SMS Prinz Adalbert (1865)
- For other ships of the same name, see SMS Prinz Adalbert
|Succeeded by:||Friedrich Carl|
|Career (German Empire)|
|Namesake:||Adalbert of Prussia|
|Ordered:||16 July 1863|
|Builder:||Arman Brothers, Bordeaux|
|Acquired:||10 July 1865|
|In service:||9 June 1866|
|Out of service:||23 October 1871|
|Struck:||28 May 1878|
|Nickname:||Der Lahme (Lame)|
|Fate:||Scrapped 1878 at Wilhelmshaven|
|Class & type:||Ironclad ram|
|Displacement:||1,560 metric tons (1,540 long tons)|
|Length:||56.96 m (186 ft 11 in)|
|Beam:||9.92 m (32 ft 7 in)|
|Draft:||5.02 m (16.5 ft) (mean)|
|Installed power:||1,200 ihp (890 kW)|
|Speed:||9.5 knots (17.6 km/h; 10.9 mph)|
SMS Prinz Adalbert [a] was an ironclad warship of the Prussian Navy, originally ordered by the Confederate States Navy. Prussia purchased the ship during the Second Schleswig War against Denmark, though the vessel was not delivered until after the war. The vessel was designed as an armored ram, but also carried three guns: one 21 cm (8.3 in) and two 17 cm (6.7 in) pieces in armored turrets. She was named after Prince Adalbert of Prussia, an early proponent of German naval power.
The ship was poorly constructed and as a result had a very limited service career. She was heavily modified after her delivery to Prussia in 1865 and briefly served with the fleet between 1866 and 1871. During the Franco-Prussian War in 1870–1871, the ship was assigned as a guard ship in Hamburg. After the war, it was discovered that the internal wood construction was badly rotted; she was therefore removed from service in October 1871. Prinz Adalbert was stricken from the naval register in May 1878 and broken up for scrap that year.
General characteristics and propulsion
Prinz Adalbert was 50.48 meters (165.6 ft) long at the waterline and 56.96 m (186.9 ft) long overall. She had a beam of 9.92 m (32.5 ft) and a draft of 4.96 m (16.3 ft) forward and 5.02 m (16.5 ft) aft. She was designed to displace 1,440 metric tons (1,420 long tons; 1,590 short tons) at a normal load and up to 1,560 t (1,540 long tons; 1,720 short tons) at combat load. The ship's hull was constructed from transverse frames, and included both iron and timber. The hull was sheathed in copper to protect it from parasites. The Prussians regarded the ship as a poor sea boat. The ram bow caused the vessel to ship a great deal of water. It was, however, responsive to commands from the helm and had a very tight turning radius. Prinz Adalbert had a crew of ten officers and 120 enlisted men.
Prinz Adalbert's propulsion system was provided by Mazeline, based in Le Havre. The ship was powered by a pair of 2-cylinder single expansion engines, each of which drove a four-bladed screw that was 3.6 m (11 ft 10 in) in diameter. The engines were placed in a single engine room. Two trunk boilers, also in a single boiler room, supplied steam to the engines at 1.5 standard atmospheres (150 kPa). Two rudders were fitted side by side to control the vessel. The ship was initially fitted with a 740 square meter (2,428 sq ft) brig rig, though this was subsequently replaced with a 677 square meter topsail schooner rig.
Armament and armor
As built, Prinz Adalbert was armed with three rifled 36 pounder muzzle-loading guns. One was placed in an integral five-port bow turret, while the other two were located in a fixed two-port turret amidships. After delivery in 1865, the French guns were replaced with a 21-centimeter (8.3 in) L/19 gun in the bow and two 17 cm (6.7 in) L/25 guns in a revolving turret. The forward gun was supplied with 76 rounds of ammunition while the central guns had 71 shells each. Prinz Adalbert was armored with wrought iron, which was mounted on the wooden hull. The armored belt, which protected the waterline of the ship, was 127 millimeters (5.0 in) thick. The turrets were protected by 114 mm (4.5 in) of armor plating on the sides.
Prinz Adalbert was built under the cover name Cheops by the French shipyard of the Arman brothers in Bordeaux. Her sister ship, built under the cover name Sphinx, was delivered to the Confederate Navy and renamed CSS Stonewall. The French emperor, Napoleon III, ordered the Arman brothers to sell Cheops to another navy immediately; Prussia purchased the ship on 25 May 1864. The Second Schleswig War between Denmark and Prussia and its ally Austria delayed delivery of the ship. Cheops was commissioned into the Prussian fleet on 29 October 1865 as Prinz Adalbert. Along with the turret ship Arminius, Prinz Adalbert was among the first armored vessels acquired by the Prussian Navy. The ship was named for Prince Adalbert of Prussia, one of the creators of the German fleet. While conducting trials off Denmark in June 1865, Prinz Adalbert ran aground. During the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, Prinz Adalbert was mobilized in Kiel under the command of Admiral Jachmann, but due to the lack of opponents in the North and Baltic Seas, the ship remained in the Baltic for the duration of the war.
The ship did not last long in service due to her poor construction; this necessitated significant refurbishment, which was carried out at the naval depot at Geestemünde in 1868–1869. Her armor plating had to be removed and reinstalled, a breakwater was installed at the stern of the ship, and the main mast had to be relocated. She was re-rigged to a schooner rig during this refit. Prinz Adalbert also suffered from severe leaking throughout her short career. In 1870, shortly before the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, the Prussian fleet was mobilized for a training cruise into the Atlantic. Prinz Adalbert and the recently commissioned broadside ironclad König Wilhelm steamed to Plymouth, England, where they rendezvoused with the rest of the fleet. While in Plymouth, the squadron received news of imminent hostilities with France, and made for safety in Wilhelmshaven, arriving on 16 July, three days before the outbreak of war. For the duration of the conflict, Prinz Adalbert served as a harbor guard ship in Hamburg. Her timber hull was found to be rotten in 1871, which forced her decommissioning. She was removed from service on 23 October 1871 and disarmed in 1875–1876. The ship was formally stricken from the naval register on 28 May 1878. She was broken up that year in Wilhelmshaven, and her engines were removed and reused.
- "SMS" stands for "Seiner Majestät Schiff", or "His Majesty's Ship".
- Greene, Jack; Massignani, Alessandro (1998). Ironclads at War: The Origin and Development of the Armored Warship, 1854–1891. Pennsylvania: Combined Publishing. ISBN 978-0-938289-58-6.
- Gröner, Erich (1990). German Warships: 1815–1945. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-790-6. OCLC 22101769.
- Sondhaus, Lawrence (1997). Preparing for Weltpolitik: German Sea Power Before the Tirpitz Era. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-745-7.
- Sullivan, David M. (1987). "Phantom Fleet: The Confederacy's Unclaimed European Warships". Warship International (Toledo, Ohio: Naval Records Club) 24 (1): 13–32.