|Preceded by:||SMS Greif|
|Succeeded by:||Meteor class|
|Displacement:||1,499 metric tons (1,475 long tons; 1,652 short tons)|
|Length:||85.8 m (281 ft 6 in) o/a|
|Beam:||9.66 m (31 ft 8 in)|
|Draft:||3.74 m (12 ft 3 in)|
|Propulsion:||2 × 3-cylinder double expansion engines, 2 shafts|
|Speed:||19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph)|
|Range:||2,440 nmi (4,520 km; 2,810 mi) at 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph)|
The Wacht class was a pair of avisos built by the Imperial German Navy in the late-1880s; the class comprised two ships, Wacht and Jagd. They were laid down in 1886 and 1887 and completed by 1888 and 1889, respectively. The ships were based on the previous aviso, SMS Greif, which had proved to be an unsuccessful design due to its lack of torpedo armament. As a result, the Wacht-class ships were equipped with three torpedo tubes to improve their combat power; they were also the first German avisos to carry armor protection.
Both ships served in the main German fleet for the entirety of their active duty careers. They were primarily employed in the peacetime routine of unit and fleet training maneuvers. In September 1901, Wacht was accidentally rammed by the ironclad SMS Sachsen during the annual fleet maneuvers. The collision caused serious damage to Wacht and she quickly sank. Jagd continued in service for another three years, after which she was withdrawn from service and used in various roles over the following sixteen years. She was sold for scrapping in 1920.
The Imperial Navy began building small avisos in the 1880s to serve in the main fleet in German waters. These vessels were intended to support the battle line, and so unlike the contemporary German unprotected cruisers, their designs emphasized offensive capability and high speed rather than a long cruising radius. The Wacht class followed the previous aviso, SMS Greif. The ship had proved to be a disappointment in service since it carried no torpedo armament. As a result, the Wacht design returned to the torpedo as its primary armament like earlier vessels such as the Blitz class.
The Wacht-class ships were 84 meters (276 ft) long at the waterline and 85.5 m (281 ft) long overall. They had a beam of 9.66 m (31.7 ft) and a maximum draft of 3.74 m (12.3 ft) forward and 4.67 m (15.3 ft) aft. They displaced 1,246 metric tons (1,226 long tons; 1,373 short tons) as designed and up to 1,499 t (1,475 long tons; 1,652 short tons) at full combat load. Their hulls were constructed from transverse steel frames. Wacht and Jagd each had a crew of 7 officers and 134 enlisted men. The ships carried several smaller boats, including one picket boat, one yawl, one dinghy, and one cutter. They were poor sea boats; they rolled and pitched badly and were very wet. They were also not particularly maneuverable vessels.
Their propulsion system consisted of two angled 3-cylinder triple expansion engines that each drove a 3.3 m (11 ft) wide three-bladed screw. Steam for the engines was provided by four coal-fired locomotive boilers trunked into a single funnel amidships. In 1891–93, new boilers manufactured by Schichau-Werke and the Kaiserliche Werft (Imperial Shipyard) in Wilhelmshaven were installed. The ships were equipped with a pair of electric generators with a combined output of 20 kilowatts (27 hp) at 67 volts.
The ships' propulsion system provided a top speed of 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph) and was rated at 4,000 indicated horsepower (3,000 kW), though neither ship reached that horsepower in service. They carried up to 230 t (230 long tons; 250 short tons) of coal, which enabled them to steam for approximately 2,860 nautical miles (5,300 km; 3,290 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). Steering was controlled by a single rudder.
Armament and armor
As built, the ships were armed with three 10.5 cm (4.1 in) K L/35 guns placed in single pivot mounts. The guns were supplied with a total of 180 rounds of ammunition and had a range of 7,000 m (23,000 ft). Wacht and Jagd also carried three 35 cm (14 in) torpedo tubes, one mounted submerged in the bow and the other two in deck-mounted launchers on the broadside. In 1891, four 8.8 cm SK L/30 quick-firing guns in single mounts replaced the 10.5 cm guns.
The ships were the first German aviso to carry armor: a 10 mm (0.39 in) thick deck with 20 mm (0.79 in) thick sloped sides protected the magazines and engine rooms. The conning tower was protected with 25 mm (0.98 in) of armor plating on the sides and 10 mm on the roof. The coaming around the funnel was 75 mm (3.0 in) thick. The armor consisted of compound wrought iron. For protection against underwater attack, the hull was divided into twelve watertight compartments below the armored deck and ten compartments above it.
Wacht and Jagd were both built by the AG Weser shipyard in Bremen. Wacht was laid down in 1886 and Jagd followed in 1887. Wacht was launched on 27 August 1887 and commissioned into the German fleet on 9 August 1888 after fitting-out work was completed. Jagd was launched on 7 July 1888 and completed by 25 June 1889, when she was commissioned into the fleet.
Both Wacht and Jagd served with the German fleet in home waters; Wacht in the Maneuver Squadron from 1889 and Jagd in the Training Squadron from 1891. Wacht and the rest of the Maneuver Squadron went on a major cruise in the Mediterranean Sea in 1889–90. In 1893, Jagd joined Wacht in the Maneuver Squadron, and both ships served there, alternating between the I and II Divisions for the rest of the decade. Their activities consisted of periodic divisional and squadron training maneuvers, which culminated in the annual autumn fleet maneuvers in late August and early September.
On 4 September 1901, Wacht accidentally collided with the ironclad Sachsen during training exercises. Sachsen, which was equipped with a ram bow, tore a hole in Wacht's hull below the waterline. The battleship Weissenburg attempted to tow Wacht to shallow water where she could be grounded, but the flooding proved to be impossible to control and Wacht quickly sank. Jagd meanwhile remained in service until 1904, when she was withdrawn and used as a harbor ship. She was stricken in May 1910 and subsequently hulked. Later, she was moved to Friedrichsort, outside Kiel, where she was used as a firing platform for torpedo training through World War I. In 1920, she was sold for scrap.
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