SMS Gneisenau (1879)

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SMS Gneisenau
Geneisenau at anchor
German Empire
Name: SMS Gneisenau
Namesake: Field Marshal August von Gneisenau
Builder: Kaiserliche Werft Danzig, Danzig
Laid down: June 1877
Launched: 4 September 1879
Completed: 3 October 1880
Fate: Sunk in storm off Málaga, Spain, 16 December 1900
General characteristics
Class and type: Bismarck-class corvette
Displacement: 3,089 t (3,040 long tons)
Length: 82 m (269 ft 0 in)
Beam: 13.7 m (44 ft 11 in)
Draught: 6.3 m (20 ft 8 in)
Installed power:
Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Range: 1,940 nmi (3,590 km; 2,230 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 452 (including trainees)
  • 14 × 15 cm (5.9 in) guns
  • 2 × 88 mm (3.5 in) quick-firing guns
  • 6 × 37 mm (1.5 in) 5-barreled guns

SMS Gneisenau was a Bismarck-class corvette built for the German Imperial Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) in the late 1870s. The ship was named after the Prussian Field Marshal August von Gneisenau.

Gneisenau served in the training of officer candidates, for which the ship undertook numerous voyages abroad. An incident of desertion by a crew member is alleged to have occurred in 1885 at Sydney. On 16 December 1900 the ship sank in a storm near the harbor of Málaga, Spain, after grounding at the harbor mole because a failure of the propulsion machinery. Forty crew members perished, including the captain and first officer. Several Malaga citizens died also trying to rescue the sailors. The German government built an iron bridge in Malaga as a recognition of their sacrifice.[citation needed] According to The Naval Annual, she "had on board 14 naval officers, including Captain Kretchmann in command, 49 cadets and 6 other officers, and about 380 men. The unfortunate ship was lying outside the harbour at Malaga, when a great storm arose, causing her to drag her anchors, and she was driven with much force against the Eastern Mole and completely wrecked."[1]


  1. ^ Leyland, John (ed.). The Naval Annual, 1901. p. 48. 


  • Gardiner, Robert; Chesneau, Roger; Kolesnik, Eugene M., eds. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1860–1905. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-133-5. 
  • Gröner, Erich (1990). German Warships: 1815–1945. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-790-9. OCLC 22101769.