Liner SMS Weißenburg

The liner SMS Weißenburg belonged to the ships of the Brandenburg class, which were considered the high point in the imperial tanker ship, before this class of ships were replaced by more modern types. In the imperial navy, the ship mainly traveled abroad and was sent to Asia to suppress the Boxer Rebellion. His first war effort, the ship, however, only when it was sold to the Ottoman Empire.


Launching and design:

The construction of the ships of the Brandenburg class began in the early 90s of the 19th century, even before Alfred Tirpitz took office as State Secretary of the Reichsmarineamt. At the time of construction these ships were considered the pinnacle of the construction of armored ships, only in the later years, the ships were classified as ships of the line.

The development of armored ships went back to the memorandum of Lieutenant General Leo von Caprivi, who in 1884 demanded that the naval line demand that the core of the imperial fleet be sustainable in the long term only with these new ships. The turnaround of the years of practiced use of the ships as pure coastal defense in a deep-sea fleet was thus laid.

After the start of construction of the 4 ships of the Brandenburg class, there were some delays. Reason were supply problems of Krupp in the steel delivery as well as short-term changes of the medium artillery of 8.7cm guns on the new 10.5cm rapid-fire gun. Although the SMS Elector Friedrich Wilhelm was then the type ship of the new class, it was named after the second ship, the SMS Brandenburg.

The launching of SMS Weißenburg took place on 14 December 1891, the commissioning on 14 October 1894.


Launch of SMS Weißenburg


The German liner SMS Weißenburg after its completion in the summer of 1894


Liner SMS Weißenburg

Liner SMS Weißenburg


Liner SMS Weißenburg

Liner SMS Weißenburg




History of SMS Weißenburg:

After the commissioning and the test drives the Weißenburg was assigned together with the other ships of the Brandenburg class of the I. Division.

Until the beginning of 1900, mainly trips of the entire division were carried out, which led, inter alia, to Great Britain, Spain, the Netherlands and Norway.

Between the foreign trips, the ships took part in the annual maneuvers.

On February 27, 1899, the classification of ships was changed under the new fleet law. If the ships of the Brandenburg class were initially classified as battleships, this changed now in liners.

In early 1900, the Boxer Rebellion against the European powers and their commercial agencies began in China. When there were violent clashes between the insurgents and the locally based European troops, a European alliance formed to quell the uprising. From the German side it was decided that all ships of the Brandenburg class of the I. Division should be sent to the area. The ships sailed from Kiel on July 9, 1900, and on August 30 they reached Shanghai, where the ships first blocked the rivers to prevent the Chinese navy from raiding. At that time, the siege of the legation quarter in Beijing had already ended, and by October German landing troops could land at Qinhuangdao and Shanhaiguan in the Yellow Sea.

From 4 to 23 January 1901, the Weißenburg was in Nagasaki for repair, which was gradually carried out on all ships of the Brandenburg class. These gathered then in March in Tsingtau. On 26 May 1901, the order then came home, where the ships arrived on 11 August.

In the period from 29 September 1902 to 27 September 1904, the SMS Weißenburg was extensively modernized in the Imperial shipyard Wilhelmshaven. The ship received new masts, built-in wood was exchanged for metal, the coal bunkers were enlarged and the 10.5 cm battery rebuilt and reinforced.

After completion of the modernization measures, the Weißenburg was assigned to the II Squadron, in the fall of 1906 the reserve and put on 27 September 1907 out of service.

On August 2, 1910, the Weißenburg together with the Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm was put back into service to be transferred to the Ottoman Empire.


The torpedo protection network of the SMS Weißenburg is brought on board




Use in the Ottoman Navy:

On 12 September 1910, the SMS Weißenburg was officially sold to the Ottoman Empire. There, the ship was renamed Torgud Reis and put into service in the Ottoman Navy.

At the time of the Italian-Ottoman war of 1911 and 1912, the ship was indeed operational, remained the period but only in the area of ​​the Dardanelles.

Only with the Balkan wars starting from November 1912 the Torgud rice was used. First, the ship shelled positions of the Bulgarian troops in Derkosa on November 12, as well as on 21 November. In the second mission, the ship was hit by a torpedo of one of the Bulgarian torpedo boats, which resulted in the bow to a large hole and 8 dead crew members. The ship was able to go to Istanbul on its own and was repaired there. On December 16, 1912, the first attempt of the Ottoman Navy broke out of the Dardanelles. However, the project was stopped by the Greek Navy, which attack the Ottoman ships. In this naval battle, the Torgud Reis had again to mourn 8 dead crew members. The second attempt to break out on 18 January 1913 failed because of the Greek Navy. Again, the Torgud Reis was severely damaged with 17 hits and had to complain dead. Until the end of the Balkan wars, the Torgud Reis was used only to support the troops in the country, where it bombarded the Bulgarian position from the sea.




Use in the First World War:

After the entry of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War on the side of the German Empire, the former leader of the German Mediterranean Division, Rear Admiral Wilhelm Souchon took over the leadership of the Ottoman Navy.

Since the two ships of the Brandenburg class, Barbaros Hayreddin and Torgud Reis were not designed for rapid naval command, Souchon decided not to use them in the Black Sea against the Russian ships but to turn them off in defense of the Dardanelles.

In the course of the war, the Torgud Reis had not a single battle and survived this unscathed.





After the war, the ship was taken from 1924 in the newly founded Turkish Navy and served initially as a training ship.

From 1933 it was used as a living ship for the workers of the naval base Gölcük until it was scrapped in 1952.




Ship data:


SMS Weißenbeurg
From September 12th, 1910: Torgud Reis




German Empire
From September 12th, 1910: Ottoman Empire
From 1924: Turkey

Ship Type:  





AG Vulcan, Szczecin


16.054.000 Mark


December 14th, 1891


October 14th, 1894


Scrapped in 1952


115,7 meters


19,5 meters


Max. 7,9 meters


Max. 10.670 Tons


568 to 591 Men


12 cylinders boiler
2 standing 3-cylinder compound machines


10.103 PS (7.431 kW)

Maximum speed:  

16,5 kn (31 km/h)


4 × 28 cm L / 40 Ring cannon

2 × 28 cm L / 35 Ring cannon (total of 352 shots)

6 × 10,5 cm L / 35 Rapid fire gun (600 shots)

8 × 8,8 cm L / 30 Rapid fire gun (2.000 shots)

12 × 3,7 cm Revolver gun

6 × Torpedo tube ∅ 45 cm (2 in the bow, 4 in the sides, over water, 16 shots)


Belt over waterline: 300-400 mm
Belt under waterline: 180-200 mm
Deck: 60 mm
Command tower: 30-300 mm
Barbettes: 300 mm
Domes: 50-120 mm
Battery: 42 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.

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