Battleship SMS Kaiserin

The battleship SMS Kaiserin belonged to the imperial class and meant a major technical step in the construction and development of large-scale ships, which were first equipped in the imperial navy capital ships with a turbine drive. The ships of the imperial class belonged to the most advanced warships of the imperial navy, but could never use their clout.


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 of the SMS Kaiserin took place on November 11, 1911, the commissioning on May 14, 1913.


Launch of the SMS Kaiserin

Launch of the SMS Kaiserin


Battleship SMS Kaiserin




History of the SMS Kaiserin:

After commissioning, the usual test drives were carried out in which several machine damage occurred which forced the ship to a several-month shipyard stay. Only on 13 December, the damage was eliminated and the ship was able to complete the test drives and then the III. Squadron to be assigned.

The first months of 1914 were still a few maneuvers and fleet maneuvers performed until the SMS Kaiserin on July 7, 1914 for a trip to Norway expired. On July 22, the ship was ordered back again, as the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne in Sarajevo increased diplomatic tensions in Europe and a war of the great powers became more and more likely.

The SMS Kaiserin was the first capital ship to sail the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal in Schleswig-Holstein, which is nearing completion, in order to test whether imperial ships can actually drive through it. On July 25, the test drive through the channel, which succumbed successfully. On July 31, the relocation of the squadron from the East to the North Sea took place through the canal.


Side view and upper view of the Kaiser ships

Side view and upper view of the Kaiser ships


Battleship SMS Kaiserin


Battleship SMS Kaiserin


Battleship SMS Kaiserin




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, the mobilization order was issued to the III. Squadron, which was at anchor at that time in Friesland. In early November and mid-December, the deep-sea fleet made several trips to the North Sea, with no enemy contact. The rest of the time, the SMS Kaiserin was provided with security tasks.

From January 31 to February 20, 1915, the ship was in the Imperial Shipyard Wilhelmshaven to have there to carry out overhaul work. By the end of the year, the Kaiserin had participated in several attempts in the North Sea and several exercises on the Baltic Sea.

On the night of May 31 to June 1, 1916 there was sea battle before the Skagerrak in which the Kaiserin was involved. Although the III. Squadron was the tip of the thrust, the ship remained undamaged, but could itself damage the British battleship HMS Warspite by several hits. From August to November 1916, attacks were again carried out in the North Sea and exercises in the Baltic until the squadron was restructured on 1 December and the SMS Kaiserin and the other ships of the III. Squadron were now used in the newly established IV Squadron.

On a passage through the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal, it came on March 14, 1917 to damage the fuselage as the ship drove down. After a 3-day repair, the Kaiserin was able to return to service in the North Sea on 30 March. In June and July, further exercises took place in the Baltic Sea, before the Kaiserin was assigned to the company Albion to conquer the Baltic Islands. During this operation, the ship shelled in October 1917, the battery Hundsort and Zerel to support the landed marines there. On October 24, 1917, the ship arrived back in the North Sea, where it participated on November 17 at the second Helgoland battle and could damage the British light cruiser HMS Calypso by a hit.

From December 22 to February 5, 1918, the SMS Kaiserin was in Kiel in the shipyard for urgent repair work. Subsequently, the ship was scheduled for the April 24, 1918 large-scale operation in the North Sea, but had to be canceled by the drive damage of the large cruiser SMS Moltke. In the following months, there were still a few exercises in the Baltic Sea. At the end of the war, the Kaiserin was part of the ships, which was to expire with the fleet command of October 24, 1918 for the decisive battle against the British Navy. Due to the mutiny on the large-scale ships SMS Thüringen and SMS Helgoland, the operation was canceled.





Under the terms of the ceasefire agreement, the SMS Kaiserin was one of the ships of the imperial navy, which were to be delivered to the victorious powers and interned in Scapa Flow. The crossing with most other ships took place from Wilhelmshaven on 19 November 1918.

Since at the end of the peace talks and the conclusion of the Versailles Treaty was foreseeable that the ships are no longer returned to Germany, fought on June 21, 1919 by Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter, the order to self-sinking the fleet. After opening the sea valves, the Kaiserin sank at 14:00 clock.

From May 14, 1936, a British company began salvaging the wreck, which was then towed to Rosyth and subsequently scrapped.


Sinking positions of imperial ships in Scapa Flow

Sinking positions of imperial ships in Scapa Flow




Ship data:


SMS Kaiserin


German Empire

Ship Type:  





Howaldtswerke, Kiel


45.173.000 Mark


November 11th, 1911


May 14th, 1913


Sunk in Scapa Flow on June 21, 1919, lifted and scrapped in 1936


172,4 meters


29 meters


Max. 9,1 meters


Max. 27.000 Tons


1.084 to 1.095 Men


16 marine kettles
3 Parsons turbines


41.533 PS (30.547 kW)

Maximum speed:  

22,1 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 (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!






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 !!