Battleship SMS Posen

The battleship SMS Posen belonged to the Nassau class and represented the beginning of the battleships of the imperial navy. Despite the technical advances already known in the design, the ship class lagged behind its potential.


Launching and design:

The construction of the Nassau class is based on the experience of the predecessor ships of the Germany class. At the beginning of the 20th century, the naval command of the largest naval powers was increasingly concerned with the construction of battleships. In the German Empire, the plans for such a ship class began around 1904, after which the ships of the Nassau class were developed. A little earlier, the HMS Dreadnought launched in the UK, which was the first battleship in the world.

Especially in the field of fire control great progress was made, since the planning already assumed that future naval battles would take place at a greater distance and therefore the target acquisition to a large distance was crucial. In addition, the interaction of the weapons of a ship should be improved.

Furthermore, measures have been taken in the field of protection. Thus, the building material wood for the interior decoration was replaced mainly by metal and metal to give fire hardly any possibilities for propagation.

Due to the ever-increasing explosive power of torpedoes, a new type of construction was introduced in the Nassau class to clearly absorb the energy of a detonation. The outer wall was kept relatively thin, behind it a several meters long empty passage was created which was completed with another wall. Behind them, in turn, were coal and oil storage.

During the planning of the ships of the Nassau class, it was already possible to set up the main guns in one line and firing on top of each other. However, since no turbine systems could be built for ships in Germany, the ships of the Nassau class still had to be equipped with piston steam engines, which consumed a corresponding space inside the ship and thus the main guns were installed in hexagonal layout.

The launch of SMS Posen took place on December 12, 1908, the commissioning on May 31, 1910.


Battleship SMS Posen

Battleship SMS Posen


Battleship SMS Posen

Battleship SMS Posen




History of SMS Posen:

After commissioning the usual test drives were made. In September 1910, the ship was put out of service for a short time, since the team of Poznan had to be increased only with the team decommissioned SMS Wittelsbach.

On September 20, the Posen was assigned to the 1st Squadron and it began the first squadron maneuvers.




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, SMS Posen was initially involved in the advances of the deep-sea fleet in the North Sea, then moved with the squadron in 1915 in the Baltic Sea and support the operations of the imperial navy in the Gulf of Riga. During this operation, there were several battles with Russian ships. So was sunk on 19 August 1915, the Siwutsch of the Posen and the Nassau. On 27th August the transfer took place back to the North Sea.

On the night of 31 May to 1 June 1916 SMS Posen was involved in the Battle of the Skagerrak. It came in the night to a collision with the small cruiser Elbing, which was so badly damaged that this had to be abandoned. In the further course of the battle, the Posen could sink 2 British destroyers and severely damage a 3rd. The ship itself had not suffered any damage. After the battle, the ship was in the period from June 26 to July 17, 1916 for overhaul in the yard.

From April 1918, SMS Posen was assigned to the Special Association for Finland Intervention, whose task was to separate Finland from Russia and bring the pro-German movement to power. As a result, the Posen participated with the Westfalen on April 3, 1918 before Russarö in the occupation of the local signal station. From 13 to 14 April, parts of the crew of the ship were involved in the occupation of Helsinki, where 4 sailors were killed. On April 22, a ship's worm was damaged by wreckage off Helsinki. After the Posen were released from the special association, the repair was carried out until May 5 in the shipyard of Kiel.

The last operation of the war was carried out by SMS Posen on October 2, 1918, when it was to accompany and protect the returning submarines from Flanders.

Although the Posen was also listed for the naval command of October 24, 1918, which would have meant a final and decisive battle against the British ships, but by the mutinies on the other large warships, this project was not carried out.

On November 10, the SMS Posen stay in Wilhelmshaven and was decommissioned on December 16, 1918.





According to the terms of the truce, SMS Posen was not one of the ships to be interned in Scapa Flow. The piston steam engines of the ship were the reason for the victorious powers to classify the Posen as obsolete.

It was only on 5 November 1919 it was decided that the ship had to be delivered as a repair service to Great Britain. The transfer took place on May 13, 1920. However, since the British could not do anything with the ship, it was sold to a Dutch company which scraped it in Dordrecht in 1922.




Ship data:


SMS Posen


German Empire

Ship Type:  





Germaniawerft, Kiel


36.920.000 Mark


December 12nd, 1908


May 31st, 1910


Scrapped in Dordrecht in 1922


146,1 meters


26,9 meters


Max. 8,76 meters


Max. 20.535 Tons


972 to 1.033 Men


12 Marine Boiler
3 standing 3-cylinder compound machines


28.117 PS (20.680 kW)

Maximum speed:  

20,0 kn (37 km/h)


12 × Rapid Fire Gun 28 cm L / 45 (900 shots)

12 × Rapid Fire Gun 15 cm L / 45 (1.800 rounds)

16 × Rapid Fire Gun 8,8 cm L / 45 (from 1915 2 Anti-aircraft guns, 2.400 rounds)

6 × torpedo tube ø 45 cm (4 sides, 1 bow, 1 stern under water, 16 shots)


Waterline: 80-300 mm
Deck: 55-80 mm
Torpedo bulkhead: 30 mm
Towers: 90-280 mm
Casemates: 160 mm
Front control desk: 80-400 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 !!