 40, and by 10:41 a summary of them had been received aboard the flagship.

But Jellicoe had had enough of Admiralty intelligence. Furthermore, the summary had omitted Scheer‘s 9:06 call for air reconnaissance off the Hom Reefs, which would have confirmed his intentions to head for home, and thus there was nothing to contradict a battle report from the Southampton that suggested a different enemy course. Jellicoe therefore rejected the Admiralty information, which this time was right. As a result, he steered one way, Scheer fled another, and Britain’s hope of a decisive naval victory evaporated in a welter of errors, missed chances, and distrust.

But if Room 40, through no fault of its own, did not enable Britain to win a major naval battle, it did play a critical role in helping her to win the war.

In 1917, Germany on one side and Britain and France on the other were gasping in exhaustion from a war that both had thought would be over-as the kaiser said-“before the leaves fall” in 1914. Germany thought she saw a way to win: Unrestricted submarine warfare would starve the Allies into submission. She recognized that this would probably bring the United States into the conflict against her. But her new foreign minister, Arthur Zimmermann, thought of a way to neutralize this danger. He would distract America by getting Mexico to wage war on her. And he would persuade Mexico to do this with an offer she could not refuse: Upon victory, Mexico would get back the territories she had lost in the Mexican-American War of 1846.

He put his proposal into code and cabled it on January 15 via Sweden to the Western Hemisphere. But the cable touched British soil. The British intercepted the message, and Room 40 deciphered it. The director of naval intelligence, Captain Reginald Hall, whom the American ambassador called a genius (“all other secret service men are amateurs by comparison”), saw that he had a propaganda weapon of the first water. With permission, he gave it to the Americans. President Woodrow Wilson, stunned by the German proposal, gave it to the Associated Press. The story made headlines in papers all over the nation on March 1. The isolationist Midwest, previously unconcerned with the distant poppings of a war in Europe, jerked awake at the thought of a German-officered Mexican army advancing up toward Chicago. Five weeks later President Wilson–who had been reelected just months earlier on the slogan “He kept us out of war”–went up to Capitol Hill to ask Congress to “make the world safe for democracy” by declaring war on Germany. Congress complied. And soon the fresh strength of the young nation was pouring into the factories and trenches of the Allies. The Germans were driven back and back until they had no choice but to surrender. The code­ breakers, who had gotten their start with a codebook recovered from a stricken German warship at the beginning of the war, had played a major role in bringing that war to an end.

POSTSCRIPT: For the 25 anniversary of the Magdeburg‘s stranding, the old battleship Schleswig-Holstein was sent to Poland to commemorate the cruiser’s dead, who were buried in a Danzig cemetery. The ceremonies lasted a day, but the battleship remained moored at the port as tension between Poland and Nazi Germany mounted. At 4:48 A.M. on September 1, 1939, her 11-inch guns roared, shattering and setting ablaze some Polish installations on the Westerplatte, a sandy tongue of land. The shots were the first of World War II.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 1990 issue (Vol. 2, No. 2) of MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History with the headline: The Magdeburg

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The conduct of the Great Crusade required vessels by the thousands, vessels that could not only carry armies and bring apocalyptic destruction to bear, but that could also endure the perilous transit of Warp space and the titanic forces and hardships of the Empyrean and the Deep Void both.

Military vessels were needed to replace losses and meet the ever expanding demands of the expeditionary fleets, the Armada Imperialis and, on a lesser scale, the Rogue Traders and local navies. To satisfy this constant need, a bewildering variety of classes of warship were developed to fulfil an equally bewildering variety of roles.

Light cruisers and heavy cruisers are medium-sized warships, ranging in general terms between 4 and 6 kilometres in length and with an on-board complement of crew ranging into the thousands. They are intended primarily for independent military operations such as raids, outpost assaults, deep-range patrols and search-and-destroy missions, and for use as "workhorse" warships in larger fleets and squadrons.

The difference between the two primary types of cruisers is principally found not in general size (although this may also be the case) but role and specialisation heavy, or armoured cruisers as they are also known, are designed to favour defence and firepower (particularly over-gunned ships for their class may be referred to as battlecruisers).

A noteworthy but relatively uncommon type of Imperial warship, grand cruisers are "pocket battleships" -- something of a halfway house between a battleship and a cruiser in size and firepower.

They were intended principally to be capable of operating on their own rather than as part of a larger fleet, however, and are often further specially designed either for range (which was to say duration of deployment without significant resupply or refit) or to mount a specialised weapon system which required particular tactics to utilise.

Grand Cruisers make for formidable heavy raiders and could use their range and speed to catch targets unawares, as well as being powerful flagships for small fleets of cruisers and escorts.

The galleass of war is an equivalent vessel (often much larger physically), much of whose fabric is given over to freight and transport capacity, while still maintaining formidable armaments and defence. They make for ideal support vessels for deep-range explorations into unknown regions of space and as the flagships of the most powerful Rogue Traders Militant.

Light cruisers sacrifice some of the favoured elements of heavy cruisers for greatly increased speed and manoeuvrability. Both however are more than a match for any warship smaller than themselves, and will be the death of any civilian ship it chooses to turn its wrath on.

Just as with battle barges -- but on a smaller scale -- strike cruisers are modified designs used by the original Legiones Astartes and their Successor Chapters, optimised and reconfigured for planetary assault and boarding actions in primacy over other roles.

No cruiser of any type can hope to match a battleship in an open fight on equal terms, and so in any "clash of the line" between fleets, they are used in a supporting role for their side's battleships and battle barges, their role primarily to use their speed to carry out flanking attacks, combine their firepower, and to harry and finish off wounded ships.

Because of the flexibility of their hulls and their relatively smaller scale in comparison to a battleship -- needing far less resources and material to construct as a mighty capital ship -- cruiser-sized hulls are also used for a wide variety of rarer variants and specialised functions.

As a result, minor classes such as siege monitors, attack carriers, pursuit cruisers, arvelasters, torpedo rams, claw-cruisers and shield-barques can all be found in the ancient Armada Imperialis order of battle and as relics in the Chapter fleets and Imperial Navy of the 41st Millennium.

AHC/WI: Stronger IJN light cruiser line

Rearming the ships didn't break the naval treaties. It was done after the Washington & First London Treaties had expired and Japan didn't sign the Second London Treaty.

Their Tone class half-sisters were ordered as light cruisers with 6.1" guns because Japan was subject to the First London Naval Treaty at the time, but the Treaty expired while they were under construction so Japan was able to complete them as heavy cruisers with 8" guns.

If anything the Japanese weren't cheating enough because they were designed to have a standard displacement of 8,500 tons. This was so they could build six ships of this type from the 51,000 tons of light cruisers that the First London Naval Treaty allowed them to build while it was in force.

What the Japanese should have done is build them as ships with a standard displacement of 11,200 tons from the beginning and tell the relevant authorities that their displacement was 8,500 tons. Then they wouldn't have had to rebuild Mogami & Mikuma 1936-38 and modify Suzuya & Kumano while they were building.

The Tone class were also changed because of Japanese recon doctrine which needed lots of cruiser-based floatplanes. If they were just there to be 8" cruisers I don't see why they couldn't have gone with the base Mogami design.

More cheating would help, I agree. What could we fit in that extra displacement?

Kantai Kessen

20% MORE weight of fire on a given target in the same amount of time.

Rapid fire is what the USN 6"/47 Mark 16 could manage at 10 round/min until crew fatigue set in and the rate dropped to as low as 8 rounds/min (on gunnery trials Savannah managed to put 138 rounds onto a target, mainly using single gun intependent fire, in one "mad minute") until the ship fired off its entire magazine. Especially when combined with the fact that the later ships in the Brooklyn class could also engage with four 5"/38 on most targets taken under fire out to 17K yards (at 20 -22 round/min per gun) you do have a saturation scenario. The 15 gun "mad minute for the 6"/47 throw is 19,800 pound compared to the 8"/55 throw of 12,060. In the case of the 6"/47 Mark 16 the smaller gun can put

62% MORE weight on the target.

While throw weight is not everything (larger, heavier AP penetrate much better against a given thickness of plate, all things being equal) it is a decent indicator of how much disruption and at least topside damage (sensors, funnels, secondary and AAA guns/gun crews, etc) is being dealt out. The Japanese 15.5 is simply not up to the task of substantially outperforming the 20cm round.

There is then also the matter of hulls. Cruiser hulls are not cheap, much cheaper than a battleship or carrier of course, but expensive compared to a destroyer or Destroyer Leader. Most IJN light cruisers only carried 14cm (5.5") guns. While not utterly impossible to do, modifying them to carry rapid fire 15.5cm guns would likely be more costly than simply scrapping the hull and starting over. Moreover the basic hull needed to handle twelve-fifteen 15.5cm guns means that the number of IJN cruisers is going to fall by half (assuming the Japanese are. overly optimistic about the actual tonnage of their new hulls, if they are accurate it will be a three old = one new swap under the Treaty tonnage limits). The IJN, and Japan's national, Budget doesn't have that sort of space. Undoubtedly the ABDA fleet would have been happy as hell to face half as many enemy cruisers (Perth and Houston might have gotten out of the Java Sea for a start), but the IJN would be considerably less thrilled.

NavWeaps says the 15.5cm gun could manage theoretically 7 rounds a minute. However Mogami's shell hoists could not supply more than 6 a minute and the powder hoists just 5 a minute, leading to a reduction in the rate of fire.

What I have just thought is that, as @NOMISYRRUC has said, the Japanese could lie even more and build the Mogamis bigger for more powerful machinery for the hoists. Then, with a real RoF of 7 rounds a minute, 15.5cm Mogami can throw 12,936 pounds a minute. That is more than the 20cm Mogami of OTL can do.

As it was the 15.5cm gun was an excellent anti-ship weapon so I think, if this came about, the IJN would be willing not go about the whole heavy cruiser conversion. They could save money on the project and invest it in other things - like more Aganos or building the OTL ones more quickly so that they can fight at Guadalcanal.


The object of more cheating is to avoid the structural and stability faults of the OTL ships by building them with a larger and stronger hulls.

If you use the extra displacement to put a heavier armament and/or more powerful machinery into Mogami and Mikuma's "cardboard" hulls they might capsize or break-in-two before they can be rebuilt.


I think that you are both correct. That is cruisers and sloops had peacetime and wartime roles.

The peacetime role, which (as @CalBear crudely put it) was keeping the locals in line/show the flag. Though, I'd put it as intimidating/deterring the unfriendly locals, assuring the friendly locals and impressing the "don't know" locals. Their wartime role was to protect trade.

Except that as far as I can see what the RN wanted was large cruisers armed with 8" guns to showing the flag in peace & protecting trade in war. Large ships were needed because these roles required a seaworthy hull, long range and good habitability. A heavy armament was needed because it was more impressive in the peacetime role and they might have to fight enemy cruisers with reasonable armour protection and/or armed with 8" guns in war. (For enemy cruisers read Japanese heavy cruisers from the time the County class was designed to the middle of the 1930s and from then on add German panzerschiffen and Hipper class heavy cruisers.)

The smaller light cruisers armed with 6" guns (like the Leanders, Amphions and Arethusas) were designed to work with the fleet. Their job was to scout for the fleet and work with the destroyer flotillas. However, they could be used for trade protection as well and (due to insufficient numbers of larger cruisers) often were.

The wartime role of the sloops was to protect trade by escorting convoys. This was initially on the "Home Station" and in the North Atlantic, but the convoy system had to be extended as the range of the U-boats and shore based aircraft increased.

For most of the interwar period submarines were the main threat. But the air threat was taken more seriously in the second half of the 1930s which accounts for the heavy AA armaments fitted to the later ships and the plan to rearm the the earlier ships with twin 4" gun mountings & an AA fire control. The heavier gun armament made the ships look more assuring/impressive/intimidating to the locals (according to their point of view) in peacetime as well, but I think that was a side effect and not one of the reasons for doing it.

The Royal Navy (or at least the negotiators in 1930) were very specific in their reasoning for light cruisers to be a separate category inside the total cruiser tonnage limits.

What the British REALLY wanted was a maximum tonnage limit on cruisers of 7,000 tons, Japanese were willing to go along with that as long as the tonnage ratio was 10:10:7 (i.e. the 70% that the IJN had calculated as being the necessary figure to fight either of the other major powers and win after subtracting the number of ships the UK & U.S. would need to leave in the Atlantic/Med). U.S. was a hard no, had been for five years, at least, 10,000 tons or we walk. The consequences of that to the British and Japanese treasuries would have been catastrophic, so the upper limit was left at 10K.

That being agreed upon the British then came up with a sub limitation for 8" gun "heavy" cruisers within the cruiser category. Their entire stated reason for this was the need for a large number of smaller cruisers to defend their far flung colonies and the complex web of trade routes involved in the movement of goods across the Empire. As a result the overall 10-10-7 ratio was abandoned within the cruiser category in two distinct ways. First was the tonnage of Heavy Cruisers per country, the eventual LNT allocated the USN 180,000 tons (41.39%) , the IJN 108K tons (24.84%), and the British 146.8K tons (33.76%) thus giving the U.S. a larger percentage of the Heavy Cruisers it more or less demanded. The OVERALL tonnage was also altered from the 5:5:3 where the U.S. and UK should have had identical tonnages to providing the RN with a significant tonnage bump of 16,500 tons (4.79%) over the USN in total cruiser tonnage and with the Japanese formally splitting the difference between 5:3 (60%) and 10:7 (70%) with a 65% of U.S. total tonnage (and a Gentlemen's agreement regarding the commissioning dates of two U.S. cruisers that provided the IJN a de facto 70% until 19333-34 with the next Conference planned for 1935a0.

BTW: "Keeping the locals in line" is far from the really crude way the Colonial Administration and RN referred to the mission.


NavWeaps says the 15.5cm gun could manage theoretically 7 rounds a minute. However Mogami's shell hoists could not supply more than 6 a minute and the powder hoists just 5 a minute, leading to a reduction in the rate of fire.

What I have just thought is that, as @NOMISYRRUC has said, the Japanese could lie even more and build the Mogamis bigger for more powerful machinery for the hoists. Then, with a real RoF of 7 rounds a minute, 15.5cm Mogami can throw 12,936 pounds a minute. That is more than the 20cm Mogami of OTL can do.

As it was the 15.5cm gun was an excellent anti-ship weapon so I think, if this came about, the IJN would be willing not go about the whole heavy cruiser conversion. They could save money on the project and invest it in other things - like more Aganos or building the OTL ones more quickly so that they can fight at Guadalcanal.

Theoritical is the key word in that sentence, followed by the reality that the NEWEST 15.5cm armed cruiser in the fleet couldn't mechanically approach the needs of that level of fire.. Theoretical is often just that, theory, never to be seen in real life. Theoretically the USN 6"/47 Mark 16 could be used as an AA gun, in practice this was quickly realized to be impractical. Even given that (likely unobtainable) 7 round per minute the fraction throw weight advantage of the 15.5cm gun doesn't come close to the advantage of the far heavier, more powerful 20cm gun (and figures for the 20cm gun are real world, not theory) unlike the scenario with the 6"/47 vs the 8"/55 where different is enormous (and where the 6" superheavy AP round provides penetration akin to the 8"/203mm/20cm shell of other fleets).

French protected Cruisers

Here are various “modern” ships, not rigged vessels in service at least for one ship in each class, during the Great War.
Davout (1889)
A smaller (3030 tonnes, 88 x 12 x 6.6 m) two-funneled steam cruiser, she had a pronounced plough style ram bow, and considerable tumblehome. Her military masts were of the same style of the battleships of the time. Armament comprised six masked 6.4 in (162 mm), four 9-pdr, four 3-pdr, 2-1pdr and six broadside TTs above the waterline. The 162 mm guns were placed in sponsons on the main deck and the remainder fore and aft on the forcastles. For the first time, ITE (Inversed triple expansion) steam engines were tried. With 9000 ihp from her 8 Niclausse boilers, the ship reached 20.7 knots and carried 840 tons of coal. Armour was about the same as on the Cecille but lighter: 2.8 in on the CT, 2-4 in on the armoured deck and slopes. She was stricken from service in 110.

Suchet (1893)
Generally similar to the Davout, almost a sister-ship, but with a longer hull at 97 m. She displaced 3362 tons. She had an Horizontal triple expansion engine which developed 9500 ihp thanks to 24 Belleville boilers, but she was slower at 20.4 knots. Armament was reinforced, with four 3.9 in guns (100 mm) instead of the 9-pdr, twice more 3-pdr (47 mm), eight 1-pdr (37 mm) Hotchkiss QF revolver guns, and seven TTs, one submerged and the other above the waterline. Like for the Davout they were gradually retired. The protective deck was 3.4 in thick. Suchet was discarded in 1906.

Forbin class (1888)

Small station cruisers with fine lines and plough bows. They had a length/width ratio of 1:10 (95 x 9 m), were propelled by two shafts HC engines, 6 boilers for 5800 hp, and with displacement of 1,935 tonnes standard, they reached 20.5 knots. They carried 300 tons of coal. Armament was light twoo, only four 5.5 in guns (130 mm), three 3-pdr, four 1-pdr revolver, four 14-in TTs and they could carry 150 mines. These two funneled ships also had two light masts able to carry sloop sails as auxiliaries, but not the Surcouf, apparently fitted with military masts. Their protective deck was limited to 1.6 in thickness with a splinter deck above the machinery space. Surcouf was fitted with a conning tower, and she was also the only one of the three ships, in service during WW1. Coëtlogon was stricken in 1906 and Forbin became a collier in 1913. Forbin’s engines were converted to mixed oil/coal boilers and eight 3-pdr guns were installed.

Troude class (1888)

Generally similar cruisers to the Forbin class, but with three light masts and raked funnels. All three diverged in displacement: Troude 1,994 tonnes, Lalande 1,968 tonnes, Cosmao 1,923 tonnes. Armament was the same but with the two sponsons closer together. Only Troude and Lalande had an armoured CT, with 1-in plating. The four 305 mm TTs were removed in service and the 3-pdr were increased to 10 guns. The only survivor of the class, Cosmao, was built in Gironde arsenal in Bordeaux in 1887, launched in 1889 and completed in 1891. Of light construction, she did barely reached 20 knots, as vibrations hampered artillery precision and observation systems. Operating in the Mediterranean, Cosmao will soon be relegated to secondary duties, before being removed from the lists in 1922.

Alger class cruisers (1891)

The cruiser Jean Bart (cc)

Relatively large two-funneled cruisers with military masts, plough bows and tumblehome. Alger had an overhanging stern, not the Isly and Jean Bart. Laid down in Cherbourg, Brest and Rochefort in 1887, launched in 1889 and 1891 and completed in 1891-93, they carried a heavier armament as before: Four 6.4 in/28 model 1887, six 5.5 in/30, two 9-pdr, eight to twelve 3-pdr, eight to ten 1-pdr guns and five 14-in TTs. The main guns were in sponsons, like the secondary ones to the exception of a single poop 5.5 in gun. They were capable of 19.5 knots, good steamers. Alger was hulked in 1911, Jean Bart was wrecked on 11.2.1907 on the north African coast. She has been reboilered with Niclausse models in 1903 in order to reach 20 knots. Isly survived until 1914 but was discarded.

Technical specifications
Displacement: 3,982 tons FL
dimensions: 105 x 12.98 x 6.10/6.45 m
Propulsion: 2 shafts VTE/HTE, 8 cyl. boilers (or 24 Belleville on Alger), 8,000 hp, 19.5 knots.
Crew: 387-405
Armour: CT 3 in, deck 2 in, gun shields 2 in
Armament: 4 x 162, 6 of 140, 2 x 65, 12 x 47, 10 x 37 mm, 5 x 305 mm TT bw

Friant class (1893)

The Friant class was originally a class of three, also comprising the Bugeaud, Chasseloup-Laubat and Friant, started in 1891, launched in 1893 and completed in 1895. They were relatively classic in protection, with a shell section pear and as always a massive spur. The Bugeaud was reformed in 1907, the Chasseloup in 1911, and the Friant was used from the beginning of the war as a depot ship. She survived until 1920 in this role before being delivered to the scrapyard.

Technical specifications
Displacement: 3,982 tons FL
dimensions: 94 x 13 x 6.30 m
Propulsion: 2 shafts VTE, 20 Niclausse boilers, 9500 hp, 16 knots.
Crew: 339
Armament: 6 x 162, 4 of 100, 4 x 47, 11 x 37 mm, 2 x 305 mm TT bw

Linois class (1894)

Cruiser Lavoisier – Bougault Coll.

A quite different class from the Forbin and Troude, with a higher freeboard, and short forecastle deck, two large funnels and widely spaced masts. They featured four 5.5 in/45 (140 mm), one masked on the forecastle and the others in sponsons. Two 3.9 in (100 mm) secondary and eight 3-pdr, six 1-pdr guns completed this, and four 21-in TTs above the waterline. Like the previous ships they can carry 120 mines. Only Lavoisier had mixed burning boilers. Galilée and Linois were discarded in 1910, Lavoisier went on to serve during WW2 and until 1920.

Technical specifications
Displacement: 2,285 tons FL
dimensions: 100.63 (98) x 10.62 (10.97) x 5.44 m (Galilée)
Propulsion: 2 shafts VTE, 16 Belleville boilers (Linois 6 cyl. boilers), 6,800 hp, 20.5 knots.
Crew: 250/269
Armament: 4 x 140, 2 of 100, 8 x 47, 6 x 37 mm, 4 x 457 mm TT aw, 120 mines

Descartes class (1894)

The Descartes and Pascal were built at Soc. de la Loire and Toulon yards on similar 3960 tonnes plans. They had plough bows and pronounced tumblehome (dim. 93.3 x 12.9 x 6.5m) fitted with two shafts VTE, 16 Belleville boilers for 8500 ihp and 19.5 knots. They were armed with four 6.4 in guns (164 mm) M1891/93, ten 3.9 in (100 mm), eight 3-pdr, four 1-pdr, nd two 18-in TTs. The main guns were in midship sponsons (plus three more 3.9 in) the rest of the 3.9 in were on the forecastle, poop aft, and one in the bow. The deck guns had 2-in shields. The CT had 2.8 in walls, the armoured deck was 1.8 in thick on the flat section, 2.4 on the slopes. Over it was a cellular layer and below a debris deck to protect the machinery. Descartes suffered hot ammo rooms problems and lacked ventilation. Both were ballasted for stability. Pascal was stricken in 1911 but Descartes served in WW1 as a patrol ship in the East indies until 1917 and she suffered two ships collisions. Back in Lorient she as disarmed to carry and operated ASW seaplanes and was discarded in 1920.

D’Assas class (1893)

The cruiser D’Assas, Cassard class – Bougault collection (cc)

The D’Assas, Cassard and Du Chayla were very similar to the Friant class, to the exception of their CT protected by 4-in armour, the armoured deck (flat) was 2.8 in and slopes 3.2 in. They were slighlty longer and larger (96.14 x 16.67 x 6.25 m), faster at 20 knots thanks to 10,000 ihp produced by 20 Lagrafel d’Allest boilers mated on two shafts VTE. They carried 600 tons of coal. Armament wise, they carried ten 47 m guns (3-pdr) instead of four and five to nine 1-pdr (37 mm) and larger torpedo tubes of 457 mm (18 in). D’Assas was discarded in 1914 but the two others served in WW1. Cassard spend her WW1 service in the western Mediterranean ad the red sea but in 1917 she operated with the Indian ocean squadron. From 1922 she was attached to the gunnery school and was discarded in 1923. Du Chayla covered the 1907 Casablanca landing. She was in action in the Atlantic and the read sea from 1916, and until 1918, and afterwards she was off Lebanonand in the blak sea to cover White Russians operations until 1919. However her guns has been requisitions by the army at that time, she was left with two 164 mm, four 75 mm and four 47 mm guns. She was stricken in 1921 but not BU before 1933.

Technical specifications
Displacement: 3,962t – 3,890 tonnes (Cassard and Du Chayla) standard
Dimensions: 96.14 x 13.67 x 6.25 m
Propulsion: 2 shaft VTE, 20 boilers, 10,000 hp, 20 knots.
Armour: From 85 mm armored deck slopes to 125 mm CT, 4 mm shields.
Crew: 392
Armament: 6 x 163, 4 x 100, 10 x 47, 5-9 x 37 mm, 2 x 457 mm TT aw.

Protected Cruiser D’Entrecasteaux (1893)

Built at La Seyne in Toulon between 1894 and 1899, this protected cruiser, which cost 16,700,000 gold francs at the time, was well protected with copper-lined wooden plates and a pear section. Her poorly arranged interior fittings and ventilation made her the “hotter” French cruiser in bunkers and machines. It was decided to quickly add a ventilation system.
D’Entrecasteaux led a career without notable incident first in the Channel, then in the Mediterranean. She survived the war and was stricken from the lists in 1922. She was then rented to Belgium temporarily, but soon the navy separated from it, having no means to exploit her. She was sold in 1927 to Poland at Scrap price, renamed Baltyk, used as a submarine depot ship (photo) and still existed, docked in Gdynia in 1942. The Germans scrapped her.

The Polish cruiser ORP Baltyk during the interwar.

Technical specifications
Displacement: 7,995t FL
Dimensions: 117 x 18 x 7.5 m
Propulsion: 2 shaft VTE, 5 boilers, 14,500 hp, 19.2 knots.
Armour: from 250 mm turrets to 20 mm decks
Crew: 559
Armament: 2 x 192, 12 x 140, 12 x 47, 6 x 37 mm, 2 x 457 mm TT sub.

Protet Class (1896)

Protet -library of Congress

Built at FC de la Mediterranée (Catinat) and Soc. de la Gironde (Protet) in 1894/96 and launched in 1896/98, completed in 1898/99, these cruisers were near-repeats of the Descartes class (derived from the Friant design). They were 4,000 tonnes protected cruisers with their main guns in sponsons, secondary 100 mm (3.9) ones fore and aft in pairs under 2-in masks, and the rest in sponsons. Two funnels, two light masts far apart, tumblehome and recesses for the sponsons. They could also carry 50 mines, stowed in the steering engine compartment and the rail was going through the captain’s cabin. They were dropped through a single stern port. Stability on these ships was doubtful and Protet was heavily ballasted. None saw action suring the war, they were discarded in 1910 and 1911.

Protected Cruiser Guichen (1897)

The Guichen was started in 1895 at the Loire NyD and completed in 1899. She was a commerce raider, intended to make war on trade. She was fast enough and her autonomy was high. Her boilers were designed to burn fuel oil with coal, taking up less space on board. The Guichen first operated in the Channel in 1914, and then she was sent to the Atlantic Squadron, operating in the Bay of Biscay. Next she was sent to Morocco, and the Eastern Mediterranean. She helped evacuating thousands of Armenians from the 1915 Turkish genocide. From 1917 she operated in the Aegean Sea, and by 1919 served with Black Sea Sqn, assisting white Russians in Crimea. She was removed from the lists in 1922 and later scrapped.

Technical specifications
Displacement: 8150t. PC
Dimensions 133 x 17 x 7.5 m
Propulsion 3 propellers, 2 VTE machines, 36 D’Allest boilers, 25,000 hp. and 231.5 knots max.
shielding from 157 to 56 mm- Crew 604
Armament 2 guns of 162, 8 of 140, 10 of 47, 5 of 37 mm, and 2 TLT flanks SM 457mm.

Protected Cruiser Chateaurenault (1898)

Author’s illustration of the Chateaurenault, showing its obvious liner style.

This light cruiser built in La Seyne, started in 1896 and completed in 1902, had characteristics borrowed on the Guichen on protection and armament, but was treated differently in shape, displaying the deceiving profile of liner. This had the advantage of luring a potential predator, and could pay off later in submersible warfare as a Q-ship. She will prove faster than the Guichen at lower power. Based in the Mediterranean, after operating with the 2nd squadron in the Channel, she participated in the hunt for the German raider Möwe. Later she acted as a troops carrier. She did not, however, fooled UC38, that torpedoed her on December 14, 1917, off Corfu. Slowly sinking, this allowed almost all her crew to evacuate, together with troops, in total 1,162 men, without any human losses.

Technical specifications
Displacement: 7900t. 8200 t. FL
Dimensions: 135 x 17 x 7.4 m
Propulsion: 3 shafts, 2 VTE steam engines, 14 Normand boilers, 23,000 hp, 24 knots.
Armor: Turrets 120 mm, decks 20-25 mm
Crew: 604
Armament: 2 x 162, 6 x 140, 10 x 47, 5 x 37 mm.

D’Estrées class (1899)

Author’s rendition of the D’Estrées in 1914.

The D’Estrées in 1914 was the sole protected cruiser of the class bearing her name, but also comprising her sister-ship Infernet (1899). The latter was removed from the lists in 1910. These ships were designed for colonial service in the far East (Indochina). D’Estrées was one of the last French protected cruisers in 1899. Small, medium-range, lightly armored ships with an internal turtleback armored deck. Infernet was badly damaged and removed from service in 1910. D’Estrées sailed for the mediterrannean, and operated until 1915, then the Red Sea until 1918. After a short overhaul, she went back to the Far East until her final withdrawal in 1922.

Technical specifications
Displacement: 2428t PC
Dimensions 95 x 12 x 5.4m
Propulsion: 2 turbines, 8 Normand boilers, 8500 hp. 20.5 knots.
Armour: Armoured deck 43 mm, bridge, shields and casemates
Crew: 235
Armament: 2 x 140, 4 x 100, 8 x 47, 2 x 12.7 mm HMGs.

German HSF Sortie March 1918

I would respectfully point out that the K-2 were part of the design process in 1921 that lead to the G-3 design. I think they were from about 6 months earlier OTL.

As such, I doubt they would automatically be deemed obsolite and a pre-war design

Think of the K-2's ITTL as a ship designed with German armour ideas (As the G-3 & N-3 were), but with a slightly inferiour design, and as such 1 generation earlier than the G-3 & N-3's.

They are comparable to the current US and Japanese builds, but are behind in relation to the G-3 & N-3's. As such, they are an intermediate step in design which will allow the G-3 & N-3's to be even better ships

Designed with the specs of the admirals in mind.
High top speed, battleship armour and guns, long range etc. Basically an Admiral Class with Battleship armour. That is what you get for 5000 extra tons. Well that and 16" guns

HMS Warspite

Sorry for the inconvinience, as I was mistaken with the "Fisher" Project of the Incomparable Class for the K-2.

Overall the point was the Royal Navy would wait, untill it was absolutely sure about what it wanted, while not starting to construct ships, it was never clearly ready for. A ship can be built only once, so it you are changing your mind later, it is too late.

The Project of 1921 was to give the Royal Navy the upperhand again in a Naval Armsrace, expected to be evolving between the USA, Japan and UK. For this purpose alone, a Hybrid class of partly prewar and partly postwar designs was not very wanted, as this would not lead to overall superiority. Only the best of the best was good enough, so the radical G-3 and offsprings was developped. Until this type was evolved enough, no further capital shipconstruction would take place, partly because of this and partly because the yards were already quite bussy with upgrading existing warships to postwar levels. (such as bulging the Queen Elisabeth and Royal Sovereign classes, as well as reconstructing some aircraft carriers, such as HMS Furious and Eagle (old) and fitting out Hermes.)


Fisher's Incomparable would be nice to build (Those 20" guns!), but would only be really usable as a landing support ship in the Baltic during WWI only. Anything else or later and she carried too little armour!


ok I have updated September 20th 1918 to take into account an oversite that was pointed out

The intent of Germany is to park the ships at Adan and have the crews live in modern cool barracks ashore so that they don't get cooked on the ships.

The fleet will manovour in the Gulf of Adan for no more than 2 days at a time to avoid crew discomfort until tropical ships are available (All future classes of HSF ships will be designed to be used worldwide.)


HMS Warspite

ok I have updated September 20th 1918 to take into account an oversite that was pointed out

The intent of Germany is to park the ships at Adan and have the crews live in modern cool barracks ashore so that they don't get cooked on the ships.

The fleet will manovour in the Gulf of Adan for no more than 2 days at a time to avoid crew discomfort until tropical ships are available (All future classes of HSF ships will be designed to be used worldwide.)

I agree with this, although a bit more attention to the portfacilities and coaling/fueling depot is worth to mention as well. Perhaps the destroyers could be deleted on the passage, replacing them by older, more suited light cruisers, those with 4.1 inch guns only, as these were intended for oversea operations, when constructed. Large torpedoboats lack range and support so far away from their homeports. Cruisers will have to perform in the roles of escorts for the big ships., untill more purposely constructed ships are becomming available.

By the way, the Derflinger class is possibly a bit too expensive to be used in the Aden Station. (Large crew and expensive, complex engines. Slower Dreadnoughts might be more logical (and economical) to send there. The old Nassau, or Oldenburg classes, when still available, are suited best, as they will not be missed in Europe and are comparatively economical, given their slow speed and coalconsumption. I assume the powerdiplay is mainly for "Showing the Flag" purposes, so any big ship will suffice then, if larger than the average gunboat or armed sloop normally seen in teh colonies.

By the way, What about the French and Italian Forces in the region around Aden in the Middle East?


With the Royal Navy sending two squadrons of ships, the French and Italians would not have a lot to worry about from the Germans really.

Adan was in German hands at the end of WWI but they had to give it up as part of OTL peace treaty. France and Italy. I am not sure what they historically had in that area to be honest. I thought both were more in the Med. than Red Sea and beyond?


I am working on my HMS Tiger refit. I am going to leave her with 13.5" guns as you can't really change them without cramping up the turrets and barbettes. I am wondering abour the midships turret however. Should I delete it and mount secondaries and AA in it's place? I am swapping out her coal engines for oil and saving a bit of tonnage there. I am also ripping out all the castlemate guns (Turreted secondaries if any) and all armour forward/aft of the barbettes and engine spaces is going.

The lost tonnage can be put towards more armour. Would 6 x 13.5" be acceptable, or would limited secondaries and AA be a suitable trade off for 8x13.5"?

Can the 13.5" barbette even take a 15" gun? (Turrets of Glorious and Corageous possible??) She was 35,000 tons as built and I don't want to add more than 5,000 or change her hull lines that much so principal dimensions and hull shape should remain as:


I have left the origional bow shape in so you can tell me if I should leave it as it or whether the new one is better. Apart from that 2 funnels due to better engines, new bridge like the post-war designs.

Now, I can't move the midships turret without altering the structure of the ship and so on, so it either stays there or she has the turret deleted. I can't really put any secondary or flack guns on the deck behind the turret which leaves secondaries around the forward superstructure (3 maybe 4 a side) and AA there and between/around the funnels.

This gives a redicously light secondary and AA armament and I am in favour of deleting the turret as such but only if I can swap in 15" turrets or 15" barrels into the existing turrets. Can I realistically do this?

HMS Warspite

I am working on my HMS Tiger refit. I am going to leave her with 13.5" guns as you can't really change them without cramping up the turrets and barbettes. I am wondering abour the midships turret however. Should I delete it and mount secondaries and AA in it's place? I am swapping out her coal engines for oil and saving a bit of tonnage there. I am also ripping out all the castlemate guns (Turreted secondaries if any) and all armour forward/aft of the barbettes and engine spaces is going.

The lost tonnage can be put towards more armour. Would 6 x 13.5" be acceptable, or would limited secondaries and AA be a suitable trade off for 8x13.5"?

Can the 13.5" barbette even take a 15" gun? (Turrets of Glorious and Corageous possible??) She was 35,000 tons as built and I don't want to add more than 5,000 or change her hull lines that much so principal dimensions and hull shape should remain as:

Barbettes of the Mk-1 turret of the 15"/42 gun were large and could eventually be used for 165 inch as well, as hte 15 inch barrel already was quite thick. The OTL barrel of the 16 inch Mk-1, intended for HMS Nelson and G-3, was equal in diameter to the 15 inch barrel. It was however less "fat" and this caused some problems in wear and tear, especiually in combination with the high musslevelocity and light shell.

So theoretically a Mk-1 turret could accomodate the lightweight 16 inch Mk-1 gun, using the same barbette, asthis already was quite large. The smaller 13.5 inch Mk-2 turret of HMS Tiger was smaller and used a smaller diameter barbette, so it could not use the 15 inch gun and turret. A better option would be to put the 14 inch Mk VII gun of the 1936 design in the turret, intended for HMS King George V of the OTL. This could be done, as the twinturret already was quite small and used a smaller barbette, almost simmilar in size to the older 13.5 inch one. (The advantage of the newer gun was a heavier shell, 1592 lbs compared to 1400 lbs. (USN and IJN 14 inch used 1400 lbs as well) The Mk-Vii had a higher rate of fire, if not malfunctioning due to savety interlocks and technical failures.


So 13.5" guns kept for now, and to be upgraded when better guns are available?

Let's see. Tiger had 13.5"/45 Mark V guns. The Mark VI was available (HMS Erin) but from what I can see there was not a lot of difference in the guns. The Mark VI was for export.

Also available would be several 14"/45 guns.
Mark I & III = HMS Canada = 1,595lb shell.
Mark II, IV & V = Monitors. Lighter shell.
Mark VI (60 calibres) = Russian Izmail Clas (Never built). Fired a 1,650lb shell.

The Mark VII (KGV Class) from what I can tell was developed from the 14" Mark I gun for the Canada and the 12" Mark XIV (1930). This had a 1,590lb shell.


HMS Warspite

Technically teh 13.5 inch gun had to do for a while, since no spare 14 inchers originally intended for Almirante Cochrane (HMS Eagle) existed, since only three guns had been produced and these had been shipped to France for use as railawayartillery. Untill the Mk-VII gun for the new 1936 King George V class was developped, no 14 inch guns were made available, besides some lightweight models from monitors.

There is another big issue in HMS Tiger relevant to know: HMS Tiger was equipped with far too heavy a percentage of engines and boilers, as these were of a less efficient design and still coal fired. 39 Brabock Boilers were used to power her bulky engines, needing to be exhausted by three funnels and causing the speration between Q and X turret. The newer Admirality High Presure Boilers, coming into use in the early 30's were very powerfull and only four were actually needed to give the same amount of power as 39 of the coalfired ones. Since engines too were much less weighty in the 30's, a total refit around the start of teh third decenium would result in some 2000 - 3000 ton saving, for the powerplant and engines alone, which could be used to strengthen the protection and AA armament, possibly with the inclusion of a true DP secondary battery, saving more weight still, since the armored cassemattes could be removed then. Possibly the outcome was the removal of the middle funnel and using the space freed for aircraft equipment, as in most British warships in the 30's.

So HMS Tiger would likely be best of when left as it was for a decade or so, untill total refitted in the early 30's. During this refit, the originakl 13.5 inch guns could be maintained, untill the newer 14 inch Mk.VII came around with its compact, small diameter Mk-II turret. (the twin turret of HMS King George V of 1936) This could easily be shipped in the existing barbettes of the older 13.5 inch turrets, with minor adjustments only, still giving much mroe firepower and gunneryrange (40 deg. elevation), with a heavy shell, capable of defeating nearly all armor on any ship (short of Yamato only).

In the end, the old, but restillished ship would be much better than the HMS Renown of the OTL was after her refit, being more ballanced and more heavily protected, with possibly the same speed. The eight gun main battery was much better than the six guns on the renown, besides having a much faster rate of fire (at least when not plagued by mechenical defects and savety procedures.)

The endresult would likely be a ship, not much different in apperance to the King George V clas Battleship of 1936, but with a much smaller after superstructure and a raised f'castle, besides the fourth turret. Almost equal to the newer ship in all but two guns and a slightly lesser displacement, but still a very usefull fast capital ship.

(PS can you somehow get a picture of such a refitted HMS Tiger somehow?)


I can doodle away and re-post.

You must remember that Tiger is getting a re-fit now due to the mauling she recieved in that battle. The decision was taken to rebuild her into a fast battleship. As such, her armour came off and new is put on. New superstructure too.

In order to offset some of this weight, she is being fitted with oil fired engines now and this in turn allows the number of funnels to be reduced. She will also have no armour forward or aft (All or nothing principal) and 13.5" guns.

HMS Warspite

I can doodle away and re-post.

You must remember that Tiger is getting a re-fit now due to the mauling she recieved in that battle. The decision was taken to rebuild her into a fast battleship. As such, her armour came off and new is put on. New superstructure too.

In order to offset some of this weight, she is being fitted with oil fired engines now and this in turn allows the number of funnels to be reduced. She will also have no armour forward or aft (All or nothing principal) and 13.5" guns.

This refit in 1919-1920 seems logical, although a bit impractical. The altering of the protectionscheme was not very possible, as the ship would have to be complete demolished to do so, especially when altering teh beltstructure to a higer above the water placing of the thickest parts. This would make the hull very instable and prone to cracking, due to the increased stresses caused by the weight so high up in the ship. By removing the top of the belt, it would be more likely to reduce these stresses, since you mentioned to remove all armor foreward and aft of the hull as well in the All of Nothing principle.

Being basically a 1912 design and contemporary of the Lion and Kongo classes, HMS Tiger was never constructed that heavily to allow the all or nothing system. The main belt of 9 inches was the maximum possible on her hull, so this would have to be left as it was, although minor changes could be made to deckarmor, and armament, unless scrapping the ship and buildign an entirely different new one.

I strongly suggest to limit the refit after the Battle of Texel to a basical one, untill the 30's allowed complete rebuilding. Primarily focus would be on damagerepair and converting to oilfired boilers. HMS Tiger still was a fine ship in her more or less original form. Untill the comming of the new breed, she could still function fine as she was. By then, she could be taken into a long period of rebuilding and modernizing, simmilar to other WW1 period battleships.

I have been using Sharpsprings on this for a while and sighted the problem with the narrow cruiser shaped hullform on this. Too much weight in the center would cause inballance and stresses on the hull of unacceptable proportions, making the ship dangereous for anyone on board, especially in a seaway. To remove weight in the center, you need to wait until the early 30's when new Admirality type boilers of high capacity became available and newer lieightweight engines/turbines as well. These could cut out the mentioned 2000 - 3000 tons out of the center, making more weight available fro the improvement of protection on a larger scale.


New bow. New secondaries, new bridge, new engines and funnels. Armour is the same except some extra deck armour. Main guns are still 13.5"

New armour belts. New engines again, new castle bridge, secondaries are 4x2 5.25" as KGV Class. AA guns will go on deck alongside funnels so no secondaries there. 250 tons allovated for AA. 14" main guns (4x2) as KGV Class.

Others may comment on my proposed designs as well as HMS Warspite


both capable of taking a Battleship or Battlecruiser if need be, along with other modern dock facilities. There will be three coaling piers (In theory 6 large ships can coal at once) and also space is put aside for oil fuelling facilities although these will not be built at the current time, as no oil-burning ships will be sent initially. On shore, there will be barracks for up to 12,500 men that will include up to 5,000 sailors and 7,500 dock workers (At maximum capacity). There will also be extensive storage dumps so that the base can in theory continue to operate without re-supply for up to 6 months (Fresh water wells mean that food and not water will be the major issue in event of lack of supplies). There will also be limited machine plants on shore so that all but the most serious repairs can be dealt with at the base. If there is a serious repair job, then the ship can either sail to Germany for the work or dry-dock at Adan and the parts can be shipped from Germany.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]The port will also have a merchant section, as the idea is to gradually build up Adan into a centre of commerce if possible. At the very least, merchant ships will be able to fuel and provision there on their passage through the area and that would bring in some commerce to the area. Also, if a ship is in need of repair, they can use the naval base dry-dock facilities, but these will only be available in the event of an emergency.[/SIZE]

October 4th 1918
[SIZE=-1]After 2 weeks of manoeuvres in the Baltic Sea together, the SMS Hindenburg and the 2 cruisers of the Magdeburg Class are put into dock for work on ventilation systems. The objective is to make the ships more suitable to live in the tropics than the North Sea.[/SIZE]

October 15th 1918
[SIZE=-1]At the Admiralty in London, a meeting takes place in which the Lords of the Admiralty are discussing the future of the Royal Navy and American shipbuilding plans.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"Gentlemen. Thank you for attending on such short notice. We face a grave matter today. With the end of the War in Europe, we had all hoped that America would curb it's shipbuilding programme and their desire to have a navy

as 'Second to None'. Our ambassador in America had told me that this is not the case. We are about to enter into another naval arms race, only this time it is with a nation that can out-build us! We must decide how we are to proceed as we cannot allow the navy to be obsolete, yet at the same time, the government wishes to reduce naval expenditure."[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"We could modernize ships sir. Several of our Battleships are very modern but simply too slow. Adding false bows and sterns and new engines could improve them to acceptable standards."[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]"What about calling for public support? Have a town sponsor a cruiser? A city a Battleship?"[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]"What about asking the rest of the empire to help? The empire has the capacity to build and maintain a much larger fleet than the Americans."[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"That is true, but at what cost? If we start a massive shipbuilding or modernization programme, then the Americans will just modernize their ships and build even more ships. We will be in a massively expensive arms race again. Why not just improve our shells and armour?"[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"Gentlemen. The Fourth Sea Lord is correct. We cannot go on a massive shipbuilding programme again. Smaller ships

Destroyers and Light Cruisers

We can build in large numbers to replace our current ships, but not Battleships or Heavy Cruisers."[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"There is a way around that sir. We could create dominion navies. Australia, Canada, India and New Zealand could all have their own navy independent of the Royal Navy. We could then honestly turn round and say that we need our own new ships."[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"No gentlemen. The Americans would never fall for that while they are part of the empire. They would see a dominion navy as part of the Royal Navy, which is most unfortunate."[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"Then why not do what the Japanese are planning to do sir? Build ships that mount bigger guns and are individually more powerful than American ships? We will have less of them, but they will be a generation or two ahead of the Americans? Innovation goes hand in hand with the navy sir. HMS Warrior and HMS Dreadnought to name but two."[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"Yes Gentlemen. We need to build new and innovative ships that include all the lessons learned at Jutland and Texal, but we also need to improve guns, shells and armour as the Fourth Sea Lord suggested. We have the SMS Württemberg that we can test new shell designs on, as well as obsolete ships of our own."[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"Sir, I know they are terribly un-sportsman like, but what about submarines, torpedoes and mines? We know from experience at the Dardanelles that a major warship can be sunk by torpedoes and mines and they are much cheaper to produce than a Battleship. We could look into further development of these."[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"Submarines are dammed unsporting if you ask me"[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]There were mumbles of agreement all around.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"You may think that they are unsporting

And I happen to agree with you

But a submarine fully loaded with torpedoes is but a fraction of the cost of a Battleship and can sink an enemy Battleship before it is detected. As such, it is a very cost effective weapon."[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]There were more mumbles of agreement.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"What about our old and obsolete Battleships. Some of them are obsolete simply because of their gun calibre. We could sell them to other nations to fund a new building programme?"[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"What about aircraft sir? At Texal they proved invaluable for allowing the Fleet to home in on the German ships. I know we are planning to have several Aircraft Carriers converted from existing ships, but what about building one from scratch? Also, we would need aircraft that are sturdy enough to operate from a Carrier and carry aerial torpedoes and bombs

Both of which we can develop further."[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]There are nods all around.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"Then we are agreed gentlemen. We will develop naval guns with better range and power, shells that can defeat the best armour with ease and new armour that can defeat out enemies shells. We will also look into the further development of submarines and naval aircraft along with torpedoes and mines capable of being deployed by both submarines and aircraft."[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"Is there anything else gentlemen?"[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"One thing sir. I know the government wishes to make closer ties with Germany, and to draw them into Europe so that they don't start another war or anything, so why not make a naval alliance with them? They certainly have excellent ships and it would mean that we could sail to combat with them, thus decreasing the number of ships we would require for the empire."[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"That may be desirable, but the public would be against that given we have just fought a war against them. No sir. A naval alliance with them is not an option."[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"What about gradually introduce the public to the idea then sir? Send ships to Kiel week, invite them to Cowes week, and invite them on manoeuvres in the North Sea with us? Start small and work up to an alliance?"[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"That we could do, but it would take years to do. Are we agreed that we should do this then?"[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]More nods all around.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]"Is there anything else gentlemen? No? Send for the Director of Naval Procurement and the Chief Designer."[/SIZE]

October 19th 1918
[SIZE=-1]After much work at Kiel, it is decided that the current ships of the High Seas Fleet are totally unsuited to alteration for work in the tropics. As such neither the SMS Derfflinger or SMS Hindenburg will go. In their place, the SMS Kaiser and SMS Friedrich der Große will go. This decision is taken as both ships have a lower crew requirement and would only languish in reserve otherwise. Also, the SMS Kaiser had sailed in the tropics before and the crew had suffered no ill-effects of the heat indicating that the ship was somewhat suitable for the conditions. The SMS Derfflinger and Hindenburg will instead stay with the main fleet in Germany. Due to this it is considered converting them to oil burning ships but the cost is deemed to excessive for the German economy to handle at the current time, so these plans are discarded.[/SIZE]

October 29th 1918
[SIZE=-1]Both The Austro-Hungarian and German Empires have been attempting to assimilate their gains under the 1917 Treaty of Brest-Litovsk into their empires for the past 6 weeks, but several areas are refusing their new rulers and demand their independence. Due to America's demand of "freest opportunity to autonomous development" in order to sign the peace treaty with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, they decide that the easiest thing they can do is to create satellite states that are their protectorates. As such, the states of Crimea (Capital is Simferopol) and Ukrane (Capital is Mariupol on the Sea of Azov) are created by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the states of Belarus (Capital is Minsk) Estonia (Capital is Tallinn on the Gulf of Finland) and Latvia (Capital is Riga on the Gulf of Riga) are formed by the German Empire. Both empires plan to gradually assimilate these nations into their empires proper over time, but this will only work out for one of them.[/SIZE]

You will have to excuse me if the monthly posts start to get shorter. I don't have a lot planned for 1919/20 as it will go pretty much as OTL except for mentioned differences. If anybody has any suggestions (Small conflicts that I can incluce the RN in. or the like?)

Magdeburg class light cruisers - History

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