German Empire Marine flag
The German surface navy proved ineffective during the First World War; its only major engagement, the Battle of Jutland, was a draw, but it kept the surface fleet largely in port for the rest of the war. The submarine fleet was greatly expanded and threatened the British supply system during the U-boat campaign. As part of the Armistice, the Imperial Navy’s main ships were ordered to be turned over to the Allies but they were instead scuttled by their own crews. All ships of the Imperial Navy bore the title SMS, for Seiner Majestät Schiff (His Majesty’s Ship).