Coastal Defense Ship SMS Ägir

The Coastal Defense Ship SMS Ägir belonged to the Siegfried class and was the last ship of this class which was built. During the First World War, the ship was used only for security purposes and took part in any naval battle.


Launching and design:

The construction of the SMS Ägir took place on November 28, 1892 at the Imperial shipyard in Kiel initially under the name ironclad IV class T.

In contrast to the other ships in the class, some changes were made to the Aegir during construction. So the ship received from the beginning 2 chimneys and 2 boat davits. Like the sister ship Odin, the Aegir also got a tall front mast.

Completely new was also the installation of an electric drive for the auxiliary machine of the steering gear. The Aegir was thus the first ship of the Imperial Navy there, in which this technique was installed.

On April 3, 1895 the launch took place and on 15 October 1896 the commissioning.

The ship's name Aegir derives from the sea giants Aegir from Norse mythology.


Example of a boat davits


Ægir with Rán and her nine daughters - Derivation of the ship's name




History of the SMS Ägir:

After the commissioning on October 15, 1896 until April 1897, the first test runs until it was assigned on 1 July 1897 the Reserve Division of the Baltic Sea. During the autumn maneuver in 1898, the ship served as the flagship of the II Squadron and visited in December together with the SMS Odin Copenhagen.

April and May 1899, the ship changed into the 1st Squadron and replaced the temporarily failed SMS Oldenburg. During this time, the ship also took part in the squadron trip to England and Portugal and at the Fleet Show for the 80th birthday of Queen Victoria. As flagship of the 4th Division, the Aegir was rammed during the autumn maneuver by the British steamer Aberfoyle and had to repair to the Imperial shipyard Kiel.

Until February 1903, the Aegir took part in the annual autumn maneuvers until it again drove to the Imperial shipyard Kiel for conversion work. The reconstruction work lasted until September 1904.

On September 15, 1909, the ship was decommissioned, until then it took part annually in various maneuvers.


SMS Ägir




Use in the war:

On August 12, 1914, shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, the Aegir was put back into service and with the other 7 ships of the Siegfried class in the VI. Squadron put together. After several weeks of test drives and exercises, the squadron was relocated to the North Sea on September 14, 1914, where it took over security duties in the German Bight.

After Great Britain began a naval blockade and in the course of 1915 a British invasion on the German coasts was considered increasingly unlikely, the squadron was disbanded on 31 August 1915 and the Aegir was divided on 1 September to the port flotilla of the Jade and Weser in Wilhelmshaven ,

On January 14, 1916, the out of service, after staff shortage in the Navy became increasingly obvious and the ship had little military value.


SMS Ägir


Seal of approval SMS Ägir





By the end of the war, the ship's armament was removed and rebuilt into a dormitory for the shipyard workers. On June 17, 1919, finally, the deletion from the list of warships.

The remains of the ship were bought by Arnold Bernstein, a German-American shipowner, and rebuilt in 1922 to a cargo ship. 1924 was another conversion together with the sister ship Odin to a car carrier, which drove mostly routes to Malmö, Oslo and Helsinki.


Arnold Bernstein Shipping Company Logo


On 8 December 1929, the Aegir stranded in front of Gotland, was abandoned and then scrapped.




Ship data:

Name: SMS Ägir


German Empire

Ship Type:

Coastal Defense Ship




Imperial shipyard Kiel


6.645.000 Mark


3. April 1895


October 15th, 1896


Stranded and scrapped at Gotland on December 8, 1929


79 meters


15,2 meters


Max. 5,61 meters


Max. 3.750 tons


276 to 304 men


8 Thornycroft Boiler
2 standing 3-cylinder compound machines


5.605 PS (4.122 kW)

Maximum speed:

15,5 kn (29 km/h)



3 × Ring Cannon 24,0 cm L / 35 (174 rounds)

10 × Rapid Fire Gun 8.8 cm L / 30 (2,500 rounds)

3 × torpedo tube Ø 45 cm (2 sides over water, 1 bow under water, 8 shots)





Waterline: 120-220 mm

Deck: 50-70 mm

Towers: 200 mm

Barbettes: 200 mm

Command tower: 30-120 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.

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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.

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