Battleship SMS Prinzregent Luitpold

The battleship SMS Prinzregent Luitpold belonged to the Kaiser 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. However, the SMS Prinzregent Luitpold was an exception there. In contrast to the other ships of the Kaiser class, the Prinzregent Luitpold was to install for the first time a Germania 6-cylinder two-stroke diesel engine instead of the turbine drive operating on the medium shaft. The advantages enjoyed by Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz should include:

  • Faster operational readiness of the drive (steam generation is eliminated)
  • Lower fuel consumption than turbine drive, thus increased range
  • Lower need for machine personnel
  • Less conspicuous exhaust smoke in the boiler rooms
  • Lower total space requirement (boilers for steam generation omitted)
  • Lower manufacturing and personnel costs
  • Technical and thus strategic advantage over other nations

However, this combined drive also had its disadvantages:

  • Lower efficiency than turbine engines
  • Large height of the engines, unfavorable deck breakthroughs required
  • More vibrations than turbine engines
  • Different fuels, possibly logistical problems

Since the diesel engine developed by the MAN company at the time of final work of the ship was not fully functional, the naval leadership decided not to obstruct the diesel engine for the time being. The actually intended rooms were accordingly empty, since no matching turbine drive was available for installation. Although the resulting reduction in speed could be compensated somewhat by larger screws, the Prinzregent Luitpold was unable to match the speeds of the sister ships. Only at the end of 1917 did the MAN company announce that the developed diesel engine had been adequately tested and that it was now sufficiently operational, but due to the strained military situation it could no longer be installed.

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 launching of the SMS Prinzregent Luitpold took place on 17 February 1912, the commissioning on 19 August 1913.


Battleship SMS Prinzregent Luitpold

Battleship SMS Prinzregent Luitpold


Battleship SMS Prinzregent Luitpold

Battleship SMS Prinzregent Luitpold




Use in the war:

After the commissioning and the subsequent test drives, the ship was assigned to the German High Seas Fleet. With the outbreak of the First World War, it was the flagship III. Squadron used until it was replaced on March 14, 1917 SMS Friedrich der Große.

The only major naval battle in which the SMS Prinzregent Luitpold took part was the Battle of the Skagerrak from May 31 to June 1, 1916. During the battle, however, the ship received no damage.

At the beginning of August 1917, alongside the SMS Friedrich der Große, SMS Prinzregent Luitpold became one of the first mutinies of the teams protesting against the lack of care and the poor leadership of their superiors. After the suppression of the mutiny, the SMS Prinzregent Luitpold was used for no further operation.


Sailor uprising on the battleship SMS Prinzregent Luitpold

Sailor uprising on the battleship SMS Prinzregent Luitpold





According to the terms of the ceasefire agreement, the SMS Prinzregent Luitpold belonged to 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 negotiations in Versailles was foreseeable that the interned ships are no longer returned to Germany, Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter gave the crews of the ships on June 21, 1919 the order for self-subsidence.

In 1931 the wreck of the ship was lifted, towed to Rosyth and scrapped there in 1933.




Ship data:


SMS Prinzregent Luitpold


German Empire

Ship Type:  





Germaniawerft, Kiel


46.374.000 Mark


February 17th, 1912


August 19th, 1913


Sunk on June 21st, 1919 in Scapa Flow itself


172,4 meters


29 meters


Max. 9,1 meters


Max. 27.000 Tons


1.084 to 1.178 Men


14 Marine Boiler
2 set of Parsons turbines
1 x 6-cylinder diesel (planned)


38.751 PS (28.501 kW)

Maximum speed:  

21,7 kn (40 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 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.

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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