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Naval Warfare

SMS Mainz

Light Cruiser Warship [ 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.

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.


Service Year

Imperial Germany national flag graphic
Imperial Germany

No Longer in Service.


SMS Kolberg; SMS Coln; SMS Mainz; SMS Augsburg

National flag of the German Empire German Empire
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Offshore Bombardment
Offshore bombardment / attack of surface targets / areas primarily through onboard ballistic weaponry.
Offshore strike of surface targets primarily through onboard missile / rocket weaponry.
Maritime Patrol
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Airspace Denial / Deterrence
Neutralization or deterrence of airborne elements through onboard ballistic of missile weaponry.
Fleet Support
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.

428.0 ft
130.45 m
46.0 ft
14.02 m
18.2 ft
5.55 m

Installed Power: 15 x Boilers with 2 x AEG-Curtiss steam turbines developing 19,000 horsepower to 2 x Shafts astern.
Surface Speed
25.0 kts
(28.8 mph)
3,650 nm
(4,200 mi | 6,759 km)

kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers

1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
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.

Supported Types

Graphical image of a historical warship turreted main gun armament
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)

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