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The Kaiser’s Battlefleet (ePub)

German Capital Ships, 1871–1918

Maritime > Seaforth Publishing > Seaforth: Historic Ships WWI > Battles & Campaigns > Jutland

By Aidan Dodson
Seaforth Publishing
File Size: 14.7 MB (.epub)
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 150 black and white illustrations & line drawings
ISBN: 9781473881556
Published: 9th May 2016


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The battleships of the Third Reich have been written about exhaustively, but there is little in English devoted to their predecessors of the Second Reich. This new book fills an important gap in the literature of the period by covering these German capital ships in detail and studying the full span of battleship development during this period.
The book is arranged as a chronological narrative, with technical details, construction schedules and ultimate fates tabulated throughout, thus avoiding the sometimes disjointed structure that can result from a class-by-class approach. Heavily illustrated with line work and photographs, many from German sources, the book offers readers a fresh visual look at these ships, beyond the limited range of images available from UK sources.
A key objective of the book is to make available a full synthesis of the published fruits of archival research by German writers found in the pre-WW2 books of Koop & Schmolke, Großmer’s on the construction programme of the dreadnaught era, Forstmeier & Breyer on WW1 projects, and Schenk & Nottelmann’s papers in Warship International. As well as providing data not available in English-language books, these sources correct significant errors in the ‘standard’ English sources.
This entirely fresh study will appeal to historians of WWI German naval developments as well as to enthusiasts and model makers.

A Magnificent Work.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

This is a very nicely produced and balanced reference on the Imperial German Navy’s capital ships from 1871-1918 and beyond. Highly recommended for its narrative quality, balance of technical and design information, and all around usefulness as a general reference on the ships of the era.

Read the full review here


As long as the reader has the patience to read this book carefully, they will be richly rewarded.

The International Journal of Maritime History, Vol. 29(4) - reviewed by Rob Huebert University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

This is a perceptive study which is highly recommended.

Warship 2017, reviewed by Andrew Lambert

As featured in

STORIA MILITARE, November 2016

This well-researched book on the German battlefleet from 1871 - 1918 makes a significant contribution to the English language reference books on the Imperial German Navy. In this fine volume the author tells the history of the German Navy during this period while at the same time evaluating its capital ships from the perspective their technical, organisational and operational history... Readers will enjoy the numerous high-quality photographs and line drawings that appear in this well-produced volume which is good value
for money. Highly recommended.

Marine News, December 2016

Dodson's book remains a specialist work and, alongside its contextual analysis, has a heavy emphasis on technical data. Thus, it will appeal mostly to naval historians, World War 1 researchers, wargamers, and dedicated warship buffs.

Saber & Scroll Historical Club

This book is profusely illustrated with photographs, charts, maps, and line drawings. Three appendices are provided as is a bibliography and index. Highly detailed technical data is provided both throughout the narrative and in the technical and career data section.

Dodson, then, has provided a remarkable vade mecum of Imperial Germany’s capital ships from 1871–1918 and beyond. He has placed the buoys for future scholars wishing to navigate the shoals of the design, construction and use of these ships. This book will stand as the definitive starting point for research in this field.

Mariner's Mirror - reviewed by Harold N. Boyer

To me there is something quite stirring and emotional about images of warships belching out big clouds of black steam and smoke into the air. In the environmentally conscious world of the 21st Century it may be out of the question but at the turn of the 20th it was commonplace. This new book is replete with such evocative images and charts the history of not just a navy but also the development of modern German from its feudal discordant past to the powerhouse of Europe it still is today. This thread is found through this excellent book and it is one that is essential to comprehend when studying the why's and wherefores' of the Imperial German High Seas Fleet.

This heavyweight tome is exceptionally well researched, even if it sometimes does lurch heavily towards academia in places. For the vast majority of readers it will give an insight into how the Imperial German Navy's principal warships were designed, built, fought and died ranged against the might of the Royal Navy in World War One.

Warship World - September/October 2016 - PB

The Kaiser's Battlefleet traces the rise of the Imperial German Navy from a few
foreign-built hulls until it became second only to the Royal Navy. Dobson covers battleships and
battle-cruisers, with photographs, profiles and plan drawings plus accompanying text. Other chapters address how the Kaiser's battlefleet performed in combat. A concluding chapter traces the careers of a handful of surviving ships after the German fleet was scuttled at Scapa Flow in 1919. For the record, the last surviving capital ship was Goeben, transferred to the Turkish Navy in 1914, and broken up in 1973.

Warships IFR, July 2016 - Peter Hore

Reviewed on MSC Review Connect

MSC Review Connect

This is a very nicely produced and balanced reference on the Imperial German Navy’s capital ships from 1871-1918 and beyond. Highly recommended for its narrative quality, balance of technical and design information, and all around usefulness as a general reference on the ships of the era.

Model Shipwrights

As featured on War History Online

War History Online, Mark Barnes

The book contains many clear photographs which will provide a useful resource for any student of the era and of contemporary German naval practice.

In precis, this work is clear, concise and comprehensive and would be a valuable addition to the book collections of anyone interested in German and European history, the Imperial German Navy and large naval vessels. It is an invaluable resource.

On a Rating Scale where 1: very poor; 10: excellent, I would give it an 8½.

NZ Crown Mines
 Aidan Dodson

About Aidan Dodson

Aidan Dodson is Hon Professor of Egyptology in the Department of Anthropology & Archaeology at the University of Bristol, where he has taught since 1996. He has also maintained parallel research interests in naval history, and worked as a civil servant in defence procurement for 25 years, including  project leader for the offshore patrol vessel HMS Clyde. He is the author of more than 300 articles and reviews, plus some twenty books, including The Kaiser’s Battlefleet: German capital ships 1871–1918 ,Before the Battlecruiser: the big cruiser in the world’s navies 1865–1910 and Spoils of War: the fates of the ex-enemy fleets after the two World Wars, with Serena Cant, all published by Seaforth.

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