SS Königin Luise (1913)

Königin Luise during peacetime. Public domain photo.

Laid Down

SS Königin Luise was a steam ferry, launched in 1913. Built for trans-Atlantic work, she didn't serve in that capacity long. When Franz Ferdinand was assassinated the following year, Luise was requisitioned by the German Navy, and refitted as an auxiliary minelayer. Capable of carrying 200 mines, she was also equipped with a pair of revolver cannons for defense. She sailed for the Thames Estuary on 4 August, 1914, but minelaying was interrupted when fishing boats tipped off the Royal Navy's Harwich Force. Königin Luise was intercepted by the scout cruiser Amphion and several destroyers the next day, and attempted to drop more mines while hiding in a squall. However, the destroyers sniffed her out, and she was quickly taken under fire while attempting to flee to neutral territory. Königin Luise was scuttled, and the survivors were picked up by the British. However, the next morning, Amphion ran afoul of some of Königin Luise's mines, and was lost as well.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: Königin Luise and Amphion were the first German and British losses of the war at sea.