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 used as a torpedo training ship and was lost early in the war. It run aground near the Island of Odensholm and despite all efforts, could not be brought afloat again. The ship was then attacked by two Russian cruisers and the Russians were able to capture the ships code books enabling the allies to decode all German naval radio transmissions during the whole war.
The Russians were also able to reuse the guns of the wreck, a total of four ships were equipped with them: Gunboat Khrabryi
(6 x 10,5 cm), patrol ship Yastreb
(2 x 10,5 cm), patrol ships Kopchik