Ironclad SMS Arminius

The battleship SMS Arminius was the first warship Germany in this new class of ships and should be equal to the French La Gloire and the English HMS Warrior.


Launching and design:

At the beginning of the 1960s, Prussia was unable to build its own warships, as the yards did not allow for any capacity and opportunities. However, in order to still have modern warships, Prussia ordered at the English shipyard Samuda Brothers in London, the first German battleship.

The launching took place on 20 August 1864, the extradition to Prussia, however, was due to political tensions on April 22, 1865.

The Arminius was a transverse iron construction, with the hull of teak wood. The iron belt extended about 76cm below the water surface to the upper deck and was 11.4cm thick.

The drive consisted of a two-cylinder steam engine, which was powered by 4 suitcase boilers and made about 5,267 hp. In addition, the ship was equipped with a Rahschoner sail with about 540 square meters sail area.

The armament was at commissioning of 4 drawn, bronze 72 pounders, later these were replaced by 4 cannons with a 21cm caliber.


SMS Arminius

SMS Arminius




History of SMS Arminius:

After the launch of August 20, 1864 delivery was actually scheduled for September. Due to the outbreak of the second German-Danish war and the resulting political tensions between Prussia and England, however, the extradition was delayed to April 22, 1865.

The first military mission was the ship in the Prussian-German War, where it was used mainly on the Elbe and the Weser to combat coastal batteries and forts of the Kingdom of Hanover. After the war, the ship was integrated into the North Sea Squadron of the North German Confederation.

In the Franco-Prussian War from 1870 to 1871, the Arminius was used to guard the Weser estuary. There took place on 24 August 1870 a battle with the French armored corvette Atalante, but this was ended without impact.


Norddeutsches Panzerschiff SMS ARMINIUS im Gefecht mit französischen Panzerschiffen vor der Wesermündung 24. August 1870. Zeitgenössische Darstellung

North German Ironclad SMS ARMINIUS in action with French armored vessels in front of the Weser estuary 24th August 1870. Contemporary illustration


After the founding of the empire in 1871, the Arminius was integrated into the new imperial German Navy, where it served from 1875 as a machinist training ship, as icebreaker before Kiel and Flensburg and as a tender.




The end of SMS Arminius:

Due to the rapid development of the navy and ship techniques, the Arminius were quickly outdated and was already inferior to the new warships. On 2 March 1901 she was removed from the imperial navy, sold and scrapped in 1902 in Hamburg.




Ship data:

Ship type Ironclad
Country Germany
Launching August 20, 1864
Whereabouts Scrapped in 1902 in Hamburg
Number of masts 2
Sail and drive  

540 square meters sail area, Rahschoner

two-cylinder steam engine with 5,267 hp

Length 63,21 meters
Width 10,9 meters
Draft max. 4,55 meters
Displacement 1.653 metric tons
Speed Up to 11.2 knots

4 drawn, bronze 72 pounders

later 4 cannons of caliber 21cm

Crew Around 132 men






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