SMS König

  • Type: Battleship
  • Class: König
  • Sunk: 1919
  • König led the German line in the Battle of Jutland, suffering 10 heavy and five or six medium-calibre hits. One officer and 44 men were killed.

History of SMS König

Laid down in 1911 and launched in 1913, König was one of four König class battleships in the Imperial German Navy. The ship was commissioned in 1914 and in 1916 led the German line in the Battle of Jutland.

But König got off to a bad start, running aground in December 1914 in the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal, subsequently being rammed in the stern by sister ship Grosser Kurfürst. König had to be sent for repairs.

König took part in the advance on Terschelling in the Netherlands on 29 March 1915. She formed part of the supporting force for the German raid on Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth in April 1916.

During the Battle of Jutland, on 31 May and 1 June 1916, König was the lead ship and involved in the heaviest of the fighting. At 7.32pm on the first day she was hit and listed to port. Six minutes later shrapnel wounded Konteradmiral (Rear Admiral) Behncke.

In the early morning of 1 June the ship, part of III Squadron, made her way back to safe haven. Due to the amount of water the ship had taken on-board she was drawing 10.5 metres, two metres more than usual.

By the afternoon König was in port. She had suffered 10 heavy and five or six medium-calibre hits. One officer and 44 men were killed, 27 were wounded.

König’s last significant action was Operation Albion. The ship landed troops on the island of Ösel on 12 October 1917 and attacked several shore batteries. Along with Kronprinz she engaged the Russian battleship Slava, achieving seven hits, which resulted in the crew of Slava scuttling their ship.

In October 1918 officers of König defended the ship during the mutiny at Kiel and, as a result, several were killed.

König and with the light cruiser Dresden were last two ships to arrive in Scapa Flow for internment, on 6 December 1918. Unlike the majority of the German High Seas Fleet scuttled in June 1919, neither ship was raised during salvage operations.

  • Nationality: German
  • Launched: 1 March 1913
  • Commissioned: 9 August 1914
  • Builder: Kaiserliche Werft, Wilhelmshaven (Imperial Dockyard, Wilhelmshaven)
  • Construction No: 33
  • Type: Battleship
  • Subtype/class: König Class
  • Displacement (Standard): 25,797 tonnes
  • Displacement (Full Load): 29,669 tonnes
  • Length Overall: 146m *
  • Beam: 28m
  • Draught: 6-8.5m
  • Complement: 1,136**
  • Material: Steel
  • Cause of loss: Scuttled
  • Date lost: 21 June 1919. 1400 hrs
  • Casualties (in scuttling): 0
  • Propulsion: Three oil-fired and 12-coal fired marine-type boilers, three sets of Parsons turbines. Three propellers
  • Fuel: 3,000 tonnes coal, 600 tonnes oil
  • Power: 43,300 shp
  • Speed: 21 knots
  • Range: 8,000 nautical miles at eight knots
  • Armour: Deck 60-100mm. Forward control tower 300mm (on sides). Lower belt 350mm. Upper belt 180mm. Turrets 300mm (sides). Casemate 170mm
  • Armament: 10 x 30.5 cm guns in five twin-turrets. 14 x 15 cm casemate guns. 10 x 8.8 cm anti-aircraft guns (six removed after Jutland). 5 x 50 cm submerged torpedo tubes

* Measurements taken from ship's plans
**The ship would have carried an extra 82 men if the squadron flagship