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Notes: These small armored ships were built to defend the approaches to German harbors, and were quite unusual in that the two 9.45" forward turrets were side-by-side. As built, they had a single funnel (ÄGIR was built with two funnels). ODIN and ÄGIR were built to slightly different specifications; their belt armor was thinner, but their deck armor was thicker; each had two additional 3.45" guns, and their torpedo tubes were 16.5"; each also had fighting tops on their masts. The entire class was rebuilt; HAGEN in 1898-1900, the rest by the end of 1904. They were lengthened to 282' 6" and reboilered, with tonnage increasing to 4,158 tons, and after the rebuild, they all had two funnels. Bunkerage for coal was increased to a maximum of 580 tons, which extended their range to 3,400nm at 10 knots / 1,940nm at 14 knots. They were noted as being good sea boats with a tight turning circle, but with a marked speed loss in heavy seas.
After being briefly attached to the High Seas Fleet at the beginning of World War I, the entire class was reclassified as "coast defense ships" (in 1915). By the end of 1916, they had all been disarmed and assigned to other service. BEOWULF served as a target ship for training submarines until 1918, when she had her bow strengthened and was sent to the Baltic for use as an icebreaker. In June, 1919, BEOWULF was stricken from the roster and sold to be broken up. She was broken up at Danzig in 1921.