The Big Five - SMS Kaiser, Friedrich der Grosse, Kaiserin, König Albert, and Prinzregent Luitpold

Battleship Friedrich der Grosse - 1918

The largest class of capital ships completed for the Hochseeflotte, the five-strong Kaiser-class would serve as the center of the fleet throughout the war. They were the first German battleships with turbine propulsion, while SMS Prinzregent Luitpold was to be fitted with a large marine diesel engine on her center shaft (but never installed) for increasing cruising range. The turbines proved more successful, and to demonstrate their reliability the Kaiser and König Albert sent in 1913-1914 on a good-will cruise to South America and South Africa. SMS Friedrich der Grosse served as fleet flagship from October 15, 1912 to March 14, 1917, and all five ships saw service at Jutland and in the Baltic in 1917 against the Russians. Interned at Scapa Flow, they were all scuttled and later successfully raised and scrapped.

The design was considered a success and served as the basis for the follow-on design, SMS König.


SMS Kaiser

Plans and Construction

Line Drawing - Side View (Gröner)
Launch Day - March 22, 1911

Active Duty

Starboard Bow View (U.S. National Archives)
Starboard Quarter View
Aft View (U.S. National Archives)
Port Quarter View (U.S. National Archives)
Port View

SMS Friedrich der Grosse

Plans and Construction

Line Drawing - Side View (Greger)
Line Drawing - Top and Side View (Greger)

Active Duty

Starboard Bow View (U.S. National Archives)

SMS Kaiserin

Plans and Construction

Launch Day - November 11, 1911

SMS König Albert

Active Duty

Starboard Bow View in a floating drydock (U.S. National Archives)
Port Bow View (U.S. National Archives)

SMS Prinzregent Luitpold

Active Duty

View of Starboard Bow (U.S. National Archives)
View of Starboard Quarter
Crew gathered on Quarterdeck while in drydock


Project Name: Ersatz Hildebrand (Kaiser) | Ersatz Heimdall (Friedrich der Grosse) | Ersatz Hagen (Kaiserin) | Ersatz Ägir (König Albert) | Ersatz Odin (Prinzregent Luitpold)
Builder: Imperial Dockyard, Kiel | AG Vulcan, Hamburg | Howaldtswerke, Kiel | F Schichau, Danzig | Germania, Kiel
Laid Down: September, 1909 | January 26, 1910 | July, 1910 | July 17, 1910 | October, 1910
Launched: March 22, 1911 | June 10, 1911 | November 11, 1911 | January 27, 1912 | February 17, 1912
Commissioned: August 1, 1912 | October 15, 1912 | May 14, 1913 | July 31, 1913 | August 19, 1913
Sunk: All scuttled at Scapa Flow June 21, 1919 (Sank at 1325 hrs | 1216 hrs | 1400 hrs | 1254 hrs | 1330 hrs)
Scrapped: All except Friedrich der Grosse (broken up in-situ) raised and broken up at Rosyth 1929-1937
Displacement: 24,724 tonnes (designed) / 27,000 tonnes (maximum)
Dimensions (meters): 172.4 (overall) x 29.0 x 9.1
Dimensions (feet): 568.92 (overall) x 95.7 x 30.0
# of Shafts: 3 (except Prinzregent Luitpold - 2 outer shafts only)
# of Propeller Blades: 3, 3.75m diameter (Prinzregent Luitpold's 4.0m diameter)
# of Rudders: 2 (side by side)
Max Speed/Range: 21.0 kts / 7,900 nm at 12 kts
Main Battery: Ten 305mm (12")/50 caliber - 5 dual turrets
Secondary Battery: Fourteen 150mm (5.9")/45 caliber - single casement mounts
Anti-Torpedo Boat / Anti-Aircraft Battery: Twelve 88mm (3.5")/45 caliber - single mounts
Torpedo Tubes: Five 50cm tubes (all underwater - one bow, two mounted on each side- one just forward of "Anton" turret, one aft of "Dora")
Complement: 41 officers and 1043 enlisted (as designed)


Warships of the World Pre-World War II German Torpedoes
German Kriegsmarine Encyclopedia
The Imperial German Navy from 1888 to 1918

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This page © Copyright 2001, Thomas L. Tanner, Jr. unless otherwise noted.