Coastal Defense Ship SMS Heimdall

The Heimdall text message was as a Coastal Defense Ship part of Leo von Caprivis targeted pure coastal defense pronounced imperial naval tactics at the end of the 19th century, which provided only the protection of the German coast and especially the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal.


Launching and design:

The ships of the Siegfried class emerged from the naval concept of Lieutenant General Leo von Caprivi as chief of the Imperial Admiralty from 1883. The concept saw the focus of warfare still in the land forces, the Navy should only serve to protect the German coastal waters and the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal, whose construction was already decided. For this purpose, the coastal armored ships were designed, the main focus was on the shallow draft, a strong armor and sufficient firepower, with a direct confrontation with enemy ships was not provided. Attacks should mainly serve those in the concept planned torpedo boats.

The first design for the ship class was made in 1885. 1887 and 1889 made slight changes. In 1888, the keel laid the first ship. The SMS Heimdall was laid as the 4th ship of this class on keel.

The launch took place on July 27, 1892, the commissioning on April 7, 1894.

The namesake from Norse mythology was the Guardian of the Gods who guarded the bridge Bifröst (the rainbow) from Midgard to Asgard.


Heimdall with his Horn Gjallarhorn




History of SMS Heimdall:

Already after the first test drives the serious deficiencies of the ship's propulsion system became apparent. Heimdall had to return to the shipyard to rectify the shortcomings. From 1 November 1894, the test drives could then be carried on. In the middle of December, the transfer to Kiel took place, where the ship was assigned to the Baltic Sea Reserve Division. On June 20, 1895, the ship took part in the opening of the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal, before being put out of service on July 5 to distribute the crew needed urgently on other ships.

On August 8, 1897, the reactivation took place in order to participate in the autumn maneuvers. Until 1900, the ship was decommissioned again the year and not manned until the autumn maneuver.

From 1901 to 1902 major rebuilding measures were carried out on the ships of the Siegfried class. The ships were partially extended by more than 8 meters in the middle, installed the new marine boiler and reinforced the armament.

Until the year 1909 was again out of service and the reactivation of the autumn maneuvers. Subsequently, the Heimdall was not used until the outbreak of the First World War.


SMS Heimdall


SMS Heimdall and SMS Siegfried in the Elbe estuary




Use in the war:

On August 12, 1914 Heimdall was again called into active service with their sister ships in the newly formed VI. Squadron to take over the protection of the Jade and Weser estuary. On June 15, 1915, the transfer to the Ems, where the VI. Squadron was dissolved on 31 August 1915 and was designated as Coastal Defense Division of the Ems. Due to the growing shortage of personnel of the Navy, the Heimdall was withdrawn on 24 February 1916 from the division and put on 2 March 1916 out of service.


SMS Heimdall





After the expansion of the armament Heimdall served as the abode of the IV. Submarine Flotilla. later the outpost flotilla of the Ems. On June 17, 1919, it was removed from the list of warships and scrapped in 1921.




Ship data:


SMS Heimdall


German Empire

Ship Type:  

Coastal Defense Ship




Imperial Shipyard, Wilhelmshaven


6.110.000 Mark


July 27th, 1892


April 7th, 1894


Scrapped in 1921


79 meters


14,9 meters


Max. 5,74 meters


Max. 3.741 Tons


276 Men


4 steam locomotive boilers
2 standing 3-cylinder compound machines


4.453 PS (3.275 kW)

Maximum speed:  

14,6 kn (27 km/h)


3 × Ring Cannon 24,0 cm L / 35 (204 shots)

8 × Rapid Fire Gun 8,8 cm L / 30 (1.500 rounds)

6 × machine gun 3,7 cm

4 × torpedo tube ø 35 cm (1 stern, 2 sides above water, 1 bow under water, 10 shots)



Waterline: 100-240 mm
Deck: 30 mm
Towers: 30 mm
Barbettes: 200 mm
Command tower: 30-80 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 !!