Midilli | German archives

Tonnage: 4,550 tonnes
Length: 136 m.
Beam: 14 m.
Draught: 5.5 m.
Engines: 4 screws; 16 Schulz-Thorneycroft boilers; 25,000 hp (19 MW)
Speed: 25 kts.
Armament: 7 x 150 mm, 50 calibre | 2 x 10 kg anti-aircraft | 4 x torpedo tubes.

  • Launched by the German Navy on May 16, 1911 as SMS Breslau.
  • Commissioned by the Ottoman Empire and renamed Midilli on August 16, 1914 in Istanbul.
  • On October 28, 1914, Midilli joined Yavuz that led a sortie into the Black Sea and began raiding Russian assets. The next day the Crimean port of Sevastopol was bombarded. Midilli shelled the shore artillery positions at Novorossiysk and laid a 60-mine barrage in the Strait of Kerch. The same day, she sailed to Varna to destroy the telegraph lines to Sevastopol.
  • On November 7, 1914, Midilli shelled the port and installations at Poti.
  • On November 18, 1914, Yavuz and Midilli fought a number of Russian battleships. Although Yavuz got damaged, Midilli returned safely to Istanbul.
  • On June 10, 1915, Midilli encountered two Russian destroyers off Zonguldak. Midilli received seven hits with some casualties. Russian destroyer Derzkiy was badly damaged but no attempt was made to sink her.
  • On July 18, 1915, Midilli hit a mine near the Bosphorus. Despite being flooded with 600 tonnes of water, she managed to return to the port safely. Repairs could only be completed in February 1916.
  • In February and April 1916, Midilli carried Turkish troops to the Caucasus front (to the port of Trabzon). In July 1916, she attacked Russian troop transports.
  • On July 21, 1916, Midilli sailed from Istanbul to lay mines off the approaches to Novorossiysk. The next day she encountered four Russian destroyers and was forced to return to Istanbul.
  • On January 20, 1918, Midilli together with Yavuz emerged from the Dardanelles and encountered the British ships near the island of Imbros. They managed to outgun the British destroyers and monitors. However, the two cruisers ran into a minefield. Midilli struck a mine and sank immediately, with the loss of 330 men.
Midilli | Naval Museum Istanbul
Gunners of Midilli
Commander of Midilli, Col. Paul Kettner
Midilli sailing
Mines loaded on Midilli
Midilli anchored in Istanbul
Midilli sailing
Battle cruiser Midilli, oil painting by İsmail Hakkı Bey | Naval Museum Istanbul