Moltke Class Battlecruiser

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Moltke Class Battlecruiser

The Moltke class was a class of two "all-big-gun" battlecruisers of the German Imperial Navy built between 1909–1911. Named SMS Moltke and SMS Goeben, they were similar to the previous Von der Tann unique battlecruiser, but the newer design featured several incremental improvements. The Moltkes were slightly larger, faster, and better armored, and had an additional pair of 28 centimeter guns.

Both ships served during World War I. Moltke participated in several major battles with the rest of the High Seas Fleet, including the battles of Dogger Bank and Jutland in the North Sea, and the Battle of the Gulf of Riga and Operation Albion in the Baltic Sea. At the end of the war, Moltke was interned with the majority of the High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow while the ships' fate was being discussed during peace treaty negotiations. The ships were scuttled on 21 June 1919 to prevent their seizure by the Allies.

Goeben was stationed in the Mediterranean at the start of the war; she escaped from pursuing Royal Navy ships to Constantinople. The ship, along with the light cruiser Breslau, was transferred to the Ottoman Navy soon after arrival. Strategically, Goeben played a very important role: she helped bring the Ottoman Empire into the war as a member of the Central Powers, and by acting as a fleet in being the ship prevented Anglo-French attempts to force the Bosporus, and similarly stymied a possible advance by the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Goeben was retained by the new Turkish government after the war. Only slightly modified from her original configuration, the ship remained on active service with the Turkish Navy until being decommissioned on 20 December 1950; she was stricken from the Navy register on 14 November 1954. Two years earlier, when Turkey joined NATO in 1952, the ship was assigned the hull number B70. The ship was unsuccessfully offered for sale to the West German government in 1963. Without a group willing to preserve her as a museum (she was the only surviving dreadnought-type warship in the world, apart from being the only surviving World War I era warship of the Central Powers) the ship was sold to M.K.E. Seyman in 1971 for scrapping. She was towed to the breakers on 7 June 1973, and the work was completed in February 1976.

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