SMS Gefion

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Career (German Empire) 44px
Name: SMS Gefion
Namesake: Gefjon
Builder: Schichau-Werke, Danzig
Laid down: 28 March 1892
Launched: 31 March 1893
Commissioned: 2 October 1894
Out of service: Converted to a merchant vessel in 1919
Renamed: As the mercantile Adolf Sommerfeld in 1919
Reclassified: Accommodation ship in 1916
Struck: 5 November 1919
Fate: Broken up in 1923
General characteristics
Class and type: Third-class cruiser/corvette
Displacement: 4208 tons
Length: 362 ft 6 in (110.49 m) oa
358 ft 6 in (109.27 m) (waterline)
Beam: 43 ft 4 in (13.21 m)
Draught: 21 ft 3 in (6.48 m)
Propulsion: Twin shafts
9,000 ihp (6,700 kW)
Speed: 19 knots (35.2 km/h)
Complement: 302
  • 10 x 105mm guns
  • 6 x 50mm guns
  • 2 x 450mm torpedo tubes

SMS Gefion was a light cruiser of the Kaiserliche Marine (German Imperial Navy) launched in 1893. The cruiser was named after Gefjon of Norse mythology. Under the 1891 naval regulations she was classified as a corvette-cruiser, but in 1899 was reclassified to light cruiser. She was the only ship of her class and the first ship of this size of the Imperial Navy which by design did not have any auxiliary sails.


The keel laying was held on 28 March 1892 at the shipyard in Danzig (Gdansk), and she was launched on 31 March 1893. After sea trials she was on 2 October 1894 commissioned to active duty. She proved to have several design flaws (poor ventilation) which could only be partly alleviated. In June 1895, she took part in the opening ceremony of the Kiel Canal (Kaiser Wilhelm Canal) . Subsequently, she served as a companion ship of the Imperial yacht SMY Hohenzollern on her usual summer trips. From September to December 1897 Gefion was overhauled and then on 16 December sailed for the Orient to join the German East Asia Squadron in Tsingtao, China. There they carried out the usual ceremonial duties of a major vessel and visited several Russian and Japanese ports. [1]

Boxer Rebellion

File:SMS Deutschland + SMS Gefion.jpg
SMS Gefion (right) off the China coast at German-occupied Jiaozhou Bay concession. The armoured frigate SMS Deutschland is on the left.

As part of the German East Asia Squadron commanded by Admiral Felix von Bendemann during the Boxer Rebellion she made a noteworthy contribution in the Battle of Taku Forts in 1900.[2] Starting on 8 June 1900, along with the large cruisers SMS Hansa, SMS Hertha and the small cruiser SMS Irene, she came before the Taku Forts (together with warships of other nations) to land detachments of Seebatallione (marines) for the protection of their citizens in Tientsin. Her captain, Lieutenant Otto Weniger, then became commander of a landing corps of 500 Seebatallione, which took part in the failed Seymour Relief Expedition for the relief of the Peking delegations later in June.[3]

File:Taku Forts Landing.JPG
Landing of German Imperial Navy Seebatallione (marines) at the storming of the Taku Forts.

Afterwards, she returned home, arriving at Wilhelmshaven on 22 September 1901. SMS Gefion was then taken out of service for basic repairs. From 1904 she served mostly on Baltic Sea service. On 10 August 1914 she was mobilized for the First World War but staff shortages kept her from active service and by 1916 she was being used as an accommodation barge in Danzig. On 5 November 1919 she was stricken from the list of ships of war and renamed the Adolf Sommerfeld, after a well known Jewish architect. She was scrapped in 1923.[4]


External links

ja:ゲフィオン (防護巡洋艦)