SMS Dresden (1907)

SMS Dresden (1907)

The SMS "Dresden" was a German Imperial Navy light cruiser of the "Dresden" class, commissioned in 1908.

She was the sister ship of the famous commerce raider SMS "Emden". While the "Emden" still had traditional triple-expansion engines, the "Dresden" was the first German cruiser to be equipped with the new Parsons turbines.

Prior to World War I the "Dresden" had been stationed in the Caribbean for a year. During that time, she was instrumental in evacuating American nationals during the U.S. occupation of Veracruz, 1914. She also played a role in the departure of exiled Mexican president Victoriano Huerta, transporting him from Mexico to Kingston, Jamaica.

ervice history

At the outbreak of the war in 1914, the "Dresden" was preparing for the return journey to Germany. However, orders were changed to prepare for commerce raiding. The "Dresden" then headed for the South Atlantic and rendezvoused with the German East Asia Squadron under Vice Admiral Count Spee at Easter Island. In company with Count Spee's other ships — the armoured cruisers SMS "Scharnhorst" and SMS "Gneisenau" and the light cruisers SMS "Leipzig" and SMS "Nürnberg" — the "Dresden" participated in the Battle of Coronel. Together with SMS "Leipzig" she damaged and forced the escape of the British light cruiser HMS "Glasgow".

Battle of the Falkland Islands

Approximately one month later, "Dresden" was the only German cruiser to escape destruction at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, her turbine engines proving faster than her expansion-engined squadron mates. The ship then headed south back around Cape Horn to the maze of channels and bays in southern Chile. Until March 1915 she evaded Royal Navy searches while paralyzing British trade routes in the area.

The end

On 8 March 1915, the "Dresden" put into Cumberland Bay on the Chilean island of Más a Tierra (today known as Robinson Crusoe Island) which was neutral territory. Due to lack of supplies and parts for the worn-out engines, the ship ceased to be operational. Six days later, on 14 March, the British light cruisers HMS "Glasgow" and HMS "Kent" found the elusive German cruiser. After a few shots were fired, the "Dresden" ran up a white flag and sent Lieutenant Wilhelm Canaris to negotiate with the British. However, this was merely a ruse to buy time so the "Dresden"'s crew could abandon ship and scuttle her. At 11:15 a.m. the "Dresden" slipped under the waves with her war ensign proudly flying. Her crew of about 300 men was interned in Chile for the duration of the war, with about a third electing to remain and resettle in Chile at war's end. Lieutenant Wilhelm Canaris became famous during the Second World War as head of the German Military Intelligence Service, the Abwehr.


Today the wreck, which lies in about 60 metres (200 ft) of water, is gaining popularity with recreational Scuba divers, and is occasionally used by the Chilean Navy for diver training. On 24 February 2006, Chilean and German divers found and recovered the "Dresden"'s bell.

CS Forester's novel "Brown on Resolution", and two subsequent movies, were inspired by the "Dresden"'s escape and subsequent destruction. Forester's novel has a German warship escape the Battle of the Falkland Islands and make its way to an isolated Pacific Island, to effect repairs.

External links

* [ German TV Documentary] and FORGOTTEN CRUISERWARRIOR By Robert F. Smith

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Look at other dictionaries:

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