Hochseeflotte Ships
Coast Defence Ships
Armored Cruiser
Small Cruiser
Avisos/Old Cruiser
Mine Layers
Gun Boats
Auxiliary Cruiser
Cap Trafalgar
K. Wilh. d. Große
Kronprinz Wilhlem
Prinz Eitel Friedrich
Wolf II
Misc Ships
Ship Index

Auxiliary Cruiser

During World War I, Germany used several modified civilian ships as auxiliary cruisers. Their task was to operate in all oceans of the world and attack allied merchant shipping there.
There were three different kinds of auxiliary cruisers used by the Imperial German Navy. Before the war, the fast passenger ships were seen as the ideal auxiliary cruisers, therefore many of the new passenger ships build after 1900 were prepared to be equipped with guns from the beginning. But wartime proved that those ships were too vulnerable. although being fast, their high silhouette and unique look made them easy targets for British warships.
The next group of ships used as auxiliary cruisers were captured allied vessels that were refitted in oversea bases, by using the guns of older gunboats stationed there. Only a few ships were modified this way.
The most successful kind of auxiliary cruisers were modified transport ships. Being slow but not very easy to be recognized as a warship  those ships operated very successful in the second part of the war. Because of those successful operations, the idea of modified transport ships was again used during World War II.

Berlin (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: A.G. Weser, 1908
Launched: 23.10.1907
Commissioned: 18.09.1914 (as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: scrapped December 1931

Cap Trafalgar (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: Vulcan Hamburg, 1913
Launched: 31.07.1913
Commissioned: 31.08.1914 (as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: sunk 14.09.1914

Cormoran (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: Schichau Elbing, 1909
Launched: March 1909
Commissioned: 30.11.1909 (07.08.1914 as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: scuttled 07.04.1917

Geier (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: W. Hamilton & Co. Glasgow, 1913
Launched: 22.04.1913
Commissioned: 12.12.1916 (as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: sunk 14.02.1917

Greif (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: A.G. Neptun Rostock, 1914
Launched: 29.07.1914
Commissioned: 23.01.1916 (as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: sunk 29.02.1916

Iltis (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft Flensburg, 1905
Launched: 18.11.1905
Commissioned: 27.02.1917 (as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: sunk 05.03.1917

Kaiser Wilhelm der Große (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: A.G. Vulcan Stettin, 1897
Launched: 04.05.1897
Commissioned: 02.08.1914 (as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: sunk 26.08.1914

Kronprinz Wilhlem (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: A.G. Vulcan Stettin, 1901
Launched: 30.03.1901
Commissioned: 06.08.1914 (as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: scrapped 1923

Leopard (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: W. Dobson & Co. Newcastle, 1912
Launched: 1912
Commissioned: 19.01.1917 (as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: sunk 16.03.1917

Meteor (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: Ramage & Ferguson Ld Leith, 1903
Launched: May 1903
Commissioned: 06.05.1915 (as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: sunk by British cruisers on 09.08.1915

Möwe (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: J.C. Tecklenburg Geestemünde, 1914
Launched: 09.05.1914
Commissioned: 01.11.1915 (as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: sunk after bomb hit on 07.04.1945

Prinz Eitel Friedrich (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: A.G. Vulcan Stettin, 1904
Launched: 18.06.1904
Commissioned: 05.08.1914 (as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: scrapped 1935

Seeadler (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: R. Duncan & Co. Port Glasgow, 1878
Launched: 09.08.1888
Commissioned: 02.12.1916 (as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: beached at Mopelia on 02.08.1917

Vineta (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: Blohm & Voss Hamburg, 1914
Launched: 25.03.1914
Commissioned: 08.02.1915 (as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: scrapped 1935

Wolf (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: Workman, Clark & Co Ltd Belfast, 1906
Launched: 10.05.1906
Commissioned: 14.01.1916 (as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: scrapped April 1934

Wolf II (Hilfskreuzer)
Laid down: Flensburger Schiffbaugesellschaft, 1913
Launched: 08.03.1913
Commissioned: 16.05.1916 (as auxiliary cruiser)
Fate: scrapped April 1931