The End of the Line - SMS Bayern, Baden, Württemberg, and Sachsen

Battleship Bayern - 1918

With main gun bore size among the Allies reportedly increasing to 13.5" and 14", the decision was made (before finding out the British had adopted the 15" for the Queen Elizabeth-class super-dreadnoughts) to adopt a 380mm (15") gun on the next class of battleships. Taking the general plan and all-centerline gun layout of the König-class, the Bayern-class was approved for construction in 1913. Mounting eight of the new 380m guns in four turrets, all on the centerline in superimposed dual mounts, with two slim funnels and tall masts, they were beautifully balanced ships with great maneuverability.

Bayern was still undergoing trials when the Battle of Jutland occurred in May-June, 1916, but she was available for the next major event, Operation Albion. There she struck a mine that flooded the forward beam torpedo room and withdrew to a local port, where she was given a poorly contructed cofferdam that failed during her transit back to Germany. Based on inaccurate evaluations of the damage briefed to the Kaiser, he made the decision to have the forward beam torpedo tubes removed from both vessels.

Baden was designated the Fleet Flagship in March, 1917, and orginally was not among those ships scheduled to be interned at Scapa Flow. Unfortunately the Allies thought the battlecruiser Mackensen had been completed, and once they found she hadn't, Baden was substituted and arrived at Scapa Flow December 14, 1918. Both ships were scuttled on June 21, 1919, but while Bayern turned-turtle and sank, the British were able to tow Baden to shore where she settled in shallow water. Raised a month later, she was used for various armor experiments and eventually sunk by gunfire in 1921.

The last two ships, Württemberg and Sachsen, were to be slightly larger and faster versions, but they were never completed and their incomplete hulls scrapped in the early 1920's.

NOTE: Even though they both had twin 15" turrets, three propeller shafts and twin rudders, the Bayern design did not serve as the prototype for the World War II DKM Bismarck-class.


SMS Bayern

Line Drawing - Side View - 1916 (Gröner)
Line Drawing - Side View - 1918 (Greger)
Line Drawing - Top and Side Views - 1918 (Greger)
Starboard View - 1917
View from Astern
Port View
Port View from above
Sinking at Scapa Flow, June 21, 1919
Salvaged ship being moved to breakers, 1935

SMS Baden

Starboard Midship View
Port View
Port Bow View
Port Bow View from above
Bow view after unsuccessful scuttling attempt
Drawing of Baden's Boat Crane (dimensions are 1:144 scale)

SMS Württemberg

Line Drawing - Top and Side Views - 1918 (Gröner)
The hull of the Mackensen-class battlecruiser Prinz Eitel Friedrich lies inboard of the incomplete Württenburg (probably in Hamburg prior to their scrapping in 1921)

SMS Sachsen

Line Drawing - Top and Side Views - 1918 (Gröner)


Project Name: Ship of the Line "T" (Bayern) | Ersatz Wörth (Baden) | Ersatz Kaiser Wilhelm II (Württemberg) | Ersatz Kaiser Friedrich III (Sachsen)
Builder: Howaldtswerke, Kiel | F Schichau, Danzig | AG Vulcan, Hamburg | Germania Dockyard, Kiel
Laid Down: January 22, 1914 | December 22, 1913 | April 7, 1914 | January 4, 1915
Launched: February 19, 1915 | October 13, 1915 | June 20, 1917 | November 21, 1916
Commissioned: July 15, 1916 | March 14, 1917 | others never completed
Sunk: Bayern successfully scuttled at Scapa Flow, June 21, 1919 | Baden scuttling unsuccessful and she was sunk as target ship August 16, 1921 | others never completed
Scrapped: Bayern raised 1934, scrapped at Rosyth 1935, | Württemberg scrapped at Hamburg | Sachsen scrapped 1922 at Kiel Arsenalmole
Displacement: 28,530 tonnes (designed) / 32,200 tonnes (maximum)
Dimensions (meters): 180.0 (overall) x 30.0 x 9.39
Dimensions (feet): 594.0 (overall) x 99.0 x 30.99
# of Shafts: 3
# of Blades: 3, 3.87m diameter
# of Rudders: 2 (side by side)
Max Speed/Range: 22.0 kts / 5,000 nm at 12 kts
Main Battery: Eight 380mm (15")/45 caliber - 4 dual turrets
Secondary Battery: Sixteen 150mm (5.9")/45 caliber - 16 casement mounts
Anti-Torpedo Boat / Anti-Aircraft Battery: Two 88mm (3.5")/45 caliber - single mounts
Torpedo Tubes: Five 60cm (all underwater - one bow, two mounted on each side- one just forward of "Anton" turret, one aft of "Eugene") - Forward broadside tubes removed 1917
Complement: 42 officers and 1,129 enlisted (as designed)


Warships of the World
Warships of the World German Naval Guns
Warships of the World Pre-World War II German Torpedoes
German Kriegsmarine Encyclopedia - Click on "Hochseeflotte"
The Imperial German Navy from 1888 to 1918

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This page © Copyright 2001, Thomas L. Tanner, Jr. unless otherwise noted.