Because of the experience of the Russian-Japanese war in 1905, the danger of mines for capital warships was seen as one of the major threats in an upcoming conflict. Despite this knowledge, it took until 1914 until the German Hochseeflotte ordered its first real minesweepers which were build for this task form. Until then, older torpedo boats were modified for this duty, but it got obvious that some special designed ships were needed to perform this task.
The Minensuchboote 1914, 1915 and 1916 proved to very valuable ships which could perform their task very good. Build around a simple triple expansion steam engine, they proved to be very good seagoing ships and were easy to maintain. The three ship classes only had minor differences except an increase in size and armament.
A total of 176 ships were ordered and mode of them were completed. Because of their dangerous operations, many of them got lost during the war, especially caused by mine hits. The surviving ships are used for several different tasks after the war, many of them were specially rebuild into fleet tenders or other auxiliary ships. Many of these ships saw action in World War II again, some even in their initial role as mine sweepers.