kaiserliche-marine

The Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) battlecruiser SMS Moltke during a visit to Hampton Roads, Virginia in 1912. She participated in most major fleet actions conducted by the German Navy during the First World War, taking damage several times.

During the Battle of Jutland, on the last night of May 1916 Moltke came under fire from Britain’s new fast battleships, coming to the rescue of their own battlecruisers. The four Queen Elizabeth-class super dreadnoughts she faced were carrying new and very powerful 15″ guns. Within 10 minutes she had been hit. The shell pierced a coal bunker, tore into a casemate deck and ignited ammunition stored there. The explosion burned the ammunition hoist down to the magazine, but there it stopped. Another 15″ shell struck the No. 5 starboard 5.9″ secondary. The ship returned home with 16 dead and 20 wounded. She herself had hit the British battlecruiser HMS Tiger 13 times, which suffered 24 men killed and 46 wounded from 18 hits.

SMS Derfflinger - One hundred years ago today, at approximately 19:20, Vice-Admiral Scheer orders another ‘battle about turn’ or ‘Gefechtskehrtwendung’, for the High Seas Fleet to make good their escape. This time it is done with difficulty as heavy concentrated gunfire from the British Grand Fleet begins to disrupt the movement of his lead ships. In a very dangerous position he orders a major torpedo attack and suicidal charge at the enemy by his four remaining battlecruisers. 

Franz Hipper was at the time aboard a torpedo boat and thus his flagship,  SMS Derfflinger, took lead under Captain Hartog without him. The ship led a charge into what was described as ‘the greatest concentration of naval gunfire any fleet commander had ever faced.’

The German submarine U-155 on display in St. Katherine docks, London, England, December 1918. The SM U-155 (formerly merchant submarine “Deutschland”) was a Type U-151 U-Kreuzer of the Kaiserliche Marine during World War I. Built at Flensburger Schiffbau, she was launched on 28 March 1916 as merchant submarine “Deutschland” Deutschland was a blockade-breaking German merchant submarine used during World War I. It was developed with private funds and operated by the North German Lloyd Line. She was one of the first of seven U-151 class U-boats built and one of only two used as unarmed cargo submarines.