SMS Goeben

From Academic Kids

German battlecruiser Goeben
Career Kaiserliche Marine Ensign
Shipyard:Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Laid down:August 1909
Launched:28 March 1911
Commissioned:2 July 1912
Fate:Transferred to Ottoman Navy 16 August 1914.
Scrapped 1976
General Characteristics
Displacement:25,000 tons
Length:186.6 m
Beam:30 m
Draught:9.2 m
Propulsion:4 screws, Parsons turbines, 52,000 hp (39 MW)
Speed:28 knots (52 km/h)
Armament:10-11.2 in (284 mm) 50-calibre guns (5x2)
12-5.9 in (150 mm) guns
12-3.45 in (88 mm) guns

SMS Goeben was a Moltke-class battlecruiser of the Kaiserliche Marine (German Navy) that was launched in 1911 and named after the Franco-Prussian War general August von Goeben. In August 1914 Goeben was given to the Ottoman Empire and renamed TCG Yavuz Sultan Selim, becoming the flagship of the Ottoman Navy. In 1936 she was renamed TCG Yavuz and remained the flagship of the Turkish Navy until 1950.

The pursuit of Goeben and Breslau

In 1912 the German navy's Mittelmeerdivision (Mediterranean Division) comprised Goeben and the light cruiser SMS Breslau under the command of Rear Admiral Wilhelm Souchon. When war broke out between Austria-Hungary and Serbia on July 28, 1914, the Goeben and Breslau were in the Adriatic. Souchon began moving out into the Mediterranean. When Germany declared war on France on 3 August, Souchon was in position off the North African coast and bombarded the French ports of Bne and Philippeville in Algeria.

The pursuit of Goeben and Breslau began on 1 August when, under orders from First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, the British Mediterranean Fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir Berkley Milne, was to shadow the German ships and prevent them from disrupting the transport of French troops from Algeria to France. Goeben managed to slip away from her pursuers when returning to Messina.

Souchon was intent on taking his ships to Constantinople, a course the British did not anticipate, and so when he emerged from the Straits of Messina heading east, only the light cruiser HMS Gloucester was in a position to pursue. On 7 August, Gloucester engaged Breslau and Goeben, despite being completely out-gunned, in an attempt to delay their flight. The engagement ended without any hits being scored and Gloucester resumed tailing the German ships until ordered to disengage.

Souchon had a trouble-free passage of the Aegean, replenishing her coal on 9 August and anchored in the Dardanelles on 10 August. Goeben and Breslau passed through the mine barriers guarding the straits and were conducted to Constantinople where on 16 August they became ships of the Turkish navy in a diplomatic manoeuvre that assisted in bringing the Ottoman Empire into the war on the side of the Central Powers. As a Turkish ship, Goeben was still operated by her German crew.

Black Sea operations

Despite having signed a treaty with Germany, the Ottoman Empire was not yet at war with the Entente however, on 28 October Goeben led a sortie into the Black Sea and began raiding Russian assets. The next day the Crimean port of Sebastopol was bombarded. Odessa was also attacked and the minesweeper Prut was scuttled. On November 2, Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire.

Goeben played no active role in countering the Allied naval operations in the Dardanelles Campaign however she continued to operate in the Black Sea until 1918. On 18 November 1914 Goeben fought a number of Russian pre-Dreadnought battleships and suffered a hit from a 12-inch (305 mm) shell, killing 13 and wounding 3 crew. On 26 December Goeben struck two mines at the entrance to the Bosphorus and took on about 2000 tons of water. The damage put her out of action for a couple of months.

During April 1915, Goeben sank two Russian merchant ships. On May 10 in another encounter with Russian pre-Dreadnoughts, Goeben received three 12-inch (305 mm) shell hits without inflicting any damage herself. On November 14 the Russian submarine Morz made an unsuccessful attack on Goeben. She had another encounter with a Russian battleship on 8 January 1916 and in July sank one merchant ship and damaged some others in an attack on a Russian port.


Following the Dardanelles Campaign, Britain had maintained a flotilla in the Aegean, waiting for Goeben and Breslau to make a sortie. On January 20 1918 the two ships emerged from the Dardanelles and encountered the British ships near the island of Imbros. Unfortunately for the British, the two ships capable of countering Goeben - pre-Dreadnought battleships HMS Agamemnon and HMS Lord Nelson - were absent and the remainder of the force, consisting of destroyers and monitors, were outgunned.

In the ensuing battle the monitors M28 and HMS Raglan were sunk. However, the Turkish ships ran into a minefield; the Breslau sank immediately but Goeben, which struck three mines and was badly holed, managed to struggle back to the Dardanelles where she beached at the Narrows. The British made repeated attempts to bomb her but the Goeben survived and after being refloated on 26 January, returned to Goeben pl:SMS Goeben


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