Battleship SMS Kaiser

The battleship SMS Kaiser was the type ship of the same class and the first ship used in the German Empire with a pure turbine engine. In addition, for the first time the heavy artillery was designed so that all guns could fire to the side, which meant an increase in clout.


Launching and design:

The ships of the Kaiser class emerged from the Helgoland class. Significant changes were in the area of the drive and the orientation of the large guns. For the first time ships were equipped with a pure tubine drive with an additional oil firing. In contrast to the usual marine boilers so the speed and range could be increased.
Further, the heavy artillery was placed on the ship so that it was possible to simultaneously firing sideways with all guns. This was not possible with the predecessor ships. This reduced the number of gun turrets from 6 back to 5 and invested the saved weight in the armor.

The launch of the SMS Kaiser took place on March 22, 1911, the commissioning on 1 August 1912.


Battleship SMS Kaiser


Battleship SMS Kaiser


Battleship SMS Kaiser


Rear guns of the SMS Kaiser


Rear guns of the SMS Kaiser


Command tower battleship SMS Kaiser


Parade formation on board the battleship SMS Kaiser




History of SMS Kaiser:

After commissioning and the test drives, the emperor was used as the flagship of the Detached Division and undertook together with liner SMS König Albert and the small cruiser SMS Strasbourg December 9, 1913 a trip across the Canary Islands, Sierra Leone, Togo to Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo , On 16 May 1914, the return journey from Rio de Janeiro on the Cape Verde, Funchal on Madeira and Vigo until the Emperor and King Albert on June 17, 1914 again arrived in the German Reich and then the III. Squadron were assigned.


The crew of the battleship SMS Kaiser is parading in front of Emperor Wilhelm II.


Battleship SMS Kaiser while firing the Kaisersalut


Postcard battleship SMS Kaiser


Postcard battleship SMS Kaiser


Seal of approval battleship SMS Kaiser




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, the emperor participated in almost all the advances of the High Seas Fleet. Also on the Skagerrakschlacht from 31 May to 1 June 1916, the Kaiser was involved, left the battle, however, without much impact and without damage.

At the operation for the conquest of the Baltic Islands from 24 September to 2 November 1917, the Kaiser also participated. During the operation, the ship managed to shoot the Russian destroyer Grom incapacitated, but not to sink.

During the second naval battle at Helgoland on 17 and 18 November 1917, the Kaiser scored a hit on the British cruiser HMS Calypso, but could not sink this ship.

In the course of 1918, the ship only participated in securing the small cruiser SMS Stralsund on 2 February, which had to be heavily damaged by a mine and towed. The large fleet advance from 23 to 25 April 1918, in which the Kaiser was involved, had to be prematurely terminated because the battlecruiser SMS Moltke failed with a damage to his turbine system.





After the surrender the SMS Kaiser belonged to the ships, which had to be interned under the condition of the victorious powers in the British port Scapa flow. On 19 November 1918, thereupon, the departure from Wilhelmshaven took place together with most other ships of the German High Seas Fleet.

When it became clear at the end of the peace talks that the interned German ships Germany would not be given back, Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter issued the order for self-subversion on June 21, 1919. The  Kaiser also sank with most of the German ships.

On March 20, 1929, the salvage work began by a British salvage company. In Rosyth the wreck was scrapped until 1930.


SMS Kaiser on the way to Scapa Flow




Ship data:


SMS Kaiser


German Empire

Ship Type:  





Imperial shipyard, Kiel


44.997.000 Mark


March 22nd, 1911


August 1st, 1912


Sunk on 21 June 1919 in Scapa Flow, lifted in 1929 and scrapped in 1930


172,4 meters


29 meters


Max. 9,1 meters


Max. 27.000 Tons


1.084 Men


16 marine kettles
3 Parsons turbines


55.187 PS (40.590 kW)

Maximum speed:  

23,4 kn (43 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 (of which 4 Anti-aircraft guns, 2.800 rounds)

5 torpedo tubes ∅ 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.

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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