Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Moltke

The big cruiser SMS Moltke belonged to the same class of ships, which were built shortly before the First World War and were among the most modern and powerful warships of the imperial navy.


Launching and design:

The Moltke class was an evolution of the single ship SMS Von der Tann, which was put into service on 19 February 1911. Opposite Von Tann had the two ships SMS Goeben and SMS Moltke a stronger armament, armor and a higher speed. In addition, for the first time ships of the imperial navy, the heavy gun turrets installed over the top, so that the rear tower could over the front shooting.

The launch took place on April 7th, 1910, the commissioning on September 30th, 1911.


Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Moltke

Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Moltke


Crew of the SMS Moltke


SMS Moltke visiting the USA in 1912

SMS Moltke with US officers 1912




Use in the war:

Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, SMS Moltke was assigned to bombard the British coastal towns of Yarmouth and Hartlepool together with SMS Seydlitz.

On January 24, 1915, the ship took part in the battle on the Dogger Bank, but received it not a single hit.

The first damage suffered the SMS Moltke on 19 August 1915 when a torpedo of the British submarine E1 met the ship in the Baltic Sea. The repair lasted until April 1916. Subsequently, on April 24 and 25, 1916, the British coastal towns of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth were shelled.

During the Battle of the Skagerrak from 31 May to 1 June 1916, the Moltke was also involved. After the flagship SMS Lützow was so badly damaged that it could no longer be used as a flagship, Vice Admiral Franz von Hipper continued to Moltke and now used this as a guide ship.

For the company Albion, the occupation of the Baltic Islands, SMS Moltke once again functioned as flagship. Along with the 4 ships of the König class and the SMS Bayern, it shot some Russian artillery batteries in the coastal area to clear the way for the infantry approaching.

At the second naval battle off Helgoland on November 17, 1917, the Moltke was to support the British ships as support for the large-scale ships SMS Kaiser and SMS Kaiserin together with SMS Hindenburg. These withdrew however before the arrival of the German ships back from the area back.

The last mission of SMS Moltke was aimed at a British convoy in the North Sea, which was to be attacked by the ship. On the way there, however, on April 23, 1918 a heavy machine damage occurred and the ship had to be towed by the SMS Oldenburg to Wilhelmshaven. On the way there, the ship was also torpedoed by the British submarine E42, but could be towed despite the damage in the port. The repair work lasted until August 1918.


Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Moltke

Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Moltke


Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Moltke

Big cruiser (battle cruiser) SMS Moltke





The SMS Moltke belonged to the ships of the imperial navy, which should be interned under the terms of the ceasefire agreement in Scapa Flow. When at the end of the peace negotiations it was foreseeable that the ships would no longer be returned to Germany, on 21 June 1919 Rear-Admiral Ludwig von Reuter gave the order to sink the ships themselves.

In 1927 the wreck was lifted and scrapped until 1929 in Rosyth.




Ship data:


SMS Moltke


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Big cruiser




Blohm & Voss, Hamburg


42.603.000 Mark


April 7th, 1910


September 30th, 1911


Sunk on June 21st, 1919 in Scapa Flow itself


186,6 meters


29,4 meters


Max. 9,19 meters


Max. 25.400 Tons


1.053 Men


24 × water tube boiler
2 × Parsons turbine


85.782 PS (63.093 kW)

Maximum speed:  

28,4 kn (53 km/h)


10 × Rapid Fire Gun 28,0 cm L / 50 (810 rounds)

12 × Rapid Fire Gun 15,0 cm L / 45 (1.800 rounds)

12 × Rapid Fire Gun 8,8 cm L / 45 (3.000 rounds)

4 × torpedo tube ⌀ 50,0 cm (11 rounds)



Belt: 100-270 mm on 50 mm teak
Citadel: 200 mm
Casemate: 150 mm
Deck: 50 mm
Torpedo bulkhead: 30-50 mm
Front command tower: 80-350 mm
Aft command tower: 50-200 mm
Towers: 90-230 mm
Shields: 70 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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