Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Mackensen

The big cruiser SMS Mackensen belonged to the same class of ships, which should consist of a total of 4 battlecruisers. At the beginning of the First World War, the construction of the hitherto most powerful Imperial warships was begun, but none of the ships was completed.


Launching and design:

The design of the Mackensen class came from the experience of the ships of the Derfflinger class. Already these ships belonged to the fighting strongest imperial warships, the new ships should take however 35cm guns instead of the 30,5cm guns used so far. After the German navy line was announced that the British Navy had commissioned the HMS Hood Admiral-class warship, the already completed blueprints for the last 3 ships of the Mackensen class were revised and even planned with 38cm guns.

In addition to the larger dimensions of the ships, march turbines should be installed for the first time in order to save fuel during longer journeys and thus increase the range of action. The SMS Mackensen was the only ship in this class, which was commissioned even before the First World War, the other ships were laid only during the war on keel.

After a short time, the effects of the war were also on the construction of the ships. Due to the lack of shipyard workers, the construction dragged on from the beginning. In the course of the war, when resources were cut and more put into the submarine construction, the launch could not be carried out as originally planned in the spring of 1916, but only on April 17, 1917.


Launch of the SMS Mackensen

Launch of the SMS Mackensen


Side view of the SMS Mackensen

Side view of the SMS Mackensen


Unfinished ships of the Mackensen Class

Unfinished ships of the Mackensen Class





In the capitulation of the Empire, the work on the SMS Mackensen were far from complete. The ship was at normal construction speed around 14 months before completion. First, the ship was on the list of victorious powers, which should be delivered under the terms of the ceasefire and interned in Scapa Flow. However, the error could be found quickly and the Mackensen swapped for the SMS Baden, which should have been on the list.

Since, according to the provisions of the Versailles Treaty, Germany could not build warships over 10,000 British tons, the work on the ship could not be resumed. It was therefore deleted on November 17, 1919 from the list of warships, sold in 1921 and scrapped from 1923 to 1924.




Ship data:


SMS Mackensen


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Big cruiser




Blohm & Voss, Hamburg


ca. 66.000.000 Mark


April 17th, 1917




Scrapped from 1923 to 1924


223 meters


30,4 meters


Max. 9,3 meters


Max. 35.300 Tons


1.186 Men


32 Marine Boiler
4 steam turbines


90.000 PS (66.195 kW)

Maximum speed:  

28,0 kn (52 km/h)


8 × 35 cm L / 45 Rapid Fire Gun (720 rounds)

12 × 15 cm L / 45 Rapid Fire Gun (2.240 rounds)

8 × 8,8 cm L / 45 Anti-aircraft guns (3.600 rounds)

5 torpedo tubes ∅ 60 cm (4 in the sides, 1 in the bow, under water, 20 shots)



Belt: 30-300 mm
Citadel: 220 mm
Deck: 25-120 mm
Barbettes: 290 mm
Towers: 100-300 mm
Front command post: 180-350 mm
Aft command post: 150-200 mm
Torpedo bulkhead: 50-60 mm
Transverse bulkhead: 30-250 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 !!