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Schleien - Linienschiffe


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 Special thanks to Michael Emmerich of for the use of images and information in this section.

Schlesien in 1943


After World War I Germany was only allowed to keep six old pre Dreadnought battleships (plus two on reserve). These were the ships of the Braunschweig and Deutschlandclass. Build between 1904 and 1905, the Braunschweig class was already obsolete during World War I and were decommissioned in 1917, but the lack of available ships forced those veterans of the Battle of Jutland  into service again. They were not able to fight any modern warship of their time and could only be used as coast defense or training ships. In this role, they made intensive voyages to Africa, Middle- and South America between 1926 and 1939.

Most of those ships didn't see action in World War II anymore, since they were replaced by modern units, only the Schleswig Holstein and Schlesien did.

The Braunschweig was broken down in 1931, the Elsass in 1936, the Hessen was replaced by the Admiral Scheer and used as a target ship, the Lothringen was only used as a naval reserve, the Preussen was broken down in 1931 while some parts were used for torpedo and mine tests.


Construction Data Dimensions Commanders
Laid down:     Schichau-Werft Danzig
Launched:     28.05.1906
Commissioned:     05.05.1908
Fate:     blown up 04.05.1945 (Swinemünde)
Costs:     25 Mio Reichsmark
Size (Max):     14218 t
Length (Total):     127,6 m
Length (Waterline):     125,9 m
Beam:     22,2 m
Draft:     8,21 m
Crew:     742 - 802



Armour and Aircraft

Engines & Performance

28 cm  L/20:     4
15 cm L/45:     14 (12 since 1931, 10 since 1935, 0 since 1939)
8.8 cm L/45:     20 (4 since 1919; 2 since 1927)
3,7 cm L/83 C/30:     4 (since 1936)
2 cm MG L/83:     4 - 22
Deck:     240 mm (max)
Belt:     40 mm
Command Tower:     300 mm
Turrets:     280 mm (max)
Shafts:     3
Engines:     3
Type:     3-cyl expansion engines
Total Performance:     18923 shp
Speed:     18,5 kn
Range:     4800 sm at 10 kn

Operational History

31.05.1916:   Participated at the Battle of Jutland, formed 2nd Squadron together with Schleswig Holstein .
1918-1939:   Used as a training ship.
September 1939:   Operations at Hela.
Oct 1939 - Mar 1940:   Used to train new officers.
April 1940:   "Operation Weserübung":  
Protects minesweepers off the coast.
July 1940:   Withdrawn from service, used as a dormitory ship in Gotenhafen.
January - March 1941:   Used a an ice-breaker with reduced crew.
May - October 1941:   Together with Schleswig Holstein and the  6th E-Boat Flotilla, the Schlesien covers mine laying operations in the Baltic Sea to prevent a breakthrough of Russian ships to Britain.
1944:   Additional Flag guns installed.
March - April 1945:   Used in the Battle for Gotenhafen.
April 1945:   Moved to Swinemünde with over 1000 wounded men.
03.05.1945:   Hit by a mine at Zinnowitz, NW of Swinemünde. The ship is beached.
04.05.1945:   Blown up, the wreck was broken up between 1949 and 1956.