WW1 German Commerce Raiders

Germany, 15 ships (1914-18)

The surface raiders

The German Imperial Navy actions during WW1 were four-fold: The main navy (Hochseeflotte) protecting the homeland but forced to a relative inaction because of the opposing Royal Navy, the overseas squadrons (Souchon or Graf Spee's Pacific squadron and other local forces) chased down by the allies at the beginning of the war, U-boats, that soon became the main threat to British commerce, and at last, German surface commerce raiders.

Carmania sinking Cap Trafalgar off Trinidad, September 14, 1914WW1 German Commerce Raiders
Carmania sinking Cap Trafalgar off Trinidad, September 14, 1914

In a sense, German cruisers already played that role of commerce raiding in 1914 Emden and Dresden being the most succesful. But at the same time, and until 1916, civilian ships captured or seized and converted as commerce raiders succeeded in sinking or capturing sometimes dozens of ships, making this kind of warfare valuable. The two most successful were the Möwe, Wolf and tall ship Seeadler.

However others were sunk at their first sortie. Early on also, the German admiralty did not trusted these ships to wage war and used them as disguised minelayers, with success. In some ways, the Königin Luise was the first of them. In any case, they are lesswell known known that their successors, the WW2 German Commerce Raiders, often better armed and more successful, that is, until WW1 centennial make them rise again from memory. Some of their feats of seamanship are just staggerring. These are stories to be told.

1st phase of German commerce warfare: Liners

SS deutschland
SS Deutschland, future SMS Victoria Luise

Converted Commerce raiders had been employed since the American civil war and auxiliary cruisers (ie armed passenger liners) since the Russian ‘Volunteer Fleet’ of the Russo-Japanese war. In the Second Hague Conference of 1907 one of the declarations referred to the Conversion of merchant vessels to auxiliary cruisers. Following this general international acceptance of commerce raiders the Imperial German Government asked prominent German shipping companies to fit their new liners with the necessary preparations (such as strengthened positions for guns) which would allow rapid conversion in wartime.


The Möwe at sea (footage)

According to this general belief in the value of converted passenger liners as commerce raiders, we find those ships in action in the opening period of the First World War. Apart from the liners described and listed in this section the liner Kronprinzessin Cecilie of the Nord-deutscher Lloyd and the Imperial Mail liner Lützow were scheduled for conversion, but the first ship returned to New York, where she was interned, and the second was trapped in the Suez Canal when war broke out.

Equipment of these liners by overseas cruisers or obsolete station guardships followed a well prepared mobilisation programme. Although a well arranged supply organisation had been prepared and brought into service, the concept of passenger liners as commerce ahd failed: these ships always provoked suspicion and their superior speed was offset by an immense need for coal.

2nd phase of German commerce warfare: Cargos

SMS Greif duelling with HMS Alcantara
SMS Greif duelling with HMS Alcantara, 1916

In the second period the Germans started to convert ordinary cargo vessels, but with the principal role of disguised auxiliary minelayers: They were not allowed to start active raiding until they had discharged this duty.

By the autumn of 1915 a young Lieutenant, Theodor Wolff, had written a well-considered memorandum that was to presage the most successful aspects of commerce raiding in both world wars. He developed the theory of the disguised freighter acting as a wolf in sheep’s clothing - a concept made familiar by the successful later German commerce raiders. The first ship of this second wave was the Möwe, although the German Admiralty still insisted that she should lay her mines first.

A gift for propaganda: Romantic deeds of modern swashbucklers

Bow of the seeadler at sea

A more adventurous side issue of German raider warfare was the employment of a full-rigged sailing ship (the SMS Seeadler) and post-war publicity and literature mirrors the high public interest in this romantic type of warfare. The Seeadler and the personality of her captain, Felix von Luckner aka "The Kaiser's pirate" were much to praise here.

Far from the image of murderous brute applied to the German war machine in Belgium, this was the image of a courteous, chivalrous, bloodless and hate-less way to wage war: Against goods and assets and not men which were treated on board "like friends", bound by the fraternity of sailors.

It was a brillant concept using a sailing ships as the most inoffensive predator imaginable. And the Seeadler roamed the Atlantic, north to south, and Pacific, for 225 days capturing 15 ships. SMS Seeadler was eventually cornered and found refuge in French Polynesia, was stranded on a reef at Mopelia, near Tahiti. The crew then escaped with a schooner.

German commerce raiders in detail

Cold case: Comparing the successes of German commerce raiders of both world wars, the only significant point is the growth in size of the average merchant vessel within_two decades: First World War, 103 vessels totalling 357,894grt; 129 vessels totalling 772,633grt in the Second.

SMS ILTIS

Iltis was the former British merchant ship Turitella, built in 1905 and captured by the German commerce raider Wolf on 27 January 1917. The Turitella was the former German Gutenfels, seized by the British at Alexandria when war broke out.

As a ship of the ‘-fels’ type she was a sistertship of the Wolf (ex-Wachtfels). She was quickly armed and received some mines and was used as a disguised minelayer. She laid her mines in the entrance to the HMS Aden and scuttled herself to avoid being captured by the British cruiser HMS Fox, on 15 March 1917.

Dimensions: 135.2 x 6.97 x 6.1m (443ft 6in x 55ft 6in x 2ft)
Machinery: 1-shaft VTE, 260ihp top speed 11kts
Armament: 1x 52mm, 25 mines (from Wolf)
Complement: 74

SMS Geier

Geier was the former British merchant vessel Saint Theodore (1913), captured by the commerce raider Möwe on 12 December 1916. She was armed by the Möwe and commissioned in her new role on 14 January 1917. She sank two sailing ships totalling 1442grt. On 14 February 1917 she was scuttled by the Möwe because of her worn out machinery.

SMS LEOPARD

SMS Leopard commerce raider
SMS Leopard was the former British merchant vessel Yarrowdale, built in 1912 and captured by the commerce raider Möwe on 11 December 1916. She was sent to Germany, equipped as a raider and comissionned in her new role on 9 January 1917. She was sunk during her breakout into the Atlantic, on 16 March 1917.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMS_Leopard_(1912)

Displacement: 9800t; 4652grt
Dimensions: 124.7m >< 15.8m x 7.4m (409ft 1in x 42ft x 24ft 3in)
Machinery: l-shaft VTE, 240 ihp = 13kts
Armament: 5-15cm (5.9in) SKL/40, 4-8.8cm (3.45in) SKL/40, 2-50cm (19.7in) TT
Complement: 319

WOLF (i)

SMS Wolf cutaway
SMS Wolf cutaway - From history.net

SMS Wolf
Wolf (i) was the former British merchant vessel Belgravia, built in 1906 at Workington and selzed after the outbreak of war at Hamburg.

The ship was commissioned as a raider on 14 January 1916 but ran aground during her first some in the Elbe estuary (26 February 1916). She was so heavily damaged that she was decommissioned; she was ceded to France in 1919.

Displacement: 12,900t; 6648grt
Dimensions: 141.1 x 16.2 x 7.8m (462ft llin x 53ft 2in x 25 ft 7in)
Machinery: 1 shaft VTE, 4 boilers 3300 ihp = 13 knots
Armament: 4-15cm (5.9in) SLK/40, 2-37 mm, 2-50cm (19.71n) TTs Complement: 361

SMS Wolf
SMS Wolf captured crew holds - from weaponsandwarfare.com

Wolf II

Wolf (ii) was the former merchant ship Wachtfels, built in 1913 at the Fleas-burger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft and commissioned in her new role on 16 May 1916. Following German commerce warfare policy she had first to lay her mines before being allowed to start active raiding.

As a novelty in raider warfare she was the first such German ship to have a spotting seaplane on board (a Friedrichshafen E 33); she also carried 3-52mm to arm auxiliaries.

She laid her first 25 mines off Cape Town on 16 January 1917, and the rest off Colombo. During her active raiding career she captured 14 ships totalling 38,391grt, including the prize Turritella, which was temporarily commissioned as the raider I (SMS Iltis) his to mine Aden. She managed to return unhindered to Gemany, served in the Baltic and was turned over to France in 1919. Renamed Antinous she served until 1931 when she was scrapped.

sms wolf rampage
SMS Wolf (II) Rampage across several oceans. From weaponsandwarfare.com

Displacement: 11,200t 5809grt
Dimensions: 135m >< 17.1m x 7.9m (442ft llin x 56ft lin x 25ft llin)
Machinery: 1-shaft VTE, 3 boilers, 280ihp = 10.5kts
Armament: 7-15cm (5.9in) SKL/40, 4-5ocm (19.7in) TT, 465 mines 1 seaplane
Crew: 347

https://youtu.be/7MGitWsDoWM

SMS GREIF

SMS Greif

Greif was the former 4,962 GRT steel-hulled mercantile Guben, built in 1914 at Neptun, Rostock for the German-Australian Line (DADG), Hamburg. She was converted for naval service at Kaiserliche Werft Kiel in 1915 and was commissioned on 23 January 1916. She sailed from the Cuxhaven (Elbe) under orders of Fregattenkapitän Rudolf Tietze.

But she was intercepted during her first sortie in the North Sea on 29 February 1916. The Royal Navy indeed intercepted and decoded messages, allowing to ambush her with the British AMC HMS Alcantara off Norway, as the German corsair was disguised as the Norwegian Rena bound for Tønsberg.

The 15,620 GRT armed merchant cruiser Alcantara catch her on the morning of 29 February 1916, closed to engage her with her six 6-inch (150 mm) guns and two 3-pounders when the German ship revealed herself, raising the German battle ensign and opening fire while speeding.

After an epic duel at less than 3000 yards bith ships exchanged volleys. One hit on the Greif destroyed the aft gun after exploding the ready-round ammunition. Other hits gradually reduced their speed but Alcantara eventually sank first after being hit by a torpedo amidships on her port side. But this was not before she called for help.

Soon, AMC Andes, protected cruiser HMS Camus and two destroyers were on her heels. and sank her. Greif's crew abandoned ship 40 minutes after the start of the duel just when the C-class light cruiser HMS Comus and M-class destroyer HMS Munster arrived and took the Greif as target. They also rescued 120 German survivors, while 187 Germans perished and 72 British sailors.

Displacement: 9900t; 4962grt
Dimensions: 131.7m x 16.4m x 7.5m (432ft x 53ft 1ft x 24ft 8in)
Machinery: l-shaft VTE, 2 boilers, 3000 ihp = 13kts
Armament: 4-15cm (5.9in) SKL/40, 1-10.5cm (4.1in) 2-50cm (19.7in) TTs
Complement: 307

SMS Möwe

Author's illustration



By far the most famous commerce raider of WW1, the Möwe (seagull)'s own legend is on par with SMS Seeadler and SMS Emden. Her rampage started with laying mines, then a first sortie through the channel, down to the Portuguese coast, sinking and capturing 16 allied ships and returning safely in Wilhelmshaven for her first trip. That was only the beginning.

Möwe was the former banana carrier Pungo of the Laeisz Line, built by I C Tecklenborg AG, Wesermfinde and launched in 1914. The brand new ship was to become the most successful German raider of the First World War.

A role for which she was commissioned on 1 November 1915. She made two sorties, in the first achieving 15 ships sunk (totalling 57,52ogrt), and in the second 25 ships of 125,265grt. Between these two sorties she saw service as the commerce raider Vineta (not to be confused with the ex-Cap Polomol) in the Baltic, capturing one ship of 3326grt.

After her lucky cruiser she returned to serve as the auxiliary mining vessel Oslsee, became a British war reparation and served under the name Greenbeer. In 1933 she was sold to Germany and renamed Oldenburg, but on 7 April 1945 she was torpedoed by a British submarine off Norway, beached, and after the war in 1953 recovered and scrapped.

Möwe
SMS Möwe, date unknown. One of her mines possibly sank the British battleship HMS King Edward VII in the north sea

Dimensions: 123.7 x 14.4m x 7.2m (405ft mm x 47ft 3in x 23ft 7in)
Machinery: l-shaft VTE, 5 boilers, 3200ihp = 13.3kts
Armament: 4-15cm (5.9in) SKL/45 1-10.5 cm (4.1in) SKL/45, 2-50cm TTs (19.7 in)
Complement: 234

https://youtu.be/8Vpl8Hz1RDo The Great war Channel special: The Möwe

SMS Meteor

SMS Meteor

Meteor was the former British merchant vessel Vienna, built in 1903 by Ramage & Ferguson, of Leith, for Curries shipping line. She seized at Hamburg when the war broke out.

Because of her unsuspicious silhouette, unmistakably British appearance and the reduced belief in the efficacy of commerce warfare during this period, she served as a disguised minelayer and auxiliary cruiser off British North Sea harbours.

She has been refitted at Kaiserliche Werft (KWW) in Wilhelmshaven, with two 88 mm guns and two machine guns, plus minelaying equipment and capacity for 347 mines. She was commissioned in May 1915 as SMS Meteor, but she never captured any merchant vessel during her first sortie under the command of KK Wolfram von Knorr.

She layed mines in the White Sea and attacked Allied merchant ships bound to Russia. Sha sank three freighters by gunfire and claimed three others by mines. She returned unharmed in June 1915. During her second sortie, on 9 August 1915, she laid mines in the Moray Firth (she only sank a Danish sailing ship).

While attempting to run the British blockade she caught the attention of British armed boarding vessel HMS Ramsey, that she sank by surprise after a boarding party was sent.

The gunfire draw attention of the nearby cruisers and she quackly intercepted by British cruisers and scuttled herself on 9 August 1915, While the crew returned to Germany on board a Swedish fishing boat.

SMS Vineta

SS Vineta
Profile rendition of SS Vineta (from navypedia.org)

Vineta was the former Cap Polonio, a passenger liner of the Hamburg Suedamerikanische Dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft, built by Blohm & Voss of Hamburg and launched in March 1914.

The ship was not commissioned at the outbreak of the war and was to have replaced the Berlin, which was now interned in Norway. She had for the first time on a German merchant vessel water-tube boilers with forced draught.

To produce enough steam to obtain the desired 18-l9kts the best British coal would have been necessary, which was of course impossible during wartime. Trials showed that she could make only 16.9kts and was therefore an inferior opponent to the fast British turbine-powered AMCs.

During the war she was laid up in Hamburg, then came as a war reparation to Great Britain, and was resold to her old owners in 1921.

Displacement: 24,500t; 20,576grt
Dimensions: 201.87m x 22.1m x 8.4m(662ft lin x 72ft 6in x 27ft 7in)
Machinery: Z-shaft VTE, 14 boilers, 16,00ihp: 16.9kts
Armament: 4-l5cm (5.9in) SKL/40, 4-8.8cm (3.45in) SKL/4S

SMS Berlin


SS Berlin, interned in Norway (postcard).

A former passenger liner of Norddeutscher Lloyd, built in 1908 at the AG Weser yard, Bremen, she was converted to a minelayer and auxiliary cruise: and commissioned in her new role on 28 September 1914.

The priorities for her first sortie were: 1) laying mines off the British East Coast; 2) the interception and capture of British fishing vessels; and 3) commerce raids. This unlucky ship, commanded by a captain psychologically unsuited for this job, had only one success in her first role: on 27 October 1914 HMS Audacious hit one of Berlin’s mines and sank with all hands.

The Berlin could not fulfil her second duty due to heavy gales. During the attempt to approach a British freighter, the German captain decided that the raider had been recognised and cancelled the attack. Believing that he was now hunted by British North Sea Forces and that he had not enough coal to reach Germany he decided to intern the shlp in Norway.

On 18 November 1914, she entered Trondheim and was interned for the rest of the war. After the war she came to England as a war reparation and served the White Star Line under her new name Arabic until 1931.

Dimensions: 186m x 21.3m x 8.6m (610ft 3in x 69ft 1in x 28ft 3in)
Machinery: 2-shaft VTE, 7 boilers, 14,000ihp = 16.5kts
Armament: 2-10.5cm (4.1in) SKL/40, 6-37mm

SMS Cap Trafalgar

Cap Trafalgar

A liner of the Hamburg Suedamerikanische Dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschait built by Vulcan, Hamburgfind launched in March 1914. The brand new ship served on the South America route and was at Buenos Aires when war broke out.

She was armed by the obsolete German gunboat Eber which sailed from German South West frica and then went to Bahia, Brazil for interning. Cap Trafalgar was commissioned in her new role on 31 August 1914.

She was however intercepted on 14 September 1914 in the vicinity of Trinidad, by the AMC Carmania; she was sunk after an unequal artillery duel.

Dimensions: 186m x 21.9m x 8,3m (610ft 3in x 71ft 1oin x 27ft 3in)
Machinery: 2-shaft DE, 14 boilers, 3000? ihp top speed 18kts
Armament: 2-10cm (4.1in) SKL/35, 4-37mm
Complement: 319

SMS Cormoran (1909)

SMS Cormoran

Originally built at Schichau, Elbing for the ‘Russian Volunteer Fleet’ as the auxiliary cruiser Rjäsan, the ship was captured en route to Vladivostok on 4 August 1914 by the German light cruiser Emden.

Having emplacements for guns she was dispatched to the German colony of Tsingtao to be armed with the guns of the old German cruiser Cormoran, also receiving her name and being manned with the Cormoran’s crew.

She was commissioned in her new role on 7 August 1914. Running out of coal and provisions she was interned at Guam on 13 December 1914; on 7 April 1917 she was scuttled by her crew, before being seized by US forces, probably the only German commerce raider to be so by US Forces.

SMS KRONPRINZ WILHELM

SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm

A passenger liner of the Norddeutscher Lloyd, launched by Vulcan, Stettin, she was a near sister of the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse and won the "blue ribbond" in 1902 while serving on the North Atlantic route.

She left New York and was armed at sea by the light cruiser Karlsruhe but had no ammunition for her 12cm guns. On 6 August 1914 she was commissioned in her new role. Operating in the Atlantic she captured 15 ships, totalling 60.552 grt.

Running out of supplies and coal she was intened at New port News 26 April 1915. When the USA declared wa on 7 April 1917 she was seized and under the new name Von Steuben she served as an US Navy troop transport. She was scrapped in 1923.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Kronprinz_Wilhelm


Displacement: 24,900t;14,908t
Dimensions: 202.2m >< 20.2m x 8.5m (663ft 4in x 66ft 3in x 27ft 1in)
Machinery: 2-shaft VTE, 16 boilers, 36,000ihp top speed 23kts
Armament: 2-12cm (4.7in), 2-8.8cm (3.45in)
Complement: 467 + 36

Kronprinz Wilhelm postcard

Kronprinz as USS Von Steuben, 1917
Kronprinz as USS Von Steuben, 1917

SMS PRINZ EITEL FRIEDRICH

Prinz Eitel Friedrich
SS Prinz Eitel Friedrich showing her port gun aft

Launched 10 June 1904 by Vulcan, Stettin, she was a former passenger liner of the Norddeutscher Lloyd. She served on the Far East route, and when war broke out was en route from Japan to Shanghai, with her mobilisation orders.

She was sent to Kiautchou where she received the guns of the obsolete gunboats Luchs and Tiger manned by their respective crews. On 5 August 1914 she was commissionned in her new role, operating with SMS Cormoran in Australian waters.

Because of a coal shortage she crossed the Pacific, joined Graf Spee’s East Asian Squadron for a short time, rounded Cape Horn and operated in the South Atlantic.

There, she captured 11 ships totalling 33,423grt, but running low on coal and due to the worn out condition of her machinery, she entered Newport News in the US for interning on 9 April 1915. When the USA declared war on Germany, the liner was impressed into the US fleet as the troop transport De Kalb on 7 April 1917 and after the war she served under her new name Mount Clay for the United America Lines, scrapped in 1927.

During her career she captured 4 French, 5 British, a Russian and an American ships, totalling 33,423 tons grt.

Displacememt: 16,000t, 8,797grt
Dimensions: 153.37 x 16. x 7.1m (502ft llin x 55ft 5in x 23ft 4in)
Machinery: 2 shaft VTE, 4 boilers, 7000ihp = 15kts
Armament: 4-10.5cm (4.1in), 6-8.8cm (3.45in), 4-37mm
Complement: 402

SMS KAISER WILHELM DER GROSSE


Conway's profile, SMS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse

A passenger liner of the Norddeutscher Lloyd and winner of the ‘blue ribband’ in November 1897, she was launched on 4 May 1897 by Vulcan, Stettin. She was commissioned as flagship of the NDL on 9 September 1897 and served on the North Atlantic route.

Being in Germany when war broke out she was converted to a commerce raider according to her mobilisation role, was commissioned on 2 August 1914 and operated in the northern and mid-Atlantic.

She was attacked during a coaling operation in the neutral waters of the Spanish North African colony of Rio de Oro on 26 August 1916 by the British cruiser HMS Highflyer, and was scuttled and capsized. She had captured 3 ships totalling 10,683 grt.

Displacement: 24,300t; 14,349grt
Dimensions: 198m wl, 199.5m oa x 20.1m x 8.4m (649ft 7in wl x 654ft 6in 03 x 65ft 11in x 27ft 7in)
Machinery: 2-shaft VTE, 14 boilers, 28,000ihp = 22.5kts
Armament: 6-10.5cm (4.1in), 2-37mm
Complement: 584

*Cover picture: SS Kaiser Wilhelm der grosse epic duel with HMS Highflyer

Src, Read More

German commerce raiders WW1
ebay.com/ New-Vanguard German Commerce Raiders 1914-18 by Ryan K. Noppen 2015
navypedia.org German AMCs
List of auxiliary and merchant cruisers
google Books list of auxiliary and merchantmen 1914-1918 The cross of sacrifice by DD Jarvis
About the SMS Möwe
Conway's all the world's fighting ships 1906-1921

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D'Assas class Cruisers (1896)
Catinat class Cruisers (1896)

R. de Genouilly class Cruisers (1876)
Cruiser Duquesne (1876)
Cruiser Tourville (1876)
Cruiser Duguay-Trouin (1877)
Laperouse class Cruisers (1877)
Villars class Cruisers (1879)
Cruiser Iphigenie (1881)
Cruiser Naiade (1881)
Cruiser Arethuse (1882)
Cruiser Dubourdieu (1884)
Cruiser Milan (1884)

Parseval class sloops (1876)
Bisson class sloops (1874)
Epee class gunboats (1873)
Crocodile class gunboats (1874)
Tromblon class gunboats (1875)
Condor class Torpedo Cruisers (1885)
G. Charmes class gunboats (1886)
Inconstant class sloops (1887)
Bombe class Torpedo Cruisers (1887)
Wattignies class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)
Levrier class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)

Marinha do Brasil 1898 Marinha do Brasil
Siete de Setembro class (1874)
Riachuleo class (1883)
Aquidaban class (1885)

Marina de Mexico 1898 Mexico
GB Indipendencia (1874)
GB Democrata (1875)

Turkish Ottoman navy 1898 Osmanlı Donanması
Cruiser Heibtnuma (1890)
Cruiser Lufti Humayun (1892)
Cruiser Hadevendighar (1892)
Shadieh class cruisers (1893)
Turkish TBs (1885-94)

Regia Marina 1898 Regia Marina Pr. Amadeo class (1871)
Caio Duilio class (1879)
Italia class (1885)
Ruggero di Lauria class (1884)
Carracciolo (1869)
Vettor Pisani (1869)
Cristoforo Colombo (1875)
Flavio Goia (1881)
Amerigo Vespucci (1882)
C. Colombo (ii) (1892)
Pietro Micca (1876)
Tripoli (1886)
Goito class (1887)
Folgore class (1887)
Partenope class (1889)
Giovanni Bausan (1883)
Etna class (1885)
Dogali (1885)
Piemonte (1888)
Staffeta (1876)
Rapido (1876)
Barbarigo class (1879)
Messagero (1885)
Archimede class (1887)
Guardiano class GB (1874)
Scilla class GB (1874)
Provana class GB (1884)
Curtatone class GB (1887)
Castore class GB (1888)

Imperial Japanese navy 1898 Nihhon Kaigun German Navy 1898 Kaiserliches Marine
Russian Imperial Navy 1898 Russkiy Flot
Marina do Peru Marina Do Peru

Swedish Navy 1898 Svenska Marinen Norwegian Navy 1898 Søværnet
Royal Navy 1898 Royal Navy
HMS Hotspur (1870)
HMS Glatton (1871)
Devastation classs (1871)
Cyclops class (1871)
HMS Rupert (1874)
Neptune class (1874)
HMS Dreadnought (1875)
HMS Inflexible (1876)
Agamemnon class (1879)
Conqueror class (1881)
Colossus class (1882)
Admiral class (1882)
Trafalgar class (1887)
Victoria class (1890)
Royal Sovereign class (1891)
Centurion class (1892)
HMS Renown (1895)

HMS Shannon (1875)
Nelson class (1876)
Iris class (1877)
Leander class (1882)
Imperieuse class (1883)
Mersey class (1885)
Surprise class (1885)
Scout class (1885)
Archer class (1885)
Orlando class (1886)
Medea class (1888)
Barracouta class (1889)
Barham class (1889)
Pearl class (1889)

Spanish Navy 1898 Armada 1898
Ironclad Pelayo (1887)

Infanta Maria Teresa class (1890)
Emperador Carlos V (1895)
Cristobal Colon (1897)
Princesa de Asturias (1896)
Aragon class (1879)
Velasco class (1881)
Isla de Luzon (1886)
Alfonso XII class (1887)
Reina Regentes class (1887)

Destructor class (1886)
Temerario class (1891)
TGunboat Filipinas (1892)
De Molina class (1896)
Furor class (1896)
Audaz class (1897)
Spanish TBs (1878-87)
Fernando class gunboats (1875)
Concha class gunboats (1883)

US Navy 1898 1898 US Navy
USS Maine (1889)
USS Texas (1892)
Indiana class (1893)
USS Iowa (1896)

Amphitrite class (1876)
USS Puritan (1882)
USS Monterey (1891)

Atlanta class (1884)
USS Chicago (1885)
USS Charleston (1888)
USS Baltimore (1888)
USS Philadelphia (1889)
USS San Francisco (1889)
USS Newark (1890)
USS New York (1891)
USS Olympia (1892)
Cincinatti class (1892)
Montgomery class (1893)
Columbia class (1893)
USS Brooklyn (1895)

USS Vesuvius (1888)
USS Katahdin (1893)
USN Torpedo Boats (1886-1901)
GB USS Dolphin (1884)
Yorktown class GB (1888)
GB USS Petrel (1888)
GB USS Bancroft (1892)
Machias class GB (1891)
GB USS Nashville (1895)
Wilmington class GB (1895)
Annapolis class GB (1896)
Wheeling class GB (1897)
Small gunboats (1886-95)
St Louis class AMC (1894)
Harvard class AMC (1888)
USN Armoured Merchant Cruisers
USN Armed Yachts

WW1

☉ Entente Fleets

British ww1 Royal Navy
WW1 British Battleships
Majestic class (1894)
Canopus class (1897)
Formidable class (1898)
London class (1899)
Duncan class (1901)
King Edward VII class (1903)
Swiftsure class (1903)
Lord Nelson class (1906)
HMS Dreadnought (1906)
Bellorophon class (1907)
St Vincent class (1908)
HMS Neptune (1909)
Colossus class (1910)
Orion class (1911)
King George V class (1911)
Iron Duke class (1912)
Queen Elizabeth class (1913)
HMS Canada (1913)
HMS Agincourt (1913)
HMS Erin (1915)
Revenge class (1915)
B3 class (1918)

WW1 British Battlecruisers
Invincible class (1907)
Indefatigable class (1909)
Lion class (1910)
HMS Tiger (1913)
Renown class (1916)
Courageous class (1916)
G3 class (1918)

ww1 British cruisers
Blake class (1889)
Edgar class (1890)
Powerful class (1895)
Diadem class (1896)
Cressy class (1900)
Drake class (1901)
Monmouth class (1901)
Devonshire class (1903)
Duke of Edinburgh class (1904)
Warrior class (1905)
Minotaur class (1906)
Hawkins class (1917)

Apollo class (1890)
Astraea class (1893)
Eclipse class (1894)
Arrogant class (1896)
Pelorus class (1896)
Highflyer class (1898)
Gem class (1903)
Adventure class (1904)
Forward class (1904)
Pathfinder class (1904)
Sentinel class (1904)
Boadicea class (1908)
Blonde class (1910)
Active class (1911)
'Town' class (1909-1913)
Arethusa class (1913)
'C' class series (1914-1922)
'D' class (1918)
'E' class (1918)

WW1 British Seaplane Carriers
HMS Ark Royal (1914)
HMS Campania (1893)
HMS Argus (1917)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Vindictive (1918)
HMS Hermes (1919)

WW1 British Destroyers
River class (1903)
Cricket class (1906)
Tribal class (1907)
HMS Swift (1907)
Beagle class (1909)
Acorn class (1910)
Acheron class (1911)
Acasta class (1912)
Laforey class (1913)
M/repeat M class (1914)
Faulknor class FL (1914)
T class (1915)
Parker class FL (1916)
R/mod R class (1916)
V class (1917)
V class FL (1917)
Shakespeare class FL (1917)
Scott class FL (1917)
W/mod W class (1917)
S class (1918)

WW1 British Torpedo Boats
125ft series (1885)
140ft series (1892)
160ft series (1901)
27-knotters (1894)
30-knotters (1896)
33-knotters (1896)

WW1 British Submarines
Nordenfelt Submarines (1885)
Flower class sloops
British Gunboats of WWI
British P-Boats (1915)
Kil class (1917)
British ww1 Minesweepers
Z-Whaler class patrol crafts
British ww1 CMB
British ww1 Auxiliaries

✠ Central Empires

⚑ Neutral Countries

Europe
Bulgarian Navy Bulgaria
Danish Navy 1914 Denmark
Greek Royal Navy Greece

Dutch Empire Navy 1914 Netherlands
Norwegian Navy 1914 Norway

Portuguese navy 1914 Portugal

Romanian Navy 1914 Romania
Spanish Armada Spain Swedish Navy 1914 Sweden


WW2

✪ Allied ww2 Fleets

US ww2 US Navy
WW2 American Battleships
Wyoming class (1911)
New York class (1912)
Nevada class (1914)
Pennsylvania class (1915)
New Mexico class (1917)
Tennessee Class (1919)
Colorado class (1921)
North Carolina class (1940)
South Dakota class (1941)
Iowa class (1942)
Montana class (cancelled)

WW2 American Cruisers
Omaha class cruisers (1920)
Northampton class heavy cruisers (1929)
Pensacola class heavy Cruisers (1928)
Portland class heavy cruisers (1931)
New Orleans class cruisers (1933)
Brooklyn class cruisers (1936)
USS Wichita (1937)
Atlanta class light cruisers (1941)
Cleveland class light Cruisers (1942)
Baltimore class heavy cruisers (1942)
Alaska class heavy cruisers (1944)

WW2 USN Aircraft Carriers
USS Langley (1920)
Lexington class CVs (1927)
USS Ranger (CV-4)
USS Wasp (CV-7)
Yorktown class aircraft carriers (1936)
Long Island class (1940)
Independence class CVs (1942)
Essex class CVs (1942)
Bogue class CVEs (1942)
Sangamon class CVEs (1942)
Casablanca class CVEs (1943)
Commencement Bay class CVEs (1944)
Midway class CVs (1945)
Saipan class CVs (1945)

WW2 American destroyers
Wickes class (1918)
Clemson class (1920)
Farragut class (1934)
Porter class (1935)
Mahan class (1935)
Gridley class (1936)
Bagley class (1936)
Somers class (1937)
Benham class (1938)
Sims class (1938)
Benson class (1939)
Fletcher class (1942)
Sumner class (1943)
Gearing class (1945)

GMT Evarts class (1942)
TE Buckley class (1943)
TEV/WGT Rudderow classs (1943)
DET/FMR Cannon class
Asheville/Tacoma class

WW2 American Submarines
Barracuda class
USS Argonaut
Narwhal class
USS Dolphin
Cachalot class
Porpoise class
Shark class
Perch class
Salmon class
Sargo class
Tambor class
Mackerel class
Gato Class

USS Terror (1941)
Raven class Mnsp (1940)
Admirable class Mnsp (1942)
Eagle class sub chasers (1918)
PC class sub chasers
SC class sub chasers
PCS class sub chasers
YMS class Mot. Mnsp
PT-Boats
ww2 US gunboats
ww2 US seaplane tenders
USS Curtiss ST (1940)
Currituck class ST
Tangier class ST
Barnegat class ST

US Coat Guardships
Lake class
Northland class
Treasury class
Owasco class
Wind class
Algonquin class
Thetis class
Active class

US Amphibious ships & crafts
US Amphibious Operations
Doyen class AT
Harris class AT
Dickman class AT
Bayfield class AT
Windsor class AT
Ormsby class AT
Funston class AT
Sumter class AT
Haskell class AT
Andromeda class AT
Gilliam class AT
APD-1 class LT
APD-37 class LT
LSV class LS
LSD class LS
Landing Ship Tank
LSM class LS
LSM(R) class SS
LCI(L) LC
LCT(6) LC
LCV class LC
LCVP class LC
LCM(3) class LC
LCP(L) class LC
LCP(R) class SC
LCL(L)(3) class FSC
LCS(S) class FSC
British ww2 Royal Navy

WW2 British Battleships
Queen Elisabeth class (1913)
Revenge class (1915)
Nelson class (1925)
King Georges V class (1939)
Lion class (Started)
HMS Vanguard (1944)
Renown class (1916)
HMS Hood (1920)

WW2 British Cruisers
British C class cruisers (1914-1922)
Hawkins class cruisers (1917)
British D class cruisers (1918)
Enterprise class cruisers (1919)
HMS Adventure (1924)
County class cruisers (1926)
York class cruisers (1929)
Surrey class cruisers (project)
Leander class cruisers (1931)
Arethusa class cruisers (1934)
Perth class cruisers (1934)
Town class cruisers (1936)
Dido class cruisers (1939)
Abdiel class cruisers (1939)
Fiji class cruisers (1941)
Bellona class cruisers (1942)
Swiftsure class cruisers (1943)
Tiger class cruisers (1944)

WW2 British Aircraft Carriers
Courageous class aircraft carriers (1928)
HMS Ark Royal (1937)
HMS Eagle (1918)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Hermes (1919)
Illustrious class (1939)
HMS Indomitable (1940)
Implacable class (1942)
Malta class (project)
HMS Unicorn (1941)
Colossus class (1943)
Majestic class (1944)
Centaur class (started 1944)

HMS Archer (1939)
HMS Argus (1917)
Avenger class (1940)
Attacker class (1941)
HMS Audacity (1941)
HMS Activity (1941)
HMS Pretoria Castle (1941)
Ameer class (1942)
Merchant Aircraft Carriers (1942)
Vindex class (1943)

WW2 British Destroyers
Shakespeare class (1917)
Scott class (1818)
V class (1917)
S class (1918)
W class (1918)
A/B class (1926)
C/D class (1931)
G/H/I class (1935)
Tribal class (1937)
J/K/N class (1938)
Hunt class DE (1939)
L/M class (1940)
O/P class (1942)
Q/R class (1942)
S/T/U//V/W class (1942)
Z/ca class (1943)
Ch/Co/Cr class (1944)
Battle class (1945)
Weapon class (1945)

WW2 British submarines
L9 class (1918)
HMS X1 (1923)
Oberon class (1926)
Parthian class (1929)
Rainbow class (1930)
Thames class (1932)
Swordfish class (1932)
HMS Porpoise (1932)
Grampus class (1935)
Shark class (1934)
Triton class (1937)
Undine class (1937)
U class (1940)
S class (1941)
T class (1941)
X-Craft midget (1942)
A class (1944)

WW2 British Amphibious Ships and Landing Crafts
LSI(L) class
LSI(M/S) class
LSI(H) class
LSS class
LSG class
LSC class
Boxer class LST

LST(2) class
LST(3) class
LSH(L) class
LSF classes (all)
LCI(S) class
LCS(L2) class
LCT(I) class
LCT(2) class
LCT(R) class
LCT(3) class
LCT(4) class
LCT(8) class
LCT(4) class
LCG(L)(4) class
LCG(M)(1) class

British ww2 Landing Crafts
LCA
LCP
LCM

WW2 British MTB/gunboats.
WW2 British MTBs
MTB-1 class (1936)
MTB-24 class (1939)
MTB-41 class (1940)
MTB-424 class (1944)
MTB-601 class (1942)
MA/SB class (1938)
MTB-412 class (1942)
MGB 6 class (1939)
MGB-47 class (1940)
MGB 321 (1941)
MGB 501 class (1942)
MGB 511 class (1944)
MGB 601 class (1942)
MGB 2001 class (1943)

WW2 British Gunboats

Denny class (1941)
Fairmile A (1940)
Fairmile B (1940)
HDML class (1940)

WW2 British Sloops
Bridgewater class (2090)
Hastings class (1930)
Shoreham class (1930)
Grimsby class (1934)
Bittern class (1937)
Egret class (1938)
Black Swan class (1939)

WW2 British Frigates
River class (1943)
Loch class (1944)
Bay class (1944)

WW2 British Corvettes
Kingfisher class (1935)
Shearwater class (1939)
Flower class (1940)
Mod. Flower class (1942)
Castle class (1943)

WW2 British Misc.
WW2 British Monitors
Roberts class monitors (1941)
Halcyon class minesweepers (1933)
Bangor class minesweepers (1940)
Bathurst class minesweepers (1940)
Algerine class minesweepers (1941)
Motor Minesweepers (1937)
ww2 British ASW trawlers
Basset class trawlers (1935)
Tree class trawlers (1939)
HMS Albatross seaplane carrier
WW2 British river gunboats

HMS Guardian netlayer
HMS Protector netlayer
HMS Plover coastal mines.
Medway class sub depot ships
HMS Resource fleet repair
HMS Woolwhich DD depot ship
HMS Tyne DD depot ship
Maidstone class sub depot ships
HmS Adamant sub depot ship

Athene class aircraft transport
British ww2 AMCs
British ww2 OBVs
British ww2 ABVs
British ww2 Convoy Escorts
British ww2 APVs
British ww2 SSVs
British ww2 SGAVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Mines.
British ww2 CAAAVs
British ww2 Paddle Mines.
British ww2 MDVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Minelayers
British ww2 armed yachts

✙ Axis ww2 Fleets

Japan ww2 Imperial Japanese Navy
WW2 Japanese Battleships
Kongō class Fast Battleships (1912)
Fuso class battleships (1915)
Ise class battleships (1917)
Nagato class Battleships (1919)
Yamato class Battleships (1941)
B41 class Battleships (project)

WW2 Japanese cruisers
Tenryū class cruisers (1918)
Kuma class cruisers (1919)
Nagara class (1920)
Sendai class Cruisers (1923)
IJN Yūbari (1923)
Furutaka class Cruisers (1925)
Aoba class heavy cruisers (1926)
Nachi class Cruisers (1927)
Takao class cruisers (1930)
Mogami class cruisers (1932)
Tone class cruisers (1937)
Katori class cruisers (1939)
Agano class cruisers (1941)
Oyodo (1943)

Seaplane & Aircraft Carriers
Hōshō (1921)
IJN Akagi (1925)
IJN Kaga (1927)
IJN Ryujo (1931)
IJN Soryu (1935)
IJN Hiryu (1937)
Shokaku class (1937)
Zuiho class (1936) comp.40
Ruyho (1933) comp.42
Junyo class (1941)
IJN Taiho (1943)
Chitose class (comp. 1943)
IJN Shinano (1944)
Unryu class (1944)
IJN Ibuki (1942)

Taiyo class (1940)
IJN Kaiyo (1938)
IJN Shinyo (1934)

Notoro (1920)
Kamoi (1922)
Chitose class (1936)
Mizuho (1938)
Nisshin (1939)

IJN Aux. Seaplane tenders
Akistushima (1941)
Shimane Maru class (1944)
Yamashiro Maru class (1944)

Imperial Japanese Navy Aviation

WW2 Japanese Destroyers
Mutsuki class (1925)
Fubuki class (1927)
Akatsuki class (1932)
Hatsuharu class (1932)
Shiratsuyu class (1935)
Asashio class (1936)
Kagero class (1938)
Yugumo class (1941)
Akitsuki class (1941)
IJN Shimakaze (1942)

WW2 Japanese Submarines
KD1 class (1921)
Koryu class
Kaiten class
Kairyu class
IJN Midget subs

WW2 Japanese Amphibious ships/Crafts
Shinshu Maru class (1935)
Akistu Maru class (1941)
Kumano Maru class (1944)
SS class LS (1942)
T1 class LS (1944)
T101 class LS (1944)
T103 class LS (1944)
Shohatsu class LC (1941)
Chuhatsu class LC (1942)
Moku Daihatsu class (1942)
Toku Daihatsu class (1944)

WW2 Japanese minelayers
IJN Armed Merchant Cruisers
WW2 Japanese Escorts
Tomozuru class (1933)
Otori class (1935)
Matsu class (1944)
Tachibana class (1944)

WW2 Japanese Sub-chasers
WW2 Japanese MLs
Shinyo class SB
⚑ Neutral

Armada de Argentina Argentinian Navy

Rivadavia class Battleships
Cruiser La Argentina
Veinticinco de Mayo class cruisers
Argentinian Destroyers
Santa Fe class sub. Bouchard class minesweepers King class patrol vessels

Marinha do Brasil Brazilian Navy

Minas Gerais class Battleships (1912)
Cruiser Bahia
Brazilian Destroyers
Humaita class sub.
Tupi class sub.

Armada de Chile Armada de Chile

Almirante Latorre class battleships
Cruiser Esmeralda (1896)
Cruiser Chacabuco (1911)
Chilean DDs
Fresia class subs
Capitan O’Brien class subs

Søværnet Danish Navy

Niels Juel
Danish ww2 Torpedo-Boats Danish ww2 submarines Danish ww2 minelayer/sweepers

Merivoimat Finnish Navy

Coastal BB Ilmarinen
Finnish ww2 submarines
Finnish ww2 minelayers

Nautiko Hellenon Hellenic Navy

Greek ww2 Destroyers
Greek ww2 submarines
Greek ww2 minelayers

Marynarka Vojenna Polish Navy

Polish ww2 Destroyers
Polish ww2 cruisers
Polish ww2 minelayer/sweepers

Portuguese navy ww2 Portuguese Navy

Douro class DDs
Delfim class sub
Velho class gb
Albuquerque class gb
Nunes class sloops

Romanian Navy Romanian Navy

Romanian ww2 Destroyers
Romanian ww2 Submarines

Royal Norwegian Navy Sjøforsvaret

Norwegian ww2 Torpedo-Boats

Spanish Armada Spanish Armada

España class Battleships
Blas de Lezo class cruisers
Canarias class cruisers
Cervera class cruisers
Cruiser Navarra
Spanish Destroyers
Spanish Submarines
Dedalo seaplane tender
Spanish Gunboats
Spanish Minelayers

Svenska Marinen Svenska Marinen

Gustav V class BBs (1918)
Interwar swedish BB projects

Tre Kronor class (1943)
Gotland (1933)
Fylgia (1905)

Ehrernskjold class DDs (1926)
Psilander class DDs (1926)
Klas Horn class DDs (1931)
Romulus class DDs (1934)
Göteborg class DDs (1935)
Mode class DDs (1942)
Visby class DDs (1942)
Öland class DDs (1945)

Swedish ww2 TBs
Swedish ww2 Submarines
Swedish ww2 Minelayers
Swedish ww2 MTBs
Swedish ww2 Patrol Vessels
Swedish ww2 Minesweepers

Türk Donanmasi Turkish Navy

Turkish ww2 Destroyers
Turkish ww2 submarines

Royal Yugoslav Navy Royal Yugoslav Navy

Dubrovnik class DDs
Beograd class DDs
Hrabi class subs

Royal Thai Navy Royal Thai Navy

Taksin class
Ratanakosindra class
Sri Ayuthia class
Puket class
Tachin class
Sinsamudar class sub

minor navies Minor Navies


The Cold War

Royal Navy Royal Navy
Sovietskaya Flota Sovietskiy flot
US Navy USN (1990)


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