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SMS Mainz

Light Cruiser Warship

Imperial Germany | 1909

"SMS Mainz was sunk during the Battle of Heligoland Bight on August 28th, 1914 concerning World War 1."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/09/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

SMS Mainz was part of the Imperial German Navy's pre-World War 1 "Kolberg-class" which numbered four warships in all. These twin-masted, triple-funneled ships were classified as "light cruisers" by the service and encompassed SMS Kolberg, SMS Mainz, SMS Coln, and SMS Augsburg. The group was built between 1908 and 1910 with all three seeing varying degrees of action during The Great War (1914-1918). Two were lost and the last of the class was given up for good in 1927.

Ordered as "Ersatz Jagd" in September of 1907, SMS Mainz was built by the shipyard specialists of AG Vulcan (Stettin) with her keel laid down in September of 1907. She was launched for trials on January 23rd, 1909 and formally commissioned into the Imperial German Navy on October 1st, 1909.

As built, the warship displaced 4,300 tons under standard load and 4,815 tons under full load. Dimensions included a running length of 428 feet, a beam of 45.9 feet, and a draught of 18.3 feet. Power was from 15 x Boiler units feeding 2 x AEG-Curtiss steam turbines developing 20,200 horsepower to 2 x Shafts astern. This provided the vessel with a maximum ocean-going speed of 26 knots with a range out to 3,630 nautical miles (when cruising at 14 knots). Aboard was a crew of 367. Armor protection reached 1.57" at the deck, 2" at the turrets, and 3.9" at the conning tower.

Armament included a primary battery of 12 x 4.1" (10.5cm / 105mm) SK L/45 main guns, 4 x 2" (5.2cm / 52mm) SK L/55 secondary guns, an 2 x 17.7" (450mm) torpedo tubes. up to 100 naval mines could be carried and dispersed to shield critical waterways.

Modestly armored and armed, SMS Mainz was still a valuable component to the German surface fleet, particularly with the threat of the mighty British Royal Navy across the Channel.

As soon as October 1909, SMS Mainz was assigned to the much-respected "High Seas Fleet" but was recalled as soon as November 1908 to undergo additional work as her in-the-field performance was deemed unsatisfactory. She rejoined the Fleet in June of 1910 and undertook general cruises and training exercises before fighting broke out in August of 1914 to begin World War 1.

From then on, she was assigned various patrol sorties that kept her near Heligoland Island off the coast of northwest Germany. It would be here that SMS Mainz would meet her fate at the "Battle of Heligoland Bight". On August 28th, 1914 she moved in to assist battered German naval forces facing off against a larger, more potent British armada. SMS Mainz came under heavy gun and torpedo fire which resulted in her being left immobilized. Her captain gave the order to abandon ship and British forces moved in to secure 348 of her survivors before the German warship went under. In all, eight-nine German sailors were lost during the action.

The battle was a British victory which claimed a total of 712 German lives, left another 149 wounded, and resulted in hundreds being captured. Additionally, the Imperial German Navy lost three light cruisers, two torpedo boats, and a destroyer against British losses totaling 35 men and damage to one light cruiser and three destroyers.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one sea-going vessel design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for SMS Mainz.
15 x Boilers with 2 x AEG-Curtiss steam turbines developing 19,000 horsepower to 2 x Shafts astern.
25.0 kts
28.8 mph
Surface Speed
3,650 nm
4,200 miles | 6,759 km
The bow-to-stern, port-to-starboard physical qualities of SMS Mainz.
428.0 ft
130.45 meters
O/A Length
46.0 ft
14.02 meters
18.2 ft
5.55 meters
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of SMS Mainz.
12 x 105mm (4.1") main guns in primary battery.
4 x 52mm (2") guns in secondary battery.
3 x 450mm (18") torpedo tubes below the waterline.
Ships-in-Class (4)
Notable series variants as part of the SMS Mainz family line as relating to the Kolberg-class group.
SMS Kolberg; SMS Coln; SMS Mainz; SMS Augsburg
Global operator(s) of the SMS Mainz. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national naval warfare listing.
National flag of the German Empire

[ German Empire ]
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Image of the SMS Mainz
Image from the Public Domain.

Going Further...
SMS Mainz Light Cruiser Warship appears in the following collections:
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