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An Exceptional Story

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Joined: 17 Dec 2006
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Location: Istanbul, Turkey

PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:45 pm    Post subject: An Exceptional Story Reply with quote

May be unbelievable but true... One day a battlecruiser comes through the winds
of war and an empire enters to this world war. This warship was SMS Goeben,
a 23.000 ton battlecruiser of Kaiserliche Marine, so called Imperial German
Navy, and the empire was the Ottoman Empire.

On Agust 10, 1914, the giant battlecruiser SMS Goeben and her companion the
light cruiser SMS Breslau arrived to Canakkale (Gallipoli) Coast, under the
command of Admiral Wilhelm Souchon.. It was the early days of WWI.. After a
short and stressy while, the Ottoman Government gave a visa to Admiral for
passing through the Canakkale Strait. The warships entered into the Turkish
waters and arrived to Istanbul on August 16, 1914 at dawn.

After a few days, the Ottoman Empire decided to buy these powerful warships
from Germany. The Ottoman Emperor gave new names to the ships : Yavuz and
Midilli. SMS Goeben' s new name was Yavuz Sultan Selim (Yavuz)..

But these days were also very hard days for the old empire. There was a great
pressure over old Ottoman Government. The probable decisions were all very
critical and the problems were growing day by day. Then, one day the Turkish
Government secretly (and suddenly) decided to enter the war as a companion
of German Empire and the Axis Forces.

Following the decision, on October 28, 1914 a Turkish fleet consisting of Yavuz,
Midilli, Hamidiye, Berk and several destroyers steamed to the Russian harbors.

On 29, October, these warships put the operation of bombardment of Russian
harbors Sebastopol and Novorossijsk. During the same period, other cruisers
Gayret and Muavenet opened fire on another harbor, Odessa. After this attack,
Turkish warships sunk several Russian ships at Black Sea during their course
to home.

The most important harbors of the Russian Empire, Odessa, Sebastopol and
Novorossijsk were in flames and Ottoman Empire was at World War One.

The 11 inch guns of Yavuz were started a new era, in the cold morning of 29,
October 1914 and the fate of and empire changed. The fate of WWI changed...
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Location: Istanbul, Turkey

PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The story of battlecruiser SMS Goeben is unique. There is no any battlecruiser
which could be able to break up the full lifetime record of this mighty warship.
Battlecruiser Yavuz (ex Goeben) launched on 1911, three years before the
World War One, and lived until 1976 for 65 years.

Battlecruiser Yavuz was the only warship in the world history, who changed the
fate of an old empire, and changed the dynamics of World War One..

Admiral Wilhelm Souchon and
Turkish officers aboard Yavuz
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The beginning of the story : Mediterranean Sea
The keel of SMS Goeben was laid on 12.08.1909, at Blohm & Voss dockyard
in Hamburg, Germany. She launched on 28.03.1911 and after approximately
one year, commissioned on 02.07.1912 for German Imperial Navy ( known as
Kaiserliche Marine ). Goeben was the fourth German battlecruiser which was
a part of a launching programme continued till 1911. Her class was Moltke
class battlecruiser and was carrying the name of General von Goeben. For
this class only the two members, SMS Moltke and SMS Goeben were built &
launched. These two warships were very powerful and modern vehicles of
their time.

The heavy, powerful battlecruiser SMS Goeben was one of the faster and most
powerful ships of her date. There were over a thousand men aboard as crew
members and she was carrying 34 guns including ten 28 cm ( 11 in) main
guns which were capable to send a half ton shell at a distance of 23 kilometers

In the summer of 1914, just before the World War One, the Imperial German
Navy had only two effective warships in the Mediterranean Sea. These two
ships were SMS Goeben and a light cruiser, SMS Breslau. These warships
were operating under the command of Vice Admiral Wilhelm Souchon. As a
light cruiser, SMS Breslau was of course smaller and less powerful warship
compared to the big battlecruiser. She had 370 men aboard and 12 X 4 inch
guns as main armament.

SMS Goeben' s second funnel and a wing turret

On 01.08.1914, Admiral Wilhelm Souchon, the fleet commander, received a
radio message from Germany, informing him about that Germany had been
declared war on Russia and soon on France.

After this event, for several months, Admiral Souchon carried some top secret
instructions which he was to execute in the case of war with France. Then, he
was ordered to an attack on some French military centers at Algeria, with the
battlecruiser Goeben and cruiser Breslau. After the attack, his second mission
was to join the main German High Seas Fleet in the North Atlantic Ocean.
But at that time, there were some technical trouble with the Goeben' s main
engines and high pressure boilers when he received another order after his
attack on Algeria. He was no longer to sail west to the ocean, but ordered to
turn around and steam east to Ottoman waters. His secret mission was to
push the neutral Ottoman government to the war on side of Germany.

Following the orders, Admiral Souchon put the action againist some important
naval bases. After the bombardment of French Colonial ports of Phileppeville
and Bona, Algeria on 01.08.1914, the battlecruiser SMS Goeben and her
companion SMS Breslau both steamed to Italy for charging coal enough for
arriving the Ottoman waters. At the time, the British war ships were sailing to
search Admiral Souchon' s fleet.

The commander of the British Mediterranean Fleet, Admiral sir Berkeley Milne
was ordered to pursue both Goeben and Breslau. And, was ordered to open
fire on German warships, after the decleration of war to Germany.

After having the strict orders, Admiral Milne sent his two powerful warships, the
battlecruiser HMS Indefatigable and battlecruiser HMS Indomitable to search
for the two German ships and destroy them if possible.

Then, a race began between two forces, and the German battlecruiser Goeben
and cruiser Breslau succeeded to arrive to port Messina safely with the aid of
their superior speed. Despite the technical problems occured with Goeben' s
boilers, they outran the British Fleet.

At Meesina, SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau received approximately 1500
tons of coal, from the German coal supply ships, which was enough to reach
the Turkis waters. By the way, the British warships were waiting Souchon for
a hunt, near the west of Messina. After refueling Goeben and the light cruiser,
Admiral Souchon decided to steam to the Turkish waters at any cost. He was
ready to fight againist British Fleet, but also thinking about to find a way for
a safe escape using some tactics and the high speed of his ships. But, the
Ottoman waters were still far away, approximately 1000 miles away and it was
so hard to reach the Turkish waters safely.

It was certainly a death gamble, but Admiral Souchon gave his decision and
made his plans for arriving the Ottoman waters as quickly as possible.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The big race between Admiral Souchon and British Fleet

While Admiral Souchon sailed on 05.08.1914 ( at midnight ) again, the British
government declared war to Germany. He was to escape anyway, because he
had only two warships under hand, while the British Mediterranean Fleet had
more than 10 ships, including two powerful battlecruisers. As the Goeben and
light cruiser Breslau left the harbor, their crews fully expected to find the British
Fleet waiting for them. But, amazingly, Admiral Milne sent only one ship, a light
cruiser HMS Gloucester. This decision was a disaster for the British side..

HMS Gloucester sighted the German warships by the light of bright moon and
sent a message to Admiral Milne that, their course changed to east. At the
same time the German battlecruiser sighted the British cruiser, but Admiral
Souchon didn' t want to open fire on Gloucester. Because he had no any time
to waste for a fight and he didn' t want to stress the Goeben' s turbines. Instead
of a meaningless fight, he tried to jam his enemies' radio signals. In the next
morning, Gloucester tried to get closer and opened fire on German ships. This
time Admiral Souchon ordered fire, and Goeben opened fire on the British
cruiser. But, no one could be succesful to score a single hit.

Admiral Wilhelm Souchon

During the course, another four British warships ( Admiral E.C. Troubridge' s
fleet ) sighted the two German warships. But Troubridge' s ships were smaller
then SMS Goeben and their gun range and power could not be compared to
the German battlecruiser. So, it was not possible to stop Goeben. It was also
meaningless to open fire on, because of the Goeben' s superior gun range.
Her 28 cm shells could easily damage the lighter British cruisers. Following
the crisis, Admiral Milne steamed to Turkish waters with his battlecruisers but
it was dramatically too late..
On August 10.1914, SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau arrived Turkish waters, to
Canakkale ( Gallipoli ) Coast at dawn. The British warships were still trying to
catch and hunt them, but the German ships were escaped safely. After a few
hours, the Ottoman government gave the visa to Admiral Souchon, and the two
German warships entered to Turkish waters, then Marmara Sea & Istanbul. The
big race was over...

Yavuz ( Goeben ) waits an order for an action
After the Goeben and Breslau arrived safely to the Ottoman harbor, the German
diplomats reminded the Ottoman officers that Britain had broken a contract to
sell the two new dreadnoughts to Turkish government. The British Admiralty,
nervous about the threat of a big world war, had decided to keep the two new
warships for their own use instead of selling them to Turks. But now, Kaiser
Wilhelm was offering the brand new ships Goeben and Breslau for the Turkish
Navy. This offer was a big surprize for the old empire.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SMS Goeben' s new name : Yavuz

After some hours, the Turkish government gave a decision to purchase the two
new warships from Germany. Retaining their German crews, both ships were
renamed. SMS Goeben was renamed as Yavuz Sultan Selim ( one of the
famous emperors of the Ottoman Empire ) and the SMS Breslau as Midilli. By
the way, Admiral Souchon was made commander-in-chief of the Turkish Navy.
After these historic events, Goeben' s boilers repaired and got ready for new
actions as a Turkish battlecruiser. Admiral Souchon quickly prepared a good
battle filotilla with Yavuz, Midilli, Hamidiye ( a famous Turkish cruiser ) and a
few destroyers. These all were ready for future actions. The Ottoman Empire
was secretly planning to enter the world war and fight with Russia. After a full
series of trials and exercises in both Marmara Sea and Black Sea, Admiral
Souchon sailed to high seas again and directly toward the Russian harbors.

The bombardment of some Russian harbors

On 29.10.1914, just after the dawn, the Turkish warships opened fire on some
very important Russian harbors. Yavuz especially bombarded Sevastopol
harbor, sank the Russian minelayer Prut and heavily damaged the destroyer
Lieutenant Puschin. After a short time, she captured the steamer Ida, off the
Balaklava Coast en route from Mariupol to Sevastpol. On the other hand, the
light cruiser Midilli, in the night of 29.10.1914, laid sixty mines near the Kertch
strait entry, that resulted in sinking of another Russian steamers named Yalta
and Kazbek.

Yavuz' s heavy 28 cm shells seriously damaged the harbors, many important
buildings and some critical points. Some arsenals exploded due to the hits. It
was a big disaster for Russia. During the bombardment of Sevastopol and
Odessa, the Russian ground batteries opened fire on Turkish ships but could
not be succesful to give any serious damage. During the shell exchange, Yavuz
received two heavy shells from a battery, causing minor damage. Her second
funnel received a shell but the explosion was not enough to penetrate the deck
armor of the battlecruiser.

After these actions, on October 30, 1914, Russia declared war to Ottomans &
also the Great Britain and France. The fate of an old empire has to changed.
After the declaration of war, some Russian pre-dreadnoughts and cruisers
steamed to Turkish harbors and bombarded some important bases. But the
Turkish fleet was ready to put an action againist Russian warships, so Admiral
Souchon sailed immediately to the Black Sea waters with Yavuz and Midilli.

The Battle of Cape Sarych

During her colorful life, perhaps the most important fight of Yavuz was the fight
at Cape Sarych. After the Russian attack on Turkish bases, Souchon decided
to attack the slower and older Russian warships. Opposing Yavuz was the
Russian Black Sea Fleet, under the command of Admiral Andrei Avgustovich
Ebergard. But the Russian fleet' s warships were some pre-dreadnoughts
which had a full speed at least 10 knots slower than Yavuz. The battlecruiser' s
speed was naturally superior. The Russian ships were named as Evstafy, Tri
Sviatitelia, Panteleimon, Rostislav and Ioann Zlaotust. Some of them were
carrying 12 inch guns, which were bigger then Yavuz, but their armor was not
thick as the battlecruiser and their slow speed was a negative factor.

On 17.11.1914, the Turkish warships and Russian Fleet sighted each other.
After a searching period, the ships entered to the battle-line, Yavuz turned to
starboard, a good position which enabled to open salvo fire on Russian ships.
The Russian five warships were in an open column, led by the flagship Evstafy
followed by Ioann Zlatoust, Rostislav, Panteleimon and Tri Sviatitelia. There
were destroyers in two columns behind and to one side of the warships. When
the range decreased about 8000 yards, Admiral Ebergard ordered to open
fire. Evstafy first opened a two gun salvo and the Battle of Cape Sarych began
Yavuz replied to fire with all her 280 mm main guns, and after a while she
scored a hit on the Russian flagship.

But, on the other hand, the Russian shells were also accurate, and during the
battle Yavuz received some 12 inch shells and one of her secondary guns put
out of action. Although Russian warships damaged, but Yavuz was under a risk
of a magazine explosion due to fire. Her petty officers stopped some flames
which were initiated by the Russian shells, by flooding water. Also there was
an important damage on Yavuz' s citadel armor.

During the battle the Russian warships and Yavuz fired heavy shells accurately
Yavuz and Evstafy got some damage but the opposing forces couldn' t be able
to sink each other. Evstafy suffered four important hits from Yavuz, some of the
crew members died or wounded. Yavuz suffered three hits from the Russian
ships and because of an explosion risk, Admiral Souchon decided to cancel
the operation and returned after.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another actions at Black Sea

After the Battle of Cape Sarych, Yavuz returned to home and gone under a
repair. After some few weeks, she was ready for new actions. On 03.04.1914
while cruising on the Odessa-Sevastopo l Russian communication line, she
sank the steamer Vostochnaya Zvezda off the Tarkhankut Cape and Midilli
sighted and destroyed another vessel named as Providans.

On 04.07.1916, under cover of Yavuz, Midilli sank the troops transport Rokkliff
with her torpedos and raked the schooner Rezvy with gunfire in the Sochi area
Aside these actions, Yavuz entered many operations with other warships,
mostly with the cruiser Hamidiye, until the end of the war. She also tried to fight
with the great British-French fleet which was trying to pass over Canakkale
( Gallipoli ) but she was alone and Souchon didn' t want to face a deadly risk.
Yavuz was the only Turkish battlecruiser, but there were more than 20 enemy
warships. During the Battle of Gallipoli, she only exchanged gunfire with HMS
Queen Elisabeth which was a super-dreadnought. But they couldn' t be able
to give harm to each other.

The happy peaceful years of Yavuz

After the world war, Yavuz was the only German built battlecruiser on service.
The other battlecruisers were gone at Scapa Flow base, because of sinking
themselves after a secret "suicide" order.

Yavuz also saw the WWII years, but Turkey never entered to this war. So there
wasn' t any risk for this mighty battlecruiser and she lived a happy life while
serving for the Turkish Navy as flagship. Her single mission of sorrow was
transporting the great founder of modern Turkey, M. Kemal Ataturk' s dead
body with a funeral, after his death in 1938.

During the rest of her life, Yavuz entered to many exercises and gone under
some refits ( 1930, 1938 and 1950 ) but in the late 1960' s she began to show
her age due to passed years load.

The end of a honorable career

As being the flagship of the Turkish Navy, Yavuz served for many years. She
had a honorful & glorious life. Turkish people were calling the mighty warship
as "Glorious Yavuz". She was so beatiful and powerful. But after a fifty years
of active career she began to show her age. The fuel of Yavuz was coal and
during the 50' s most of the warships of the world were using fuel oil or diesel
oil instead of coal. In the late 1960' s the government authorities thought that,
her economic life was over. Also, there were some changes about modern
warships, sea battle strategies and weapons. Many people were believing
that the battlecruiser or battleship age was over too.

Later, Yavuz uncommissioned and put out of service. But there was a death
decision waiting for her. Some authorities decided to give the ship to breakers
and they sold the battlecruiser. The breakers scrapped the ship in 1976.

I certainly believe that, this decision was a big mistake. Because of being the
last battlecruiser of the world, a memorial of the dreadnought age, she could
be preserved as a living museum. Yavuz was the last battlecruiser of the world
Sadly, it never happened..

Yavuz is a memorial now, for every Turkish battleship lover. We all bless her
great, honorful memory. Her memory will live forever. We shall never forget
our glorious battlecruiser.. Goodbye Yavuz...
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

moltke or goeben

I am working on a goeben model.I dont have a lines plan.General arrangement.Do you know this found from site?

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always wondered why Goeben turned away at Sarych, but I guess her hit was very serious indeed. She was only hit once.

There is more on this to be read from Steve McLaughlin at

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is indeed a fascinating story of the "Goeben" and its long life. However, one might also say that "Goeben/Yavuz" led a charmed
life in that she didn't have a head-on encounter with Russia's Black
Sea dreadnoughts which came on at the end of 1915.

The Germans and the Turks were fortunate that, as in the Baltic,
the Russians were quite conservative in their use of these, using
them as protective screeners for mining operations in the Bosph-
orus or raids to interrupt the coal traffic along the Anatolian coast.
Even in this role both the "Imperatritsa Mariya" and the "Imperat-
ritsa Elizaveta Velikaya" had brief encounters with "Goeben;"
Admiral Souchon assumedly understood that the stats. ship vs.
ship were not in his favor and withdrew.

These Black Sea battleships, although in design virtually identicle
to the Baltic warships built in these same years, had different
priorities applied. They were fully-armored 21-knot dreadnoughts;
5-to-11 inch belt; 3-inch deck; 10-inch barbettes;12-inch turrets.
They deployed 12 12-inch guns, against which "Goeben," which was
after all a battle-cruiser, could return 10 11-inch guns.

I think that Admiral Souchon was a man of sound judgement who
deployed his forces wisely. Here, unlike in the Baltic for instance,
I think the stats. would favor the Russian.
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Location: Richmond, Virginia

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a quick correction to the above post. The one of the two Russian
dreadnoughts named was "Imperatritsa 'Ekaterina' Velikaya"-Empress
Catherine the Great-and not "Elizaveta," as I said. I was making that
error all day as I was refreshing myself on the subject. There "was"
an Empress Elizabeth, and she was Catherine II's mother-in-law; but
not known as "Great."

And what's in a warship's name, anyway? Well, remember the example
of Winston Churchill in his first stint at the Admiralty. One of the prerog-
atives of the First Lord was to propose names for new warships, with
the king having a veto. When one thinks of British warships' names
one thinks of Greek/Roman gods, former or reigning monarchs, bold
adjectives, or names with an existing pedigree (Dreadnought, Royal
Sovereign). Churchill chose this area to be an iconoclast, and express
his radical side

Among the names he sent to George V was "Oliver Cromwell" for the
ships of the "Iron Duke" class. Indeed Churchill submitted the name
two years running! The palace was amazed that Churchill thought the
king would accept the name of a republican regicide for one of his
battleships. Churchill saw Cromwell as one of the founders of the
Royal Navy and the regicide ancient history.

Another name he submitted was "Pitt." Again very justifiable histor-
ically; William Pitt the Elder and Younger both important English
prime ministers. However, as a sailor, the king knew how that name
would be used in the fleet, where the historical reference would not
be valued but the opportunity for humor would. Churchill lost on all
of these which were outside of the norm.

Churchill was talked down from going to the mat about names, but I
think he felt his selections reflected real historical perspective, and
was probably aggravated to have to put his intellect up against the
king's service conservatism (or his intellect, for which Churchill had
little use).

Now I "don't" say I agree with Churchill about the names. In fact I
don't. However, I think the matter is interesting in showing the
strange duality of especially the young Churchill; traditional/conserv-
ative and liberal/radical in turns. Also, as a half-American, I think
he liked the chance to express the latter sometimes. "Liberty" was
another name he submitted.
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