The five battleships of the Kaiser Friedrich III
class were part of the 1897 naval construction program. With those ships, a new layout for German battleships was introduced which got characterisical for all German battleships.
Unlike their predecessors of the Brandenburg class, the Kaiser Friedrich
class was only equipped with 24 cm guns, but the number of secondary guns was more than doubled. They were the first German battleships with three shafts, a characteristic feature that was kept for most German capital ships. In difference to many other German ships, they took not over much water in heavy seas and they were reported to be very good seagoing ships.
All five ships were used for fleet service until 1916, followed by a three year duty as harbor ships before they were decommissioned.
Kaiser Wilhelm II
was the fleet flagship until 1906. In 1915 it was used as the office ship of the fleet commander in Wilhelmshaven and broken down in 1922 in Hamburg.