Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Kaiserliche Marine or Imperial Navy was the German Navy created by the formation of the German Empire and existed between 1871 and 1919; it grew out of the Prussian Navy and the Norddeutsche Bundesmarine. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded the Navy, causing a naval arms race between Germany and the British Empire. The undefeated navy was largely destroyed at Scapa Flow in 1919 by its own officers after the loss of the land war on the Western Front of World War I. Capital ships of the Kaiserliche Marine were designated SMS, for Seiner Majestšt Schiff (His Majesty's Ship).
The Kaiserliche Marine achieved some important operational feats. It inflicted the first major naval defeat on the Royal Navy for over 100 years at the Battle of Coronel. It also emerged from the fleet action of the Battle of Jutland having destroyed more ships than it lost. It is a common misconception that the High Sea Fleet never again came out from port after Jutland. In fact it performed several sweeps and actions, although the Germans never planned, either before or after Jutland, on confronting the whole Grand Fleet.
It was the first navy to successfully operate submarines on a large scale at war, and also operated zeppelins. It was never able to match the numbers of the Royal Navy, but it did have better shells and propellant for much of WWI meaning that it never lost a ship to a catastrophic magazine explosion in action.
In 1897, the new Minister of the navy, Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz began the building of a large modern navy consisting of both battleships and submarines. He later became the commander of the Navy. The main fighting forces of the navy were to become the High Seas Fleet, and the U-boat fleet.
Notable battles fought by the Navy were:
- Battle of Coronel (Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee)
- Battle of Dogger Bank (Vice Admiral Franz von Hipper)
- Battle of the Falkland Islands (Vice Admiral von Spee)
- Battle of Heligoland Bight (Rear Admiral Maass)
- Battle of Jutland (Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer)
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