SMS Westfalen (1908)

Westfalen, before her anti-torpedo nets were removed in 1916. Photo in the collection of the US Library of Congress.

Ship Class
Laid Down

SMS Westfalen was a Nassau-class dreadnought, Imperial Germany's first go at the type. Commissioned 16 November, 1909, Westfalen was assigned to the I Battle Squadron. In December, 1914, Westfalen was part of the covering force for Hipper's battlecruiser raid on the English coast. After a drydocking the following March, Westfalen was assigned to the operation to sweep the Gulf of Riga of Russian forces in August, 1915. She again covered the battlecruisers as they raided England in April, 1916, and then saw considerable action at Jutland during the night skirmishes. Westfalen damaged three destroyers, and sank one more. In return, she took a 4" shell to the bridge, but the minor damage was repaired by 17 June. She was back in action in August, trying to draw out the British battlecruisers, but was torpedoed by the submarine E23 on the 19th, putting her out of action for a month. In February, 1918, Westfalen was used to transport and support German troops intervening in the Finnish Civil War, helping to secure the victory of the White Finns by the end of April. In August, Westfalen suffered internal damage to her boilers, dropping her top speed considerably. She was decommissioned upon return to port, and subsequently used for artillery training. Initially left in German hands after the Armistice, when the interred German Fleet was scuttled in June, 1919, Westfalen was handed over to the Allies. She was broken up in 1924.