SMS Arminius

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SMS Arminius
SMS Arminius.jpg
Ship data
flag German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge) German Empire
Ship type Ironclad
Shipyard Samuda Brothers , London
building-costs 628,949 thalers
Launch August 20, 1864
Commissioning April 22, 1865
Whereabouts Broken down in 1902
Ship dimensions and crew
62.80 m ( Lüa )
60.90 m ( KWL )
width 11.30 m
Draft Max. 4.55 m
measurement 1230 tons (English)
crew 132 men
Machine system
machine See text
performanceTemplate: Infobox ship / maintenance / service format
See text
11.2 kn (21 km / h)
propeller 1 double-leaf ∅ 3.96 m
Rigging and rigging
Rigging Rahschoner
Number of masts 2
Sail area 540 m²

See text


See text

SMS Arminius , named after Arminius , the prince of the Cherusci , was an ironclad ( tower ship ) of the Prussian Navy , which was taken over by the Imperial Navy when the empire was founded in 1871 . Because of its pronounced battering bow , it is often referred to as the Aries ship .


After the experiences made with heavily armored ships in the Crimean War , Prussia was also forced to procure appropriate ships. Therefore, in 1863, Prussia ordered the Arminius as the first ironclad in the Prussian Navy . Since no shipyard in Prussia could build such ships at the time, it was ordered in England from the Samuda Brothers shipyard on the Isle of Dogs near London . The keel was laid in 1863 and the launch was on August 20, 1864. The original delivery date was September 1864, but due to political problems caused by the second German-Danish War in 1864, delivery was delayed until April 22, 1865. During the German War , the Arminius was used under the command of Korvettenkapitän Reinhold von Werner on the Elbe and Weser , where it put several coastal batteries and forts of the Kingdom of Hanover out of action without resistance.

SMS Arminius in battle with French ironclads in front of the mouth of the Weser, August 24, 1870. Contemporary illustration

From 1867 the Arminius belonged to the Navy of the North German Confederation . The construction costs amounted to 628,949 thalers . To this end, 10,993 thalers were added for renovation and repair work by the end of 1868. Most of the money came from a "national collection for the Prussian fleet".

During the Franco-Prussian War , Arminius guarded the Weser and Jade estuaries as part of the main squadron of the Navy of the North German Confederation . There, on August 24, 1870, there was an encounter with the French Atalante tank corvette , which was followed by a brief but unsuccessful exchange of fire. In 1871 she was incorporated into the Imperial Navy. From 1875 the ship was used as a machinist training ship, as an icebreaker off Kiel and Flensburg and as a tender .

technical description

The construction status from before 1868 is shown here. Since several major modifications were carried out in the following years, information that deviates from this may result. Except for the technical information on weapons in the “Armament” paragraph, all dimensions are English (1 inch English (in) = 2.54 cm; 1 foot English (ft) = 30.48 cm). The weapon dimensions are in Prussian inches (1 inch = 2.6154 cm).

The Arminius was built entirely of iron, with a simple smooth floor and five watertight transverse walls , three of which went up to the intermediate deck and two to the upper deck. The length in the waterline was approximately 60.90 m (200 ft.), The overall length approximately 62.80 m (206 ft). The width at the waterline was approx. 11.00 m (36 ft) and the max. Width approx 11.30 m (37 ft). The maximum draft was approximately 4.55 m (14.9 ft). The volume was given as 1230 tons (English). On the deck were the two gun turrets, the commanders tower and two masts (fore and main mast). The foremast carried square sails and the main mast gaff sails . The total sail area was approx. 540 m². However, the sails did not work and was later removed. The railing consisted of closely spaced approximately 6.35 mm (1/4 in) thick steel sheets approximately 1.15 m (3 ft 9 in) high. These could be folded outwards during combat in order to both reduce the target area and to create a free field of fire for the guns, which were installed in pairs in the gun turrets, since the axis of the guns is only approx. 46 cm (18 in) above the Deck surface lay.

Machine system

The machine system consisted of four steam boilers and a two-cylinder single expansion steam engine with an output of 300 nominal hp . The term “nominal PS” was a fictitious value that was essentially calculated from the cylinder diameter and the piston stroke. The machinery was supplied by Penn and Son in Greenwich .


The belt armor, which was placed completely around the ship, consisted of the approx. 19 mm (3/4 in) thick actual ship wall, an approx. 22.9 cm (9 in) thick teak liner and finally the solid one Approx. 11.4 cm (4.5 in) thick iron plates existing tanks. The belt reached from the top of the deck to approximately 76 cm (2.5 ft) below the waterline.

The gun turrets had a clearance diameter of approx. 6.10 m (20 ft) and a total height of approx. 2.13 m (7 ft) and were sunk approx. 1.20 m (4 ft) into the ship's deck. The armoring of the part above the deck consisted of the approximately 6.35 mm (1/4 in) thick inner tower wall, a teak intermediate layer approximately 23 cm (9 in) thick and the outer armor of approximately 11.5 cm (4th floor) , 5 in) thickness; in the area of ​​the gun slots the latter was approx. 19 cm (75 in).

The commandant's tower had a total height of approximately 1.85 m (6 ft). It consisted of about 10 to 18 cm (4 to 7 in) thick wrought iron.


Originally four English towed 120 pounders were planned for the Arminius . When the increasingly powerful armored ships made a stronger caliber appear necessary, they were to receive 300-pound Armstrong breech-loaders, caliber 10 1/2 inches. Ultimately, it was decided to use four 72-pounders made of Krupp cast steel (official name: "Cast steel 72-pounder, 144 inches (3.75 m) long, 135 quintals heavy"). These guns, with a 16-pound powder charge and a 225-pound full round, could shoot through a massive 4 1/2 "armor plate at a distance of 650 paces. After a short time, however, it was found that these cannons could not meet the requirements in the long term, so the cast steel guns were replaced by bronze ones, as the powder charge could be increased accordingly due to the higher toughness of the bronze (official name: " 72 pound bronze bronze, 144 inches (3.75 m) long "). With this gun, a 22-pound powder charge and a 210-pound bullet could shoot through a massive 5-inch armor plate at a distance of 1,500 paces.

Around 1868/69 these guns were replaced by 8-inch ring barrel cannons (official name: "short ring 72 pounder, 150 inches (3.93 m)") long, with a barrel weight including breech of 9000 kg. As part of a general reorganization in 1871, the designation of these guns was changed to: "short 21 cm Marine-Ring-Kanone", the last known name is: 21 cm Ringkanone L / 19. As part of this change in armament, the mounts were also replaced by the newly designed C / 69 turret mounts . These already had a compression brake with eight grinding belts to reduce the return movement after the shot.

The ammunition available for these guns was: Grenade (size) C / 69 and chilled cast grenade (H.Gr.) C / 69 with the following performance data:

Size C / 69 H.Gr. C / 69
Bullet length (caliber) 2.5 2.5
Weight (kg) 79 98.5
Powder load (kg) 12 16
Powder (type) PP (prismatic powder) C / 68
Initial speed (m / sec) 389 401
Source: G.Galster, p. 288


The Arminius was removed from the list of warships on March 2, 1901, sold in 1902 and broken up in Hamburg.


  • Mirko Graetz: Prince Adalbert's forgotten fleet. The North German Federal Navy 1867–1871. Lulu Enterprises Inc. Morrisville, NC (USA) 2008, ISBN 978-1-4092-2509-6 , p. 59.
  • Bernhard Graser: Northern Germany's naval power. Their organization, their ships, their ports and their crew . Verlag Friedrich Wilhelm Grunow, Leipzig 1870.
  • Jack Greene, Alessandro Massignani: Ironclads at War. The Origin and Development of the Armored Warships, 1854-1891. Conshohocken, PA 1998.
  • Erich Gröner, Dieter Jung, Martin Maass: The German warships 1815-1945. Volume 1, Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-7637-4800-8 .
  • Clas Broder Hansen: Germany will become a sea power . Urbes Verlag Hans Jürgen Hansen, Graefelfing before Munich 1991, ISBN 3-924896-23-2 .
  • Keyword: Arminius armored vehicle. In: Hans H. Hildebrand, Albert Röhr, Hans-Otto Steinmetz: The German warships. Biographies - a mirror of naval history from 1815 to the present. 7 volumes in one volume. Volume 1, Ratingen around 1983, p. 108f.

Web links

Commons : SMS Arminius  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Note: This is a fictitious value which was used in England until approx. 1870 to make the ships comparable in size. It was determined after the "builder measurement". It said nothing about the actual carrying capacity of the ship.
  2. ^ Mirko Graetz: From Helgoland to Agadir - Combat missions of Prussian and German warships before 1914 , 2nd exp. Edition, Lulu Enterprises Inc., Morrisville, 2008, ISBN 978-1-4092-2130-2 , page 43.
  3. ^ Claudius Marchetti: The ship's steam engine . Carl Gerold's Sohn, Vienna 1868, pp. 394–397.
  4. The official gun designations come from: Army Ordinance Sheet. 5th year, No. 18 v. August 14, 1871, p. 195. Editor: War Ministry Berlin, Mittler und Sohn publishing house, Berlin 1871.
  5. Note: 1 step in Prussia corresponded to a distance of 28 inches = 0.73 m
  6. G. Galster: The ship and coastal guns of the German Navy. Siegfried Mittler and Son, Berlin 1885. Reprint: Walter FE Andraeas, Hamburg, 1993, p. 171.
  7. G. Galster: The ship and coastal guns of the German Navy. Siegfried Mittler and Son, Berlin 1885. (Reprint: Walter FE Andraeas, Hamburg 1993)