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Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft
Industry Shipbuilding
Fate Dismantled after World War II
Founded 1867
Defunct 1945
Headquarters Kiel, Germany
Products Merchant ships
Employees 10,000
Parent Krupp (After 1896)

Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft (often just called Germaniawerft, "Germania shipyard") was a German shipbuilding company, located in the harbour at Kiel, and one of the largest and most important builders of U-boats for the Kaiserliche Marine in World War I and the Kriegsmarine in World War II.


The company was founded in 1867 by Lloyd Foster, as the Norddeutsche Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, in the town of Gaarden, near Kiel. The idea of the company was to construct war and merchant ships. In 1876 the company built the personal yacht of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the SMY Hohenzollern.

The company went bankrupt in 1879 and had to be sold and became property of the Märkisch-Schlesischen Maschinenbau und Hütten-Aktiengesellschaft. They had constructed steam engines in Berlin since 1822. A few year later this company also got in trouble and in late 1882 a new company was founded, the Schiff und Maschinenbau Germania.

A few more warships were constructed and the company also had a very good reputation concerning the construction of torpedo boats. However the financial problems were never far away and by the end of August 1896 Krupp took over, as they were very interested in building warships themselves. Between 1898 and 1902 the company doubled its surface and new and large slips were constructed. In 1902 the company changed name and became the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft.

In 1908, Germaniawerft built the schooner Germania for Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, based on a design from Max Oertz. It was the first yacht of its size built in Germany. In the period preceding World War I, it also built a number of battleships for the Kaiserliche Marine, including the SMS Posen, SMS Prinzregent Luitpold, SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm and SMS Sachsen. During the First World War, the company turned to building U-boats. A total of 84 U-boats were delivered to the Kaiserliche Marine.

Afterwards, it returned to its original vocation, including building the steel-hulled barque Sedov (originally the Magdalene Vinnen II), the largest traditional sailing ship still afloat.

During World War II, the Germaniawerft was one of the most important suppliers of the Kriegsmarine, because of its proximity to German naval facilities in Kiel. Over the course of the war, the company completed 131 U-boats (types II, VII, XB, XIV, XVII, and XXIII). The Kriegsmarine had in total ordered 240 U-boats. In 1944, the shipyard had over 10,000 employees, of which roughly 11% were forced labourers.

On April 26, 1945, the last U-boat built in the Germaniawerft was launched, the U-4714. The war ended before it could enter into service. The most famous U-boats built at the Germaniawerft are probably U-47, which was commanded by Günther Prien during his sinking of the HMS Royal Oak in 1940, and U-96, which formed the basis of Lothar-Günther Buchheim's novel Das Boot.

After the war, the partially ruined shipyard was one of the first facilities dismantled by the victorious allies. The population of heavily bombed Kiel protested furiously this decision, but to no avail. The site was broken up and not rebuilt. In the late 1960s, the grounds were purchased by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft as a submarine-building shipyard. As of 2006, submarines are being built at the site.

Ships built by Germaniawerft (selection)

Civilian Ships

Merchant ships

  • Mary (1920), schooner, later museum ship Carthaginian II at Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, scuttled in 2005
  • Magadelene Vinnen II (1921), 4-masted barque, today Russian sail training ship Sedov
  • Adolf Vinnen, 5-masted barquentine that sank on her maiden voyage.


Naval ships




Submarines (U-boats)

Torpedo Boats


  • Nusret, now museum ship in Mersin, Turkey

External links

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