Imperial German Navy

Imperial German Navy
Kaiserliche Marine
Country German Empire
EngagementsSamoan Civil War
Samoan crisis
Abushiri Revolt
Boxer Rebellion
Venezuela Crisis
Sokehs Rebellion
World War I
War Ensign (1903–1918)War Ensign of Germany (1903-1918).svg
War Ensign (1892–1903)War Ensign of Germany (1892-1903).svg
War Ensign (1871–1892)War Ensign of Germany (1867-1892).svg
Naval Jack (1903–1918)Flag of German Empire (jack 1903).svg

The Imperial German Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine, "Imperial Navy") was the navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy (from 1867 the North German Federal Navy), which primarily had the mission of coastal defence. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded the navy, and enlarged its mission. The key leader was Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, who greatly expanded the size and quality of the navy, while adopting the sea power theories of American strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan. The result was a naval arms race with Britain as the German navy grew to become one of the greatest maritime forces in the world, second only to the Royal Navy. The German surface navy proved ineffective during World War I; its only major engagement, the Battle of Jutland, was indecisive. However, the submarine fleet was greatly expanded and posed a major threat to the British supply system. The Imperial Navy's main ships were turned over to the Allies, but were sunk at Scapa Flow in 1919 by German crews.

All ships of the Imperial Navy were designated SMS, for Seiner Majestät Schiff ("His Majesty's Ship").


Dreadnoughts of the High Seas Fleet

The Imperial Navy achieved some important operational feats. At the Battle of Coronel, it inflicted the first major defeat on the Royal Navy in over one hundred years, although the German squadron of ships was subsequently defeated at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, only one ship escaping destruction. The Navy also emerged from the fleet action of the Battle of Jutland having destroyed more ships than it lost, although the strategic value of both of these encounters was minimal.

The Imperial Navy was the first to operate submarines successfully on a large scale in wartime, with 375 submarines commissioned by the end of the First World War, and it also operated zeppelins. Although it was never able to match the number of ships of the Royal Navy, it had technological advantages, such as better shells and propellant for much of the Great War, meaning that it never lost a ship to a catastrophic magazine explosion from an above-water attack, although the elderly pre-dreadnought SMS Pommern sank rapidly at Jutland after a magazine explosion caused by an underwater attack.

Other Languages
Bahasa Indonesia: Kaiserliche Marine
Nederlands: Kaiserliche Marine