A brilliantly detailed work describing a long-extinct class of evolutionary warships that bridged the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Ordered by Kaiser Wilhelm I, they marked the first significant capital ships ordered by and commissioned into the Imperial German Navy after its establishment in 1871.
They also, perhaps, contributed to the hubristic over-confidence of Wilhelm I’s son, Wilhelm II, that led to the demise of the first German Empire.
Four of the ships were commissioned in 1893 and 1894. They incorporated some interesting innovations, mainly in terms of armaments and hull construction. However, following the launching of the British Royal Navy’s Dreadnought-class of battleships from 1906, they were already obsolete and played little part in World War I. Indeed, one of the class was sunk by the British submarine HMS E 11 in 1915 in the Dardenelles under Turkish colours.
As is normal with these Kagero Publishing warship reviews, the drawings are brilliant and the history fascinating.
Author: Tassos Katsikas
Available from Casemate UK, Oxford, UK.