Parading the Colors






Summer 1912: The battleship SMS Deutschland transits the Kiel Canal en route to the Baltic Sea. The name ship of a five-unit class, Deutschland was commissioned in 1906. She and her sisters were the last pre-dreadnought battleships to join the Imperial German Navy. With a mixed armament of four 11-inch and fourteen 6.7-inch guns she was quite outclassed by the all-big gun battleships of which the first, the Royal Navy's HMS Dreadnought, was commissioned only four months after Deutschland. Following trials she became the flagship of the High Seas Fleet. Deutschland served as fleet flagship until 1913, when she was relieved by the new dreadnought battleship Friedrich der Große. Thereafter she and her sisters constituted Battle Squadron II of the High Seas Fleet, Deutschland being the squadron flagship. Though obsolete by 1914 they continued in front-line service and were present at the Battle of Jutland. In the confused night action that followed the main engagement Deutschland's sister ship Pommern was torpedoed by a British destroyer and blew up with the loss of all hands. The four survivors remained with the fleet until the summer of 1917 when Battle Squadron II was disbanded, Deutschland herself being decommissioned and disarmed. She was employed as a stationary barracks ship at Wilhelmshaven until being struck off charge and scrapped in 1922. 

This photograph is of interest because it shows what appears to be either the standard of the German Emperor or that of the King of Prussia, indicating that William II, who held both titles, is aboard. As can be seen the two standards are of a similar design.

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