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Historical background






Light Cruiser SMS MAINZ. Source: Photo Archive German Maritime Museum

SMS MAINZ was part of a mine laying exercise together with SMS CÖLN in the first half of the Year 1914. So the ship was able to store and lay mines. Since 03.08.1914 the SMS MAINZ was part of the 5th Torpedo Boat Flotilla (IV. Torpedobootflottille) and ordered to secure the German Bight. From 21.08.1914 to 22.08.1914 the ship took part in an operation to transfer fishing boats from the Dogger Bank and from 24.08.1914 to 26.08.1914 the MAINZ secured a mine laying operation (executed by Mine-Cruisers ALBATROS and NAUTILUS). The aim of this operation was the mining of the estuary areas of the Rivers Tyne and Humber. MAINZ was commanded by captain at sea Wilhelm Paschen and ordered on 28.08.1914 to fight British ships from south-western direction. During this time, the German Fleet Command thought that only light cruisers and destroyers executed the British attack. MAINZ fought British cruisers and destroyers from 12:30 to 13:45. After the firing stopped the British Destroyer LURCHER was moored (ca. 14:00) beside the stern of the sinking MAINZ. The LURCHER saved most crew members of the MAINZ. The MAINZ had no sideswipe during that time, because the portside coalbunker was still full. 14:10 the MAINZ sank over portside; 89 men were lost and 348 were saved.



E. Gröner, Die deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815 - 1945. Panzerschiffe, Linienschiffe, Schlachtschiffe, Flugzeugträger, Kreuzer, Kanonenboote, Bd. 1 (München 1982).

H. Hildebrandt/ A. Röhr/ H.-O. Steinmetz, Die deutschen Kriegsschiffe. Biographien, ein Spiegel der Marinegeschichte von 1815 bis zur Gegenwart, Bd. 4 (Herford 1981).

G. Koop/ K.-P. Schmolke, Kleine Kreuzer 1903-1918 (BREMEN- bis CÖLN-Klasse) (Bonn 2004).

Marine Archiv (Ed.) Der Krieg zur See. 1915-1918. Bd. 1. Von Kriegsbeginn bis Anfang September 1914 (Berlin 1920).

R. Scheer, Deutschlands Hochseeflotte im Weltkrieg. Persönliche Erinnerungen (Berlin 1919).

Copyright: Sea War Museum Jutland and JD-Contractor AS

Multi-Beam scan of the wreck of the SMS MAINZ






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Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum
Hans-Scharoun-Platz 1
D-27568 Bremerhaven


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