|In March 1883 Leo von Caprivi became the minister of the navy and immediately butted heads with the Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, who was disinclined to spend money on the navy. Caprivi canvassed his officers to see what type of capitol ship
should be built for the Imperial Navy. Possible designs ranged from a 10,000-ton battleships armed with seven 11-inch (30.5cm) guns to 2,500-tons coastal defense ships armed with two 8.2-inch (21cm) guns. However, as in the United States Congress
in this time period, the German parliamentary government, the Reichstag, was adverse to spending significant funds on the navy. In the 1888/1889 naval program, the low end capitol ship program was selected for construction. The Kiel Canal was funded
for improvement and even the frugal Reichstag saw the need for protecting the canal. Eight warships to be called the Siegfried Class were to be built based on the smallest option. At least there were modifications to this anemic design, Displacement was
raised to 3,000-tons and the main battery went from 21cm (8.2-inches) to 24cm (9.4-inches). Also a third gun was later added. They were originally typed as armored warships to appease the Reichstag critics of ocean going battleships. This again, was
the exact scenario being played out in the United States, where the Einsteins of Congress feared building blue water battleships as the tools of evil imperialism, i.e. Great Britain.
The Siegfried Class did wonders for German shipbuilding, which had been starved through the lack of contracts, other than Vulcan. The eight ships were laid down between 1888 and 1893. They were clearly 2nd class at best, compared to foreign navies
construction. Displacement was 4,058-tons normal, 4,225-tons full load, for eight of them but Aegir and Oden (last two laid down) came in at 4,110-tons normal and 4,292-tons full load. They were 240-feet long, with a beam of 49-feet 3-inches, and a
draught of 17-feet 9-inches. Armament consisted of three singly mounted 9.4-inch/35 (24cm) main guns with two side by side on the forecastle and one aft. The side by side bow mounts were in part based on the belief in ramming and focused on axial
fighting. The secondary battery consisted of ten 3.5 inch/30 (88mm) QF guns Six machine guns were also carried. Four submerged torpedo tubes were carried, which consisted of a 13.8-inch tube in the bow and 17.7-inch (450mm) tubes on the beams
and stern. The armor scheme consisted of a belt of 9.5 to 7-inches in thickness, 7-inches on the conning tower and an armored deck of 1.25-inches, except for Hildebrand and Aegir, which had 2-inch armored decks. The Siegfried Class was the first
German design to have triple expansion reciprocating engines. Eight Schulz-Thornycroft boilers provided the steam for the 3 cylinder vertical triple expansion (VTE) engines for 5,100hp and a top speed of 15.5-knots. By World War One they had little
practical military use.