Nymphe German Cruiser

John A Silkstone

Nymphe German Cruiser

Extended Description
1899 NYMPHE. The Gazelle class, of which Nymphe was the third ship constructed, were the first modern light cruisers. All served in the First World War, and most of those which survived stayed in servke with the postwar navy; one even saw sea service with the Kriegsmarine during the Second World War.


The Gazelles were inspired by the Hela of 1895, a lightly-armed aviso (despatch-boat) with a distinctly old-fashioned appearance thanks to her ram prow a feature which the Gazelles inherited. They were designed in 1895-96 and the class leader was laid down the next year. Nymphe, which was the next of the class to be constructed by Germaniawerft at Kiel, was laid down late in 1898 and launched on 21 November 1899; she was commissioned into the Imperial German Navy ore 20 September, 1900. She was extensively modernised in 1924-25, being given a clipper bow, and served with the Reichsmarine until 1929. She was stricken on 31 March 1931, sold five months later for 61,500 Marks (having cost 4.6 million Marks to build), and broken up at Hamburg in 1932.


Nymphe, both in her original form and after her modernisation, was a simple, uncluttered design characteristic of an earlier period, with very little in the way of superstructure originally just a charthouse between the fore mast and forward funnel; later she gained two deckhouses. Her principal armament consisted of 10.5cm (4.1 in) quickfiring guns, six in single mounts, in sponsons, the others in twin mounts fore and aft. She also mounted two submerged 450mm torpedo tubes and a considerable number of rifle-calibre machine guns. Her sister-ship Niobe, sold to Yugoslavia in 1925 and later taken back to serve in the Kriegsmarine from September 1943, was outfitted as a flak ship, with six 8.4cm AA guns, four 4.7cm AA guns, four 2cm Oerlikon cannon and 26 20cm Breda cannon.


Type: Light cruiser Machinery;. Twin vertical triple-expansion engines giving a total of 8000ihp
Dimensions (overall, before modification): Length, 105m (345ft); beam, I2.2m {40ft) Displacement (before modification): 2660t standard, 3020t full load
Draught: 7.4m (17.75ft)
Complement: 257

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