Big cruiser SMS Goeben

The large cruiser SMS Goeben belonged to the modern Moltke class, was part of the German Mediterranean Division and contributed a decisive part to let the Ottoman Empire participate in the war alongside the German Empire, as the ship together with the small cruiser SMS Breslau was handed over to the Ottomans.


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 28 March 1911, the commissioning on 2 July 1912.


SMS Goeben


SMS Goeben


SMS Goeben




Use in the war:

After completion of the test drives the Goeben was transferred together with the small cruiser SMS Breslau in the Mediterranean and there led to the Mediterranean Division. When the First World War broke out, the two ships were in the Adriatic, from where they went to the western Mediterranean to avoid being trapped. After the declaration of war in France, the ships in French Algeria began bombarding the port cities of Bône and Philippeville to prevent the passage of troops to France.

The British Mediterranean Fleet then received the order to observe the German ships and to prevent further disturbances of troop transmission. As a result, the German Rear Admiral Wilhelm Souchon had the ships in Messina in Sicily fill up the coal reserves and move the ships to the eastern Mediterranean. Since the Allies had not expected this step, the two German ships faced only the light British cruiser HMS Gloucester, who attacked the ships, but deliberately finished the attack due to the significant inferiority again.

Driving around Greece and the Aegean Sea, the German Mediterranean Division reached the Dardanelles on 10th August. Through the diplomatic negotiations between Berlin and Constantinople, the ships were then able to pass the mine lock and enter Constantinople. On 16 August, the ships were finally officially handed over to the Ottoman Navy, which made a crucial contribution to move the Ottoman Empire to join the war on the side of the German Reich. From the SMS Goeben thereupon became the Yavuz Sultan Selim and from the SMS Breslau the Midilli. Both ships retained their German occupation.


SMS Goeben


SMS Goeben


SMS Goeben


SMS Goeben


SMS Goeben under Ottoman flag with new name: Yavuz Sultan Selim




Use under Ottoman flag:

Due to the entry of the Ottoman Empire into the war, the sea route to the Black Sea was blocked and neither France nor Great Britain could send war material to Russia nor Russia export its goods.

At the end of October 1914 the two ships started firing at the ports of Sevastopol and Odessa, which resulted in Russia declaring war on the Ottoman Empire. Until the end of 1915 the Yavuz Sultan Selim and Midilli ruled the Black Sea and forced the Russian ships to stay in the ports. In between there were smaller battles, but these did not result in any major damage or losses on either side. Only when the Russian navy had put 2 new battleships of the Imperatriza Marija class into service, the balance of power shifted, since these ships with their 12 30.5-cm guns were clearly superior to those of the Yavuz Sultan Selim. Rear Admiral Wilhelm Souchon then operated much more cautiously in order not to endanger his only modern battleship.

When Russia's withdrawal from the war became apparent at the end of 1917, Souchon moved his ships back to Dardanellen where they encountered British ships near the island of Imbros on 20 January 1918. During the battle the monitors HMS M28 and HMS Raglan were sunk. The Ottoman fleet then ran into a minefield, with the Midilli sinking and the Yavuz Sultan Selim receiving 3 hits. Despite the damage, the Yavuz Sultan Selim was able to return to the Dardanelles and be grounded there before being towed to Constantinople on 26 January 1918


The Yavuz Sultan Selim in the Stenia shipyard on the Bosporus


The Yavuz Sultan Selim in the Stenia shipyard on the Bosporus


The Yavuz Sultan Selim (formerly SMS Goeben) stranded in the Dardanelles after the naval battle of Imbros




After the war:

The Yavuz Sultan Selim remained unroadworthy after towing to the port of Constantinople. It was not until 1927 that the German Flender-Werke developed and delivered a floating dock that could lift the high weight of the Yavuz Sultan Selim. The repair was carried out in the French shipyard Chantiers de l'Atlantique until 1930, after which the ship was put back into service.

1933 and 1934 the ship took over predominantly representative travels, 1936 the renaming took place in TCG Yavuz and the employment as flagship of the Turkish navy.

Due to the neutrality of Turkey during the Second World War, the ship did not take part in any hostilities. On 14 November 1954 it was removed from the military list


View on the main gun of SMS Goeben


The reconnaissance plane of the SMS Goeben is lifted back on board


Main guns and rangefinders SMS Goeben


The Yavuz Sultan Selim in the floating dock in 1927


The TCG Yavuz visiting Malta 1936


The TCG Yavuz 1946 with camouflage coating





In 1964 and 1965 an attempt was made to sell the ship to dismantling companies. With a minimum bid of about 11 million DM and then about 8.8 million DM the selling price was not attractive enough to sell the ship.

From the 7th of June 1973 the ship was started to be scrapped in Turkey which lasted until February 1976.

In the Istanbul Naval Museum are still today some exhibits of the former SMS Goeben.




Ship data:


SMS Goeben

from 16 August 1914:
Yavuz Sultan Selim

from 1936:
TCG Yavuz


German Empire

from 16 August 1914 Ottoman Empire, after the war Turkey

Ship Type:  

Big cruiser




Blohm & Voss, Hamburg


41.564.000 Mark


March 28th, 1911


July 2nd, 1912


Scrapped in June 1973


186,6 meters


29,4 meters


Max. 9,19 meters


Max. 25.400 Tons


1031 to 1053 Men


24 Marine Boiler
2 set of Parsons turbines


85.661 PS (63.004 kW)

Maximum speed:  

28,0 kn (52 km/h)


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

12 × 15 cm L / 45 Rapid-fire gun (1.800 rounds)

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

4 torpedo tubes ∅ 50 cm (1 stern, 2 sides, 1 bow, under water, 11 shots)



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
Turret: 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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