Helgoland Class Battleship (1909)

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Overview of 4 vessels
Citations for this data available on individual ship pages
Name Builder Laid Down Launched Completed Fate
Helgoland Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, Kiel 11 Nov, 1908 25 Sep, 1909 23 Aug, 1911 Broken up 1921
Oldenburg Schichau-Werke, Danzig 1 Mar, 1909 30 Jun, 1910 1 May, 1912 Broken up 1921
Ostfriesland Kaiserliche Werft Wilhelmshaven 19 Oct, 1908 30 Sep, 1909 1 Aug, 1911 Expended 21 Jul, 1921
Thüringen AG Weser, Bremen 2 Nov, 1908 27 Nov, 1909 1 Jul, 1911 Broken up 1921


The Thüringen was subjected to post-war test-firings by 14- to 24-cm guns of the French Navy at Gâvre. A primary finding was that her armour was substantially better than "Krupp armour" in use by the French and British, prompting the suspicion that the process of manufacture may have been altered from that described in the patent sold abroad.[1]

Fire Control

A 1912 intelligence report from a "what is believed to be a reliable source" painted the following picture for the British.[2]

The lower conning tower and the transmitting room consists of one room with two compartments situated in the central passage.

There were three control positions:

  • the fore conning tower
  • the after conning tower
  • the lower conning tower, in the central passage

The control positions each contained a set of transmitting instruments for the starboard guns and one for the port guns (painted green and red, respectively). A pair of phones permitted direct communication with all 12-in and 5.9-in guns. Additionally, the fore C.T. could speak with all the guns or with the after C.T., depending on a change-over switch in the T.S.. It also had direct communication with the lower conning tower. Voice-pipes offered an alternative to these phone lines.

The "transmitter" was a horizontal bronze box with four handles in a line. The centre two handles were larger, and could be twisted to transmit ranges indicated on an engraved enamel disc. The small handle on the left indicated orders such as "Attention, torpedo boats" and the small one on the right transmitted deflection in units 0-28, left and right, presumably in the German standard of four arcminutes per pip. Each gun also had a handle on the transmitter, which could be lowered to ring the alarm bell at the gun. The "receivers" were similar, but had no handles.

The 12-in and 5.9-in guns each had a switchboard in the T.S. that with a handle for each of the three control positions and one for each gun of the given type, colour coded by broadside. Turning these handles could connect the port transmitter to the starboard guns or vice-versa, tie the guns to any control position, or connect those guns situated where they might be useful in a chase to communicate with the fore or after control towers. The telephones had similar flexibility, and those in the fore and after control towers could be connected to each other or with the central passage.

Voice-pipes ran between each control position to each turret and 5.9-in gun, and between the T.S. to the fore and after C.T.s.

See Also


  1. American Naval Attaché report dated 26 August, 1921, serial 175, documenting a conversation with an Officer of the French Navy Department.
  2. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1915. pp. 241-2.


  • Grießmer, Axel (1999). Linienschiffe der Kaiserlichen Marine 1906-1918: Konstructionen zwischen Rüstungskonkurrenz und Flottengesetz. Bonn: Bernard & Graefe Verlag. ISBN 3-7637-5985-9.

Helgoland Class Dreadnought
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