SMS Schwalbe (1887)

Schwalbe transits the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal, c.1897. Photo in the collection of the German Federal Archives.

Nation
Ship Class
Laid Down
1886
Launched
1887
Commissioned
1888
Decommissioned
1919
AD/BC
AD
History

Laid down in 1886, SMS Schwalbe (Swallow) was Germany's first unprotected cruiser. Commissioned 8 May, 1888, Schwalbe was intended for service in the German colonies, and spent most of her time abroad. She deployed to German East Africa in 1889, and remained on station for four years, returning home for a refit. Placed in reserve afterwards, Schwalbe was recommissioned in 1898, redeploying to Africa where she safeguarded German shipping during the Second Boer War. Schwalbe was ordered to China during the Boxer Rebellion, spending most of her time there blockading the mouth of the Yangtze River. She underwent repairs in Shanghai twice, and moved to Ningpo during the Zhejiang riots. Schwalbe was called home in July, 1902, arriving in December. After a three-year refit, she was again placed in reserve, this time until 1912, when she was reactivated as a training ship. After the outbreak of World War I, Schwalbe was converted to a barracks ship in Kiel, and then into a target ship in 1918. She was decommissioned in 1919, and scrapped in 1922.