Battleship SMS Bayern (1915)

The large-scale ship SMS Bayern was the first ship in the Bayern class and, in addition to its sister ship SMS Baden, was one of the last two large-scale ships still built and at the same time one of the most modern warships of the imperial navy.


Launching and design:

Start of construction of the Bayern was on January 22, 1914, the launch then took place on February 18, 1915. Due to the course of the First World War and the associated withdrawal of many shipyard workers for military service and the onset of scarcity of raw materials, the completion of the completion of Bayern delayed by a few weeks.

The commissioning took place on March 18, 1916.


SMS Bayern


SMS Bayern


SMS Bayern


SMS Bayern Armor

SMS Bayern Armor


Seal mark SMS Bayern

Seal mark SMS Bayern




Use in the war:

Since the Bayern had completed their testing and practice rides only after the Battle of the Skagerrak and the focus of the naval warfare side of the German naval line was again put on the submarine war, Bayern could only participate in the occupation of the Baltic Islands.

In this company, however, the ship ran on a mine in front of the Soelo Sound at the level of the front torpedo broadside. Approximately 1,000 liters of water then flowed into the ship and it began to sink with the bow to the front 38-cm tower in the water. The Bayern could be repaired by the own crew makeshift and made roadworthy again to make on the way to Kiel. There the ship was repaired and rebuilt in the period from November 3rd to December 27th.

For the planned decisive battle in October 1918, Bavaria was also provided. Due to the revolt on the warships SMS Helgoland and SMS Thüringen, however, the entire operation had to be canceled and the ships remained in their harbors until the end of the war.





Due to the provisions of the ceasefire between the German Empire and the Allies, the Bayern was one of the ships that was scheduled to internment according to the protocol to Scapa Flow. On November 19, 1918, the crossing took place with the largest part of the fleet.

On the orders of Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter, the self-submergence of the German ships was finally initiated on June 21, 1919. The Bayern sank at 14:30 clock.

On November 3, 1933, the wreckage of Bayern to the Cox & Danks Ltd. sold, who wanted to lift and scrape the ship. The salvage operations began on 18 July 1934, but could not be completed until 1 September and the ship was towed to Lyness. After another transfer Bayern was finally scrapped from June 5, 1935 in Rosyth.


The sinking SMS Bayern in Scapa Flow 1919




Ship data:


SMS Bayern


German Empire

Ship Type:  





Howaldtswerke, Kiel


ca. 49.000.000 Mark


February 18th, 1915


March 18th, 1916


Self-scrapped at Scapa Flow in 1919, lifted in 1934 and scrapped in 1935


180 meters


30 meters


Max. 9,39 meters


Max. 32.200 Tons


1.171 Men


14 Marine Boiler
3 set steam turbines
2 oars


55.967 PS (41.164 kW)

Maximum speed:  

22,0 kn (41 km/h)




8 × 38 cm L / 45 Rapid Fire Protection (720 rounds)

16 × 15 cm L / 45 Rapid Fire Gun (2,560 rounds)

2 × 8,8 cm L / 45 Flak (800 shots)

5 torpedo tubes ∅ 60 cm (1 bow, 4 sides, under water, 20 shots)



Belt: 30-350 mm
Deck: 90-120 mm
Towers: 100-350 mm
Barbettes: 40-350 mm
Casemates: 170 mm
Front command post: 50-400 mm
Aft command post: 50-170 mm
Citadel: 250 mm
Torpedo bulkhead: 50 mm
Transverse bulkhead: 170-200 mm






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!






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