König, Grosser Kurfurst, Markgraf, Kronprinz
König class: A better artillery
The 4 battleships of the König class, with Grosser Kurfurst, Markgraf, and Kronprinz, were an evolution of the design of the previous 5 Kaiser. Their main innovation laid in the arrangement of their 5 turrets, with one in the center and the others superimposed, which was done in Great Britain and France.
However, once again, the weakness of their main artillery was criticized, still 305 mm, even though the Queen Elisabeth class, carrying much more devastating 381 mm, were at the same time undergoing completion. Once again, these ships counted on the excellence of armored protection and their excellent fire control systems to make a difference.
The mounts were the new 1911 model which allowed a slightly higher elevation and range. Their secondary artillery remained unchanged but the tertiary artillery lost two guns (4 in barbettes, 2 on the deck of the forward deckhouse), the DCA remaining privileged. These pieces were also removed in 1918. The machines were unchanged from the Kaiser, the Grosser Kurfürst having turbines AEG-Vulcan, Markgraf Bergmann, and other Parsons.
The König in action
These vessels were accepted in service between September 1914 (Grosser Kurfürst) and February 1915 (Kronprinz). Kurfürst was the 6th unit of III Wing Rear Admiral Funke. The others replaced the units of 4 Wing Vice-Admiral Schmidt. The Kurfürst and the Kronprinz were torpedoed by the J1 on November 5, 1916, but escaped.
The same Kurfürst jumped on a mine in the Gulf of Riga on October 12, 1917 and the Markraf on October 29, but survived again. All participated roughly in the Battle of Jutland, König being the most damaged. After the war, these buildings were interned at Scapa Flow and scuttled there in June 1919. They were demolished only in 1936 (Kurfürst), and 1962 for the other three. The divers in the meantime had found some attractions there.
Author’s illustration of the König class
Displacement: 25 390 t – 29 200 t FL
Dimensions: 175,4 x 29,5 x 9,3 m
Propulsion: 3 shaft Parsons turbines, 15 Schulz-Thornycroft boilers, 31,000 hp and 21 knots.
Armour protection: Belt 350, Battery 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