Liner SMS Schleswig-Holstein

The SMS Schleswig -Holstein belonged to the Deutschland class, which were built as the last unit ship types in the German imperial area. Already at the beginning of the First World War, the ship was outdated, but was by the bombardment of the Westerplatte as the beginning of the Second World War to one of the most famous German ships ever.


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in the United Kingdom and was under construction at that time, the ships of the Deutschland class were already outdated before the launch and were clearly inferior to the new British ships.

The launch took place nevertheless on 17 December 1906 without modernization measures, which was sharply criticized in the policy. 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.


Liner SMS Schleswig-Holstein

Liner SMS Schleswig-Holstein


Liner SMS Schleswig-Holstein

Liner SMS Schleswig-Holstein


Liner SMS Schleswig-Holstein

Liner SMS Schleswig-Holstein


Liner SMS Schleswig-Holstein

Liner SMS Schleswig-Holstein




History of SMS Schleswig-Holstein:

After the commissioning and the test drives the ship was assigned on 21 September 1908 to the II Squadron.

In July 1909, the Schleswig -Holstein participated in a trip to the Atlantic, where among other things from 18 to 26 July 1909 Ferrol arrived in Spain.

Until 1914, the ship took part in the annual maneuvers and some foreign trips. Shortly before mobilization in the German Reich, the ship arrived in Kiel.




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, the II Squadron was relocated to the Elbe estuary. However, during the first naval battle near Heligoland the ships came too late, also a use in the Baltic Sea against the Latvian port Libau was forbidden, because there were fears of hostile submarines and the ships did not have sufficient protection against attacks.

Until 1916, the squadron participated in some missions, but never had enemy contact. It was not until the night of 31 May to 1 June 1916 during the Battle of the Skagerrak that ships were used against British ships. The SMS Schleswig-Holstein received a hit and had 3 dead to complain.

After the Battle of the Skagerrak, the ships of the II Squadron were only used for security purposes due to their age and gradually the heavy artillery was removed and the ships decommissioned.

At the beginning of May 1917, the Schleswig-Holstein was decommissioned and served until the remainder of the war of the 5th submarine flotilla in Bremerhaven as a residential ship.




Use in the Navy of the Weimar Republic:

According to the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, Schleswig-Holstein was not one of the ships that had to be handed over to the victorious powers.

The ship was modernized in the years 1925 and 1926 and then passed on 1 February 1926 as a fleet flagship of the Imperial Navy.

Until 1927, some foreign trips were made until the ship was further modernized and until 1933 again led mainly trips abroad.




Use in the Kriegsmarine and the Second World War:

In 1933, the Weimar Republic became the 3rd Reich. The Reichsmarine was taken over the years by the Kriegsmarine and the Schleswig -Holstein on May 2, 1935 appointed naval flagship of the Kriegsmarine.

On September 22, 1935, the ship was relocated to Wilhelmshaven, received again some modernization measures and then served as a cadet training ship, where in the following years, some trips abroad were made.

From August 25, 1939, Schleswig-Holstein was in Danzig Bay for a friendly visit to appease the growing diplomatic tensions between the Third Reich and Poland. When there was no political agreement on the dispute over Danzig, the ship opened on 1 September 1939 at 4:45 clock the fire on the Westerplatte to the local, not agreed with the League of Nations military fortifications and armed positions of the Polish soldiers destroy. Shortly thereafter, the in-ship naval unit "Hennigsen" over.

In 1940, Schleswig-Holstein participated in the company Weserübung, where it deposed German naval infantry at some Danish port cities.

From 1941 to 1944, Schleswig-Holstein was again used as a training ship until it entered the Gotenhafen on 29 October 1944 for comprehensive modernization measures. During a bombing raid on December 18, 1944, the ship was severely damaged by several hits and sank in part. Although the ship was trying to lift, but the damage was too large. In addition, a fire broke out two days later that almost completely destroyed the structures protruding from the water.

As the Red Army marched on the Gotenhafen, the remains of the ship were blown up on March 21, 1945.


SMS Schleswig-Holstein firing at the Westerplatte

SMS Schleswig-Holstein firing at the Westerplatte


SMS Schleswig-Holstein firing at the Westerplatte

SMS Schleswig-Holstein firing at the Westerplatte





After the war, the Soviet Union made claims to the ship as war booty. From 1946 work began to lift the ship. After the uplift, it was towed to Reval, renamed Borodino and converted to a target ship. Before the island Odinsholm the Schleswig-Holstein lay until 1966 until the exercises were stopped.

Even today there are the remains of the ship.




Ship data:


SMS Schleswig-Holstein




German Empire
3rd Reich
Soviet Union

Ship Type:  





Germaniawerft, Kiel


24.972.000 Mark


December 17th, 1906


July 6th, 1908


Used until 1966 as a target ship


127,6 meters


22,2 meters


Max. 8,25 meters


Max. 14.218 Tons


749 to 771 Men


12 Marine Boiler
3 3-cylinder compound machines


19.330 PS (14.217 kW)

Maximum speed:  

19,1 kn (35 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)


4 × Rapid Fire Gun 28,0cm L / 40

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

4 × Anti-aircraft guns 3,7cm

4 × Anti-aircraft guns 2,0cm


4 × Rapid Fire Gun 28cm L / 40

6 × Rapid Fire Gun 10,5cm L / 45

10 × Anti-aircraft guns 4,0cm L / 60

4 × Anti-aircraft guns 3,7cm L / 83

26 × Anti-aircraft guns 2,0cm L / 65


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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