The speed in which HMS Dreadnought was built stole a march on the rest of the world’s navies. Across the North Sea, the Kaiser’s shinny new High Seas Fleet was caught flat-footed with obsolescent battleships of the predreadnought pattern still on
the stocks. The High Seas Fleet had just made the jump to 11-inch guns with the
Braunschweig Class and their newest design for the Deutschland Class was a mere further development of the Braunschweigs. Wiley Jacky Fisher had gained a two year
lead over Germany in the construction of all big gun battleships, as the first German all big gun battleship,
SMS Rheinland, wasn’t launched until June 1, 1907.
The battleships of the Kaiser’s fleet have been comparatively overlooked when contrasted in coverage of British all big gun battleships. With the volumes by R.A. Burt, Norman Friedman and many others covering in great detail Britain’s battleships,
where does that leave their foe, the battleships of the High Seas Fleet? In my opinion, probably the best textual coverage is found in
The Kaiser’s Battlefleet, German Capital Ships 1871-1918 by Aidan Dodson, Seaforth Publishing 2016. This fine
reference book has 256 pages of information on all of Imperial Germany’s battleships constructed after the formation of Imperial Germany following the Franco-German War until its demise in 1918 when Emperor Wilhelm II abdicated the throne.
However, the first 71 pages of the volume cover predreadnoughts and armored cruisers. There is a new volume that provides superb photographic coverage of the Imperial German all big gun battleships from the
Nassau Class through the Bayern Class.
Tis volume is
German Battleships 1909-1919, Warship Pictorial 48 by Steve Wiper and Classic Warships Publishing.

From the name of the volume, you certainly ascertain the focal point of this volume, photographs. Including the photographs on the covers, there are 96 photographs in Steve Wiper’s new volume. Most photographs take a whole page but some photos
occupy two pages and some pages have three photographs on a page. The quality of the paper is outstanding with heavy stock glossy paper. Seven of the photographs are painstakingly colorized by
Atsushi Yamahita. However, it is not the numbers of
photographs or the colorization that strikes me. I am amazed that much more than half of the photographs I have never seen before. How many of you have seen a photograph of
SMS Kronprinz firing at the Russian prdereadnought Grazhdanin, ex-
Tsarevitch, at the Battle of Moon Sound on October 17, 1917?
The selection of photographs is outstanding. There are many shots taken at a distance but also many in close photographs showing hull and deck detail. The photographs themselves answer many questions for the modeler. As an example, I have the
Chuan Yu 1:200 scale model of
SMS Seydlitz. Although a battlecruiser and not a battleship, the photographs in German Battleships 1909-1919 answered a question that I had about the 1:200 scale Seydlitz kit. In the kit the shelves for the bed of the
rolled anti-torpedo net are shown with an open pattern of metal bars and not as a solid shelf. A couple of photographs of
Ostfriesland under repair after Jutland in German Battleships 1909-1919 clearly show that the German shelf for the anti-torpedo
net used the metal bar pattern, as reflected in the Chuan Yu
Seydlitz, There are quite a few battle damage photographs in German Battleships 1909-1919, which will not only delight the historian but also will provide that type of detail for the modeler.

The volume has some general text about the German battleships but the big pay-offs are the textual coverage that Mr. Wiper provides with each photograph. These paragraphs of text provide excellent illumination of what the viewer is seeing. They
cover fine points and not just general information. As an example, in one photograph, generally called to be the
SMS Markgraf in other volumes, Mr. Wiper discusses why he believes that it actually shows SMS Konig because of the ship’s crest and
arrangement of the superstructure levels and platforms. A lot of the text coverage of each photograph discusses paint schemes, armament fits, details on refits and a host of other information essential to the modeler. If you have the previous volume
Classic Warships Publishing, German Battlecruisers 1910-1919, Warship Pictorial 47 you already know of the value of the photographic coverage of the Warship Pictorials. (Review of German Battlecruisers 1910-1919, Warship
Pictorial 47 by Felix Bustelo.)
When I was many moons younger, I was on active duty for the US Army, stationed at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. In those days, before Sierra Vista blew up in size, before or, there were only of limited number of things to do on
weekends. Tombstone was only 19 miles away but it only took one visit there. My biggest treat was to drive north the 70 miles to Tucson and visit an outstanding hobby shop located on Tucson’s main drag, Speedway Boulevard. My military map of Ft.
Huachuca showed a road crossing through the Huachuca Mountains at the Huachuca Pass and then descending southwards to Nogales. One weekend, instead of going to Tucson, I decided to drive through the Huachuca Mountains to Nogales. So I
lowered the top of my Triumph TR-6 and followed the map and took the mountain road. It turned into something far rougher than a road, more like a trail. It proved very rough on my TR-6 but I made it and I still have my 1972 Triumph TR-6 to boot.
Now, what the hell does this little story have to do with
German Battleships 1909-1919?

Steve Wiper resides in Tucson, Arizona. When Squadron went belly-up and declared bankruptcy, Steve was caught holding the bag for thousands of dollars of unpaid invoices for volumes that he had shipped to Squadron. This is a huge financial hit
because he is unlikely to receive a penny from the Squadron bankruptcy dissolution. I think it likely that in a spot of anger, he must have taken out his motorcycle and wiped-out on the Huachuca Mountain’s trail or on Speedway Boulevard. In any case
he suffered a badly broken leg and will require a six month recovery program. Because of his injuries and the perfidy of Squadron,
Classic Warships Publishing is now only available for Direct Purchase in the USA. German Battleships 1909-1919 is
available for the pittance of $18 directly from Steve at his website of
I have nothing but praise for German Battleships 1909-1919, Warship Pictorial 48. It is a quality product all the way through, printed on high quality glossy thick stock paper, it provides photographs previously not seen on the Kaiser’s battleships
and provides very illuminating text about each of photograph. Don’t let this one get by you!

Steve Backer
Huntsville, Alabama