SMS Ostfriesland


Plans and Construction

Line Drawing - Side View (Greger)
Line Drawing - Top and Side View (Greger)
Line Drawing - Side View (Gröner)
Being Launched - September 30, 1909

Active Duty

Starboard Midships View (U.S. National Archives)
Port Bow
Port Bow View (U.S. National Archives)
Port Bow

U.S. Navy Photos

As part of the treaty ending World War I, the surviving German warships, less a few pre-dreadnoughts and older light cruisers, were turned over to the Allies as war reparations. The former SMS Ostfriesland was turned over to the United States as "Ship H" on April 7, 1920 and taken to the New York Navy Yard where she was thoroughly examined. Luckily for us, the U.S. Navy loves to photograph her ships, and the Ostfriesland was no exception and probably received special attention. These photos were forwarded to the Bureau of Construction and Repair, later called the Bureau of Ships and today the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), and eventually made their way to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Archives II in College Park, Maryland. The photos below are almost exclusively exterior photos. All of these photos were photographed by me from the original prints at the U.S. National Archives and are governed by their Copyright Policy.

Overview and Hull Photos

Superstructure Photos

Weaponry Photos

Deck Fitting Photos

Bomb Test Photos

After the U.S. Navy was done with the Ostfriesland she was towed out off the Virginia Capes in mid-July, 1921, and used as a target for aerial bombing tests. The first runs were made by U.S. Navy and Marine aircraft dropping small bombs in a controlled manner. Bombs were dropped, observers went out to record the damage, then more bombs dropped. Then on July 21, U.S. Army General William "Billy" Mitchell brought his aircraft in for their bombing runs. After dropping medium (250-500 pound) bombs, his planes reloaded and returned with heavy 2000 pounders that sank her. Here are a few (often reproduced) photos from that part of the tests:

Near miss
A hit!
Going down (U.S. National Archives)

Related websites

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