Nassau class battleships (1906)

Germany (1906)
Nassau, Rheinland, Posen, Westfalen

Germany’s first dreadnoughts

The four Nassau (Nassau, Westfalen, Rheinland, Posen) were the first monocaliber battleships of the German Navy.

They arrived after the completion of the HMS Dreadnought, and had their own configuration (more faithful to Cuniberti’s armoured cruiser original plans) of 6 turrets (one for and aft, four sides), but equipped with 280 mm caliber cannons rather than 305 mm. That gave these ships a broadside of 8 cannons, like the Dreadnought.


However comparisons halt there as the German Battleships had a secondary artillery consisting of 150 mm guns in barbettes, and the conventional battery of QF 88 mm, 10 in barbettes and the other on deck houses, plus six SM torpedo tubes.

Note; This is a starter article, that will be developed further into an exhaustive study in the future and released on Facebook

Wide, these ships had such a limited roll that they were provided no keels. Good walkers, forcing their boilers to 26-28 000 hp, they reached more than 20 knots.

Nassau artillery configuration
Nassau artillery configuration

In service

Tests lasted for long and the last two were not accepted in September 1910. Their active service was uneventful.

In August 1916, Westfalen was torpedoed by the E23. She took 800 tonnes water at the rear, but returned safely. The Rheinland struck a reef off Lagskär (Norway) in April 1918, and filled with 6,000 tons of sea water.

Subsequently unable to sail again she was left there. Eventually part of her armor and all its guns had to be removed on site to gain some buoyancy back, before the power was reengaged and she can be towed up to Kiel.

She was never repaired. Nassau and Posen took part in the inconclusive Battle of the Gulf of Riga in 1915, engaging the Russian pre-dreadnought Slava.

Unlike other modern battleships of the Hochseeflotte, none sailed to Scapa Flow in 1919: The allies instead ordered these to be demolished in 1920-1924.

Nassau artillery configuration
SMS Rheinland


Nassau class on wikipedia
Specs Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1921-1947.

Nassau class specifications

Dimensions146 x 27 x 9 m
Displacement 18 750 t – 21 000 t FL
Propulsion 3 screws, 3 TE 3 cyl. engines, 12 Schulz-Thornycroft boilers, 22 000 hp
Speed20.2 knots (37.4 km/h; 23.2 mph) (19 knots as designed)
Range 8,300 nmi (15,400 km; 9,600 mi) @12 knots
Armament12 x 280 (6×2), 12 x 150, 16 x 88 mm, 6 TT 450 mm Sub
Armor Belt 300, Battery 160, Internal bulkheads 210, Turrets 280, Blockhaus 300, Barbettes 280 mm


Posen 1918
Illustration of the posen in 1918

SMS Nassau class
SMS Nassau class


Kaiserliches Marine

Active class Cruisers
Lion class Battlecruisers (1910)