Battleship SMS Friedrich der Große (1911)

The large-line ship SMS Friedrich der Große belonged to the imperial class and meant a large technical step in the construction and development of large-scale ships, with the obedience and mutiny in August 1917, however, began a movement from this ship, which eventually led to the decline of the German Empire led.


Launching and design:

The Kaiser class was an evolution of the Helgoland class, but had significant changes in the propulsion system and in the armament. Instead of the previous piston engine drive, a turbine drive with additional oil firing was installed, which led to a significant increase in performance.

While the number of guns was reduced from 6 to 5, the turrets were placed so they could fire in both directions.

By reducing the turrets could now also the saved weight in a stronger armor are invested, which the belt armor was raised to 350 mm. For the first time, the new nickel steel was also used in parts of the armor.

The launch took place on June 10, 1911, the commissioning on October 15, 1912.


SMS Friedrich der Große


SMS Friedrich der Große


SMS Friedrich der Große




Use in the war:

Shortly after completing the test drives and becoming the flagship of the High Seas Fleet, World War I began.

The first mission came from 31 May 1916 to 1 June 1916 during the Battle of the Skagerrak, where the ship, however, hardly participated in combat operations and undamaged left the battle. After the battle, however, Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered not to carry out any major naval battles, as he did not want to lose his big ships. So it happened that among other things Friedrich der Große was idle in the harbor.

This inaction finally led in August 1917 in Wilhelmshaven to first unrest of the teams on the Friedrich der Große and the sister ship SMS Prinzregent Luitpold. After the suppression of the rebellion, Max Reichpietsch and Albin Köbis were executed to restore order.

In September and October 1917, the ship took part in the conquest of the Baltic islands Saaremaa, Hiiumaa and Muhu and remained until the end of the war in the Baltic Sea.


SMS Friedrich der Große


SMS Friedrich der Große





With the surrender conditions in November 1918, the SMS Friedrich der Große had to intern, as well as the largest part of the deep-sea fleet in Scapa Flow. The ship was used by Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter as the flagship of the internment fleet. However, even during the crossing, the general unrest of the team was apparent, which stood out with obedience, undisciplined and uncouth behavior to the superiors.

This behavior was also continued during the layover, so moved from Reuter his quarters on the SMS Emden.

When it became known that the ships are no longer returned to the German Empire, issued by Reuter on 21 June 1919 the order for self-subsidence. At 12:16 pm, Friedrich der Große sank as one of the first ships.

In 1937 the wreck was lifted and scrapped.




Ship data:


SMS Friedrich der Große


German Empire

Ship Type:  





AG Vulcan, Hamburg


45.802.000 Mark


June 10th, 1911


October 15th, 1912


Sunk on June 21, 1919 in Scapa Flow itself


172,4 meters


29 meters


Max. 9,1 meters


Max. 27.000 Tons


1.084 to 1.178 Men


16 Marine Boiler
3 set steam turbines


42.181 PS (31.024 kW)

Maximum speed:  

22,4 kn (41 km/h)


10 × 30.5 cm L / 50 Rapid Fire Gun (860 rounds)

14 × 15 cm L / 45 Rapid Fire Gun (2.240 rounds)

12 × 8.8 cm L / 45 Rapid Fire Gun (including 4 Anti-aircraft guns, 2.800 rounds)

5 × torpedo tube ∅ 50 cm (4 sides, 1 bow, under water, 19 shots)



Waterline: 120-350 mm
Deck: 60-100 mm
Torpedo bulkhead: 40 mm
Towers: 110-300 mm
Casemates: 170 mm
Front control station: 150-400 mm
Aft control console: 50-200 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.

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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.

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