Imperial German Navy

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Flags of the Imperial Navy (with Iron Cross)

The Imperial German Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine, sometimes Kaiserliche Kriegsmarine) was the navy of the German Empire from 1872 until 1918. The navy also had U-boats (U-Boote), an air force (Marineflieger), an infantry or marines (Marineinfanterie of the Seebataillone) and rigid airships (Zeppeline). After the end of World War I, the bulk of the navy's modern ships (74 in all) were interned at Scapa Flow (November 1918), where the entire fleet (with a few exceptions) was scuttled by its crews on 21 June 1919 on orders from its commander, Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter. The surviving ships of the Imperial Navy became the basis for the Reichsmarine of the German Reich. 1935 the Kriegsmarine would become it's successor.

Commanding Admirals

The Reichsdienstflagge (Imperials Service Flag) of the Imperial Naval Office (German: Reichsmarineamt)
Imperial German and Imperial Austrian Navys united in loyalty during WWI

Naval High Command

Commanding Admirals of the German Imperial Naval High Command (German: Kaiserliches Oberkommando der Marine) were:

  • Vizeadmiral Max von der Goltz (1838–1906): 1 April 1889 8 March 1895 5 years, 341 days
  • Admiral Eduard von Knorr (1840–1920): 8 March 1895 until 14 March 1899

Generalinspekteur der Marine

  • Adalbert Prince of Prussia (1811–1873): 1871 until 6 June 1873
  • Hans von Koester (1844–1928): 14 March 1899 until 29 December 1906
  • Heinrich Prince of Prussia (1862–1929): 1 October 1909 until 10 August 1918

Engagements (WWI)

Notable battles fought by the Navy were:

  • Battle of Heligoland Bight (Rear Admiral Leberecht Maass) – 1914
  • Battle of Coronel (Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee) – 1914. The German East Asia Squadron defeated the British West Indies Squadron
  • Battle of the Falkland Islands (Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee) – 1914. The East Asia Squadron (de) was defeated by British battlecruisers
  • Battle of Dogger Bank (Vice Admiral Franz Hipper) – 1915. Armoured cruiser Blücher sank and British battlecruiser Lion put out of action.
  • Battle of the Gulf of Riga (Vice Admiral Ehrhard Schmidt)
  • Battle of Jutland (Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer; Vice Admiral Franz Hipper) -1916. In the largest naval battle of the war several British ships were sunk or damaged but the High Seas Fleet was unable to damage the British Grand Fleet sufficiently to threaten the blockade of Germany.
  • Operation Albion (de), including Battle of Moon Sound (Vice Admiral Ehrhard Schmidt) – 1917. In the Baltic against Russian forces.
  • First Battle of the Atlantic – U-boat warfare

Notable minor battles:

  • Battle of Gotland
  • First Battle of Dover Strait – 1916. Torpedo boat attack on Dover Barrage
  • Second Battle of Dover Strait – 1917. Attack on Dover Barrage
  • Battle of Cocos
  • Raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby – 1914. Bombardment of British east coast ports.
  • Pursuit of Goeben and Breslau
  • Bombardment of Yarmouth and Lowestoft – 1916. Bombardment of British east coast ports.
  • Battle of Trindade

Minor engagements included the commerce raiding carried out by the SMS "Emden", SMS "Königsberg" and the sailing ship and commerce raider SMS "Seeadler".

See also

External links