Kaiser, Friedrich der Grosse, Kaiserin, König Albert, Prinzregent Luitpold
Kaiser class: A brave leap forward
The 5 battleships SMS Kaiser, Friedrich der Grosse, Kaiserin, Konig Albert and Prinzregent Luitpold which constituted this class marked a new milestone in the design of the German dreadnoughts. They kept the 305 mm caliber (still lower than the one developed by Great Britain, the USA or even France at the time), but innovated with the distribution in 5 turrets (instead of 6) more rational. Two were placed in echelon at the center, with a wide deflection allowing them in principle to fire both side and add their firepower still in chase and retreat.
The second major advance was the adoption for the first time of turbines (already in the Royal Navy since the Dreadnought in 1906). The reach of the main guns was improved thanks to new mod.1909 mounts.
The Kaiser in action
After the Battle of Jutland, all but two of the 88mm pieces, Flak batteries were removed from some ships. (Their initial armament already included 4 AA pieces on the back deckhouse). The armor was reinforced at the level of the belt and the blockhouse. They differed in terms of machines, having in principle 3 Parsons turbines (built under license), AEG Vulcan or Schichau, but two turbines and a cruising diesel never finally installed on the Luitpold.
SMS Prinzregent Luitpold
The latter had 14 boilers instead of 16 and ran 22 knots against 21 for the others. At the tests the Kaiser managed to develop more than 55,000 hp and 23.4 knots. In service in December 1912-December 1913, they were Vice Admiral Funke’s III squadron. They were not actually engaged before the Battle of Jutland in May 1916, fired a few lanes but received no hits. They did not have the opportunity to fight then and were conveyed to Scapa Flow after the armistice where they were scuttled on June 21, 1919.
Author’s illustration of the Kaiser
Displacement: 24 330 t – 27 400 t FL
Dimensions: 172,4 x 29 x 9,1 m
Propulsion: 3 shaft Parsons turbines, 16 Schulz-Thornycroft boilers, 31 000 hp and 21 knots.
Armour protection: Belt 350, Batterie 170, Citadel 210, Turrets 300, Blockhaus 350, barbettes 300 mm
Armement: 12 x 305 (6×2), 14 x 150, 10 x 88 mm DP, 4 AA, 6 x 500 mm TTs.
Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1906-1921