SMS Irene

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SMS Irene in Chinese waters.
Career (German Empire) 44px
Name: SMS Irene
Namesake: Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine
Builder: AG Vulcan Stettin, Stettin
Laid down: 1886
Launched: 23 July 1887
Completed: 25 May 1888
Reclassified: U-boat depot ship in 1914
Fate: Broken up in 1921
General characteristics
Class and type: Irene II-class protected cruiser
Displacement: 4947 tons
Length: 340 ft 2 in (103.68 m) oa
324 ft 5 in (98.88 m) (waterline)
Beam: 46 ft 7 in (14.20 m)
Draught: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Propulsion: Twin shafts
8,000 ihp (6,000 kW)
Speed: 18 knots (33.3 km/h)
Complement: 365

(as built)

  • 14 x 150mm guns
  • 6 x revolving 37mm cannon
  • 3 x 350mm torpedo tubes

(after 1893)

  • 4 x 150mm guns
  • 8 x 105mm guns
  • 6 x 50mm guns

SMS Irene was a protected cruiser or Kreuzerkorvette of the Kaiserliche Marine (German Imperial Navy) launched on 23 July 1887 from the Vulcan Shipyard in Stettin, Germany (now Szczecin, Poland). The cruiser was named after Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine, sister-in-law of Kaiser Wilhem II. The SMS Prinzess Wilhelm was the only sister ship fully built to the design.[1]

She was the first or lead ship of two ships of a new class of cruiser corvette or light cruisers of the Imperial Navy. It was the first class not to be equipped with sails. Her only sister ship was the SMS Prinzess Wilhelm. The cruisers were planned for high seas duty in the Atlantic or Pacific.[2]

She carried a complement of 365 crew, displaced 4300 tons, and had a maximum speed of 18 knots. Her armament was changed in 1893 to 4 rapid-calibre 15 cm, 8 rapid-calibre 10.5 cm, 6 cm rapid-calibre 5 cannon.

In 1890 she was in the Mediterranean under the command of the Emperor's brother Prince Heinrich.[3]

At the beginning in June 1894 of the First Sino-Japanese War all the major powers started to increase their naval forces stationed in East Asia. In February 1895 the SMS Irene arrived in Tschifu (Yantai), China. Under Rear-Admiral Paul Hoffmann she became the flagship of the German East Asia Squadron (Ostasiengeschwader).[4]

Her chief service was on the East Asia station, notably in the Philippines and the Boxer Rebellion. In 1913 she was converted to an accommodation ship, and was scrapped in 1921.[5]