Battleship SMS Kronprinz (from 1918 SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm)

The battleship SMS Kronprinz belonged to the king class, which belonged to the most modern ships of the imperial navy and were put into service shortly before the First World War. Like most other modern ships, the Crown Prince shared the fate of Scapa Flow's self-absorption.


Launching and design:

The ships of the König class came from the experience of the Kaiser class. The biggest change was in the arrangement of the heavy guns, which were initially placed in the ship's centerline. Already in April 1910, the General Marine Department presented such a concept to lay down the construction of the usual wing towers. Although the Secretary of State in the Imperial Navy Admiral Tirpitz initially rejected this draft, later approved it anyway. A change to a larger caliber of heavy guns from 30.5-cm to 38-cm, however, omitted, as this would have led to significantly higher costs.

The redistribution of heavy guns further reduced the area needed to be armored. This weight saving is used by the developers to increase the thickness of the armor.

The launching of SMS Kronprinz took place on 21 February 1914, the commissioning on 8 November 1914.


Side view and view from above of the König class




Use in the war:

When the ship was put into service, Europe was already at war. On the usual test drives was dispensed with the Kronprinz as well as the sister ship SMS König but the ship already on 12 August the III. Squadron assigned.

From May 31 to June 1, 1916, the Kronprinz participated in the Battle of the Skagerrak, but remained undamaged. Then took place on 5 November, a stake in a push to Hornsriff, where the ship from the British submarine J1 got a torpedo hit. Due to the damage the ship lay until December 4, 1916 in Kiel in the yard for repair.

In a band exercise in the vicinity of Helgoland on 5 March 1917, the Kronprinz was rammed by her sister ship Großer Kurfürst at the height of the second 30.5-cm double tower and badly damaged. The subsequent repair lasted until May 14, 1917.

In October 1917, the Kronprinz participated in the company Albion to occupy the Baltic Islands, while the ship shelled among other things, the Russian positions in Cape Ninnast. In the Moon-Sound came between the Russian liners Slawa and Graschdanin, the Russian battleship Bajan and the German ships SMS Kronprinz and SMS König for a short battle, the Kronprinz could damage the Graschdanin and the Bayan.

By light ground touches on October 18 and October 26, 1917, the ship had first in Kiel, then in Wilhelmshaven until January 8, 1918 for repair.

On June 15, 1918, the ship was renamed Kronprinz Wilhelm due to the 30th anniversary of the throne of Kaiser Wilhelm II.

On April 23, 1918, the ship's last foray at the northern latitude of Utsire in Norway.


Battleship SMS Kronprinz

Battleship SMS Kronprinz





With the terms of the ceasefire, the SMS Kronprinz belonged to the ships that were to be delivered to the victorious powers and interned in Scapa Flow.

As at the end of the negotiations of Versailles was foreseeable that the ships will not be returned to Germany, Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter gave to the crew members remaining on the ships on June 21, 1919 the order for self-subsidence.

The wreckage of the SMS Kronprinz could not be recovered, unlike most other wrecks. A company managed to blast off only parts of the stern and lift, the rest of the ship is still in about 35 meters depth and is a popular destination among recreational divers.




Ship data:


SMS Kronprinz

From 15 June 1918 SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm


German Empire

Ship Type:  





Germaniawerft in Kiel


45.000.000 Mark


February 21st, 1914


November 8th, 1914


Sunk on June 21, 1919 in Scapa Flow itself


175,4 meters


29,5 meters


Max. 9,19 meters


Max. 28.600 Tons


1136 Men


15 coal / oil fired steam boilers
3 sets of Parson steam turbines


43.300 PS (31.847 kW)

Maximum speed:  

23 kn (43 km/h)


10 × 30,5 cm L / 50 rapid fire gun

14 × 15 cm L / 45 rapid fire gun

6 × 8,8 cm L / 45 rapid fire gun (until 1915)

4 × 8,8 cm L / 45 Anti-aircraft guns (from 1915 only 2)

5 × torpedo tube ø 50 cm



Belt: 350 mm
Deck: 60 mm
Towers: 110-300 mm
Casemates: 170 mm
Front control station: 150-300 mm
Control room aft: 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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