The four battleships (the official German designation was Linienschiff) of the Brandenburg
class were the first attempt to build real battleships, in difference to their predecessors which were mainly build as coast defence ships. They were the strongest ships of the German navy when they were commissioned. Although they were quite maneuverable ships with a fast turning speed, they tend to take over much water in heavy seas, something that would be characteristically for almost all German battleships. Their 28cm guns could only be loaded in end-on position and had a slow firing rate once the ammunition stored in the turret itself was used up, the barrels of the medium turrets were shorter than those of the others because of the surrounding superstructure.
As part of the 1st Linienschiff Division, they took part in the international intervention in China after the so called "Boxer-insurrection" in 1900 and 1901.
returned to fleet service after the operations in Asia and was used as a coast defence ship in 1915. From 1916-1918 it was used as a floating barrack at Libau and it was planned to rebuild it as a target ship. This project was canceled and the ship was scrapped in 1920.