Big cruiser SMS Prinz Adalbert

The big cruiser SMS Prinz Adalbert belonged to the same class of ships, which consisted only of a total of two ships, but was the first class of ships in the German Empire, which sprang from modern designs after the turn of the century for the construction of large cruisers.


Launching and design:

The Prinz-Adalbert-class was born from the experiences that were previously gained from the two individual ships SMS Fürst Bismarck and SMS Prinz Heinrich and represented the beginning of modern large cruisers in the imperial navy. The Marineamt was particularly attuned to the SMS Prinz Heinrich, but in contrast to this ship the 2 24cm guns were replaced by 4 21cm guns in two twin towers, which had a much higher velocity of fire than the older guns.

Due to the then design of the lower lower casemate guns of the secondary artillery, these were only operational in calm seas. In heavy seas, the waves washed over the deck and the weapons could no longer be used.

As namesake Prince Adalbert of Prussia was selected, the founder and first commander in chief of the young imperial navy.


Prince Adalbert of Prussia


The launching of the SMS Prinz Adalbert took place on June 22, 1901, the commissioning on January 12, 1904.




History of SMS Prinz Adalbert:

After the commissioning and the following test drives the ship was assigned as artillery school and test ship in the inspection of the ship artillery in Sonderburg.

In addition to the annual maneuvers, the Prinz Adalbert was used to bring in November 1906 Prince Henry of Prussia to the coronation of Haakon VII of Norway.


SMS Prinz Adalbert


SMS Prinz Adalbert




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, the ship was in the III. reconnaissance group of the German High Seas Fleet relocated and initially used in the Baltic Sea.

In early September 1914, the Prinz Adalbert operated together with the minecruisers Nautilus and Albatross and the auxiliary mine ship Kaiser in the North Sea to lay mine locks to protect the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal. Subsequently, the relocation to the Baltic Sea was again to guard the Great Belt east of Denmark to fight any invading British ships.

In early November 1914, the Prinz Adalbert was used again in the North Sea as escort for the battlecruisers, the British port cities attacks and the small cruisers that laid mine locks. Following the ship was relocated to the Baltic Sea to replace the sunken sister ship SMS Friedrich Carl.

On 2 July 1915, the SMS Prinz Adalbert ran together with the SMS Prinz Heinrich of Danzig in the direction of Gotland Island to protect the German ships SMS Roon, SMS Augsburg and SMS Albatross from the approaching Russian ships. Here, the Prinz Adalbert northwest of the Hela Peninsula was torpedoed by the British submarine E9, but was able to return to repair in Kiel despite the damage on their own.

After the ship was repaired, the transfer took place in the occupied by German troops Libau. From there, the ship ran on 23 October 1915 for another operation in the Baltic Sea, but was torpedoed after about 20 nautical miles of the British submarine E8.





The torpedo of the British submarine hit the ammunition magazine in the fore ship. The subsequent explosion tore the ship into 2 parts, which immediately sank. From the crew survived only 3 men.

Only in 2007 was the wreck of the ship found in 80 meters deep by Swedish divers of the Deep Sea Productions.




Ship data:


SMS Prinz Adalbert


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Big cruiser




Imperial shipyard Kiel


16.371.000 Mark


22. Juni 1901


12. Januar 1904


Sunk on 23 October 1915 by the British submarine E8 before Libau


126,5 Meter


19,6 Meter


Max. 7,3 Meter


Max. 9.875 Tons


675 Men


14 steam boiler
3 standing 3-cyl. Triple expansion steam engines


17.272 PSi

maximum speed:  

21 kn


4 rapid-fire gun 21 cm L / 40
340 shots, 168 hm

10 rapid-fire gun 15 cm L / 40
1500 rounds, 137 hm

12 rapid-fire gun 8.8 cm L / 35
1800 shot

4 torpedo tubes 45 cm
1 bow, 1 stern, 2 sides (all underwater)


Deck: 40-80 mm
Slopes: 50-80 mm
Belt: 80-100 mm
Command post:
horizontal: 30 mm
vertical: 150 mm
Casemates: 100 mm
Citadel: 100 mm
Ceilings: 30 mm
Pages: 100-150 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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