Late in the 19th century, small and fast warships could be seperated into two classes: Scouting and defence against torpedo boats. While this normally evolved into the contruction of different kind of ships, the German Navy tried to fulfill these tasks with a single kind of ships, the avisos.
However there was a single class of ships specially designed to fight torpedo boats, the Comet
. It seemed as if this design was not very successful, as the Comet
only saw very few active operations. During its whole lifetime, the ship had an active duty of just about half a year. The Meteor
had a similar hort active career.
Like most older warships, the now classified as small cruisers were used for auxiliary harbor duty during World War I, the Comet
was used as a mine hulk in Emden and the Meteor
as a floating barrack in Kiel. Both ships were scrapped after the war.