The six gunboats of the Iltis class were typical for a gunboat of the late 19th century used for overseas service. Small and lightly armed, they were used to protect a nation's interests in their colonies around the world.
The first two boats, Iltis and Jaguar were equipped with four 8,8 cm guns, the later ones got two larger 10,5 cm guns instead. To extend their operational radius, they were equipped with additional sails besides their expansion engines and they were very maneuverable ships using them. Despite their small size, they were good seagoing and maneuverable ships, only at high speed and shallow waters their maneuvrability was decreased.
All six ships were used for overseas services and most of them were destroyed there. Iltis
were stationed in Tsingtau, China and were all scuttled after the surrender of the German troops there.
returned to Germany shortly before the war and was used for coastal defence duty. It survived the war and was used as a surveying vessel between 1921 and 1926. In 1931 it was sold for scrap.