SMS Irene
SMS Irene was a protected cruiser
Protected cruiser
The protected cruiser is a type of naval cruiser of the late 19th century, so known because its armoured deck offered protection for vital machine spaces from shrapnel caused by exploding shells above...

 or Kreuzerkorvette of the Kaiserliche Marine
Kaiserliche Marine
The Imperial German Navy was the German Navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy and Norddeutsche Bundesmarine, which primarily had the mission of coastal defense. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded...

 (German Imperial Navy) launched on 23 July 1887 from the Vulcan Shipyard in Stettin, Germany (now Szczecin, Poland). The cruiser was named after Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine
Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine
Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine was the third child and third daughter of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom and Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine. Her maternal grandparents were Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert...

, sister-in-law of Kaiser Wilhem II. The SMS Prinzess Wilhelm was the only sister ship fully built to the design.

She was the first or lead ship of two ships of a new class of cruiser corvette or light cruisers of the Imperial Navy. It was the first class not to be equipped with sails. Her only sister ship was the SMS Prinzess Wilhelm. The cruisers were planned for high seas duty in the Atlantic or Pacific.

She carried a complement of 365 crew, displaced 4300 tons, and had a maximum speed of 18 knots. Her armament was changed in 1893 to 4 rapid-calibre 15 cm, 8 rapid-calibre 10.5 cm, 6 cm rapid-calibre 5 cannon.

In 1890 she was in the Mediterranean under the command of the Emperor's brother Prince Heinrich.

At the beginning in June 1894 of the First Sino-Japanese War
First Sino-Japanese War
The First Sino-Japanese War was fought between Qing Dynasty China and Meiji Japan, primarily over control of Korea...

 all the major powers started to increase their naval forces stationed in East Asia. In February 1895 the SMS Irene arrived in Tschifu (Yantai
Yantai is a prefecture-level city in northeastern Shandong province, People's Republic of China. Located on the southern coast of the Bohai Sea and the eastern coast of the Laizhou Bay, Yantai borders the cities of Qingdao and Weihai to the southwest and east respectively.The largest fishing...

), China. Under Rear-Admiral Paul Hoffmann
Paul Hoffmann (German naval officer)
Paul Hoffmann was an officer of the Imperial German Navy , who rose to the rank of vice-admiral.In 1889 he was captain of the SMS Kaiser, the lead ship of the Kaiser-class armored frigates commissioned on 13 February 1875...

 she became the flagship
A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, reflecting the custom of its commander, characteristically a flag officer, flying a distinguishing flag...

 of the German East Asia Squadron
German East Asia Squadron
The German East Asia Squadron was a German Navy cruiser squadron which operated mainly in the Pacific Ocean between the 1870s and 1914...


Her chief service was on the East Asia station, notably in the Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 and the Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

. In 1913 she was converted to an accommodation ship, and was scrapped in 1921.
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