Military Wiki
SMS Heimdall
S.M. küstenpanzerschiff Heimdall.jpg
Painting of Heimdall in 1902
Career (German Empire)
Name: Heimdall
Namesake: Heimdall
Builder: Kaiserliche Werft, Wilhelmshaven
Laid down: 2 November 1891
Launched: 27 July 1892
Commissioned: 1893
Fate: Scrapped at Rönnebeck, 1921
General characteristics as built
Class & type: Siegfried-class coast defense ship
Displacement: 3,500 metric tons (3,400 long tons)
Length: 79 m (259.2 ft)
Beam: 14.6 m (47.9 ft)
Draft: 5.74 m (18.8 ft)
Installed power: 4,800 ihp (3,600 kW)

2 shafts, 2 Triple-expansion steam engines

4 locomotive boilers
Speed: 14.9 knots (27.6 km/h; 17.1 mph)
Range: 4,800 nmi (8,900 km; 5,500 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 20 officers
256 enlisted men

3 × 240 mm (9.4 in) guns
8 × 88 mm (3.5 in) guns

4 × 350 mm (13.8 in) torpedo tubes
Armor: Waterline belt: 240 mm (9.4 in)
Deck: 30 mm (1.2 in)
Conning tower: 80 mm (3.1 in)

SMS Heimdall was the fourth vessel of the six-member Siegfried class of coastal defense ships (Küstenpanzerschiffe) built for the German Imperial Navy. Her sister ships were Siegfried, Beowulf, Frithjof, Hildebrand, and Hagen. Heimdall was built by the Kaiserliche Werft Wilhelmshaven shipyard between 1891 and 1894, and was armed with a main battery of three 24-centimeter (9.4 in) guns. She served in the German fleet throughout the 1890s and was rebuilt in 1900–1902. She served in the VI Battle Squadron after the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, but saw no action. Heimdall was demobilized in 1915 and used as a barracks ship thereafter. She was ultimately broken up for scrap in 1921.


Line-drawing of Hagen in 1910

Heimdall was 79 meters (259 ft) long overall and had a beam of 14.9 m (49 ft) and a maximum draft of 5.74 m (18.8 ft). She displaced 3,741 long tons (3,801 t) at full combat load. Her propulsion system consisted of two vertical 3-cylinder triple expansion engines. Steam for the engines was provided by four coal-fired boilers. The ship's propulsion system provided a top speed of 14.6 kn (27.0 km/h; 16.8 mph) and a range of approximately 1,490 nautical miles (2,760 km; 1,710 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph). Heimdall had a crew of 20 officers and 256 enlisted men.[1]

The ship was armed with three 24 cm K L/35 guns mounted in three single gun turrets. Two were placed side by side forward, and the third was located aft of the main superstructure. They were supplied with a total of 204 rounds of ammunition. The ship was also equipped with eight 8.8 cm SK L/30 guns in single mounts. Heimdall also carried four 35 cm (14 in) torpedo tubes, all in swivel mounts on the deck. One was at the bow, another at the stern, and two amidships. The ship was protected by an armored belt that was 240 mm (9.4 in) amidships, and an armored deck that was 30 mm (1.2 in) thick. The conning tower had 80 mm (3.1 in) thick sides.[2] Heimdall's armor consisted of new Krupp steel, a more effective type of armor than the compound steel the other members of the class received.[3]

Service history

Heimdall was laid down in 1891 at the Kaiserliche Werft shipyard in Wilhelmshaven. She was launched on 27 July 1892, and completed on 7 April 1894.[4] In 1897, Heimdall participated in the annual summer maneuvers in the IV Division, along with Frithjof and Hagen. Her other three sisters were assigned to the III Division.[5] Heimdall participated in the 1900 summer maneuvers, where she and Siegfried, Hildebrand, and Ägir simulated the hostile fleet.[6] She served on active duty with the fleet until 1901, when she was taken into drydock at the Kaiserliche Werft shipyard in Kiel for an extensive reconstruction. The ship was lengthened to 86.13 m (282.6 ft), which increased displacement to 4,436 t (4,366 long tons; 4,890 short tons).[7] Her old boilers were replaced with eight new Marine type boilers, and a second funnel was added. Her secondary battery was increased to ten 8.8 cm guns, and the 35 cm torpedo tubes were replaced with three 45 cm (18 in) tubes. Work was completed by 1902.[1]

After emerging from her modernization, she returned to service with the fleet, assigned to the II Squadron, alongside Hildebrand, Hagen, and Beowulf.[8] She remained in the fleet until the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, when she was mobilized into the VI Battle Squadron for coastal defense, along with her sister ships. On 31 August 1915, the VI Battle Squadron was demobilized, and Heimdall's crew was transferred to other warships.[9] She was then used as a barracks ship in for U-boat crews, along with crews for the coastal defense flotillas stationed on the Ems river. On 17 June 1919, she was stricken from the naval register. The navy planned to convert Heimdall into a salvage ship, but the plan fell through and she was instead sold and broken up for scrap in 1921 in Rönnebeck.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gröner, p. 10-11.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gröner, p. 11.
  3. Sondhaus, p. 187.
  4. Gardiner, p. 246.
  5. Notes on Naval Progress (1898), p. 107
  6. Notes of Naval Progress (1900), p. 416
  7. Gröner, p. 10.
  8. The United Service, p. 356
  9. Gardiner & Gray, p. 142.


  • Gardiner, Robert, ed (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. Greenwich: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4. 
  • Gardiner, Robert; Gray, Randal, eds (1984). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906–1922. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-907-3. 
  • Gröner, Erich (1990). German Warships: 1815–1945. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-790-9. 
  • "Notes on Naval Progress". Government Printing Office. 1898. 
  • "Notes on Naval Progress". Government Printing Office. 1900. 
  • Sondhaus, Lawrence (1997). Preparing for Weltpolitik: German Sea Power Before the Tirpitz Era. Naval Institute Press: Annapolis. ISBN 1-55750-745-7. 
  • "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". New York: L. R. Hamersly, Jr.. 1904. 

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