Thursday, 22 June 2017

German Flakschiff: Arcona and Medusa

SMS Arcona and SMS Medusa were two of the ten light cruisers that formed the Gazelle-class. They were built in the early years of the twentieth century, and by the time of the First World War they were no longer regarded as front-line units.

When built, their characteristics were:
  • Displacement: 3,130 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 344’ 6” (105m)
    • Beam: 40’ 8” (12.40m)
    • Draft: 16’ 4” (4.99m)
  • Speed: 21.5 knots
  • Propulsion: 2 shafts powered by triple-expansion steam engines
  • Armour: Deck: 20 to 25mm (0.79 to 0.98 inches)
  • Armament: 10 × 4.1” (10.5cm) SK L/40 guns (10 x 1); 2 × 18” (45cm) Torpedo Tubes
  • Complement: 14 officers and 256 enlisted men
A silhouette of a Gazelle-class cruiser.
SMS Arcona in 1910.
When converted into a flakschiff, Arcona and Medusa carried:
  • 1 x 4.1” (10.5cm) SK C/32 gun (1 x 1)
  • 4 x 4.1” (10.5cm) SK C/33 guns (4 x 1),
  • 2 x 37mm SK C/30 guns (2 x 1)
  • 4 x 20mm guns (1 x 4)
A silhouette of KMS Arcona and KMS Medusa. The funnel was later shortened and additional superstructure added.
Arcona was assigned to Naval Anti-Aircraft Group 233. She survived the war and was broken up between 1948 and 1949.

KMS Arcona.
Medusa was assigned to Naval Anti-Aircraft Group 222. She survived the war and was broken up between 1948 and 1950.

KMS Medusa.
KMS Medusa in action.
KMS Medusa. This appears to be a photograph of the ship during her conversion into a flakschiff.


  1. Very nice research Bob I knew these were ww1 era ships but never knew they went into ww2

    1. Johntheone,

      I hope that you enjoy reading the rest of this short series of blog entries.

      All the best,,



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