After the construction of the armored cruiser Prinz Heinrich
, its reduction in armament was heavily criticized. Therefore, the two ships of the following Prinz Adalbert
class had the double number of heavy artillery guns, but the size had to reduced to 21 cm again in order not to increase the size of the ship.
Showing the same design principles than the previous classes, those two ships again had an increase in engine power to archive a higher top speed, but like the gun size this was limited by the restriction not to increase the ship size.
They were maneuverable and good seagoing ships, but their outward decks and casemates were flooded even by smaller waves.
Unlike other armored cruisers, both ships were lose early in the war. Friedrich Carl
sunk after two mine hits just three months after the outbreak of the war.