SMS Germany (ship, 1874)

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German Empire

Federal archive picture 116-125-36, Port Arthur, SMS "Germany" in the harbor.jpg
Germany 1898 in Port Arthur , China
Construction data
Ship type Tank frigate
Ship class Kaiser- class
Shipyard Samuda Brothers ,
Poplar near London
Keel laying 1872
Launch September 12, 1874
Commissioning July 20, 1875
renaming 22nd November 1904 in Jupiter , harbor ship
Whereabouts Sold for demolition in 1910
Technical specifications
displacement normal 7319 t , maximum 8940 t
Displacement after renovation normal 7645 t , maximum 8736 t
length over everything: 89.34 m
width 19.1 m
Draft 8.5 m
Propulsion system
Machine performance PSi
speed 14.5 kn
Driving range 2470 nm at 10 kn
Coal supply 880 tons
Armament as a new building
  • 8 × 26 cm cannons,
  • 1 × 21 cm cannon in the stern
crew 600, last 656 men

The first SMS Deutschland of the Imperial Navy was an armored frigate of the Kaiser- class built in England . The existing sailing equipment was gradually reduced and removed. The Deutschland was reclassified to a large cruiser in 1897 and served in China from 1898 to 1900 .

Building history

The Deutschland was the second and last ship of the Kaiser- class tank frigates designed by Sir Edward Reed and built by the Samuda Brothers shipyard in Cubitt Town near London. These tank frigates were already included in the fleet construction plan of the North German Confederation . A building contract in the German Reich failed because the few suitable shipyards were busy and there were doubts about the capabilities of the German supplier industry. The machine was built by J. Penn & Sons in Greenwich and exceeded the required performance on delivery. Nevertheless, the ship was considered to be the one with the most machine accidents during its service life. The Deutschland was the last major warship built abroad. It was a casemate ship with additional sailing ship rigging, which was removed in 1894 during a renovation in the Kaiserliche Werft Wilhelmshaven .

The test drives with shipyard personnel began in the spring of 1875 on the Thames. The acceptance test drive took place on July 20, 1875. On August 7th, the ship was put into service under Captain Archibald MacLean and transferred to Wilhelmshaven from August 17th to 19th. On September 6th, the ship was taken out of service to carry out repairs and a first change to the rigging . The cannons supplied by Krupp were then installed .

Fleet service

On April 1, 1876, the first commissioning of the Deutschland for the Panzer Training Squadron took place. Because of unrest in Turkey, after the so-called Saloniki murder on May 22, the tank training squadron with the tank frigates SMS Kaiser , SMS Kronprinz , SMS Friedrich Carl , der Deutschland and Aviso SMS Pomerania was sent to the Mediterranean. The gunboat SMS Comet followed the squadron. On May 30th, the machine of the Germany stopped for the first time when leaving Plymouth . An attempt to drag her through the emperors failed, so she had to sail under sail. The next day the machine was started again. Machine failures were repeated throughout the trip. In addition, a measles epidemic at the end of the voyage hampered the operational capability of the ship.
The squadron marched via Gibraltar and Valletta until June 25th to Saloniki , where the corvette SMS Medusa, ordered from the West Indies , joined the squadron. On August 23, part of the squadron began to march back with Kaiser , Germany and Medusa via Syros , Malta, Gibraltar and Plymouth. On September 13th the ships were back in Wilhelmshaven. On September 29th, the Germany decommissioned according to the commissioning plan.

On May 7, 1877, the Deutschland was put back into service and, from June 1, relocated again with the armored training squadron to the eastern Mediterranean, where the Russian-Turkish war had broken out in the meantime . The main focus of the squadron's activities this time was off the coast of Palestine and in the Aegean Sea . We visited u. a. Port Said , Jaffa , Salonika and Piraeus . During a storm she ran aground off Syros on September 6th and had to be dragged free by Kaiser . On the return voyage, which began in Piraeus on September 25 and was severely hampered by bad weather, the Germany suffered a rudder damage in the storm off Cape Finisterre on October 14 , which left her drifting without rudder for a long time October at Goodwin Sands near South Sandhead , where she rammed and seriously damaged the lightship there. On November 6th, the Germany decommissioned according to the commissioning plan.

It was only from May 1 to October 6, 1883 that the Germany was re-commissioned for the tank training squadron with exercises and maneuvers in home waters. In the end, she was handed over to the Baltic Sea station in Kiel with the sister ship Kaiser .

The next service phase of the Deutschland lasted from May 1, 1889 to October 31, 1894 in the training squadron or in the maneuver fleet. In 1889 she took part in the training squadron's Mediterranean voyage from October and accompanied Emperor Wilhelm II on his yacht Hohenzollern to Athens for the wedding of his sister Sophie to Crown Prince Constantine of Greece . In April 1890 the squadron returned to Wilhelmshaven. It accompanied the emperor on a state visit to Norway in July and was present when Heligoland was handed over to the German Empire. Also in the winter of 1890/91 it made a trip to the Mediterranean. From January to April 1892, the Germany was thoroughly overhauled at the Kaiserliche Werft in Kiel. She took part in the exercises and maneuvers until 1894 and suffered a few more accidents, such as a serious machine breakdown off Aabenraa on June 21, 1893 , which made it necessary to drag the ship to Kiel for repairs. On July 2, 1894, she was damaged by a collision with the Aviso watch near Kiel .

In the autumn, the Deutschland moved from Kiel back to Wilhelmshaven and was decommissioned there on October 31, 1894. At the Imperial Shipyard there, another conversion to an armored cruiser should take place. The armament was to be expanded and the rigging removed. The aft mast has been removed. New boilers were installed, but a cruiser-appropriate speed could not be achieved with the old machine. In the course of the planned fleet legislation , the Deutschland was reclassified as a large cruiser.

Foreign cruiser

On December 2, 1897, the converted Great Cruiser Germany put back into service to go to East Asia. He became the flagship of a newly formed II. Division of the cruiser squadron under Rear Admiral Prince Heinrich of Prussia , the brother of the Emperor, who personally bid him farewell with three of his sons on December 15 and stayed on board from Kiel to Rendsburg. The cruiser was accompanied by the small cruiser Gefion . The Empress Augusta , who also belongs to the 2nd Division, arrived in Singapore on December 14th from a mission in the Mediterranean . The departure was accompanied by mishaps, as the Deutschland's machine proved to be unreliable and the Gefion had to tow it several times. There was also a misunderstanding in the ordering of coal, which led to further delays, so that the crossing of the Indian Ocean did not begin until February 1, 1898. From Colombo two Russian ships of the line ( Navarin and Sissoi Veliki ) also ran in the formation. The Deutschland only reached Hong Kong in April , where it had to dock. Prince Heinrich continued the journey to Shanghai with Gefion . On the continuation of the voyage, the Deutschland suffered another machine breakdown , and Gefion had to come to the rescue again. It was not until May 5, 1898 that the squadron assembled in Tsingtau , which had been occupied the previous year, had been a German colony subordinate to the Reichsmarineamt since January 1898 and a contract between China and the German Reich was just concluded on April 28, 1898 on its lease was. In May, Prince Heinrich visited the Chinese Emperor Guangxu and the imperial widow in Beijing. He was accompanied on this visit by his chief of staff, corvette captain with the rank of lieutenant colonel Müller , his flag lieutenant, lieutenant captain Graf Spee and his signal officer, sub-lieutenant at sea Erich Raeder .

The beginning of the service in the cruiser squadron was determined by the Spanish-American war that had just broken out . From the II. Division only the Empress Augusta was used in the Philippines. Germany and Gefion stayed in Tsingtau until the end of July before setting out to visit the northern part of the station area. Germany visited a number of Russian ports as far as Vladivostok, where she met the Gefion again, which had traveled to Japanese ports. On November 21, a memorial for the sunken gunboat Iltis was unveiled in Shanghai , to which all ships of the II Division were expected. In addition to the Deutschland , only the small cruiser Irene took part, while the other ships had acute tasks to fulfill. At the turn of the year the great cruisers Kaiser , Deutschland and Kaiserin Augusta were with the Gefion in Hong Kong; The small cruisers Princess Wilhelm and Cormoran were in Shanghai , the corvette Arcona in Kiautschou Bay and the Irene in front of Manila .

On April 14, 1899, Prince Heinrich replaced the squadron chief, Vice Admiral Otto von Diederichs , who was returning home. The Germany was also the squadron flagship by this change. Prince Heinrich traveled with his flagship to the entire station area from Alexandrowsk in the Tatar Sound to Singapore and visited the King of Korea, Gojong , in June and the Japanese Emperor Mutsuhito in July . On November 6th, the Deutschland was again thoroughly overhauled in Hong Kong, where the prince was also promoted to Vice Admiral. With the Deutschland and the Gefion he made another visit to the King of Siam, Chulalongkorn , for which the ships anchored in the roadstead of Paknam from December 16 to 30 . On January 4, 1900, the return journey of Germany began in Singapore, which arrived back in Kiel on March 9. Prince Heinrich returned home with a passenger steamer. His successor in East Asia was the previous Chief of the Admiralty's Staff , Vice Admiral Felix Bendemann .

The Germany decommissioned on March 28th. Another dispatch of the ship to East Asia, which was considered in July as part of the reinforcements due to the Boxer Rebellion, was not carried out due to the poor structural condition of the ship, which had been in service for over 25 years.


On May 3, 1904, it was deleted from the list of warships of the Imperial Navy and the Germany became a port ship with the name Jupiter . From 1907 she was used as a target ship at times and then sold for demolition in 1908.


August 7th to September 6th, 1875 Sea captain Archibald MacLean
April 1 to September 29, 1876 Sea captain Archibald MacLean
May 7th to November 6th, 1877 Sea captain Archibald MacLean
May 1 to October 6, 1883 Sea captain Karl Eduard Heusner
May 1, 1889 to October 1890 Sea captain Ernst von Reiche
October 1890 to January 1892 Sea captain Ivan Oldekop
January to October 1892 Sea captain Felix Bendemann
October 1892 to September 1893 Sea captain Alfred Herz
September 1893 to May 1894 Sea captain Max Piraly
May 1st to October 31st, 1894 Sea captain Oscar Boeters
December 2, 1897 to September 1898 Corvette captain with lieutenant colonel / sea captain Hugo Plachte
September 1898 to March 28, 1900 Corvette captain with lieutenant colonel / frigate captain / sea captain Georg Alexander (von) Müller


  • Hildebrand, Hans H./Albert Röhr / Hans-Otto Steinmetz: The German warships. Biographies - a mirror of naval history from 1815 to the present. Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft, Herford.

Web links

Commons : Germany  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Uprising in Herzegovina , revolution in Bulgaria , plus conflicts within the Turkish government
  2. ^ In Saloniki the French consul and the German consul Abbott were murdered on May 6, 1876
  3. March 9, 1900 Germany coming from East Asia in the Holtenauer Schleuse