After World War I, Germany was only allowed to keep a few ships of the former Imperial Navy, part of them several CL of the Gazelle-Class. Being obsolete in the mid 1930s, most ships were scrapped or used as depot ships and none was still in active service at the beginning of World War II.
Two ships of this class, the Arcona
(commissioned 1903) and Medusa
(commissioned 1901) were modified to floating AA Batteries in 1940 and re-commissioned in May and June of 1940. Since their engines were seen as too obsolete for further use, they were disabled and the ships had to be town into their positions.
stayed in German waters and was badly damaged during an air attack on 19.04.1945. In May of 1945 it was scuttled by its own crew in Wilhlemshaven and scrapped after the war.