Liner SMS Schlesien

SMS Schlesien belonged to the Deutschland ship class, which was built as the last unit ship types in the German quay area. Silesia survived the First World War, served in the Weimar Republic Navy and also participated in the Second World War.


Launching and design:

At the beginning of the 20th century, concepts were developed to further upgrade the imperial navy. The concept of the Deutschland class was similar to the already set up shortly before Braunschweig class held. These got for the first time the 28 cm SK L / 40 guns developed by Krupp as well as the ships of the Deutschland class. However, the armor was slightly stronger than the Braunschweig class. With a maximum displacement of around 14,000 tons, however, the ships were significantly smaller than those of the other maritime powers. With the Dreadnought class, which was newly developed in the United Kingdom and was under construction at that time, the ships of the German class were already outdated before the launch and were clearly inferior to the new ships of the British.

The launch was still on 28 May 1906 without modernization measures, which was sharply criticized in politics. For changes to the ships, however, was probably missing at this time the money, also was the first inaugurated Kaiser Wilhelm Canal in Schleswig-Holstein not designed for larger vessels.


Launched SMS Schlesien


Liner SMS Schlesien

Liner SMS Schlesien




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, SMS Schlesien was entrusted with security tasks in the German Bight because of her age and served as a target ship for the training of submarine crews.

The only major naval battle in which the ship took part was from May 31 to June 1, 1916 the Battle of the Skagerrak, which survived the Schlesien unscathed. Subsequently, some of the weapons were expanded and the Schlesien served as a training ship.

During the November Revolution of 1918 and the uprising of the sailors, the ship lay in Kiel harbor. So that the revolt did not spread to the Schlesien, the naval leadership decided to relocate the ship to Flensburg. There, the captain decided to let go of the part of the crew that sympathized with the insurgents.

Due to its age and technical backlog, Schlesien was one of the few ships remaining in Germany after the war. It was decommissioned on November 10, 1918.




Assignment in the Navy of the Weimar Republic and the Kriegsmarine:

On 1 March 1927, the SMS Schlesien was included in the Imperial Navy of the Weimar Republic and replaced the Hannover.

Also in the navy of the 3rd Reich the ship was used. From 1938 to 1939, the complete drive system was modernized and replaced with an oil drive.

During the Second World War, the ship was initially used as a cadet training ship. In 1940, the participation in the company Weserübung took place, with the Schlesien was involved only in the occupation of Denmark. Subsequently, the middle artillery was removed, delivered to various auxiliary cruisers and the ship was used again for educational purposes.

At the end of the war, the Schlesien was relocated to the shores of the Baltic Sea to fire from there with their heavy artillery the advancing Red Army. During one of these missions, the ship sailed on May 3, 1945 on a base mine and was badly damaged. A destroyer type Z-39 towed the ship to Swinemünde where it supports the evacuation of Usedom with their air defense.


SMS Schlesien in the Panama Canal 1938

SMS Schlesien in the Panama Canal 1938


SMS Schlesien in the Panama Canal 1938

SMS Schlesien in the Panama Canal 1938


SMS Schlesien in 1939





After the evacuation of Usedom was completed on the evening of May 4, 1945, the Schlesien was blown up by the crew. Since the ship was not completely set, fire was also set to burn the still outstanding parts.

From 1949 to 1980, the wreck was gradually lifted and scrapped.




Ship data:


SMS Schlesien


German Empire

Ship Type:  





Schichau, Gdansk


24.920.000 Mark


May 28th, 1906


May 5th, 1908


Blown up on May 4th, 1945


127,6 meters


22,2 meters


Max. 8,25 meters


Max. 14.218 Tons


743 to 802 Men


12 Marine Boiler
3 3-cylinder compound machines


18.923 PS (13.918 kW)

Maximum speed:  

18,5 kn (34 km/h)


4 × Rapid Fire Gun 28,0cm L / 40 (340 shots)

14 × Rapid Fire Gun 17,0cm L / 40 (1.820 shots)

20 × Rapid Fire Gun 8,8cm L / 35 (2.800 shots)

6 × torpedo tube ∅ 45.0cm (under water, 16 shots)

From 1939:

4 × Rapid Fire Gun 28,0 cm L / 40

6 × Anti-aircraft guns 10,5 cm (1.800 shots)

4 × Anti-aircraft guns 3,7 cm

4 × Anti-aircraft guns 2,0 cm


Belt: 100-240 mm on 80 mm teak
Citadel: 170 mm
Armor deck: 40-97 mm
Command tower: 30-300 mm
Towers: 50-280 mm
Casemates: 170 mm
Shields: 70 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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