SMS Frauenlob

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SMS Frauenlob was a Gazelle-class light cruiser in the German Imperial Navy. The ship was named after the Prussian naval schooner Frauenlob ("Praise of Women") of 1853, the first German naval vessel of that name, which had been financed largely by voluntary contributions of German women and was lost on 2 September 1860 in a typhoon off Yokohama.

Technical data

Frauenlob was built at A.G. Weser in Bremen, launched on 22 March 1902 and completed on 17 February 1903. She had a length of 104 m, a beam of 12.3 m and a draught of 5 m, displacing 2,700 tons. The cruiser was armed with ten 10.5 cm rapid fire guns, 14 × 37 mm machine guns and two 45 cm torpedo tubes. Top speed was 21.5 knots.


On 28 August 1914, shortly after the outbreak of World War I, Frauenlob saw her first action in the Battle of Heligoland Bight, when the British Harwich forces with two light cruisers and 33 destroyers under Commodore Reginald Tyrwhitt raided deep into Heligoland Bight. At about 8:00 am Frauenlob and the light cruiser Stettin spotted the British force and opened fire on Tyrwhitt's flagship Arethusa, rendering her severely damaged and unable to continue the battle. When Arethusa turned away, the German cruisers did not pursue her, which saved them from running into Vice Admiral Beatty's battlecruisers that were bearing down upon the battle site and soon afterwards sank the German light cruisers Köln, Mainz and Ariadne and the torpedoboat V 187.

During the Battle of Jutland Frauenlob was part of the IVth Scouting Squadron under Captain Ludwig von Reuter. In the course of the chaotic night action, the squadron encountered Commodore William Goodenough's 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron. The ensuing short, but violent firefight resulted in heavy damage to the British cruisers Southampton and Dublin. However, Frauenlob was hit by a torpedo fired by Southampton and by an artillery shell that ignited ammunition stored near the aft guns. She rapidly listed to port and sank, with only five of her crew of 329 surviving.


In 2000 the wreck, largely intact, was located by Danish divers. The ship's bell was salvaged in 2001 and is now at the German Navy Memorial at Laboe near Kiel.[1]


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