Product ID: germ7/l
Product ID: germ7/m
Flag Information and Facts
The Imperial German Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine) was the German Navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy and Norddeutsche Bundesmarine, which primarily had the mission of coastal defense. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded the Navy, and enlarged its mission. The key leader was Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz (1849-1930), who greatly expand the size and quality of the Navy, while adopting the sea power theories of American strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan. The result was a naval arms race with Britain as the German navy grew to become one of the greatest maritime forces in the world, second only to the Royal Navy. The German surface navy proved ineffective during World War I; its only major Battle of Jutland was indecisive. However the submarine fleet was greatly expanded and posed a major threat to the British supply system. The Imperial Navy was largely destroyed at Scapa Flow in 1919 by its own officers, after Germany's defeat.
All ships of the Imperial Navy were designated SMS, for Seiner Majestät Schiff (His Majesty's Ship).