Besides a much more modern outer appearance then their predecessors (no "ram-bow" anymore), the four small cruisers of the Magdeburg
class introduced a new feature to German small cruisers: An armor belt. This was archived with the cost of a thinner armor deck, despite the fact that the offensive capabilities were not increased. Like on other small cruisers, the 10,5 cm guns were replaced by 15 cm guns after the outbreak of World War I.
The ships were said to be very bad seagoing s and tent to produce huge vibrations at speed above 22 knots. The engine rooms were very cramped, making maintenance difficult.
was part of the Mediterranean Division, together with the battlecruiser Goeben
. Together with the battlecruiser, the Breslau then served under Turkish command, although the crew was still German. Given the nickname "Plaemyannik" - the nephew - by the Russians, it operated together with the Goeben
against Russian forces until it sunk on 20.01.1918 after five mine hits.