SMS Großer Kurfürst (1913)

SMS Großer Kurfürst (1913)

SMS "Großer Kurfürst" was a "König" class battleship of the Deutschen Kaiserliche Marine (German Imperial Navy) during the First World War. She was the second ship of the German Imperial Navy to be named in honour of Friedrich Wilhelm von Hohenzollern of Brandenburg, who was known as the "Great Elector" ("Großer Kurfürst" in German).


SMS "Großer Kurfürst" was built by AG Vulcan Stettin at its shipyard in Hamburg. She was laid down in October 1911 and was launched on 5 May 1913. Following sea trials in July 1914 the ship was commissioned on 30 July 1914. She was the second of four ships in her class, the others being the SMS "König", the SMS "Markgraf", and the SMS "Kronprinz". She cost Germany 45 million "Goldmarks".

The "Großer Kurfürst" displaced convert|28600|LT|t fully loaded, with a length of 175.4 m, a beam of 29.5 m and a draft of 9.19 m. She was powered by three AEG-Vulcan turbines developing 45,100 hp (33.6 MW) each, yielding a maximum speed of convert|21.2|kn|km/h.

She was armed with ten 305-millimetre (12 in) guns arranged in five double gun turrets: two superfiring turrets fore and aft with one turret amidships between the two funnels. Like the earlier "Kaiser" class battleships, the "Großer Kurfürst" and her sisters could deliver a full broadside using all of her main guns. Her secondary armament were fourteen 150-millimetre (5.9 in) guns, six convert|88|mm|adj=on guns and five convert|500|mm|adj=on underwater torpedo tubes, one in the bow and two on each beam. On commissioning she carried a crew of 41 officers and 1,095 enlisted men.


The first years of World War I saw fleet operations and exercises in both the Baltic and the North Sea, including the provision of distant cover for shore bombardments of Lowestoft and Yarmouth on 25 April 1916 and minelaying operations off the British coast.

During the Battle of Jutland on 31 May to 1 June 1916, the ship was attached to the High Seas Fleet Third Battle Squadron under Rear-Admiral Paul Behncke. At Jutland the "Großer Kurfürst" was damaged by eight hits, including five from heavy caliber shells, causing 15 dead and 10 wounded. After six weeks of repairs at AG Vulcan in Hamburg the ship was back in service with the High Seas Fleet on 17 July 1916.

Thereafter she had a history of mishaps while serving with the fleet. On 5 November 1916, off the Danish west coast, she was torpedoed by the British submarine HMS "J1", with the resulting damage requiring three months of repairs. On 9 February 1917, just out of the dock, she ran aground near Kiel. On 5 March that same year, she collided with her sistership SMS "Kronprinz" (later renamed "Kronprinz Wilhelm") and damaged her bow, necessitating two more weeks of repairs. In October 1917 she participated in Operation Albion, a naval operation near the Baltic Islands of Osel and Dagö (now Saaremaa and Hiiumaa) and hit a Russian mine, once again having to spend six weeks in dock. On 25 April 1918, returning from an uneventful sortie into the North Sea, she ran aground just outside Wilhelmshaven; this time the damage was repaired within one week. A little over a month later, on 30 May 1918, she ran aground again, this time near Heligoland, damaging one of her shafts. She was back in service by mid-August, but saw no further action.

"Großer Kurfürst" was interned at Scapa Flow in the Orkneys on 26 November 1918 and was part of the great scuttling there of the German High Seas Fleet, sinking on 21 June 1919 at 1:30 pm. She was salvaged in April 1933 and scrapped at Rosyth, Scotland. Part of the ship (the mast) is still divable in convert|33|m of water within Scapa Flow.

See also

* List of German Imperial Navy ships
* List of naval ships of Germany
* List of ship launches in 1913
* List of ship commissionings in 1914
* List of shipwrecks in 1919


* [ SMS Großer Kurfürst at]
* [ Konig-class battleships at]
* [ Konig-class battleships at]
* [ßer_Kurfürst_(1913) SMS Großer Kurfürst on the German-language Wikipedia]

External links

* [ MaritimeQuest images of SMS Grosser Kurfurst]

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