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KPNurnberg
 

Germany’s Nürnberg

 
 

Displacement

3,469 tons

Launched

August 1906

Overall Length

117.4 meters

Commissioned

April 1908

Beam

13.3 meters

Armor Max

30mm-100mm

Engines

Two Three-Cylinder Triple Expansion

Guns

10-10.5cm SK L/40,  

8-5.2cm SK L/55

Speed

23 knots

Torpedo Tubes

2-45cm

Crew

322

Mines

None


One of four ships of the Königsberg class of light cruisers, the Nürnberg appeared distinctly different from the lead ship of the class with her ‘detached’ third funnel, a characteristic she shared with her sister ship Stuttgart.  

The Nürnberg was posted off the western coast of Mexico before being replaced on station by the Leipzig. The Nürnberg was badly in need of a refit and was ordered to return to the home port of Far East Squadron (Kreuzergeschwader) in Tsingtau, China. On her return voyage she stopped in both San Francisco and Honolulu to lay in supplies.  

The declaration of war superseded all other plans and after coaling in Honolulu, Nürnberg was ordered to sail at all speed to rejoin the Kreuzergeschwader off the south Pacific island of Ponape. The squadron commaner, Vice-Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee, dispatched the Nürnberg back to Honolulu to reestablish communications with the German consulate in San Francisco. Communications with the homeland were now extremely difficult given the British destruction of the German wireless station on Yap.  

After a short one day stay, she sailed again for a rendezvous with the Kreuzergeschwader, this time off Christmas Island. Upon her arrival, the Nürnberg was immediately dispatched, this time to destroy the British communication station located to the northwest on Fanning Island. After completing the task without incident, she again rejoined the squadron off Christmas Island.  

The Nürnberg missed most of the action during the Battle of Coronel on November 1st having sailed for Valparaiso just prior to the battle in the company of the Dresden. Both ships sped back to rejoin von Spee, but the Nürnberg became separated because she could not maintain speed with the faster Dresden. Shortly before midnight, Nürnberg encountered a large dark shape making limited speed. She had discovered the badly damaged HMS Monmouth, one of the British combatants from the Battle of Coronel.  

After an offer of surrender went unanswered, the Nürnberg opened fire on the beleaguered British ship. Due to her exaggerated list, the Monmouth was unable to return fire from her powerful battery of 14-6in guns. After bearing up for nearly an hour under the constant bombardment, the British ship capsized and sank. After dispatching her adversary, Nürnberg sailed away to rejoin her victorious shipmates at Valparaiso.  

In early December she and the other members of the Kreuzergeschwader transferred to the Atlantic Ocean. There she and three other ships of the squadron would meet their fate during the Battle of the Falkland Islands.  

Admiral Spee made the decision to give battle with his two largest ships, the armored cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, hoping to enable the three smaller ships to break off action. Only the Dresden managed to make her escape. The Nürnberg was overhauled by HMS Kent, even though the British ship was, by design, slower. The overdue refit would now come to haunt the Nürnberg.  

She was no match for the larger and more powerfully armed British ship (14-6in and 12-12pdr guns). The terrible pounding she received reduced Nürnberg to a hulk, her upper works ablaze from multiple fires. The Kent ceased fire as the German ensign was hauled down. The Nürnberg was finished. She heeled over and sank.

Ships captured (c), sunk (s), or mined (m): 1 totaling 9,950 tons

 

Ship  

Displacement  

Date  

HMS Monmouth (s)  

9,950 tons  

1/11/1914