Liner SMS Kaiser Wilhelm II.

The SMS Kaiser Wilhelm II. was a battleship of the Kaiser Friedrich III. Class which were still built as a unit line ships and indienst. For the first time German warships were equipped with the new fast-charging cannons as the main armament and the middle artillery began to gain in importance.


Launching and design:

The ships of the Kaiser Friedrich III class originated from the experiences of the preceding Brandenburg class. The vast difference was in the armament, which consisted for the first time of fast charging guns and replaced the previously installed Mantelringkanonen. Although the caliber was reduced from 28cm to 24cm, the better shooting performance in cadence, range and penetration, the downgrading could be more than offset. The medium artillery was also significantly strengthened, as the Naval Office recognized the benefits that it had in shelling the less armored areas of enemy ships. For this purpose, the middle artillery fire should be specially focused on the bridge and other less armored superstructures.

Further improvements were the integration of continuous ammunition lifts the new towers of heavy artillery, the first two ships of the Kaiser Friedrich III class still had the old turrets C / 1897 and only later the new C / 1898 towers were installed. So the shot order could be increased from 2 to 5 per minute.

In addition, the improved KC steel (Krupp cemented) with a depth of up to 300mm was used to increase the armor.

The launching of the SMS Kaiser Wilhelm II took place on September 14, 1897, the commissioning on February 13, 1900.

The namesake was the ruling German Kaiser Wilhelm II, whose brother Prince Henry of Prussia carried out the baptism of ships.


The ship was named after Emperor Wilhelm II.

The ship was named after Emperor Wilhelm II.




History of SMS Kaiser Wilhelm II .:

After the commissioning and the test drives the ship was assigned as a fleet flagship to the I. Squadron. Until its replacement as a fleet flagship 1906 Kaiser Wilhelm II carried out mostly foreign travel and representative tasks.

After the detachment as fleet flagship, the ship provided until 1908 service in the 1st Squadron as a flagship squadron. Subsequently, the out of service and extensive renovation and modernization measures took place until 1910. After the conversion, the ship, like the other ships of the Kaiser Friedrich III class, was assigned to the Reserve Division Baltic Sea.


Liner SMS Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Liner SMS Kaiser Wilhelm II.




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, the ships of the Reserve Division Baltic Sea were reactivated and used for security tasks in the newly founded 5th Squadron in the North Sea. In the course of the year 1914 also two operations took place in the Baltic Sea in which the ships participated.

From March 1915, the naval command began to deduct part of the crews of the Kaiser Friedrich III class and to use them on more modern ships. The SMS Kaiser Wilhelm II. Was relocated to Wilhelmshaven for this purpose on 5 March, where she took over the function of the fuselage crew from 26 April as a staff ship of the command of the High Seas Fleet until the end of the war.





The SMS Kaiser Wilhelm II was the only ship of the Kaiser Friedrich III. Class which was not demilitarized during the war. However, the ships of this type of ship were already outdated at the beginning of the war and after the surrender they had no interest in the extradition, so that the Kaiser Wilhelm II remained in Germany.

It was the final out of service on 10 September 1920, the deletion as a warship took place later on 17 March 1921.

The scrapping was then carried out on the Köhlbrandwerft in Hamburg Altenwerder until 1922. The ship's bell of the Kaiser Wilhelm II can be seen today in the Military History Museum of the german army in Dresden.




Ship data:


SMS Kaiser Wilhelm II.


German Empire

Ship Type:  





Imperial Shipyard, Wilhelmshaven


20.387.000 Mark


September 14th, 1897


February 13th, 1900


On March 17, 1921 deleted from the list of warships and scrapped until 1922


125,3 meters


20,4 meters


Max. 7,83 meters


Max. 11.785 Tons


726 Men




4 marine kettles
8 transverse cylinder boilers
3 standing 3-cylinder compound machines


13.874 PS (10.204 kW)

Maximum speed:  

17,5 kn (30 km/h)


4 × Rapid Fire Gun 24,0 cm L / 40 (300 shots)

18 × Rapid Fire Gun 15,0 cm L / 40 (2.160 rounds)

12 × Rapid Fire Gun 8,8 cm L / 30 (3.000 rounds)

12 × Revolver cannon 3,7 cm

6 × torpedo tube ∅ 45 cm (4 sides, 1 bow, under water, 1 stern over water, 16 shots)



Waterline: 100-300 mm on 250 mm teak
Deck: 65 mm
Heavy Artillery:
Tower fronts: 250 mm
Tower ceilings: 50 mm
Medium artillery:
Towers: 150 mm
Shields: 70 mm
Casemates: 150 mm
Front control station: 250 mm
Aft control station: 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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