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Missing image
SMS_Konigsberg.jpg
SMS Königsberg

Career Missing image
Kaiserliche_Kriegsflagge.png
KLM ensign

Ordered:
Laid down: January 1905
Launched:
Commissioned:
Fate: scuttled
General characteristics
Displacement:
Length:
Beam: 13.2 m
Draft:
Propulsion: 2 shaft triple expansion engines, 13,200 ihp
Speed:
Complement: 322
Armament:

SMS Königsberg was a Kaiserliche Marine light cruiser, which was in German East Africa at the start of World War I. She operated in her design role as a raider of merchant shipping. After the sinking of the ship, her crew and guns fought on as part of General Paul Erich von Lettow-Vorbeck's unbeaten East African campaign which tied down many troops and ships of the British Empire.

In September 1914 she sunk HMS Pegasus, a ship sent to hunt her, in the harbour at Zanzibar. Engine problems forced Königsberg to abandon plans to return to Germany and to hide in the Rufiji River delta in German East Africa hoping for repairs.

In October and November the Royal Navy cruisers Chatham, Dartmouth and Weymouth closed in, forcing Königsberg further up the river. Königsberg's coal ship was destroyed closing her raiding career. A blockship was sunk at the river mouth to prevent her escape. Shore batteries were set up. A civilian Curtiss flying boat and later two Royal Naval Air Service Sopwith seaplanes were used to try locate Königsberg.

Attempts were made to use the big guns of an old battleship, HMS Goliath, to sink the cruiser. That did not work because the shallow water of the Rufiji prevented the large battleship from travelling up river and the thick vegetation hid the German ship. Eventually two monitors, HMS Mersey and HMS Severn were towed from Britain. The heavy guns and shallow draughts of these warships allowed them to seriously damage Königsberg in July 1915. The Germans decided to scuttle her in the Rufiji delta after removing her guns and crew for use in the continuing land campaign. She was eventually broken up in 1962.

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