Gunboat SMS Iltis. Her model, masterfully built by Anton Happach in scale 1:100, is part of our exhibition on international naval history on deck 5 of the museum.
SMS „Iltis“ was the lead ship of a class of six gunboats of the German Imperial Navy commissioned at the end of the 19th century for service in the German colonies. She was launched by Schichau-Werke in Danzig on August 4, 1898, and commissioned at the end of the same year. Soon the „Iltis“ was deployed as part of the East Asiatic Cruiser Squadron and took part in the military conflict with the „Yihetuan“ (義和團運動) movement during the Boxer War of 1899-1901. At the time, Germany was part of an eight-nation alliance with Japan, Russia, Great Britain, the United States, Italy, France and Austria-Hungary – all states with colonial interests in the Chinese Qing Empire. SMS „Iltis“ was severely damaged during the Battle of the Taku Forts on June 17, 1900. For her military achievements during this battle, she was the only ship ever to be awarded the Order „Pour le Mérite“, a medal for bravery donated by the Kings of Prussia, which had both a civilian and a military version. SMS „Iltis“ wore this medal on her bow from 1903.
The ship remained in East Asia until the outbreak of the First World War. Being obsolete, she was decommissioned on the eve of the war. Some of the crew were transferred to the merchant cruiser SMS „Cormoran“, which was being fitted out at the German naval base at Tsingtao on the Chinese coast. Another 25 men of her crew were commanded to the small cruiser SMS „Emden“, the rest remained ashore to defend the colony. The „Iltis“ was sunk on September 28, 1914 during the siege of Tsingtao by British and Japanese forces.
Her model, masterfully built by Anton Happach in scale 1:100, is part of our exhibition on international naval history on deck 5 of the museum.