The Kaiserliche Marine or Imperial Navy was the German Navy created by the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the Prussian Navy and Norddeutsche Bundesmarine. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded the Navy, causing a naval arms race between the German Empire and the British Empire. The navy grew to become one of the greatest maritime forces in the world during its existence, second only to that of the Royal Navy. The navy was largely destroyed at Scapa Flow, Scotland in 1919 by its own officers after the loss of the land war on the Western Front of World War I.
Ships of the Kaiserliche Marine were designated SMS, for Seiner Majestät Schiff (His Majesty's Ship).
Kaiserliche Marine in Southern Victory
Despite frequent exercises with the U.S. Navy prior to the Great War, actual cooperation between the two was limited to those ships caught in allied ports when the war broke out. The bulk of the High Seas Fleet spent the war in home water, despite challenging the British Royal Navy at Battle of Jutland in 1916.
In the Second Great War, however, Britain's violation of Norway's neutrality and the corresponding participation of that country in the Central Powers gave the High Seas Fleet ports on the open ocean.
Late in 1942, the British claimed to have won a major victory over the High Seas Fleet. Germany denied their claims but did not offer a counterclaim of their own major victory. In fact, the High Seas Fleet was indeed reduced in strength, as the Royal Navy was soon able to mount a significant challenge to the U.S. Navy off the coast of North America. Also, the resistance movement in Ireland required the United States to replace Germany as its main supplier of weapons.
- Kriegsmarine, the German navy during World War II in OTL.
- Kaiserliche Luftmarine, the German "air navy" in "Last Flight of the Swan of the East".