S.M.S. Markgraf

  • Type: Battleship
  • Class: König
  • Sunk: 1919
  • Markgraf was involved in most of the fleet actions during World War I. The wreck is one of three battleships remaining on the seabed of Scapa Flow.

History of SMS Markgraf

Markgraf was built in Bremen, north-west Germany, one of four König class battleships to serve in the German Navy in World War I. She was commissioned near the beginning of the war in October 1914.

All four König class battleships – Markgraf, König, Grosser Kurfürst and Kronprinz – were involved in the majority of the High Seas Fleet action during the war.

The Battle of Jutland, on 31 May and 1 June 1916, was to be the ship’s first major action. She sustained five heavy calibre hits and 11 men were killed, with a further 12 wounded. The ship was sent to AG Vulcan for repairs until 20 June 1916.

Markgraf took part in the advance on the British town of Sunderland on 18-20 August, but this proved uneventful for the battleship.

During October 1917 Markgraf took part in Operation Albion, planned to eliminate the Russian naval forces holding the Gulf of Riga in the Baltic Sea. On her way back to the North Sea she struck two mines, both on the starboard side. The ship took on 260 tonnes of water but managed to reach Wilhelmshaven on the German North Sea coast for repairs.

In October 1918 Markgraf was sent to Kiel. On arrival armed guards boarded the vessel and 180 men, who had rioted through the night, were arrested. This act was pivotal in leading to the 1918/19 German Revolution.

On 18 November 1918 Markgraf left Germany for the last time, to be interned in Scapa Flow. When she was scuttled the following year she came to rest in deeper water than many of the other ships and was saved from extensive salvaging.

  • Nationality: German
  • Launched: 4 June 1913
  • Commissioned: 1 October 1914
  • Builder: AG Wesser, Bremen
  • Construction No: 186
  • 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; 1645 hrs
  • Casualties (in scuttling): Two killed
  • 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 30.5cm guns in five twin-turrets. 14 x 15cm casemate guns. 10 x 8.8cm anti-aircraft guns (six removed after Jutland). 5 x 50cm submerged torpedo tubes

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

NB Torpedo nets were fitted to all the König class ships. These were removed after the Battle of Jutland having proved cumbersome and inadequate.