Aircraft carrier SMS Ausonia

The aircraft carrier SMS Ausonia was a concept of the imperial navy for an aircraft steamer to have at sea a floating platform for reconnaissance aircraft.


Launching and design:

Shortly before the beginning of the First World War both Great Britain and the German Reich experimented with aircraft mother ships. These were almost exclusively designed to transport seaplanes, for launch into the water and resume after the flight to perform reconnaissance flights. However, it was recognized early on that the time for discharging and resuming an aircraft takes too long, also the aircraft mother ships for this process must stop. For this reason, concepts were worked on to be able to offer a platform to wheeled aircraft, since in this case the time was enormous and these aircraft carriers can compete with the other warships in terms of speed and range.

For this purpose, on the German side began to rebuild an unfinished Italian passenger ship for this purpose. The chosen ship was a passenger ship launched on April 15, 1915, which would be large enough for such a conversion.

The concept was to accommodate 19 hydroplanes and 10 wheeled planes with a long landing deck on the stern for take-off and landing and a shorter launch deck on the foredeck from which the aircraft could take off directly from the hangar. In contrast to the aircraft carriers already built by the United Kingdom, the German design should have a command island, as they were standard for later aircraft carriers.





During the war, the German naval command had already converted some passenger ships, merchant ships and older warships to aircraft mother ships. However, since the operational capability, the number of aircraft and other properties were unsatisfactory, it was decided in October 1918 that for several years unfinished passenger ship to rebuild the aircraft carrier.

By the end of the war in November 1918, the reconstruction could not be implemented and the hull of the ship was scrapped in 1922.




Ship data:


SMS Ausonia


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Aircraft carrier


Single ship


Blohm & Voss, Hamburg




15. April 1915


Not completed


Scrapped in 1922


158,8 meters


18,8 meters


Max. 7,43 meters


Max. 12.585 Tons




2 steam turbines from Blohm & Voss


18.000 PS

Maximum speed:  

21 kn




19 seaplanes

10 wheel planes




SMS Ausonia






You can find the right literature here:


German Battleships 1914–18 (1): Deutschland, Nassau and Helgoland classes (New Vanguard)

German Battleships 1914–18 (1): Deutschland, Nassau and Helgoland classes (New Vanguard) Paperback – February 23, 2010

Supported by official documents, personal accounts, official drawings and specially commissioned artwork, this volume is an enlightening history of the Deutschland to Osfriesland classes. Detailing the last of the pre-dreadnaught battleship classes, this book goes on to explain the revolutionary developments that took place within the German Imperial Navy as they readied themselves for war. This included creating vessels with vast increases in size and armament. This account of design and technology is supplemented by individual ship histories detailing combat experience complete with first-hand accounts. The specially commissioned artwork also brings this history to life with recreations of the battleship Pommern fighting at Jutland and ships of the Osfriesland class destroying HMS Black Prince in a dramatic night-time engagement.

Click here!



The Imperial German Navy of World War I, Vol. 1 Warships: A Comprehensive Photographic Study of the Kaiser’s Naval Forces

The Imperial German Navy of World War I, Vol. 1 Warships: A Comprehensive Photographic Study of the Kaiser’s Naval Forces Hardcover – December 28, 2016

The Imperial German Navy of WWI is a series of books (Warships, Campaigns, & Uniforms) that provide a broad view of the Kaiser's naval forces through the extensive use of photographs. Every effort has been made to cover all significant areas during the war period. In addition to the primary use of photographs, technical information is provided for each warship along with its corresponding service history; with a special emphasis being placed on those warships that participated in the Battle of Skagerrak (Jutland). Countless sources have been used to establish individual case studies for each warship; multiple photos of each warship are provided. The entire series itself is unprecedented in its coverage of the Kaiser's navy.

Click here!



German Battlecruisers of World War One: Their Design, Construction and Operations

German Battlecruisers of World War One: Their Design, Construction and Operations Hardcover – November 4, 2014

This is the most comprehensive, English-language study of the German Imperial Navy's battlecruisers that served in the First World War. Known as Panzerkreuzer, literally "armored cruiser," the eight ships of the class were to be involved in several early North Sea skirmishes before the great pitched battle of Jutland where they inflicted devastating damage on the Royal Navy's battlecruiser fleet. This book details their design and construction, and traces the full service history of each ship, recounting their actions, drawing largely from first-hand German sources and official documents, many previously unpublished in English.

Click here!



The Kaiser's Battlefleet: German Capital Ships 1871-1918

The Kaiser's Battlefleet: German Capital Ships 1871-1918 Hardcover – March 15, 2016

The battleships of the Third Reich have been written about exhaustively, but there is little in English devoted to their Second Reich predecessors. This new book fills an important gap in the literature of the period by covering these German capital ships in detail and studying the full span of battleship development during this period. The book is arranged as a chronological narrative, with technical details, construction schedules, and ultimate fates tabulated throughout, thus avoiding the sometimes disjointed structure that can result from a class-by-class approach. Heavily illustrated with line drawings and photographs, many from German sources, the book offers readers a fresh visual look at these ships. A key objective of the book is to make available a full synthesis of the published fruits of archival research by German writers found in the pre-World War II books of Koop & Schmolke, Großmer's on the construction program of the dreadnaught era, Forstmeier & Breyer on World War I projects, and Schenk & Nottelmann's papers in Warship International. As well as providing data not available in English-language books, these sources correct significant errors in standard English sources.

Click here!






This post is also available in: Deutsch (German) Français (French) Italiano (Italian) 简体中文 (Chinese (Simplified)) Русский (Russian) Español (Spanish) العربية (Arabic)

Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!