The Karlsruhe was one of four Konigsberg (ii) class of Light cruisers, and should not be confused with the Karlsruhe Light Cruiser class of which there were two one being named the Karlsruhe. She was sunk on 4th November 1914. The Imperial German navy had a very confusing ship naming policy and it’s easy to research the wrong ship.
Anyway our Karlsruhe was laid down in 1915 and launched on 3rd January 1916.She had a complement of 475 officers and men and a top speed of 30 knots. This was provided by 2-shaft high-pressure navy turbines, powered by twelve boilers, ten coal and two oil fired. The Karlruhe was 478 ft long, nearly 47 ft in the beam and had a draught of 19 ft 8 inches. Her armament included eight 5.9-inch guns, three 3.45-inch guns, four batteries of 50mm anti aircraft guns, and she could also lay up to 120 mines.
I first dived this wreck in 1985 and this is what I wrote in my notes at the time.
The Karlsruhe lies in about 80 ft of water well broken up on a sandy bottom. Even so the first thing to hit you is the sheer size of the wreck. You just do not realise how big a light cruiser is until you see something like this with its huge ‘walls’ of steel. Access into the engine hold is easy, but they are vast caverns stuffed full of brass or lead. Easier are the huge gashes revealing a scrap yard of twisted metal and a jumble of bright brass turbine blades. Lead cable is coiled everywhere and seems quite commonplace after a while. One of the pretty bits was one of the companion ways with its upright supports and broken railings making a sort of iron tent, with bits of weed floating artistically around. Plumose anemones abound, but overshadowing all it is the sheer massive bulk of the wreck Huge iron portholes stud the iron walls and the whole thing viewed from the side looks like something from Star Wars. A really great dive.
In October 1997 I made another visit to the Kalsruhe, and still was not disappointed. This time the skipper put us right on the bow near the forward turret. After examining that (my first love) I swam along the deck looking into all the holes and hatchways, and sometimes going inside to see the great festoons of electric cable lying all over the place. At the bow the anchor windlasses are still there complete with anchor chain. The next really noticeable thing was the wooden decking and the Anemones. As always tons of brass, and far too much to look at in the time. It’s a very, very impressive wreck.