The great success of offensive mine operations in the Russian-Japanese war of 1904-1905, caused huge interest in mine warfare (and its counter measures) in most european countries. As a result, the Hochseeflotte ordered two special build mine layers - the official designation was "Minendampfer" - to replace the existing minelayers which were converted from other ships.
Although the two ordered ships were originally planned to be both of the same class, they differed so much that they could be seen as different ship classes. The first build Nautilus
had the typical appearance of a yacht, while the half-sister Albatross
looked more like a small cruiser.
Despite their later designation as a mine cruiser, the weak 8,8 cm guns as main artillery made those ships no real match for a real small cruiser. The maneuverable ships proved to be very sensitive to wind, especially at low speeds.
Only two years after being commissioned, the Nautilus
was modernized based on the latest knowledge of mine warfare. It was used to train and experiment with mine warfare before the war, during the war it operated in North and Baltic Sea and laid several mine fields. It was scrapped in 1928.