Military Wiki
Kaiserliche Werft Danzig
Industry Shipbuilding
Fate Closed after World War I
Successor(s) Danziger Werft
Founded 1871
Defunct 1918
Headquarters Danzig, German Empire
Products Warships

Kaiserliche Werft Danzig was a German shipbuilding company founded in 1852 as Königliche Werft Danzig first, renamed to Kaiserliche Werft with the proclamation of the German Empire in 1871. Together with Kaiserliche Werft Kiel and Kaiserliche Werft Wilhelmshaven it was one of three shipyards which were responsible for maintenance, repair and construction of warships for the Imperial German Navy. With the end of World War I Kaiserliche Werft Danzig was closed in 1918, but soon opened again when Danziger Werft was founded on their site in 1919.


History of Danzig shipyard started 1844 when some area on both sides of the river Tote Weichsel at Danzig became property of the Royal Prussian Government. Named Marinedepot (1849 – 1854) it was first only used as a depot and anchoring space for the few Prussian warships at the time. End of 1853 it became Königliche Werft Danzig (1854 – 1871), finally then named Kaiserliche Werft Danzig (1871 – 1918) – following named KWD - with the proclamation of the German Empire in 1871.

In 1848 when Prussia started to enlarge its navy, own development and construction of warships got higher priority which required greater shipyards for these means. In 1850 additional new grounds were bought, further constructions followed and in the late 1870s once more there was a large extension of the facilities. However, the disadvantage of the KWD was the narrow fairway of the river Weichsel as well as some restrictions of the Danzig municipality. This limited of course the quantity and the dimensions of the built ships. The delivered tonnage of the KWD was only about 60% of that of imperial Kiel-shipyard (Kaiserliche Werft Kiel) and only 40% of that of the imperial Wilhelmshaven-shipyard (Kaiserliche Werft Wilhelmshaven) in the period 1898 to 1904. The construction of larger warships ended consequently 1909 with the commissioning of the light cruiser Emden. After that time the KWD concentrated the activities on the construction of auxiliary ships and later on submarines/u boats as well as maintenance and repair of warships. Another disadvantage of the KWD was the lack of steam turbine production. While the cruiser Emden was still equipped with steam engines, its sister ship Dresden – built nearly at the same time by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg – was already equipped with advanced steam turbine propulsion.

Beginning in 1908 parts of the yard were enlarged and more buildings rose on these grounds for U-boat construction. The KWD was the only of the three imperial shipyards which built U-boats for the Kaiserliche Marine. Beginning with U-2 in 1906–1908 altogether 62 boats were built, but only 44 between 1914 and 1918, which was about 12% of total German submarine production, few compared to privately owned German shipyards at that time.

With end of World War I the shipyard was closed but soon after opened again under different names and with different owners. Merged with former Schichau-Werft Danzig it belongs to Poland today, named Stocznia Gdańsk Spółka Akcyjna resp. in German Werft Danzig AG (since 1990).

Ships built by Kaiserliche Werft Danzig (selection)

  • 1871, Gun boat Albatros
  • 1872, Corvette Ariadne
  • 1875, Armoured corvette Hansa
  • 1896, Armoured ship Odin, first Siegfried-class coastal defense ship, total eight units
  • 1890, Light cruiser Bussard, first of six equal type ships
  • 1899, Great cruisers Freya und Vineta
  • 1906, Stettin class light cruiser Stuttgart
  • 1908-1909, Emden class light cruiser Emden
  • 1908 - 1918, total 62 U-boats of different types



  • Stavorinus, Günter (1990). Die Geschichte der Königlichen/Kaiserlichen Werft Danzig 1844 – 1918. Bd. 27. Köln: Böhlau Verlag GmbH Cie. ISBN 3-412-16889-0. 
  • Hansen, H. J. (1973). Die Schiffe der deutschen Flotten 1848 – 1945. Oldenburg: Verlag Gerhard Stalling AG. ISBN 3-7979-1834-8. 
  • Rössler, Eberhard (1996). Geschichte des deutschen U-Bootbaus, Band 1. Bonn: Bernard & Graefe Verlag. ISBN 3-86047-153-8. 

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