Original German WW1 Kaiserliche Marine Naval Officer's Belt Buckle / post 1902 type - IN VERY NICE CONDITION, BRONZE GILT, UNMARKED, VERY GOOD EXAMAPLE, DIMENSIONS: cca 60 x 85 mm
HISTORY OF IMPERIAL GERMAN NAVY:
The Imperial German Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine) was the German Navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy and Norddeutsche Bundesmarine, which primarily had the mission of coastal defense. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded the Navy, and enlarged its mission. The key leader was Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz (1849–1930), who greatly expand the size and quality of the Navy, while adopting the sea power theories of American strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan. The result was a naval arms race with Britain as the German navy grew to become one of the greatest maritime forces in the world, second only to the Royal Navy. The German surface navy proved ineffective during World War I; its only major Battle of Jutland was indecisive. However the submarine fleet was greatly expanded and posed a major threat to the British supply system. The Imperial Navy was largely destroyed at Scapa Flow in 1919 by its own officers, after Germany's defeat. All ships of the Imperial Navy were designated SMS, for Seiner Majestät Schiff (His Majesty's Ship). The Imperial Navy achieved some important operational feats. At the Battle of Coronel, it inflicted the first major defeat on the Royal Navy in over one hundred years, although the German squadron of ships was subsequently defeated at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, only one ship escaping destruction. The Navy also emerged from the fleet action of the Battle of Jutland having destroyed more ships than it lost, although the strategic value of both of these encounters was minimal. The Imperial Navy was the first to operate submarines successfully on a large scale in wartime, with 375 submarines commissioned by the end of the First World War, and it also operated zeppelins. Although it was never able to match the number of ships of the Royal Navy, it had technological advantages, such as better shells and propellant for much of the Great War, meaning that it never lost a ship to a catastrophic magazine explosion from an above-water attack, although the elderly pre-dreadnought Pommern sank rapidly at Jutland after a magazine explosion caused by an underwater attack.