When Kaiser Wilhelm II ascended the throne of Imperial German, the German Navy was for coast defense. The new ruler was determined to change this situation. He not only admired but was also envious of the Royal Navy. For Germany to achieve "her place in the sun" in the colonies race in this peak of European colonialism, she needed a large navy. At least that was what he thought. One unforeseen consequence was to drive Great Britain from being a friend into the arms of the traditional foe of both countries, France. As the Imperial German Navy expanded under the guidance of Admiral Tirpitz, it was a balanced program. Unlike the reborn USN, which expanded in battleships but little else, Germany built battleships, cruisers, destroyers and submarines. From the start German light cruisers were a cut below the fighting abilities of contemporary British light cruisers. German cruisers were true scout cruisers designed to work with the fleet, as Germany did not produce trade protection cruisers with long range. As a general rule German cruisers were slightly smaller and less well arm than their British counterparts and for the most part had three funnels instead of four found in British designs. At the start of World War One Germany did have some light cruisers stationed outside of German waters, for the most part concentrated in the Eastern Asiatic Squadron under Admiral Graf von Spee at Tsing Tao. Before von Spee left in his cruise for South America, he did dispatch one of his light cruisers for raiding duties. This was the light cruiser Emden, which won fame both for her success, as well as for the chivalrous manner in which her captain and crew waged war. Of course she was eventually brought to bay and sunk by HMAS Sydney on November 9, 1914.
The German 1913 building program called for the construction of four light cruisers to be laid down in 1914. It was subsequently decided to name all four units after Grman light cruisers lost in the early moths of the war. These became Konigsberg (II), Karlsruhe (II), Nurnberg (II) and Emden (II). The Emden was laid down at Bremen in 1914, launched February 1, 1916 and completed on December 16, 1916. She displaced 5,440-tons standard and 7,125-tons deep load on her 478 feet (145.8m) length. She was heavily armed with eight 5.9-inch (150mm) guns but only five could be fired on broadside. She also carried two 88mm AA guns, four 19.7-inch torpedo tubes (two above water and two below water and could carry 120 mines. She had only an armored deck and conning tower. The two turbines and 12 boilers developed 31,000 shp for a maximum speed of 27.5 knots. Emden carried iron crosses on each side of her stem to honor her illustrious name sake. Through 1917 and 1918 Emden served with the scouting forces of the High Seas Fleet and was interned at Scapa Flow after the war, where she became fleet flagship under Rear Admiral von Reuter. She was part of the Great Scuttle and was beached in sinking condition. Awarded to France, the damage caused by her scuttling at Scapa was too Great to justify the expense of restoring her to active service, so the French used her as an explosive trials ship until 1926, when she was scrapped at Caen.
Navis has released a new (neu) pattern Emden II (N41) in their ongoing improvement program for the entire line. The detail on Neu pattern models is tremendous and that of Emden II is no exception. The Navis Emden II, as well as the entire Navis/Neptun line, are available from Galerie Maritim, which carries a huge inventory of new and pre-owned 1:1250 scale models.