SMS Amazone

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For the earlier sailing corvette, see SMS Amazone (1843).
SMS Amazone.jpg
Career (German Empire)
Name: Amazone
Laid down: 1899
Launched: 6 October 1900
Commissioned: 15 November 1901
Struck: 31 March 1931
Fate: Scrapped, 1954
General characteristics
Class & type: Gazelle-class light cruiser
Displacement: 3,082 tonnes (3,033 long tons)
Length: 104.8 m (343.8 ft) overall
Beam: 12.2 m (40.0 ft)
Draft: 5.12 m (16.8 ft)
Installed power: 8,000 ihp (6,000 kW)
Propulsion: 2 shafts, 2 Triple-expansion steam engines
Speed: 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph)
Range: 3,560 nmi (6,590 km; 4,100 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 14 officers
243 enlisted men
Armament:

10 × 10.5 cm SK L/40 guns

2 × 45 cm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes
Armor: Deck: 20 to 25 mm (0.79 to 0.98 in)

SMS Amazone was the sixth member of the ten-ship Gazelle class, built by the Imperial German Navy. She was built by the Germaniawerft dockyard in Kiel, laid down in 1899, launched in October 1900, and commissioned into the High Seas Fleet in November 1901. Armed with a main battery of ten 10.5 cm (4.1 in) guns and two 45 cm (18 in) torpedo tubes, Amazone was capable of a top speed of 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph).

Amazone served in the reconnaissance forces of the High Seas Fleet during her peacetime career. After the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, she was deployed as a coastal defense ship. In 1916, she was disarmed and used as a training ship, and was converted into a barracks ship in 1917. She was retained by the Reichsmarine after the end of the war and served on active duty with the new German Navy through the 1920s. She was reduced to secondary duties after 1931, and remained in service as a barracks ship into the 1950s; Amazone was ultimately broken up for scrap in 1954.

Construction[edit]

Main article: Gazelle class cruiser

Amazone was ordered under the contract name "F" and was laid down at the Germaniawerft shipyard in Kiel in 1899 and launched on 6 October 1900, after which fitting-out work commenced. She was commissioned into the High Seas Fleet on 15 November 1901.[1] The ship was 104.8 meters (344 ft) long overall and had a beam of 12.2 m (40 ft) and a draft of 5.12 m (16.8 ft) forward. She displaced 3,082 t (3,033 long tons; 3,397 short tons) at full combat load.[2] Her propulsion system consisted of two triple-expansion engines. They were designed to give 8,000 shaft horsepower (6,000 kW), for a top speed of 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph). The engines were powered by ten coal-fired Marine-type water-tube boilers. Amazone carried 560 tonnes (550 long tons) of coal, which gave her a range of 3,560 nautical miles (6,590 km; 4,100 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). She had a crew of 14 officers and 243 enlisted men.[1]

The ship was armed with ten 10.5 cm SK L/40 guns in single mounts. Two were placed side by side forward on the forecastle, six were located amidships, three on either side, and two were placed side by side aft. The guns could engage targets out to 12,200 m (40,000 ft). They were supplied with 1,000 rounds of ammunition, for 100 shells per gun. She was also equipped with two 45 cm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes with five torpedoes. They were submerged in the hull on the broadside.[3] The ship was protected by an armored deck that was 20 to 25 mm (0.79 to 0.98 in) thick. The conning tower had 80 mm (3.1 in) thick sides, and the guns were protected by 50 mm (2.0 in) thick shields.[4]

Service history[edit]

After her commissioning, Amazone was employed in the reconnaissance forces of the German fleet.[3] In 1902, she was assigned to the Cruiser Division of the I Squadron of the German home fleet. The Division consisted of the armored cruiser Prinz Heinrich, the flagship, Freya, Victoria Louise, and the light cruisers Hela, and Niobe. The Division participated in the summer fleet maneuvers of August–September 1902.[5] By 1905, her sisters Ariadne and Medusa had replaced Hela and Niobe.[6] She continued in the fleet reconnaissance role until the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, when she was reduced to a coastal defense vessel.[3]

On 8 May 1915, Amazone was patrolling off Cape Arkona when she was attacked by the British submarine HMS E1. The submarine fired a torpedo from a range of 1,100 m (3,600 ft), but it missed Amazone.[7] On 9 September, another British submarine, HMS E18, unsuccessfully attacked Amazone during the Battle of the Gulf of Riga.[8]

In 1916, Amazone was disarmed and used as a basic training ship for naval cadets. The following year, she was converted into a barracks ship, based in Kiel, a role she filled until the end of the war. The Treaty of Versailles permitted Germany to retain six light cruisers, and Amazone was among those kept in service of the newly reorganized Reichsmarine. She was modernized at the Reichsmarine Werft in Wilhelmshaven in 1921–1923, and had her ram bow replaced with a clipper bow. She was also rearmed with ten 10.5 cm SK L/45 guns in U-boat mountings and two 50 cm (20 in) torpedo tubes in deck launchers.[9]

Amazone served with the Reichsmarine from 1923 to 1930.[10] Korvettenkapitän Alfred Saalwächter took command of the ship in 1926; he later went on to become a senior admiral during World War II.[11] Amazone was stricken from the naval register on 31 March 1931. The ship was then used as a floating barracks for the Submarine Acceptance Commission in Kiel, and later as an auxiliary for the Warship Construction Test Office, submarine group. She survived World War II and after 1945, she was again used as a barracks ship in Bremen. The old cruiser was ultimately broken up for scrap in 1954 in Hamburg.[10]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gröner, pp. 99–101
  2. ^ Gröner, p. 100
  3. ^ a b c Gröner, p. 101
  4. ^ Gröner, p. 99
  5. ^ Brassey, p. 155
  6. ^ Courtney, p. 22
  7. ^ Polmar & Noot, p. 39
  8. ^ Polmar & Noot, p. 43
  9. ^ Gröner, pp. 100–101
  10. ^ a b Gröner, p. 102
  11. ^ Tucker, p. 639

References[edit]

  • Brassey, T.A., ed. (1903). Brassey's Naval Annual. London: J. Griffin & Co. 
  • Courtney, W. L., ed. (1905). The Fortnightly Review (London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd.). LXXVII. 
  • Gröner, Erich (1990). German Warships: 1815–1945. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-790-9. 
  • Polmar, Norman; Noot, Jurrien (1991). Submarines of the Russian and Soviet Navies, 1718–1990. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-570-1. 
  • Tucker, Spencer (2011). World War II at Sea: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598844573.